Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation launches in a few days, though Sega is letting the press publish reviews today. Unfortunately, I’m nowhere near finished with the game, thanks to a combination of travel, illness, and jet lag. I guess I could have rushed through it miserably for a review, but this game has been 35 years in the making. I’d rather take my time, too.
Besides, of all the games I’ve played this year, Alien: Isolation is most worth savoring. The final product has proven to be every bit as satisfying as the various demos I’ve played over the past few months; the game succeeds on multiple levels. It’s a magnificent piece of fan service, the most gorgeously and brilliantly realized virtual adaptation of a movie universe ever committed to polygons, yet its devotion to the source material doesn’t come at the expense of playability.
It couldn’t have happened to a better film. Alien wasn’t simply a seminal piece of science fiction film, but a landmark work of horror as well. Creative Assembly has drawn most heavily on that latter element to create Isolation, reimagining the Alien cinematic universe as something along the lines of Enemy Zero or Clock Tower: A full-length tale of the “final girl” trope (which Alien itself employed by making Ellen Ripley the sole survivor of the Nostromo incident) in which an implacable, indestructible beast stalks the player throughout the entirety of the adventure.