Aliens: Dark Descent - Xenomorph

I am a full-blown Alien fan. I own all the films on DVD, BluRay, and VHS. I own miniatures, posters, shirts, and even a life-sized Facehugger replica. So when I saw the trailer for a new Aliens game at Summer Game Fest 2022, my heart flipped and turned in concern.

The Alien franchise is not particularly known for its “good” games; in fact, it’s more often noted for its history of disappointments. Of note here is Aliens: Colonial Marines, which released in 2013 and was a massive failure on every level, dashing the hearts and expectations of every Aliens fan across the world. The game had mediocre graphics, piss-poor voice acting, and shoddy writing, but most egregious of all was the absolutely nonsense A.I. It would often be up to random chance whether you could survive a level or not, or whether it would bug out and you couldn’t finish it at all.

After the abysmal disappointment that was Aliens: Colonial Marines, we were saved by the breathtaking Alien Isolation in 2014. Taking the suspense and fear of a single creature in the black, Alien Isolation succeeded in creating a threatening and claustrophobic environment with spectacular sound design. The Xenomorph was an ever-present danger, capable of hunting and slaying you anywhere, at any time.

With Alien games existing at such opposite ends of the quality spectrum (I have yet to play Aliens: Fireteam Elite so I am unable to comment on it), I’m wary to invest any trust into another Marines-based game where the threat is no longer an individual Xenomorph but instead wave after wave of species varieties that can overwhelm you by sheer force of numbers.

Aliens: Dark Descent - Xenomorphs

The premier trailer for Aliens: Dark Descent is a cinematic trailer with just a couple seconds of gameplay footage near the end. Focusing on those few ending seconds, the game appears to be a single-player strategy game in the vein of XCOM, or else a top-down twin-stick shooter with squad-based tactics (or even co-op play). It could go either way at this point, but what it essentially boils down to is that you’ll be commanding a crew of trauma-bonded soldiers through the destructive Xeno tides, perhaps using their individual abilities and specialties to either complete your mission or survive the onslaught.

With the complicated history of the Alien games, I’m hesitant to give it my full support right out of the gate. This game could be good — it could even be great — but it could also be just as underwhelming as Colonial Marines.

I’m going to keep my eyes open for updates and some more actual in-game footage on this project before I really make my decision, though, but I hope for only the best for this game and its production.

You can check out the world premiere trailer for Aliens: Dark Descent below.

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