Set fifteen years after Ridley Scott’s original film, we’ve got games torrents Alien: Isolation sees you playing as Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen. She’s an engineer for megacorporation Weyland-Yutani, and embarks on a journey to the space station Sevastopol when she learns that the flight recorder for her mother’s lost ship, the Nostromo, is being held there—a potential clue to her whereabouts. But it’s clear from the moment she arrives on the ruined and mysteriously abandoned space-city that something has gone horribly wrong.
Sevastopol is a labyrinthine warren of corridors, vents, and tunnels. It’s in the process of being decommissioned, and is in a severe state of disrepair. Lights flicker, automatic doors malfunction, tangles of cable drip from maintenance panels, and steam spews from broken pipes. Occasionally the tight spaces open up into larger areas, but most of the game is spent in the claustrophobic confines of its twisting, metal bowels.
You can shoot it, but it’ll just get angry and pounce at you. You can burn it, but that’ll only scare it away for a few seconds. Isolation’s magic lies in the fact that you have to outsmart its single alien rather than kill it. This turns what could have easily been yet another FPS with xenomorphs into a thrilling, drawn-out game of cat-and-mouse with the scariest cat imaginable. It’s a deft blend of stealth and survival horror that, thanks to dynamic AI and clever, systemic design, is much more than the sum of its parts.
You’ll know when the alien is near. As you creep through the station, you hear it above and below you, behind the walls, under the floor. You’re relatively safe when it’s hidden away like this, but you never know what vent, crack, or hole in the ceiling it’ll suddenly emerge from. It arrives with a beastly hiss—a sound that becomes your cue to hide or run. Then you hear the pounding of its footsteps as it wanders the corridors, hunting for its prey. It’s a massive, heavy thing that towers over Ripley, and if it sees her it lunges with a shriek, killing her instantly in a grisly, cinematic death sequence.
The alien is an almost constant threat, but there are other dangers on Sevastopol. Malfunctioning androids called Working Joes wander the station, brutally killing any humans they come across. Their rubbery, emotionless faces and glowing eyes are genuinely unnerving, and sneaking through groups of them is as nerve-racking as facing the alien. Get too close and they’ll grab you, draining your health until you manage to break free. You can kill them, but they take a lot of resources to bring down, making stealth the best option. They’re a lot slower than the alien, but every bit as deadly.