Aliens have been a franchise that had me scared as a child, as an adult, I guess you could say a fan. What made the movies great was the jump scares coupled with the emotional atmosphere. These elements can make or break just about any project. Aliens: Fireteam Elite is the latest to try and tackle this franchise.
When I play a new game, I often take a moment to step back, this allows me to think about what I expect out of the game. These are the times that if I set my expectation too high, well I tend to be more let down than having no batteries for my controller at a gaming party. With Aliens FTE, I set my expectation a bit low just because I would rather be surprised than let down. The premise of the game is a very typical scenario that is most games. You play as part of a team that is sent into desperate conditions to contain the evolving xenomorph threats. If this sounds like EVERY movie/game plot, you are correct!
Let’s put the obvious overly used plot asides for a moment and dive into the game. Players start the game by customizing a marine. This Marine is part of an elite team trained and hardened to combat the ever-evolving xenomorphs. The early part of the game features some lackluster weapons that give the technology you would think, where is the advanced artillery. As with most shooters similar to these mechanics you get the option to play as different classifications. These give access to different abilities and weapon sets. Though each has its pros and cons, players will be able to find a suitable class to use. The fireteam co-op features of the game allow players the ability to play with their friends in a 4 player team. This means each player has a role to play to keep this elite team alive.
To progress in the game you need to earn money and experience. However, this is where the game lost some of its initial wow factors. I am not a fan of having to grind early on in the game to earn decent weapons and gear. Not to say I do not want to earn them, I’d rather not have to play the first few levels in a repetitive cycle. To be fair, if you play on a higher difficulty and are experienced, players will be able to earn more quickly and proceed at a fast pace. When it comes to a story mode like this, I would rather be immersed in the story than get bored because I want that one weapon that will take me 300+ runs to get.
Customizations in Aliens: Fireteam Elite does offer a decent selection of weapon skins and outfits to encourage players to be unique and stand out from the rest. This is ideal as with most special forces teams depicted in games and movies often tend to divert from the traditional gear and opt to customize their gear themselves. Some skins and unlockables are only available with additional microtransactions.
Graphically speaking the game played flawlessly with little to no issues. A few glitches and artifacts did make themselves apparent during gameplay but were easily dismissed and did not disrupt the overall experience of the game. The jump scares do add a fantastic element to the game, well, at first it did seem like that. After a while, this lost its appeal and became a mechanic that while still fitting the theme, does take away from the fear factor over time due to the repetition. It felt as though the fireteam feature of the game steals a bit of the spotlight. I’ll be first to admit the thrill of facing a horde of xenomorphs while trying to stay alive is great, for the most part, it is what even the movies are about.
I was lucky enough to have a few friends that shared my love for the franchise. The play style took a bit to get the hang of while we each tried our hands at the different options for class and weapons. At first, you could say our success was that of a bunch of rocks firing loaded potato weapons. Once the team found each player’s grove and preferred class, weapons, and mods we blazed through each challenge with only a slight learning curve depending on the challenge and how well we coordinated our efforts.
As you rank up and increase your mods, chances of survival increase greatly until you reach a wall. At this point is where the repetition comes back into play. You now have to go back to previous stages to get more experience and loot to advance enough to continue at times. It is entirely possible to avoid this depending on the team’s skill level.
I would have liked to see a bit more dynamic elements with the levels to sell it but for what this game is intended for, I believe this is a must-try for any Alien fans.
This review was completed with a key provided by PR.