Challenging combat or mindless frustration, Alien Rage is a game true to its namesake.
Starting with the most obvious of concerns, is Alien Rage just another generic shooter bordering the lines of mediocrity? Well I’ll say this, Alien Rage is fun.It’s not a well thought out game but it’s fun, and all it really needs a simple storyline to kick things into gear. The need for a well engrossing and time consuming story in which you get emotionally wrapped up in isn’t actually needed here.
All it needs is a mediocre plot, big guns, humans fighting aliens over some sci-fi generic natural resource, and you’ve got your excuse to shoot aliens. That’s all Alien Rage is and that’s all it needs to be a good game. Not many games can do that lately without presenting themselves as knock-off version of some blockbuster title that you’ve already played before.
"Aside from the lack of involvement within the game’s universe and the people that inhabited it, one thing that did grab my attention was something pretty simple, and was something that was executed quite well. It's there to remind you that this is just a game and games are essentially about challenge. That's the scoring system."
But Alien Rage does it well. It does place hints throughout the game to remind you that there’s an actual plot to the game, and this is done through the use of audio logs left behind by casualties. It’s a minimal addition that provides no real benefit as there’s never any emotional connection to the characters in the game, and that includes the one you play as…What was his name again? Generic grunt guy? …I think.
Aside from the lack of involvement within the game’s universe and the people that inhabited it, one thing that did grab my attention was something pretty simple, and was something that was executed quite well. It’s there to remind you that this is just a game and games are essentially about challenge. That’s the scoring system. Many gamers don’t care or even take note of points and scoring systems anymore unless you include online multiplayer head-shots. But the integration of a scoring system that presents itself at the end of each level looks almost amazing to see.
Considering that the majority of games recently throw this out the window in favour of an impactful and well thought out storyline, the scoring system is based on how much points you can rack when taking part in combat, and this is evident as numbers appear across the screen for each enemy you down. These scores are then uploaded to an online leader board at the end of the level.It uses this feature along with a few more in an attempt to look old school. The only problem with its obvious ploys in trying to be an old school shooter is the fact that there’s a regenerating health bar and a fading red border around the screen, rather than a floor highlighting a box of med kits.
"The character animations in Alien Rage are pretty believable in the sense that the character has weight to him, and this is seen throughout all of his movements.Weapons shrug from left to right, sprinting causes a jerky sense of speed, and equipping different weapons displays a noticeable change in weight and control."
Despite the many points the game receives for integrating heavy action with an old school scoring system, it falls short due its inability to establish its own visual personality. Alien Rage could have been something much greater but because it plays on the Gears of War-like aesthetics of a gorilla sized man covered in an armoured vest and large artillery, it comes off as ShadowGun clone had it been revamped for home consoles with a first-person perspective. It would have been nice for Alien Rage to hold its own visual presence to go along with its efforts in its gameplay features.
First person shooters tend to be a funny bunch when they’re trying to distinguish themselves from one another. Game modes tend to be the same with the differences lying in their titles and the graphical differences are always an obvious factor. But the real things that stand out tend to be those of the smallest things and it’s when you’re paying real attention during the gameplay that you start to notice these things. Alien Rage does this through its character animations and such effort has to be acknowledged since many shooters tend to forget about things such as weight and body balance.
The character animations in Alien Rage are pretty believable in the sense that the character has weight to him, and this is seen throughout all of his movements.Weapons shrug from left to right, sprinting causes a jerky sense of speed, and equipping different weapons displays a noticeable change in weight and control. Seeing how the character is geared up from head to toe in visually heavy attire, the sense of weight adds realism to the game to the point where the jump mechanic is essentially useless. Jumping is more like tip-toeing and should have been removed altogether. Since you’re never required to actually jump anywhere the alternative such as a kicking action may have been better suited.
"Alien Rage seeks to be a game of run in guns blazing. But because of the game's odd difficulty spike in which enemies can deal a significant amount of damage on the player while being able to move and take damage of their own, this cannot happen."
Aside from the obvious jaggies that are present, Alien Rage is a good looking game.The essence of sci-fi is clear throughout the entire game and this extends out of game directly into its menus and HUD elements. Colour grading, environmental assets, enemy boss designs, the universe that the game is going for here is clear. As to how well it exceeds on that is another story entirely. The game manages to get its portrayal across but the lack of exploration and corridor level design kills its message.
Another one of the most obvious things that’s clear about the game is that it’s built upon the Unreal Engine. You’ve seen one Unreal Game you’ve seen ’em all. So expect slow loading texture to creep in and pop-ins to arrive left, right, and center. However unlike earlier titles developed with the UnrealEngine, the improvements that the game displays with this engine is evident. The engine serves the game’s visuals well and there’s really nothing to be discouraged by or excited by. It’s purely neutral.
Alien Rage seeks to be a game of run in guns blazing. But because of the game’s odd difficulty spike in which enemies can deal a significant amount of damage on the player while being able to move and take damage of their own, this cannot happen. The amount of damage the character can receive in comparison to his enemies is highly unbalanced. Until you become familiar with the game and get used to running while shooting, death is going to become a reoccurring factor during your first section of the game.
"Explosive objects within the games dark yet luminous environments allow for a brigade of visual effects. Seeing how the game is littered with these explosive treats, the idea of waiting for an enemy to run towards you as patiently have your trigger finger, at the ready is as much a treat for the eyes as it is satisfying to initiate."
With the addition of exploding limbs and a greater sense of weight in contrast to movement, Alien Rage carries that same brutal mentality from that of the Killzone series. Had City Interactive expanded upon the game’s melee mechanics the combat itself would be more appealing. But because of the brutality and beastly immersion factor you get from wielding the guns, you still feel satisfied knocking back an enemy grunt with the tip of your rifle.
Explosive objects within the games dark yet luminous environments allow for a brigade of visual effects. Seeing how the game is littered with these explosive treats, the idea of waiting for an enemy to run towards you as patiently have your trigger finger, at the ready is as much a treat for the eyes as it is satisfying to initiate. This isn’t to say that game’s A.I. is bad, more like a common mistake made by confidence of overpowered enemies.
Items that appear to be of interest are actually non-interactive and simply serve as props. Objects such as 3-D computer HUDs, glowing platforms and holographic terminals all give the idea that they can receive damage or stop functioning if fired upon, but it’s simply not the case. Other objects in the game such as barriers and fences to be used as cover are destructible, but only to a degree.
"The best thing that Alien Rage manages to pull off although this may seem like a complete flaw to some, is its emphasis on placing a challenge on the player. Enemies swarm you aggressively and you're forced to remain quick on your toes."
The transition of going from one stage to the next is either impressively synchronous or very poorly designed. You never know when you’re finishing a section of the game or when you’ve reached some form of a midway point. Everything appears ongoing and because of the game’s resilient nature to not introduce anything other than a semi-open corridor level with similar traits to the last. The sense of progression is largely unknown to the player.
This continues into its method of dealing with mission failure. Having to repeat a mission near enough to the beginning of the level puts a halt on the player’s enjoyment as you’re forced to repeat the exact same scenario. Since death is a common thing in Alien Rage this aspect of the game becomes repetitive and frustrating.
The best thing that Alien Rage manages to pull off although this may seem like a complete flaw to some, is its emphasis on placing a challenge on the player. Enemies swarm you aggressively and you’re forced to remain quick on your toes. Although the variety of enemy type is at a minimum you’ll find yourself not really bothered by this. As you’ll be entirely frustrated by the onslaught of enemies shredding you to bits as you hide behind cover.
"Multi-player feels like it’s been placed here as a requirement, or an expectation of something that should be in all modern games. Despite the horrible and common terminology that’s been corned for this case, it has to be said. The multi-player was “thrown in”."
It should be noted that there is a multi-player component to the game, but that’s it, noted. It’s not really worth the time or investment if not for the sake of curiosity as it contains the most basic of options and lack of variety. The multi-player community the game may possibly receive will in no-doubt be a small one. Anybody who finishes the single-player campaign not impressed by what they experienced won’t find it here. Multi-player feels like it’s been placed here as a requirement, or an expectation of something that should be in all modern games. Despite the horrible and common terminology that’s been corned for this case, it has to be said. The multi-player was “thrown in”.
Alien Rage is a game that some will deem as a worthy and challenging experience, while others will cast the game as mindless and difficult shooter with lackluster enjoyment. The combat design within the game is largely love or hate, and it’s easy to see why when looking at both sides of the table.
Enemies take a visual influence from other games in the shooter genre such as Killzone. But the underwhelming and non-caring plot of the game distinguishes it, coupled by its focus on non-stop action, the only thing you actually care about is shooting aliens and watching things explode.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Unique character animations and the joy of a scoring system may tickle some gamer’s fancy. Combines with big guns, continuous action, and a controversial sense of challenge meets difficulty Alien Rage is possibly enjoyable.
Mediocre takes on the first-person shooter genre and an unfair difficulty spike will have many gamers sampling then recycling. If word gets around as to how well the game compares to other shooters then Alien Rage will be a hit or miss when it comes time to make a purchase decision.
Alien Rage is love or hate. You’ll either feel the rage of enjoyment when engaging in a challenging fire-fight, or you’ll feel the rage of frustration for the amount of times you died during the fire-fight.