Alien is perhaps the film I have written most about on my blog and I talk about it constantly. I adore the movie so much that I can’t quite express my love for it in words and this is why I am so ashamed of myself for not getting around to playing Alien: Isolation.
In preparing for my 24-hour charity stream, I realised that this would be the perfect opportunity to finally give it a shot, and at least give the people watching a good laugh at my expense.
As much as I adore horror movies, I cannot play horror games, there is something very different (and terrifying) about being in control of the camera and the movements than simply watching events unfold on screen. You are in control of seeing the scary things…it is honestly terrifying for me. So going into Alien: Isolation, I was naturally very nervous, but the draw of this game has been so strong for years now, mainly due to wanting to experience the narrative that follows Amanda Ripley in her search for her missing mother, Ellen.
The game starts with Amanda aboard the Torrens, which bears a distinct resemblance to the Nostromo, with some minor design changes, but this initial sense of familiarity is oddly comforting, something that is quickly sniffed out when Amanda ends up stranded on a space station that appears at first glance to be abandoned.
How the game creates tension is incredible, awful when playing it, but incredible. I was paralysed with fear because the station was dark, creaky and empty. What’s more, is that the game pops up some instructions on how to avoid getting caught and killed by the xenomorph. This set up makes the anticipation so high, I was expecting to get set upon by the xenomorph almost immediately, but for the hour and a half I played, nothing happened…To be fair I was possibly doing the slowest play through known to man, but I was just doing what the game told me to do. But at the same time, I was terrified.
This game makes you do things that you really don’t want to do, like simply looking behind me was the opposite of what I wanted to do, just moving into another area, having to open hatches, everything that I had to do took me way longer than it should have done, all because of the threat of the unseen alien.
At this point I hadn’t even seen or heard it yet, I thought I saw it a few times, but there were so many well-placed wires, and from my knowledge of the film, I was terrified of them because I know how well the xenomorph camouflaged itself into the Nostromo in Alien, this knowledge is definitely both a blessing and a curse! In my entire time playing Isolation, I didn’t see the xenomorph once and I don’t know if I was grateful or not there was part of me that was willing it to get me purely because it would break the tension, but maybe next time…
Funnily enough, as my boyfriend continued to play it after my 24hours were up, I realised that maybe the Xenomorph didn’t actually attack in the first portion, he sprinted, let off flares, did anything to attract it and nothing happened. Which only made my tentativeness even more hilarious.
I am so glad I have finally played this game, even though it was for a very short time, but in that time I had one of the scariest and most intense gaming experiences of my life and I can’t wait to continue playing it!