ALIENATION - REVIEW

TAKEAWAYS

- I’m always impressed when a game nails progression. The drip feed of new abilities and weapon types kept me coming back for more. Random mini boss encounters are only marked on the map once discovered through exploration, and coupled with varying objective types, this left me feeling embedded in the action and invested in my character’s development.

- The drop in / drop out co-op works exceptionally well. Infact, this is a rare example of a title where I’m much more inclined to hop in and squad up with random folks online. The game scales appropriately to your party size, offering increased enemy volume and ferocity to match player count.

- Menu interfaces are not something I typically deem noteworthy. But I must acknowledge the clean, intuitive design here. Weapon stats can be viewed and quickly compared, whilst upgrade slots can be navigated with ease and make sense from a visual standpoint. The world map too is appropriate for the lore of the game (global invasion!) and makes selecting missions a breeze.

- The Veteran difficulty setting offers a real challenge, particularly when tackled solo. For those of you looking to replicate the tougher parts of Dead Nation, combat here is frantic and requires expert management of your abilities. Between cooldowns, active reloads, and swapping between weapons types on the fly, Alienation is a tough beast to tame.

- It’s a shame that offline co-op wasn’t included at launch, but Housemarque have committed to adding the mode for free in the near future. It will be a welcome addition, and something that is sorely missed after the excellent same screen implementation in both Dead Nation and Resogun.

There are precious few games that provide an immediate sense of comfortable familiarity. It’s a dicey proposition at the best of times; too basic and you’ll lose your hardcore faithful, too intimidating and you’ll alienate (puntastic!) first time players. Alienation, the latest from twin stick maestros Housemarque, beautifully straddles the border between accessible forgiveness and controller hurling insanity. This is an expertly made title that shows a confident developer firing on all cylinders. In fact, we’re this late to the party with our review for that exact reason. This is a game that demands your attention, and once its got its hooks in you, prepare to deep dive into one of the best PS4 exclusives of the year.

Now, ordinarily, our reviews would be a fair bit longer. However, we got the chance to cover Alienation pre-release in a hands on preview (right here), so we’ve already documented our thoughts extensively on the visuals and overall design. As a result, this article will consist of random musings after having spent a good portion of the last two weeks with the finished product. It’s also worth noting that although nothing specific has been revealed concerning future mission DLC, Housemarque are planning to support the game going forward.

1

2

3

4

5

BEST WITH FRIENDS

CONCLUSION

Housemarque’s best game to date is just shy of a perfect score due to the lack of offline co-op at launch. Otherwise, there’s just so much to like; the confident sound design that gives weapons their weight, the atmospheric effects that immerse you in the play space. This is top down shooter design at its most refined and self-assured.

PICK UP
& PLAY

KITCHEN
SINK

There’s a wonderfully bonkers enemy type that rushes you on mass in AMC’s The Walking Dead style herds. Prepare to freak out.

JTGA

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LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW, TWEET US @JAYTEE_GA, OR E-MAIL: EDITOR@JTGA.CO.UK.

THE BASICS

- Top down 3D twin stick shooter from the makers of Dead Nation and Resogun.

- Four player drop in / drop out co-op.

- Procedurally generated levels offer loot and destructible elements.

PLATFORMS

Playstation 4

PLAYERS

Offline - 1, Online - 4

CO-OP / MULTIPLAYER

Drop in / drop out for entire campaign, plus PvP via game invasions.

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT

- Nothing has been announced at this time.

- Offline co-op is being added post launch for free.


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2

3

4

5

BEST WITH FRIENDS

PICK UP
& PLAY

LONE
WOLF

DEEP
DIVE

KITCHEN
SINK

TAKEAWAYS KEY

- Something marked with the JTGA
Green badge is an extremely positive
and / or unexpected response to a
particular game or moment.

- The JTGA Orange badge represents
a mixed response. It’s normally
something that works in principle,
but could have been executed better.

- When you see the JTGA Red badge,
you know this is something negative
that’s either disappointing, frustrating,
rage inducing, or all of the above.

TARP BADGE KEY

- 1 out of 5 is BAD. Really bad.
Maybe it’s the worst. Bottom
line: a game with this rating is
a waste of your time and money.

- 2 out of 5 is OK. The game
might have some half decent
ideas, but the execution misses
the mark and the game falls short.

- 3 out of 5 is GOOD. Something
with this rating is absolutely worth
playing, but it’s a flawed package
with a couple of mis-steps.

- 4 out of 5 is GREAT. You’ll have
a fun and varied experience, with
plenty of reasons to invest. Even
if it’s just shy of greatness.

- 5 out of 5 is FANTASTIC. To put
it simply, a game with this rating
comes highly recommended, and is
pretty much close to perfect.


- The BEST WITH FRIENDS badge is
earned if a game is significantly
more fun playing with people you
know, either in campaign or online.

- The PICK UP AND PLAY badge is
for when a game is better suited to
brief, impromptu sessions that
give a quick blast of escapism.


- The LONE WOLF badge tells you
that a particular game can only be
played, or is more enjoyable, when
you’re flying solo.

- The DEEP DIVE badge is a heads
up that what you’re about to play
is a huge undertaking, and best
enjoyed in extended periods.

- The KITCHEN SINK badge is an
indication of a game that is
bursting at the seams with
content (either on disc or DLC).


- The BAM! DONE! badge lets you
know that within minutes of
picking up the controller, you
can play this like a pro.

- The HOT POTATO badge makes
a really clear statement: this
game is making waves, and it’s
definitely worth a look.

- The LEARNING CURVE badge
is awarded if you’ll need to
allow a fair bit of time in
order to fully grasp the controls.


- The SCEPTICAL FACE badge is for
when a game doesn’t leave a strong
impression. Perhaps more time
is needed to decide?

- The LEFT FIELD badge is awarded
when a game surprises us by being
really good and we’d never heard
of it before.

LEFT
FIELD

SCEPTICAL
FACE

LEARNING
CURVE

BAM!
DONE!

HOT
POTATO

BAM!
DONE!

HOT
POTATO

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BY JAY TEE - 10/05/16

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