It’s games like Alienation that makes me wonder why the developer, Housemarque, isn’t a name that is in the memory banks of gamers. With games like Superstar Dust HD, Dead Nation, and Resogun already on their list of hits, it is surprising that Sony hasn’t made them an offer to make them exclusive to PlayStation, at least that we know of. Then again, with their pedigree of games, they don’t really need to. Alienation keeps their track record going and I enjoyed the hell out of this shooter.
Alienation most resembles Dead Nation is the sense of the third person isometric view and the twin stick shooting aspect. One of the great things about Dead Nation was its attention to detail when it came to city roaming, but Alienation, while still graphically well rendered, doesn’t have as much detail per se. It doesn’t necessarily have to with its plot and setting as the human race has not been faring well with the constant alien threat, and you will be venturing into a lot of deserted areas. Having said that, Alienation has no graphical or frame rate issues that could be seen and some of the smoke effects are some of the best out there, and when a horde of aliens come in there is no lag regardless of how many are on the screen at once.
There are customizable classes that will keep you experimenting with the game, a solo campaign, as well as the drop in/drop out online multiplayer, the ability to earn XP that can be used to upgrade active and passive abilities, weapon looting at its finest and finding upgrades for them. Not only are those aspects great, there is an invasion mode where you can hunt other players down or even aid them during the invasion.
The experience points you earn is from killing aliens and completing stages, but the amount of experience in each stage depends on your difficulty level; Rookie, Professional, and Veteran. I will be the first to admit that I do not head straight into the higher difficulty, but as I went deeper into the campaign it occurred to me that I could level grind like crazy in stages I had already cleared, but in the Veteran campaign instead. That’s the beauty with this game, it will make even the more casual gamer want to try to beat themselves by taking on a harder challenge one way or another.
Not only that, but when you beat the campaign there will still be randomly generated bosses and campaign levels and a new game plus mode that unlocks new things. The replay factor is off the charts and to be frank there is nothing better than explosions happening at the right moment, and too see aliens flying towards your screen.
The story, while not stellar, is fine for this type of game. Normally I would take issue with that due to love for story, but even though the story in okay at best, you probably won’t even notice it for the most part because of all the chaos going on. It’s one of those tricky situations for gamers who look for story; you want one but you can’t complain about there being a lack of one if you aren’t listening anyways. The soundtrack is good as well as I found it somewhat reminiscent of Halo. In per usual Housemarque fashion, there are leaderboards, but even more so, it’s broken down by country again and you may find yourself looking at your country’s kill numbers grow every second.
The real elephant in the room is that there is no local co-op even though it was originally stated that there would be at first. This isn’t news since Dead Nation was the same way and eventually got local co-op, but the developers realize this and stated that they would be updating the game. Hopefully, we will see this come to fruition soon.
Alienation is a colorful cavalcade of chaos on screen as you, and hopefully, three others take of hordes of aliens. You could get through the story mode by yourself, but the charm of the game is when others join the fight to lessen the burden. Gamers will come for the shooting, but will stay for the carnage and the XP you can get along the way, and have the mildest player trying their luck in a previous stage with a harder difficulty, not only to test their ability, but to get upgrades as well. Alienation is a must have twin stick shooter for the PS4, and I am willing to bet you will agree. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to play some more, and continue to tell myself that this will the last stage today…but it probably won’t be.
*A copy of Alienation was provided by the developer