Aliens: Fireteam Elite, a game that, for better or worse takes the initial slog of a zombie survival game and tries to incorporate the four-decade-old history of the Aliens franchise into a one almost exact replica of World War Z but for xenomorphs and the like. Now clearly there’s nothing wrong with having the same mechanics of a game being put together even in a Frankenstein-like fashion kind of way but the problem here is that it becomes harder to draw the line that separates both games so trying to distinguish one game from the other becomes a little bit of a challenge so comparisons will be mentioned a lot throughout this review. So let’s get started!
Now I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about the franchise since I basically never really got to finish a single film from the series in the first place. So sorry to all the Alien fans out there. What I do know is, I still couldn’t understand what I was getting into or what kind of suicide mission my character signed up for all throughout the four to five-hour long crawl they call a campaign. Since as it turns out, the entirety of the story revolves around your few conversations at the HQ while the other half is lost in the process while trying to shoot up the creepy crawlies that tries to come at you and they probably weren’t coming in for a cup of tea or some bloody good conversation about taxes either. Or maybe they do come for the latter and it was just a language barrier sort of thing… who knows. But at this point, we’ve established that it’s pointless to figure out what the game is about other than shooting everything that tries to kill you and so I did the impossible and shut my brain off for the entirety of its campaign. After all, the game is really about the gameplay more than it is about its story right?
And when it comes to its gameplay, there’s a lot to say about this World War Z clone. It’s the fact that it’s World War Z but with aliens instead of zombies and I think that pretty much sums it all up. It’s a game that follows through a set of fireteam soldiers with each of their own unique classes that also comes with their own unique set of gear and abilities. You have the typical gunner class with its multiple variants of rifles and a secondary close quarter-based gun that could either be a flamethrower or a shotgun among other things but who am I kidding, if you put a flamethrower in the mix, you never choose anything else here… unless of course, you prefer the demolisher which also has rifles but what makes the demolisher, “A” demolisher is the fact that you get access to heavy weapons that may or may not include rocket or grenade launchers for clearing out huge swarms of aliens. Other than that, there’s a Doc that drops healing stations, the Technician that summons a turret and drops static mines while another is an unlockable class once you finish the “story”.
But before you actually drop in on a mission you have the option to choose to play with real actual people or with bots that may or may not be better than the typical five-year-old that just started playing Roblox but got dragged to play with you instead. Not a real-world example by the way. But once you have your group of five-year-olds though, the entire slog of the campaign revolves around trying to get from objective to the objective while trying not to die as much as possible. There’s a lot of those mundane tasks that involves breaking down door locks to opening valves and shit other than your typical defend your position until something-something is complete downloading and what not. It’s the same brand of World War Z logic where you get from one objective to the next and with some areas that need defending against a horde of enemies that would rush at you for no bloody reason. The only shame here is that World War Z actually looks good with all those zombies coming at you like a huge tidal wave so getting swarmed becomes a constant threat while Aliens doesn’t exactly come at you with numbers all that much nor does it look good with its dreary environment that lacks a bit of colour to keep you amazed and distracted.
Now I won’t say that the game itself lacks substance even though I kind of feel like it does but there are things that still makes the game fun in its own right. And its character-building albeit a little bit too grindy to be honest. With each class, you actually get access to a set of modifiers to mix and match which makes each of the classes unique even amongst themselves. These range from your average stability or ammo capacity upgrades for specific weapon types to having shorter cooldowns or larger areas of effect to certain abilities other than letting you modify how abilities act entirely. This sort of freedom makes it so that replaying missions with other people just started out feeling like you’re not doing it for anything but instead to gain class ranks and increase your character’s capabilities in combat.
In a nutshell, Aliens Fireteam Elite despite its rich history with the Alien franchise never really got into anything deep enough to keep you invested for hours on end. It’s basically the kind of game that you’d probably just try because you liked World War Z enough but end up going back to it because it ended up way more fun in a sense. My entire problem with the game itself is the fact that it’s basically a clone that never gave much to look forward to that I haven’t already seen or done in World War Z already aside from the fact that visually speaking, it feels dry, monotonous and lacks the visual flair I hoped to assume in a game that came out in 2021. And it also didn’t make a lot of sense to make the game a three-player game, when a lot of games would straight out of the box, would support four… so have fun trying to convince one of your three friends to sit this one out.
Developers: Cold Iron Studios, LLC, Cold Iron Studios
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
Publishers: Cold Iron Studios, LLC, Cold Iron Studios, Focus Home Interactive
Reviewed on PS4
Can be purchased here
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