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XCOM on Aliens: what the Aliens Dark Descent game turned out to be

Date: February 24, 2024 Time: 23:16:42

Over the past 30 years, many video games have been released in the Alien universe. They were primarily based on first-person shooters, occasionally experimenting with genres. Of the large unusual projects in the universe, only the horror Alien Isolation, released in 2014, is remembered.

Premiere tomorrow June 20 Aliens: Dark Descent – tactical strategy for the universe of “Alien”. French studio Tindalos Interactive (Battlefleet Gothic: Armada) was responsible for the development: the authors vowed to maintain an ominous atmosphere and a sense of danger at every turn in a new genre for the series.

Another worthy representative of the genre has appeared in the arena of tactical games.

We spend 10 hours on the novelty and are in a hurry to share our first impressions; unfortunately the publisher sent the key late enough for us to complete the game.

The video is available on Focus Entertainment’s YouTube channel. The rights of the video belong to Focus Entertainment.

xcom backwards

Since the announcement, Aliens: Dark Descent seemed like a typical clone of the new XCOM. Judge for yourself – the player controls a squad of four marines of different classes, sending them on various raids. Between missions, you can improve your base: pumping fighters, producing new weapons and studying xenomorphs. Meanwhile, the world (or rather, the planet) is threatened with total destruction due to the invasion of aliens.

However, in reality, Dark Descent turned out to have many of its own features, thanks to which the game cannot be called “another parody” of XCOM. This is an independent work with many interesting game solutions.

The locations in Dark Descent are incredibly atmospheric

Photo: Focus Entertainment

The novelty of the plot immediately amazes with the number of videos. While Firaxis was limited to just a couple of small cutscenes, Tindalos has clearly approached his game Blizzard-esque with an emphasis on directing and staging. According to the plot, on the Pioneer space station, someone opens capsules with xenomorphs, after which the aliens get out and begin to destroy all life.

Deputy Administrator Maiko Hayes manages to escape with the infantry that arrived just in time. They evacuate to the spaceship Otago and land on the mining planet Leta, which has already been infiltrated by xenomorphs. The team decides to rebuild the ship, save the survivors, and stop the threat from taking over an entire celestial body.

Some scenes in the game are no worse than the original movies.

Photo: Focus Entertainment

After an epic introduction, the developers finally move on to the gameplay. And the differences with XCOM in Dark Descent are immediately visible. The novelty is more like a strategy in the spirit of StarCraft – the player controls the entire squad at once, and the action takes place in real time, without pauses and jumps. The fighters fight the xenomorphs on their own, but they can still be given some additional commands.

Among them, for example, a shot from a grenade launcher or a shotgun, installation of an automatic turret for shooting monsters, reloading, healing and much more. In Dark Descent, the fighters are not faceless units, but well-rounded individuals with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Every Marine has a level of stress that builds up from monster encounters – at some point, the heroes can literally lose their temper at an alien threat. They will start to fail, panic, and negatively affect other team members. In this case, the entire detachment should rest – find some kind of shelter, weld the doors behind them and spend an hour or two in complete calm.

Not all soldiers can bear a meeting with Aliens

Photo: Focus Entertainment

Here the mechanics of Dark Descent come into play – the developers tried to make not only a tactical strategy, but also an RPG adventure in the horror genre. When exploring locations, you need to pay attention to every sound and inspect every corner – someone else may be hiding in the ventilation, and somewhere behind the wall there may be a first-aid kit or other useful resource.

Also, the materials are scattered around the locations – they will be needed in the command center and are used for literally everything. They can upgrade your soldiers, produce new weapons or turrets, upgrade equipment, or create new auxiliary tools like stasis grenades. The speed of global development in Dark Descent depends entirely on how attentive the player is in raids.

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horror game

At first, it may seem that Aliens: Dark Descent is not scary at all; however, the player does not directly participate in the events and issues orders, as it were, from the outside. But in fact, the novelty can easily be called a real horror, and the perspective from above only slightly reduces the feeling of anxiety.

Dark corridors with strange grinding sounds, a tedious beeping motion sensor hinting at the presence of otherworldly creatures nearby, notes of panic in the voice of squad members – everything is like in the best horror movies.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that the quests in the game are simply huge. Landings in Dark Descent can take well over an hour, with missions changing every few minutes and the facilities to explore seem vast. In case of very large losses, you can evacuate to the BRT – this is a universal satellite of the fighters, which helps with the destruction of Aliens on the surface.

Without BRT, some missions would simply be impassable

Photo: Focus Entertainment

After returning to the base, you can heal the wounds, rearm and get back to the task. In this case, all mission objectives will be saved, so sometimes it is simply necessary to take advantage of this opportunity. Of the negative consequences: the number of xenomorphs on the planet is growing every day, so with long departures each new task becomes more and more difficult.

In addition, random events in the style of Paradox strategies take place between game days: the player can choose between two evils. For example, should an experienced fighter be sent out for additional healing, lost for a few more days, or taken on a mission with the risk of failing due to his unstable mental state?

Leveling up in the game is surprisingly deep

Photo: Focus Entertainment

Is Aliens: Dark Descent worth playing?

With all the initial skepticism, first impressions of Aliens: Dark Descent are strictly positive. This is a tough and really difficult tactical strategy that I want to recommend to all fans of the cult universe.

If the developers at Tindalos Interactive manage to keep the bar high until late game, we could have one of the best strategy candidates of the year.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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