Thursday, October 13, 2022

Aliens: Fireteam Elite (Playstation 5, 2021)


Bug Hunt concludes with the biggest bug hunt of all. This game turned out a lot better than I expected. It isn't great, but it's a fun play, and what Colonial Marines probably should have been.

Start by creating a character. It gives you a lot of options, and you can pretty much create any character look you long as they look like a rugged character from Aliens.

The game takes place on LV-895. So not LV-426 of Aliens, or LV-2-something of Prometheus. There are too many of these LV planets/moons floating around.

The game is a third-person shooter where you choose missions and fight swarms of aliens to reach the given objective for that mission. You can bring up to two different weapon types, various consumables, and two other players. Matter of fact, you have to bring a team, there's no solo-character running here. If two other players don't join you from the matchmaking queue, the game gives you bots.

The hangar is full of other Colonial Marines, and everyone is super-rude. On the bright side, they flesh out this universe a bit by explaining that they don't work for Weyland-Yutani and most of them don't even like Weyland-Yutani.

There are four chapters to the game, each with 3 missions. Yeah, 12 missions is kind of short for a squad-based shooter like this, and the game can be handily beaten in about 9 hours. Or a lot less if a group of good players sticks together for the entire campaign.

There are also multiple "classes" that can be switched between and leveled up to gain new abilities. They have different weapon sets they can use, different special attacks, etc. I stuck with Demolisher for 90% of the game since they can use big two handers. The Smart Gun and Flamethrower in particular turned out to be totally OP, and there's also a Damn Minigun you can get with currency.

Unfortunately I never got the Minigun because I spent all my currency on a laser pistol that turned out to be terrible. A full campaign in this game, all 12 missions, gives you enough currency to buy one weapon from the shop. Seriously. One weapon.

Before every level you get a minute and a half to think about your choices in life as the game tries to match you with other players in the queue. Sometimes it's quick, sometimes there's nobody on.

The first chapter is a refinery that looks a lot like Hadley's Hope, which is cool. It's the least-interesting of the four chapters setting-wise, too. So the game's worst is still pretty good.


This plays a little like Gears of War. It handles well and it's a blast. My only nitpick here is that the xenomorphs are too damn easy to destroy, for the most part. They never struck me as a "horde mode" kind of creature, unless we're talking small chestburster stage type foes.

There are some larger xenomorphs that pose a bigger threat and take some damage to bring down. Still, none of these things put any real fear into the player's heart. I liked what Alien: Isolation did in that regard.

This game is at its best when you (and your accomplices) are staring down some dark corridor, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

On the right is one of the game's assigned bot-drones. They're better than bad players, but significantly worse than good players.

I unleash Smart Gun power. This thing is awesome because not only does it have a super-high rate of fire, it also tracks enemies and aim-assists.


Note that the doctor we're rescuing has a name in Chinese, and the game makes a lot of references to how Earth in this era is basically run by Europe and China (therefore everything is in English or Chinese). I don't know about Europe right about now but the rest sounds likely.

I had a really good group going into the second chapter, only to have the team scatter when the game bugs out and refuses to open a door. It did this on a later level as well. There are some glitches in this game and it's really unfortunate.

Chapter 2 is basically an underground cavern.

Weyland-Yutani synths start to be a problem in chapter 2. They're actually a lot tougher than the aliens, and they shoot back. This echoes Colonial Marines, which had you fighting a lot of synths past a certain point. It got the game some flack because it quickly turned into a standard shooter versus other humanoids and stopped feeling much like an Aliens game. This game uses the synths a lot more sparingly.

Weyland-Yutani is too big to sanction or punish in any way for all their misdeeds, and has their claws in almost everything. This is, unfortunately, where the real world is probably headed, unchecked corporate power being involved way too much in people's lives.

Now back to the game!

The third and fourth chapters completely stopped matching me with other players due to another bug, so people who get this far are generally stuck with CPU bots. On the bright side, the third chapter... completely Prometheus inspired, which I wasn't expecting at all. It's the closest thing we'll ever get to a Prometheus video game.

It even takes you to the depths of an Engineer ruin and later one of their ships.

The attention to detail here is great and all 20 of the Prometheus superfans should check this game out.

Unlike that movie, this contains full-on xenomorphs hatching in the Engineer ship, as well as other mutants created by the infamous Black Goo. Yeah, apparently this is another Engineer ship where things went wrong and their various pathogens and bio-weapons got loose.

Most of the gameplay loop here is: Run through some halls, get to a large room, fend off waves of horde-mode enemies, run through some halls with small random encounter waves, reach the next big room, fend off waves of horde-mode enemies. For what it is, it works fine, but don't expect much depth.

Engineer ship, looking exactly like it did in both Aliens and Prometheus. The next few images are going to be Sci-Fi Pr0n for fans of those movies:

The Pathogen Storage room on the ship.

 A bunch of Engineer space-suits, complete with the elephantine trunks.

The legendary Space Jockey room is completely re-created here, though there's no pilot in the pilot's seat.

Reach chapter 4, and it's back to the refinery from the first chapter except now it's a full-on alien hive.

This means the walls and ceilings are covered in that weird "xenomorph camouflage" stuff.

Not gonna lie, they did a tremendous job with the fourth chapter, just like the third. It's unfortunate that a good portion of the playerbase won't get past the relatively-plain first two chapters to see the smorgasbord of fanservice that is the last two.

Facehugger attack QTEs. These things don't really latch onto you, but you lose a lot of health getting them off of you if you aren't quick to mash the button.

Praetorians are the biggest and scariest regular xenomorph form. These make the Drone from the first movie look puny. Drones are actually a substantial threat in this game because they use stealth to attack and tend to run and hide. Meanwhile Warriors and Crushers are more likely to just charge you head-on and brute force a win. Praetorians are the same way, plus damage sponges.

This is it, 4-3. The final mission, and the hardest. This and missions 3-2 and 3-3 were the trio that gave me the most trouble.

At this point in time I switched from the Smart Gun to the Flamethrower, and man, what a fun change it was. Nothing clears a room like this thing.

The "final battle" as it were is a tower defense on this platform where you have to last several minutes under a sustained, relentless assault from everything up to and including Praetorians.

Survive all of that and there's an escape sequence where an Alien Queen chases you the entire way. It's awesome. You don't need to face the Queen or defeat her, and I doubt it's even possible.

I like this shot at the end where the Queen bursts out of a wall in front of you right before the end of the escape. Looks like my two NPC allies didn't make it. I almost didn't make it either and just barely got a heal off midway through the run.

That's it for the game, just a lot of unanswered questions for these marines and nothing else really happening. No end credits, though you're free to grind all the earlier missions ad infinitum.

The game is quite good and deserves some praise. Could it be longer? Yep. Four chapters isn't many. However, they focused on doing something short and detailed and they nailed most of it. And the multiplayer component of this game is tremendous. Hopefully they iron out the glitches. To be fair, I played this a while back, so it might be more reliable now.

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