Tuesday, December 14

Aliens Fireteam Elite Review

I played on: Xbox Series S
I paid: £35
Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PS4, PS5, PC
Notes: N/A

Ever since Aliens Colonial Marines promised a game true to the feel and tone of the legendary Aliens film and delivered a disappointing wet fart, I’ve been wary of video game hype. Well, the last console Alien game was 7 years ago now so needless to say I was very cautiously optimistic about Fireteam Elite. Against my better judgement, I did get hyped for this game and I’m happy to say it did pay off. This is a very good Aliens game!

The basic gameplay takes a lot of inspiration from Left 4 Dead. You play as a member of a three-person team and have to make it from the start of each level to the end without dying. In your way will stand hordes of enemies. While the majority of these will be the Acid blooded Xenomorphs you will also be taking on Wayland-Yatani combat synthetics and Seegson’s Working Joe androids. There is also the mutations formed from the black goo pathogen seen in Prometheus and Alien Covenant. Unlike Left 4 Dead, Fireteam Elite is played from the third person. The combat is fantastic with each weapon feeling unique and enjoyable. You also have several classes to choose from with each one having different roles to fill. Each will utilize different weapon types but all will be capable of fighting never needing to fully rely on another player or the computer bots.

The class levelling system has you unlocking more spaces on a board that you can attach upgrades or mods to. It’s a mix between Fallout’s perks and Resident Evil 4’s inventory system. On top of levelling up each class, you also level up your character which gives increased health and damage. Then you also have each weapon which can level up to 3 times each. This creates a lot of potentials to customize each class to get your perfect build. On top of this, you have challenge cards that offer unique challenges such as no HUD, visual filters, not being able to reload your weapons and more. Managing to finish a level under these conditions will reward you with extra credits, experience points or both. You spend those credits on weapon upgrades or deployable gear during missions. You also earn Rep points during missions that you can use to purchase cosmetic gear for your character. There is a lot of stuff here and all of it is wonderful.

Before Fireteam Elite launched I was worried that it would be light on story and series lore seeing as its inspiration, Left 4 Dead, wasn’t heavy on that stuff. When I learned that it was going to lead on from a novel, Aliens Infiltrator that fear worsened. I thought that all the story would be pushed into the novel and kept out of the game. I’m glad to say that’s not the case at all. While the story is never the focus during the hectic and chaotic missions it is given proper time between them. During this time you’re free to explore the hanger of your ship, the UAS Endeavor. While doing this you can talk to members of the ship's crew and each will give their thoughts on events or interesting bits of intel you can find during each mission. I love this and while not as cinematic as other games such as Colonial Marines, Isolation or even the Aliens vs Predator games it does a decent job of telling a good story. It even offers some answers to questions from Prometheus and Alien Covenant.

The weakest area of Fireteam Elite is the graphics and the bugs, and not the type that bleed acid. The worst bug I’ve encountered is one where the textures don’t fully load in leading to everything looking like an unfinished PS1 game. This has improved since launch with me encountering it much less. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen it once this week so this particular bug may have been fixed. I’ve put around 100 hours into the game at this point and I’ve only had a single game-breaking bug so that’s good.

The other problem that I’ve heard people mentioning online is the mission length and the punishment for failure. So the missions range from about 20 minutes to about 45 minutes long. If your entire team is downed at once or you’re downed too many times, 3 on the default difficulty, then you fail the mission and have to start from the beginning. Now I can understand why this would be annoying to a lot of people but it’s never bothered me. Maybe this is because I’m used to playing a lot of retro games and this sort of thing is common in older games. I don’t personally see this as a downside to the game but it’s a common complaint I’ve heard online from fans so I wanted to mention it here.

In short, this game is everything a diehard fan of the series, such as me, could have hoped for! This is the game I wanted Colonial Marines to be.

Recommendation Rating: 9 out of 10

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