Alien Rage Review: Frantic, Fast, Frustrating
Alien Rage is a game that feels markedly different from the countless other shooters that have been released in recent memory. Sure, the locations might look vaguely familiar, and the large, hulking main character could fit in to a few dozen other space shooters, but despite similarities, Alien Rage still feels – well, more alien in the truest sense of the word. Alien Rage feels alien in the sense that despite modern day visuals, it is still a game that seems to fit in better with the past generation of fast, twitch-based shooters. Not often does a shooter have a score screen on its HUD in this day an age, but Alien Rage happily rewards players who find creative ways to fell their seemingly countless enemies. Scoring system and hyper-fast gameplay aside, there are a handful of other mechanics that make Alien Rage feel a bit more old school than anything else, and while this is not entirely a bad thing, Alien Rage falls short in some areas where it really counts.
Alien Rage’s story gladly takes a back seat to the action. As players step into the massively armored main character, they are tasked with investigating a planetary mining station where things have seemingly taken a turn for the worse. Virtually all of the game’s plot is told through in game dialogue between the main character and his support team, while additional lore-related information is scattered throughout the level in the form of audio logs. Searching out the logs does little to flesh out the game world, however, as the only real reason to seek them out is for the additional point bonus. Even if players want to get the full story, it can be difficult, the audio logs play immediately after being picked up and the sound tends to dim when in combat – something that takes up the majority of your time in Alien Rage.
The aliens in Alien Rage certainly will make players rage. The game’s difficulty curve makes absolutely no concessions and has no qualms about putting players through the ringer. While this may be a bit ‘archaic’ in terms of game design, it is nice to see a developer eschew what can only be referred to as casualization. However, even those who have played every major modern shooter release may find themselves still struggling. Alien Rage expects players to play fast – something that has been largely missing from recent shooter releases and takes a little bit of adjusting to.
Complete with a Quake-like announcer and reward system for pulling off explosion kills and headshots, combat in Alien Rage is fast-paced and intense. In each level, waves upon waves of aliens assault in seemingly endless numbers, forcing players to move quickly and learn to shoot efficiently. Enemies see a nice variety in the game’s second half, but players should expect to see familiar alien faces constantly through the game’s early levels. While this isn’t the end of the world, the repetition of enemies, weapons, and similar areas makes things feel stale early on.
Thankfully, even with some degree of repetition, Alien Rage does keep things old school when it comes to blasting aliens. With ten weapons – each with an alternative firing method – players will have no shortage of firepower when it comes to squashing enemy threats. Coupled with the numerous explosive barrels in each stage, the various weapons of Alien Rage make it easy to rack up points. As players adjust to the flighty shooting mechanics, which may require a few deaths first, headshots and explosive kills come easier – whipping players into an alien destroying frenzy. It might not be the deepest of game designs, but Alien Rage manages to hit the nail on the alien slaughtering head in terms of fast-paced shooting.
As players battle across Alien Rage’s fourteen stages, they will encounter a handful of different bosses. These bosses can be frustrating and require a few attempts to down, but are a great way to keep the gameplay from feeling too stale and repetitive. Even though it is as simple as taking a break from killing countless waves of aliens to having players kill one giant alien, the break is a welcome one.
Alien Rage looks exactly how a game built on the Unreal Engine should. Visuals are crisp and the game shows off some impressive physics – just don’t expect the game to run perfectly at a 1080p resolution. Upping the resolution from Alien Rage’s native 720p rendered it virtually unplayable. Even on a computer that should have had no problem playing Alien Rage on its highest settings, attempting to do so at a larger resolution made attempting to complete even one level a labor of love. That being said, Alien Rage is still not out to the public yet, so this resolution related bug should be worked out by the time the game hits shelves.
Don’t go into Alien Rage expecting an earth shattering video game experience. Those who are willing to welcome in the old school once more and play a game that manages to not take itself too seriously will find a few hours of entertainment in Alien Rage. Thanks mostly to its focus on scoring and ‘skill based’ kills, Alien Rage has the ability to make players feel like they constantly have to improve. This does wonders in terms of adding replayability, makes what otherwise might not be the most groundbreaking shooter in the world, stand out in terms of recent releases.
For those looking for a fast, action based game that won’t break the bank, Alien Rage is just the ticket. Few things about this game are perfect, but what Alien Rage does well – it does well. Light on story and heavy on the explosions, Alien Rage caters to those who could care less about cutscenes and just want to pop some more aliens in the head.
The reviewer recieved a PC copy of Alien Rage for the purpose of reviewing.
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