Before I dive into this fun editorial on Alien: Isolation I just want to reiterate that I absolutely love the game and gave it one of the highest review scores the site has doled out in 2014. The narrative is intriguing, the characters aren’t generic, and the atmosphere is easily one of the most terrifying experiences in all of gaming. With that being said there are more than a few moments where you’ll question how a particular event in the game was possible. Many of these plot holes were obviously created because this game is pure fiction and based on a futuristic world full of space stations, ships, and deadly aliens, so its narrative couldn’t exist in our reality, but a few go against fundamental laws of nature, so they stand out as almost being too Hollywood if you will. Mind you, none of these holes in the game’s plot ruin it whatsoever, they just remind you that you are indeed playing a video game that is based on a fictional world, which in and of itself is slightly disappointing considering how important immersion is in a game like Alien: Isolation.
Below you will find the five most glaring plot holes in the Alien: Isolation narrative. They aren’t ranked in any particular order. Enjoy and debate away in the comments section! Please be aware that there will be SPOILERS below. Do not proceed if you haven’t played the game yet, or if you don’t want to spoil it for yourself.
Ripley magically flies back to the Sevastopol after being trapped and jettisoned by the Marshal
Maybe I’ve watched Gravity too many times, but I found it hard to believe that Ripley was able to forcefully float herself back to the Sevastopol after being used for bait to lure the Xeno into a section of the station that could be jettisoned into space. I never saw boosters on her spacesuit, and considering that the pod she was in was ejected from the Sevastopol it would have been speedily floating through space while drifting from the Sevastopol with great speed. Somehow Ripley is able to fly back to the space station using only momentum and no boosters to control her speed and direction, which seemed a bit odd and Hollywood. This is a very minor, if not anal gripe, but the scene could have used a bit more explaining and detail to convince me that Ripley can navigate the ether of space with no propulsion system.
The appearance of an alien hive on the Sevastopol
If you go off of the Alien film franchise the only way to create Face Hugger eggs is to have a Xeno queen lay them, but there is no queen in Alien: Isolation. Somehow a lone Xeno adult that was brought onto the ship from the crew that found the Nostromo flight recorder was able to create an alien nest and spawn multiple eggs, which in turn were used on captured survivors to make more adult Xenomorphs. There are fan theories based on a scene from Alien that an adult Xeno may be able to use human bodies to build eggs, and there is another going around saying that ants can actually morph into queens if need be, so maybe Xenos share that same ability, but both are a stretch in my opinion.
The eggs magically appear with zero explanation outside of the fact that they were needed to drive the narrative towards a conclusion while amping up the fear level. A terminal message, or maybe a stolen WY report would’ve been a neat way to explain away the appearance of the eggs, but as the player we were left in the dark to think up our own theories and speculations.
Xenomorphs in space
For me personally this was the most glaring plot hole in Alien: Isolation. Towards the end you must complete objectives outside of the space station that require you to free the Torrens from its mooring dock. While doing so a trio of Xenomorphs join you outside of the space station to jack up your fear levels, but how in the hell can these things survive in space without a suit? I guess the physiology of a Xenomorph hasn’t ever been detailed in regards to their needs for oxygen and protection from radiation while in the vacuum of space, but if you go off of pure science there’s no way any living thing could survive more than a minute in space without some sort of protective suit and breathing apparatus.
Again, I’m having fun with this post and not trying to be a complete nerd about the science here, but considering that in Alien and Aliens, the preferred method of killing the Xeno and the Queen was to flush them out of airlocks so they die in space, it felt odd that they can now harmoniously exist without air of any kind to breath, while facing temperatures that can boil and freeze body fluids and organs at the same time. This post has a few more details on what happens to organic matter in space, so check it out to see how ridiculous it was to have Xenos chilling outside of the Sevastopol as if the laws of science didn’t exist.
The Xeno suddenly doesn’t want to kill Ripley anymore
Alien: Isolation’s ending tends to drag a bit, and one particular scene completely goes against everything that happened prior to it. The crux of Alien: Isolation’s gameplay is centered around stealth, because if you get caught by the alien he insta-kills you. That is until the very end of the game when you finally think you’re going to escape, but a Xeno drops out of a ceiling vent and drags you off to turn you into a host for the face huggers. It just felt odd that for the sake of the narrative and to draw out the tense ending, Creative Assembly completely changed the dynamic of the Xeno/Ripley relationship that went against every other interaction between the two up to that point.
Xeno shows up on the Torrens
At the very end of the game, the actual end mind you, Ripley finally makes it back to the Torrens where she, and probably you, thought she was safe. It’s then revealed that a Xeno somehow made it onto the Torrens. This was obviously done for one more scare, but there’s really no way to explain how a Xeno ended up on that ship. Hell, Ripley shouldn’t have even made it onto the ship after being forcibly ejected from the Sevastopol, based on the same issues raised in the first plot hole mentioned, but it’s a real stretch to say that a Xeno was able to open a closed hatch on the Torrens exterior.
Unless I missed some radio chatter at no time does the Torrens have any doors open that a Xeno could casually walk into, so the Xeno had to have not only survived the deadly space environment, and the Sevastopol explosion, but it would have had to float towards the Torrens just like Ripley magically did and then figure out how to open the hatch. They may be the galaxy’s perfect organism, but that feat would take an alien with 1980’s Arnold action star skills that also has the brains of Einstein.
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Images via [IGN]