Aliens: Dark Descent – No one heard us scream at gamescom…

…and for good reason, we didn’t. We know how to behave! If this 100th license option seems promising and wants to be respectful to the end of the fangs of the original material, we’ll have to wait to see more to be completely convinced. Aside from the trailer already seen during Summer Game Fest, this is a fully recorded in-game presentation of the dozen minutes we’ve come across. I’ll be very clear, you leave the feathers there!

A real-time strategy game with an isometric view that can be played both solo and in multiplayer mode, Aliens: Dark Descent takes a foothold in the saga timeline twenty years after Alien 3. That is, almost at the same time as recent Aliens: Fireteam Elite and almost two hundred and fifty years before Aliens: Resurrection, the fourth film under license from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Scenario question, some elements leaked out (despite my apparently troubling questions going unanswered), but in short, we’re in pure Alien juice. The love of some members of the development team for the license is not alien to this, and this is obvious. Good point of view.

I won’t lie to you about your chances of survival, but… I sympathize with you.

A merry group of colonial marines find themselves stranded on a planet infested with aliens. The gang members will have to make several sorties into enemy territory in order to restore their base and their ship. Target ? Run to them, of course. By remaining careful, or by taking out as many xenomorphs as possible and losing as few people as possible in the maneuver as long as it lasts. Along the way, they will face an entirely new threat in the lore of the license. Is he already lost? Oh sure.

Each invasion will mobilize a squad of four Marines that you choose from your base. You will have to take into account for everyone his morale, his fatigue, his injuries and decide whether he will participate in the next mission. His equipment, his weapon preferences will be present and you can assign him what inspires you according to his profile or your playstyle. In short, a classic.

Many options related to additional equipment will also be included. In a mission, you will only have access to a few of these options, so you will need to carefully choose which ones will be useful to you. Yes, our dear Colonial Marines have strong shoulders, but they have their limits. From first aid kits to ammo, from autonomous defensive turrets to explosives, it’s up to you to decide depending on your resources or the level of commitment expected after the briefing.

But what if a bug throws itself at us, we spit in his face?

Once the various members of your squad have been selected and preparations completed aboard the ship that serves as the hub, we proceed to the mission of our choice. We were also made clear during the presentation that most of these raids would be quite lengthy. Count at least a good hour. Progress is slow on fairly large maps, and you’ll never completely tear yourself away from the eye movement sensor. The slightest fight with the xenomorphs is sure to attract others who will hunt you down in the combat zone. Keep moving and keep your eyes peeled.

Anxiety is not limited to your perception as a player, it affects your soldiers who have a stress gauge. If you let it go too high, they will lose combat capability, aim less, waste ammo… you get the idea. In addition to the emergency drug solution, you will be allowed to freeze your progress in order to lower this famous gauge. If you don’t have time, get in position, secure access, deploy your device, and give your team a two-second break. Keeping your squad’s combat potential (I love that word) high can only help you, because if one of your squad members is badly injured and therefore out of action, your mission can quickly turn into a nightmare. It remains to determine what will be your priority. Mission or your people?

Exfiltrating, returning to base, and handing over the wounded to the medics will save them at the expense of your original goal. And this is where one of the most important mechanics of the title is revealed! Everything is solid there. Your people may die, and that’s forever, but levels you cross will also track your progress. Open doors, structural damage caused by combat, corpses… everything will remain in place until your next invasion. And this is in all available areas of the game. Whether motivated by a goal abandoned along the way due to lack of gear, or in the face of too much danger, your retirement will never require you to start over from scratch as long as you advanced .. Purely command decision. Tactics when you hold us!

Maybe you didn’t watch the game well on TV, but we just got our ass wiped, man!

Technically, of course, it is difficult to judge without having the final version in hand. The atmosphere is properly served by suitable graphics, but nothing more. This isn’t necessarily what we’re looking for in a header like this, but avoid zooming in. If during the presentation I noticed the usual positioning errors within the squad, partly controlled by the AI, in general it remains convincing. For most of the game, you will need to develop in the dark, and only your torches will be able to pierce the darkness of this place. The rendering is efficient and harmonizes perfectly with the movies.

If this demo session was done with a keyboard and mouse combo, the on-site team assured us that optimizing the gameplay experience on the controller remains a top priority for properly porting the game to consoles. Still, it is difficult in the state to perceive this famous stress that our soldiers experience. Without being able to play it, I didn’t feel the slightest bit of fear, and the enemy is really terrible. In the near future, this is for me the black point of this title, which is highly license-compliant, but may not achieve its goal in the long run. A game for fans of the genre where horror must be revealed or risk not ticking all the boxes.

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