Aliens: Dark Descent Review

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Aliens Dark Descent

The Aliens franchise has had its ups and downs across various mediums over its 44-year history. From disappointing video games like Aliens: Colonial Marines to lackluster films such as Alien: Covenant, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for this iconic sci-fi series.

However, when Aliens is done right, it can be an exceptional experience, particularly in the realm of sweaty survival horror. It’s no wonder that game developers continue to revisit the franchise, as there is a certain allure to capturing the tension and terror that the best movies in the series evoke. Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation, for example, was a highly successful video game that perfectly captured the essence of the movies and delivered an all-time classic horror experience.

Now, Tindalos Interactive, the French developer known for the excellent Battlefleet Gothic Armada series, has taken on the daunting task of creating a real-time strategy (RTS) game set in the Aliens universe. Aliens: Dark Descent aims to capture the essence of the horror franchise while providing players with an engaging tactical experience. While there have been Aliens RTS games in the past, Dark Descent stands out as one that deserves praise and recognition.

Aliens Dark Descent

Aliens: Dark Descent delivers a tense and gripping strategy experience that incorporates the established XCOM formula but makes smart tweaks to suit the style of action in the Aliens universe. The game successfully creates an atmosphere of creeping dread with its claustrophobic corridors, nerve-wracking motion tracker beeps signaling the approach of enemies, and, of course, the incredibly dangerous xenomorphs that will tear apart your human squad if given the chance.

The influence of XCOM is evident from the start, as your base of operations functions similarly, allowing you to switch between various menus and sub-menus to manage different aspects of your operations. You can customize and name your colonial marines, unlock upgrades, new weapons, promotions, and specialized classes as you progress through the game’s twelve large missions.

Aliens Dark Descent

Just like in XCOM, time is a crucial factor in Aliens: Dark Descent. As days pass, the infestation level on the planet of Lethe steadily grows. You must balance your time between healing and rearming in your HQ while also researching new technologies using alien DNA samples. The pressure is always mounting, and the situation is bound to get worse before it gets better. The game offers multiple difficulty levels to cater to different players’ preferences, ensuring there’s a challenge suitable for everyone.

The core gameplay revolves around base-building, upgrading your marines, and progressing through missions. Experience and resources earned from missions are used to promote and upgrade your marines, creating a sense of attachment as you strive to keep them alive. The permadeath mechanic adds to the intensity, forcing you to strategize and protect your best soldiers during battles.

In the early stages of the game, tactics may feel somewhat limited as your entire squad moves as one instead of having individual unit movements. However, this streamlined approach proves to be a smart decision, keeping your firepower concentrated and necessary when facing xenomorphs. Xenomorphs in the game are formidable enemies that attack in masses, flank your squad, and quickly overpower unprepared marines. Engaging them in a head-to-head confrontation is a recipe for disaster, highlighting the importance of careful planning and tight coordination.

Aliens Dark Descent

The game’s stealth mechanics also play a significant role, as you must navigate environments slowly and quietly to avoid alerting the alien hive. The hive’s awareness level increases if you make too much noise, escalating the threat and difficulty of missions as the Xenos home in on your location. Stealthy movement and preparation are key to success in Aliens: Dark Descent.

During battles, the game enters a paused or slowed-down mode, allowing. Aliens: Dark Descent is a real-time strategy (RTS) game developed by Tindalos Interactive, known for their work on the Battlefleet Gothic Armada series. The game aims to capture the essence of the Aliens franchise while providing players with an absorbing tactical experience. It takes inspiration from the XCOM series and incorporates smart tweaks to suit the style of action in the Aliens universe.

The game features a base-building and progression system similar to XCOM, where you can switch between different menus and sub-menus to manage your operations. You can customize your colonial marines and unlock upgrades, new weapons, promotions, and specialized classes as you progress through the game’s twelve large missions.

Aliens: Dark Descent emphasizes the importance of stealth and preparation. Your squad moves as one unit, allowing you to concentrate your firepower and survive against the ferocious xenomorphs. The game also introduces stealth mechanics, requiring you to investigate environments quietly to avoid alerting the alien hive. The action revolves around careful movement, resource management, and decision-making, rather than direct combat. Each marine has unique weaponry and skills, and you can utilize special abilities like laying down suppressing fire, using flamethrowers, sniping, and deploying auto-turrets and mines strategically.

The mental health of your marines plays a significant role, affecting their effectiveness in battle. They can develop phobias or suffer from mental issues, requiring medical attention and affecting their performance. The game’s large missions offer multi-level areas with main and side objectives, and you must scavenge resources and find survivors to bolster your team.

Aliens: Dark Descent provides an atmospheric experience with detailed environments, accurate weapon sounds, and references to the Alien franchise. It features a variety of Xenomorph enemies, including drones, facehuggers, alien queens, and Working Joe synthetics. The game’s story is gritty, with no outright good guys and plenty of bickering and corporate politics.

While Aliens: Dark Descent received positive reviews, some critics noted issues with controls, menus, graphics, and repetitive dialogue. The game focuses more on the organization and build-up before firefights rather than direct combat and offers a more streamlined approach compared to other RTS games. It is available on Xbox Series X, offering performance and quality modes.

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