game news Aliens Dark Descent – Inspired by the James Cameron movie, and damn demanding
The Alien license has stood out in many video game genres, but never in tactical. And yet, the second film of James Cameron and his squad of defeated Marines lends itself particularly well. The bug has now been fixed with Aliens: Dark Descent, which we were able to discover at Gamescom.
Published by Focus and developed by French studio Tindalos Interactive (Battlefleet Gothic: Armada), Aliens: Dark Descent had until now remained very mysterious. When it was announced at Summer Games Fest, it almost looked like an action game seen from above, like a top-down shooter. But no: Dark Descent is in fact a pure tactical game in real time, which will require a lot of micromanagement and cold blood. Soldiers are not directed directly, but will be given different commands to best protect themselves from xenomorph attacks. In terms of story, the title takes place 20 years after the events of Alien 3, but Aliens: The Return is the main inspiration.
Marines who signed up to drool
The game was presented to us for 30 minutes at Gamescom and what emerges is a particularly demanding title that will require a lot of finesse and intelligence to master. Your ship has crashed on a moon full of creatures and you will have to survive some high risk missions. So, we will be leading a squad of 4 marines, and Tindalos has implemented several mechanics that should make the games quite intense.
One, there is stress management in every Marine. Beyond a certain point, he will either refuse to obey your commands, act recklessly (shooting anywhere, for example), or run away. The only way to calm down your troops during a mission is to establish “safe zones”, by deciding to seal the door to a room. A chance to take a breather and lower your stress level before heading back into battle.
A persistent world and a final death
So the other good idea is the persistence of the world. The moon these poor humans crashed on is in fact a single large map, where areas will unlock as you progress. But above all, everything you do during the mission will remain forever: a corpse will remain on the ground, a set of placed turrets will always be available. This allows you to better manage your games and better assess the risks involved in the event of failure.
If half your squad is injured or overly stressed, it’s best to evacuate during the mission to come back better prepared by keeping your facilities up earlier. Therefore, we should be able to shape the levels according to our will. Between each mission, a return to the base allows, in the XCOM way, to improve your soldiers or your weapons or benefit from the bonuses offered by the various NPCs delivered during the missions.
Real time and, above all, stress
On the combat side, as mentioned above, it is real time that prevails, however, there is the possibility to slow down the action at any time to give orders more easily. On screen this seems to work fine and is a good compromise with a “full” pause system. Here, we still maintain a certain level of adrenaline during the action, but we still have time to think. In addition to attack turrets, it will be possible to install various tools, including essential motion detectors that will allow you to better anticipate xenomorph attacks and position your troops well.
Mixing Aliens and tactics, Tindalos Interactive could in any case have found a winning formula. Dark Descent may not be for everyone, as we anticipate a difficult game, one that will require learning through pain to master. But the depth of the game seems to be there and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.
As a reminder, Aliens: Dark Descent should release for PC, PS5, Xbox Series, PS5, and Xbox One, sometime in 2023.
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