On the account of some extremely mixed scores, reviews of SEGA’s Alien: Isolation make for interesting reading.
General consensus has it that at around 12 hours long it would have benefited from having a few scenes cut to improve pacing. Whereas UK critics were able to look past this though, resulting it some surprisingly lofty praise, US critics struggled to.
Not wanting to tar all gamers with the same brush, it would appear that British are a tad more patient when it comes to stealth and slow-paced sections. Perhaps that’s because us Brits spend roughly half our lives queuing up for things. Either that or waiting for ZX Spectrum tapes to load in the â€˜80s taught us that good things come to those who wait.
All of the 9/10s below – bar the 4.5/5 equivalent from The Escapist – come for UK gaming sites. That 4.5 was however handed out by esteemed British journalist Jim Sterling.
IGN’s review meanwhile has attracted some mild controversy on the social media sites. Not just because of the score (5.9) but because there’s a ruddy spoiler in it. It’s apparently in their video review too, so consider yourself warned.
5/5 – The Guardian: “It was brave of Sega to take a chance on a game like this, where guns are a last resort, but their faith in The Creative Assembly’s vision has resulted in an unusually clever and subversive triple-A game”
9.3 – PC Gamer: “The game the Alien series has always deserved. A deep, fun stealth game set in an evocatively realised sci-fi world”
90% – Play: “For a studio that’s never made a survival-horror experience before, we are impressed with Creative Assembly because it has done a far better job than a lot of bigger studios have done in the same genre”
9/10 – X-ONE Magazine UK: “There’s more than just a love for the source material here; Alien: Isolation also displays a thorough understanding of what made it work. The game is a worthy accompaniment to Ridley Scott’s film, and there are few bigger compliments we can dish out than that”
9/10 – gamesTM: “Bold, unrelenting and very scary, Alien: Isolation is a triumph in every department. No prior knowledge is necessary. Just prepare yourself for the most terrifying game of the year”
9/10 – Official Xbox Magazine UK: “Unique stealth-horror thriller that combines great pacing and smart design with razor-sharp AI that’s unpredictable in all the right ways. It’s an arduous undertaking, but it begs to be experienced”
9/10 – VideoGamer: “An early concern was pacing, and while the game is long (over 12 hours at least) and your tasks fairly repetitive it’s the Alien itself â€“ and your relationship with it â€“ which proves the key to keeping things fresh”
9/10 – God is a Geek: “Alien: Isolation is a phenomenal title marred by only one major issue that some will overlook, and others will find a deal-breaker. It’s comfortably the best Alien game ever made, and delivers authenticity along with a new story that is worth seeing, experiencing, and fleeing from into the darkness”
8.5 – Destructoid: “Halfway into playing Alien: Isolation, I stopped to watch the first four Alien movies again. It wasn’t just for research purposes, but mostly because the game had me yearning for more of the universe.Isolation has some flaws, but it’s faithful to the film series, and I’d love to see a follow-up with a few extra alien evolutions”
8/10 – Eurogamer: “Unlike the creature it so lavishly recreates, Alien: Isolation isn’t quite a perfect specimen – but the things it does get right, it gets so brilliantly right that it will give you some of your best gaming memories of the year”
4.5/5 – The Escapist: “Sega, all I have to say to you directly is … you’re forgiven for Aliens: Colonial Marines. You earned it”
4/5 – Digital Spy: “After years of fumbling with the license, it’s refreshing to see Sega finally deliver a game worthy of the Alien branding”
4/5 – Joystiq: “Alien: Isolation is a trauma machine masquerading as a video game. Only in the realm of horror could this be seen as a compliment, and only with horror games in particular is this worthy of nervous applause. Say this about any other kind of game and you’d mistake praise for insults: it’s unpleasant, stressful and rarely merciful. Yay!”
7.75 – GameInformer: “Unlike its titular organism, Alien: Isolation is decidedly imperfect. The story falls flat, your objectives lack a sense of accomplishment, and the campaign drags on longer than it should. When the gameplay is at its best, however, Isolation delivers the thrill of being in the Alien universe, something fans like me have waited a long time to properly experience”
7/10 – The Metro: “In Short: Pacing problems and a lack of variety take their toll, but in its best most moments this is the most successful big budget survival horror in a decade”
6.5 – Polygon: “In the process of contriving story twists and turns to support this spectacle, Alien: Isolation ruins the unique focus of its premise and moves away from the inspiration of the first film. It becomes something depressingly predictable for fans of the property who have been hurt again and again by underwhelming video game representations”
6/10 – GameSpot: “Alien: Isolation provides us a glimpse into a future that holds the Alien game you’ve always wanted. It is not, however, the vessel that carries you there”
5.9 – IGN: “Alien: Isolation erases the memory of Colonial Marines, but it’s still not the great Alien game we were hoping for”
Hoping to get your hands on Alien: Isolation before its Tuesday release? You may be in luck – our local Sainsbury’s had it on the shelf already, priced up at Â£32.99 on last-gen and Â£42.99 on current-gen. With mid-week releases still uncommon in the UK, it’s likely that other retailers have accidentally put it out early.