Game news Aliens Dark Descent: inspired by James Cameron’s film, and damn demanding
The Alien license distinguishes itself in many video game genres, but not tactically. And yet, the second film of James Cameron and his squad of defeated marines, is even better. The bug has now been fixed in Aliens: Dark Descent, which we discovered at Gamescom.
Published by Focus and developed by French studio Tindalos Interactive (Battlefleet Gothic: Armada), Aliens: Dark Descent has so far remained a mystery. When it was announced at the Summer Games Fest, it almost looked like an action game seen from above, like a top-down shooter. But no: Dark Descent is actually a pure real-time tactical game, which requires a lot of micro-management and cold blood. The soldiers are not directly commanded, but they will be given various orders to prevent xenomorph attacks as much as possible. In terms of lore, the title takes place 20 years after the events of Alien 3, but it is Aliens: The Return that is the main inspiration.
The sailors who signed up to drool
The game was presented to us for 30 minutes at Gamescom and what emerged was an extremely demanding title that required a lot of skill and intelligence to master. Your ship crashes on a moon full of creatures and you have to survive some dangerous missions. So we lead a squad of 4 marines, and Tindalos implements a lot of mechanics that should make games more intense.
One, there is stress management in every sea. Beyond a certain point, he will refuse to follow your orders, act recklessly (by shooting everywhere, for example) or run away. The only way to calm his troops during a mission is to set up “safe zones”, by deciding to seal the door of a room. An opportunity to catch your breath and lower your stress gauge before returning to battle.
A permanent world and a final death
Then another good idea is to continue the world. The moon where these poor people crash is actually a huge map, where areas open up as you go. But above all, everything you do during the mission will remain for good: 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 measure the risks involved in the event of a glitch.
If half of the squad is injured or very stressed, it is better to evacuate during the mission to return more prepared while maintaining the facilities previously installed. So we should be able to shape the levels according to our will. Between each mission, returning to the base allows, XCOM way, to improve its soldiers or its weapons or to benefit from the bonuses offered by the various NPCs given during the missions.
Real time and, above all, stress
In terms of combat, as mentioned above, it is real time that prevails, although there is the possibility to slow down the action at any time to give orders more quickly. On screen it seems to work well and is a good compromise to a “full” suspension system. Here, we still keep a level of adrenaline during the action, but we still have time to think. In addition to the attack turrets, it is possible to install various devices, including important motion detectors that will allow you to better anticipate xenomorph attacks and position your troops well.
By mixing Aliens and tactics, Tindalos Interactive has in any case found a winning formula. Dark Descent may not be for everyone, as we expect a difficult game, which will require learning through pain to master. But the gameplay depth seems to be there and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.
As a reminder, Aliens: Dark Descent should be released on PC, PS5, Xbox Series, PS5 and Xbox One, sometime in 2023.