- Platform: PlayStation 4
- Players – 1-4 (Online Only)
- Achievements – Yes, trophies/achievements
- Steam Trading Cards - N/A
- Controller Support - N/A
- Retail Price - $19.99
High Level Premise – Visit various areas around the planet in preventing a massive alien invasion.
Graphics/Style – Gorgeous top down twin-stick arcade shooter
Music/Soundtrack – Sci-fi and action beats from Composer Ari Pulkkinen (Resogun & Super Stardust HD)
Story – Fight as part of an elite squad against an alien invasion on Earth!
Replay-ability – High, new modes, classes, and difficulty settings entice the player to do subsequent runs of the game.
Time Commitment – 10+ hours for campaign completion
Value – Very High, the entertainment and content factors are generously high for a digital download in the sub-$20 category.
Favorite Element – The drop in & out Co-op experience is flawless!
Sean says: Alienation is the spiritual successor to Dead Nation – one of 2011’s surprise gems. The game already had big shoes to fill, and did just that with flying colors. The game wastes no time in getting the player acclimated to the mechanics, and is a riot from the very beginning. Among the level-based campaign, fulfilling objectives throughout open environments adds variety and choices unlike its linear predecessor. The ability upgrade system is new, and gives the player control over the class of their choosing.
This time around, Housemarque gives us a 4-player top down experience, which is up from the 2-players which Dead Nation offered. It’s evident that there is a strong focus on the co-op experience, as gone are the days of health packs, and in comes a revival system where players work together to keep each other alive. The drop in and out system is executed so well, it makes you want to tell others about the game in hopes of arranging play dates to progressively conquer the campaign. The process of joining & leaving a hosts game is strikingly painless.
Alienation does not have a local co-op experience, and quite frankly, it doesn’t need it. The online is executed in such a way that not all players need to be in close proximity with each other as they were in the past. After countless hours of playing, it’s clear that the servers are as stable as you’d expect.
All in all, Alienation is probably one of the best, if not the pinnacle title among top down twin-stick shooters at present. Developed by a team of seasoned veterans, it’s hard to find anything wrong with the latest installment from Housemarque, especially considering they’ve vastly improved everything that was ever wrong from their first attempt at the genre.
Gareth says: I will start off to say that it is almost impossible for me to hide my bias. Housemarque is a studio that never fails to deliver. They release a budget-priced indie every few years that I find myself enjoying more than many AAA games in the same release window.
My first thought was Dead Nation with Aliens – fine with me! A copy & paste of that masterpiece would have left me satisfied. Well they took everything good about Dead Nation and made it even better. The drop in/drop out Co-op experience is flawless, people come and go but it never feels like it interrupts the gameplay. The all too common MMO loot system is present and feels so rewarding. When my first orange (extremely rare) item dropped, I was excited to read the stats and get it equipped. The crafting system while simple, offers a whole other level to the game. The class system is great, making each class feel different and just as important. As soon as I hit 30 with my first class, I was ready to do it all over with another character. Per usual, Housemarque brings the particles to the forefront with explosions and enemy attacks filling the screen, and dancing the line of being overwhelming, but never crossing it. The end game (so to speak) comes in the form of PVP where you can attack other players and groups. Something that was not needed in any way but gives the game just another great mention.
$19.99 – that is what you pay for what I would easily say is my favorite game in about half a year. The only thing that is stopping me from playing further at the moment is Uncharted 4. That doesn’t mean I won’t be back for more as soon as I can.