Aliens Fireteam Elite is the latest video game being added to the collection of games set in the Alien universe and has taken a big leap away from the previous game, Alien Isolation. Join up with two others online and take on swarms of aliens in this Left 4 Dead style third-person shooter.
Unlike Alien Isolation, you will find yourself up against a phenomenal number of aliens across the 8 or so hours it will take you to get a single run through the games four campaign chapters. The missions will take you to several interesting locations where you will need to battle synths, aliens and some pathogen-related creatures.
The variety in enemy types goes a long way to stopping the combat from feeling stale. The gun combat is a lot like Division 2. Two main weapons, a decent cover system and a controller mapping that is so natural and familiar, that you do not get forced into playing a long boring tutorial mission. As soon as you load up the game, you can get stuck right into the action. The cover system is quite useful for certain enemy types which will force you to alter your tactics depending on who you are attacking.
Before you set off to slay some Xenomorphs, you will need to build your character and decide on your loadout. There are four different classes to chose from that all have their unique abilities. Gunners can use heavy weapons, medics have some healing gadgets and soldiers have grenades.
Each of the unique abilities will come on top of the core combat traits that are the same across all classes. The heavy gunner class doesn’t have better armour or health compared to a medic for example. This helps encourage more people to use different classes as there is never a major disadvantage to pick one over the other. Diversity is the best way to tear through the missions.
When you are unable to fill a lobby with players online, a bot player will be assigned to the empty positions on the team. This is a great fallback to have but they have some rather annoying flaws. The most frustrating is how they do not respond to other people on the team. When a medic drops a healing device, they would happily stand outside of its healing range rather than actively try to get inside of it to take advantage of the healing benefits.
Thankfully, they have the perks of unlimited ammo and are quick to revive downed players. Just don’t expect them to pull their weight. A human player is almost always going to be better. Not just because of the intelligence but because a bot player is always a generic soldier class. They will never be a medic or something that would help diversify the team to help make things easier.
The story in Aliens Fireteam is not too bad. There will be a few moments that will really catch your attention if you are a fan of the franchise. Generally speaking, the story is not the main focus of this game. It is all about killing!
One thing that felt a little disappointing was the setting of the first chapter of the campaign. Alien Isolation felt like an Alien movie because the ship had all of the same aesthetic markers of the Nostrom. The environment in Alien Isolation felt like it was part of the franchise. The ship in the first campaign act in Aliens Fireteams felt like it could fit in any old space shooter, almost like it was designed for a game that later became part of the Alien franchise. It was by no means a BAD level, but it just didn’t feel like it was part of the Alien universe, particularly when compared to levels that came after which all had a strong “Alien” vibe to them.
The game performs quite well on PlayStation 5 and looks very nice at times. The biggest disappointment was the lack of haptic feedback. A game like this could have made great use of the advanced vibration features.
Based on the list of trophies/achievements and the in-game levelling system for your character, there seems to be an expectation that you will replay this game over and over. There are also weekly challenges that try to encourage you to keep playing after you beat the story.
Missions are fun to repeat, but there is not enough diversity in the levels to really allow you to do things differently. The levels are all quite linear with little for you to do to shake things up like you could in an open-world game. There are some challenge modifiers that will give you a bonus reward if you complete a mission with it active. These can be things like not having access to use your abilities during the mission. These still don’t feel like enough to make things feel fresh enough to encourage you to replay the campaign after beating it once.
Aliens Fireteams does a lot of things right and as a one time experience, the game is a lot of fun to play. Unfortunately, there is very little incentive to go back and play the game a second time once you have completed it. Since it appears elements of the game, such as the character loadout and levelling system were designed for players to sink a lot of hours into this game, it is a shame there is not enough there to keep you coming back for more.