|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Team17||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Team17||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 22, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
One Part Shooter, One Part Dungeon Crawler.
by DMarcus Beatty
What do you get when you cross the overhead perspective with the frenetic space station infested by aliens formula made famous by the move Alien? Alien Breed is the produce of the aforementioned formula, creating a game that doesnt really innovate in any way but still entertains. As the obvious sequel to Alien Breed, Assault brings a few new features to an already decent formula to make an enjoyable XBLA game.
Alien Breed 2: Assault follows the story of the crew of the spaceship Leopold, which crashes into another huge space station. The Leopold becomes lodged in the other ship, forcing Conrad, the Leopolds chief engineer and games protagonist, to go aboard the mysterious ship and engage the engines to save his surviving crewmembers. Ultimately, the story is little more than an excuse for the player to go alien hunting. There isnt much here in the way of surprises, and the entire story has been better executed in previous movies and games. Assault doesnt aim to win any storytelling awards, but obviously the goal of the story is simply to give the player a motivation for murdering hordes of alien monsters.
Assault makes good use of the Unreal Engine 3, which visibly upgrades the graphics over the original. Conrad is well-articulated and animates well, as do the hordes of alien foes. The settings are all well-crafted as well, although environments do get repetitive. While it makes sense that a space station would be metallic and boring, it still begins to grate on the player after playing for hours with little variety.
You control Conrad from a three-quarters overhead perspective as he explores the space station, following his mini-map to assorted objectives. As he moves from goal to goal, he encounters the titular aliens and must use his arsenal to dispatch them. To combat the monsters, he uses weapons that run the gamut from an assault rifle to a rocket launcher. There isnt a lot of variety in the guns, which is nearly inexcusable since games like Ratchet and Clank and Resistance: Fall of Man has given us such innovative weapons. The weapon variety is simply boring. It feels like the developers should have offered us more fun and innovative weapons, although the chaingun-esque Hyper Blaster is fairly fun to employ. The game does offer upgrades to the few weapons though, allowing you to invest credits in increased bullet capacity, damage, or firing rates.
The gameplay is flat out repetitive at its worst. Conrad moves from objective to objective, with very rare moments of simplicity. If you are tasked with activating machinery, it is almost certain that an essential piece of hardware is missing, or that something is blocking your path, or that the machines auxiliary systems must be activated first. While this is generally the formula for most video games, somehow it is made obvious in Assault, bringing with it a shattering of suspension of disbelief. Nothing in the entirety of the game appears to function as it should, and Conrad must single-handedly put everything right. While this isnt much different from what occurs in similar games like Dead Space, other games bury the formula a bit deeper with varied gameplay. However, its probably unfair to compare an XBLA game to a full release, but in Assault youll definitely be denied total immersion in the game world.