HHW Gaming Review: ‘Aliens: Dark Descent’ Is A Strategically Fun Fresh Take On The Popular Franchise

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Aliens: Dark Descent

Source: Tindalos Interactive / Focus Home Interactive / Aliens: Dark Descent

The Alien movie franchise is one of those properties that should have many hit video games under its belt, but sadly that has not been the case. There have been some wins like Alien: Isolation, Alien vs. Predator, Aliens: Fireteam Elite, and the 1990s’ Aliens arcade game, but there have been more massive Ls that have left fans of the franchise yearning for an Aliens game that they could be proud of and with Tindalos Interactives’ Aliens: Dark Descent, they finally got one.

Aliens: Dark Descent Features An Original Story Rich In Aliens Lore

Aliens: Dark Descent

Source: Tindalos Interactive / Focus Home Interactive / Aliens: Dark Descent

Your mission is not one you chose because you are given no choice but to investigate how the Xenomorph infestation happens on the moon.

Aliens: Dark Descent is a Real-Time Action shooter that also toes the line of a real-time strategy game that will see players command a squad of hardened Colonial Marines as they try to get to the bottom of a Xenomorph infestation at a colony located on the Planet Lethe.

That won’t be an easy mission. On top of the different types of Xenomorphs you encounter, your squad of Colonial Marines will face crazy cultists who worship the Xenos and rogue elements of the corrupt Weyland Yutani organization that are unique to the game.

Your mission is not one you chose because you are given no choice but to investigate how the Xenomorph infestation happens on the moon. Dark Descent’s opening prologue does an excellent job of onboarding players by first introducing them to Weyland-Yutani administrator Maeko Hayes in a tense encounter with the Xenomorph threat on a space station above the planet before a squad of Marines led by U.S. colonial Marines officer Jonas Harper saves you.

Things go to hell when the Otago, the ship Harper and his marines are stationed is shot down in the process of a contingency protocol initiated by Hayes to stop the Xenomorph threat from spreading, and it crash lands Lede thrusting them into a nightmare scenario where they must survive, and get to the bottom of the Xenomorph outbreak.

 Aliens: Dark Descent Is A Standup Mission That Turns Into A Bug Hunt

Aliens: Dark Descent

Source: Tindalos Interactive / Focus Home Interactive / Aliens: Dark Descent

Dark Descent does an excellent job capturing the essence that made James Cameron’s1986 film Aliens, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic Alien, a hit with fans.

Aliens: Dark Descent will have you control a squad of four marines on different missions across the planet, each littered with primary and secondary objectives and littered with materials that will help you bolster your squad of Xenomorph ass-kickers and upgrade your command center, the Otago.

Dark Descent does an excellent job capturing the essence that made James Cameron’s1986 film Aliens, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic Alien, a hit with fans.

You can feel the same dread as you command your squad to walk through hallways with the recognizable beats from your radar tracker and the sounds of footsteps, doors opening and closing serving as the soundtrack.

The terrifying silence as you worry about what awaits you around each as your marines unveil the fog of war across the map that can quickly turn from what was once a building to a Xenomorph nest goes away quickly as a Xenomorph emerges to attack your squad and try to whisk them off to be cocooned and impregnated.

Aliens: Dark Descent

Source: Tindalos Interactive / Focus Home Interactive / Aliens: Dark Descent

A fight against one Xeno turns into a bottleneck battle with a swarm if you kill enough of them during the mission, forcing you to think quickly and prep your squad for the onslaught coming at you using the available tools and weapons.

Once the battle is over, you can even weld the doors around, setting up a temporary safe space where the marines can rest and reduce stress levels that could affect you in the long run.

There’s No Shame In Bugging Out

Aliens: Dark Descent

Source: Tindalos Interactive / Focus Home Interactive / Aliens: Dark Descent

Returning to the base has consequences. The more days pass, the infestation level of the planet increases.

Aliens: Dark Descent can sometimes punish players, specifically when losing marines, especially ones built up to be Xenomorph killing machines or medics on the field.

Dark Descent allows you to hop back in your ARC, the vehicle armed with an impressive Xeno/cultist killing cannon, and leave the planet to reset.

While on the Otago, after you fulfill a set of different requirements, you can put wounded or exhausted Marines in the Med Bay, where they can receive treatment that has them sidelined for one or numerous days, which could be cut short by prioritizing care by rescuing physicians during missions.

Later in the game, the Psych Ward opens up to treat Marines who need to talk to someone after encountering the Xenos on multiple missions.

You can also purchase new weapons using materials you locate while uncovering the map and develop new tech by acquiring “Xeno Tech” that is hidden throughout each mission, pushing players to do an exploring bit rather than just doing the main objective.

Aliens: Dark Descent

Source: Tindalos Interactive / Focus Home Interactive / Aliens: Dark Descent

Returning to the base has consequences. The more days pass, the infestation level of the planet increases. During my playthrough, I hit infestation level 5 quickly, which makes missions more difficult, but I didn’t notice any difference in the difficulty.

Xenomorphs Are Not The Only Bugs You Have To Worry About

Aliens: Dark Descent

Source: Tindalos Interactive / Focus Home Interactive / Aliens: Dark Descent

You will experience bugs during your playthrough, and we’re not just talking Xenomorphs. On multiple occasions, the interface froze on me, not allowing me to do specific actions like swap out Marines or adding resources like sentry guns and med or tech kits to inventory before heading out on a mission.

Sometimes the game takes time to unfreeze from the “pause menu” if you leave the game idle for a while. All are strange bugs but are easily remedied by resetting the game.

I also experienced moments during missions where the Xenos would behave weirdly, not allowing the story to progress, and I would have to reload a certain to a certain point.

Thankfully, the game does a great job of saving when you reach specific points or when by making a saferoom, so it wasn’t an issue where I felt so deflated I had to turn off the game.

Final Verdict

Aliens: Dark Descent

Source: Tindalos Interactive / Focus Home Interactive / Aliens: Dark Descent

Does this game deliver the goods as far as being a game that truly captures the essence of the Aliens movie that fans love? Without a doubt, yes, and this is coming from someone who has the film high on his list of GOAT Sci-Fi/Action films.

Without going the Aliens: Fire Team Elite route, Dark Descent easily helps us forget about Aliens: Colonial Marines; you know that game was a hot ass mess because of a coding error typo that a modder corrected.

I felt like Corporal Hicks, Private Vaquez, and Private Hudson from the Aliens film as I commanded my Marines through eerily empty hallways as Xenos continuously crawl around, showing up quickly on the radar and disappearing, giving you the perfect sense of dread.

The nervousness peaks when you have set foot into a hive, knowing you will eventually encounter Facehuggers, Drones, Warriors, Praetorians, Bulls, or even the Queen Xenomorph herself. Your heart will immediately race when you see a Xenomorph grab your favorite Marine and try to drag them away.

Tindalos did a fantastic job taking what made Aliens so great as a movie and turning it into a fantastic Real-Time Action shooter that fans will love.

Unfortunately, some bugs will mar your experience, but they are not game-breaking and are nothing a good old patch can’t rectify.

Aliens fans have stayed frosty for a long time with this franchise, and finally, it looks like they have a game worth their time with Aliens Dark: Descent.

The game is available on PS5, Xbox Series S|X, and PC (via Steam).

*Aliens: Dark Descent PS5 Key Provided By Tindalous Interactive*

Photo: Tindalos Interactive / Focus Home Interactive / Aliens: Dark Descent

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