Thursday, November 18, 2010

alien breed: impact

DEVELOPER: Team17 Software

Progress: Level 3 with 13% of trophies

Sometimes games can be so gargantuan, so all encompassing, that they feel more like a bad lashing than something fun you can enjoy. You know what I mean: games with 70+ hour story lines, a minimum of three play-throughs in order to enjoy the full story and not to mention a big boss fight that has you so rattled you get fed up you put the game down for months before you are willing to try again. And then there is the constant reminder of that game on your shelf staring at you, taunting you...

If you find yourself in this predicament then let me remind you of the joy that can be had with lighter, arcade-style games, specifically Alien Breed: Impact. It features game elements like aliens and machine guns, that I like, but without the massively deep plot line and subsequent motion comics and source material you need to consume just to enjoy the experience. Don't misunderstand, this is not a groundbreaking game style, nor does it have a gripping story but it is a lively shoot-em-up that you can just jump in and play. The game also offers a on-line/offline co-op option for your buddies to join in.

Alien Breed: Impact is a top-down twin-stick shooter (defined as moving with the left stick and shooting with the right stick), reminiscent of classic twin-stick games like Smash TV (Sega Genesis) or Total Carnage (SNES). In Alien Breed: Impact, you navigate your way around a damaged spacecraft from checkpoint to checkpoint. A good "clear the room and move on" playing approach works well. The sensitive analog sticks on the PS3 controller allow greater control than your old school twin-stick shooter. Aim by pressing the right stick lightly to show the laser sight, then press harder to fire. The left stick offers similar sensitivity for movement ranging from walking to running. Gun selection and items are cycled using the d-pad. Take care using your controller on this one, it is easy to get excited and press too hard, which could break your controller (I did, the right analog stick twists too easily now) -- a little restraint goes a long way to become a better player and keep your controller in working order.

The dark graphics and quick alien attacks will keep you engaged and on your toes. Alien Breed: Impact has just enough scare to it but while you may jump from time to time, it is no Dead Space. The over all look and feel of Alien Breed: Impact is very much a nod to Aliens and Starship Troopers-- and by nod I mean looks just like it. The story itself sub par and narrated in cut scenes with still images. My recommendation: don't think too hard about the plot and focus on the shooting.

You have enough ammo and health to play without strategic conservation which may bore some players but it feels good let off a bunch of rounds without worry. You are equipped with a tracker/motion detector that helps find aliens and your next checkpoint. Missions involve moving from point to point and at each checkpoint you are accessing a computer or talking with another survivor who will then tell you to access another computer. There is a bit of backtracking in the levels as you work through the different goals. Backtracking is not just a tactic to make a short game seem longer but rather it gives players a chance to really explore and enjoy the details of the game. At the same time, backtracking can be tedious and it can be difficult to communicate with a partner in co-op game. Besides checkpoint to checkpoint missions, the game offers some other varieties like timed events, including running out of oxygen or defending a room until power is restored.

Alien Breed: Impact, and the demo version, are available for download from the PS Store. An earlier version is also available on XBox Live Arcade under the alias: Alien Breed Evolution. So Alien Breed: Impact isn't the cream of the crop but it's fun. If you're any respectable gamer you'll breeze right through this. If you find yourself knee deep in your RPG menus or stuck at a boss with no ammo on your last save, maybe a change of pace is just the thing you need.


Tried it and your hooked now? Well brace yourself for:

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