Review Aliens: Dark Descent: Prometheus by RTS

Aliens: Descendants of Darkness advertised as a real-time action game that carefully follows the classification of real-time strategy. This new classification is not a gimmick. Tindalos Interactive has created an intense single-player experience that combines a number of different genre characteristics, while clearly providing a unique and ambitious approach. However, like the divisive Alien franchise film PrometheusIts experimentation struggles to maintain creative momentum throughout.

Descendants of Darkness completely remove or purposefully narrow down the resource-gathering, technology-enhancing, and base-building aspects of many RTS titles. There are no real-time macro classes to speak of, with a moment-to-moment focus on the micro-actions of dispatching your team of four USMC soldiers. it looks like craft stars Campaign missions where you are exploring with only some Terran marines. This highlights the tension surrounding specifically named characters and their survival: Instead of ores and minerals, you worry about ammunition and stress. And when one of your grumbling animals is decimated — or worse, taken away by an Alien drone to refuel — that feeds grief and regret. This is a brutal game of moments that stick with you.

This framework will be easily accessible with the 45-minute tutorial, which also functions as a prologue to the larger story. This lengthy intro is welcome as there are some quirks to the system at play and you need to get a handle on the unusual tactical options they present.

USMC Marines in Aliens: Dark Descent hide behind a table, then fire at what looks like a group of enemy soldiers.

Image: Tindalos Interactive/Focus Home Entertainment

The most complex tactical systems are centered around command points. You use this resource to lay out cones of suppressed fire, create powerful short-range shotgun blasts, and spew out walls of fire to protect your position. You can never pause the game, just resort to slow motion when opening the command menu. It is imperative that you quickly gain comfort with this system, as it is central to tactical decision-making in intense conflict.

But this guide also Descendants of Darkness its most mundane. The action sequences are dull, offering some interesting tactical decisions or opportunities to get creative. It’s dangerous not to try to attract new players, not to highlight the game’s strengths, or to have exciting cinematic combat. This opens the door to a similar memorization storyline, beginning with a Weyland-Yutani corporate plot complete with a disturbing synthetic human. There are moments later in the campaign that are similarly predictable, and it is during these periods that the game risks easing your attention.

Much of the plot arises from the various subsystems that make up the fabric of the battle. The actual clicking around and maneuvering is somewhat unappealing. Furthermore, you cannot send a lone soldier or smaller fire squad to defend a position or perform a flank maneuver; Teams are forced to stick together. This keeps the action streamlined, but it also loses some tactical depth. Also, this can create some repetition in sequence, as you constantly try to maintain a long narrow line of sight to force the approaching hordes past the bottlenecks under your dying fire. . Even so, it manages to keep things pleasingly simple. The different environments are rich and fully realized in terms of scope and vision. You can traverse vast colonies and vast space docks with entire sections encased in xenomorph shells. All of this is also greatly enhanced by the roster management and open-world aspects of play. It is during these heavily armed, exploratory phases where Descendants of Darkness really take off.

A USMC Marine welds a door while xenomorphs crawl around the group in Aliens: Dark Descent.

Image: Tindalos Interactive/Focus Home Entertainment

There are also moments of beauty and creativity. While you are traveling through large areas with both internal and external battle zones, you are suddenly surrounded by xenomorphs of all shapes and sizes. The AI ​​adapts to your tactics, maneuvering around defensive means like sentry guns and firewalls. You have to fight face-hugs and acid-bloods, and it feels like you’re really being hunted. Even the environment itself will sometimes work against you, forcing your soldiers to deal with emotional trauma by locking themselves in rooms with soldering torches.

Between missions, you research new gear and unlock skills with your various soldiers. Pour experience and resources back into your barracks. This class, clearly inspired by Firaxis’ XCOM games, creates a great loop that gradually increases the strength of your soldiers just to make them an even more attractive target for xenomorphs. . It’s sharp and memorable, and leads to some great standout storytelling moments.

Where Descendants of Darkness Further pushing XCOM is in mission selection. The campaign is a bit linear, but it gives it an open-world feel by allowing you to explore new areas of the world map — various settlements and facilities on the planet Lethe, which are experiencing a global crisis. While you must complete the main story objectives in each area, you can also return to each entry to collect missing items and complete side quests afterward. Descendants of DarknessThe structure of s even allows you to evacuate mid-mission, preserving the mental and physical health of your team members after it all goes sideways. I’ve had my ups and downs, as I’ve evacuated multiple times in pursuit of certain goals, taking advantage of what I can, and placing my team in the central compartment before redeploying with the new team member. Do this too often and the alien threat will increase over time. This creates the illusion of a persistent environment, one that is evolving on its own accord.

Mission selection screen from Aliens: Dark Descent.  A legend on the left side shows objectives, datasheets, and quest options like “Queen Hunt” and “dog tag” for recovery.

Image: Tindalos Interactive/Focus Home Entertainment

Aliens: Descendants of Darkness sometimes ambitious, often to please, but sometimes reckless. While some may wish for a more intimate and intimidating Isolate aliens A sequel, this isometric tactical challenge is rich in consequences and rewards. This may not be the most consistent or distinctive Alien video game we’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly remarkable and imaginative.

Aliens: Descendants of Darkness Currently available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The game has been reviewed with a retail copy provided by Focus Home Interactive. Vox Media has an affiliate partnership. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy can be found here.


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