Aliens: Fireteam Elite review — Pop goes the Xeno
My big worry to enter Aliens: Fireteam Elite was that there would only be Xenomorphs as enemies and nothing else. While the game avoids this, it strangely does less than it could have, making it a more repetitive experience than it needs to be. Still, shooting xenomorphs and watching their heads explode into green pieces, only to have their insect-like corpses leave acid traces on the metal and rock beneath them, is still satisfying. The visuals are mostly over the edge, the shooter is tight, and the action is intense and visceral. But there is a strangely small amount of content on offer, as well as a glaring lack of ambition displayed, which I was disappointed with.
For the majority, Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a short class based shooter game. There are three campaigns, divided into 12 individual missions, plus a horde mode with a single map. Initially there are three difficulties, but two more difficult become available after you complete the main campaign. There are also five classes, one of which is also locked behind the end of the game. If you are the type who likes to develop different classes, you will get the most out of the game. But if you are not, you might. get back to burning the game in six to eight hours.
Let’s start with the most important: the shots. All classes carry two primary weapons, as well as a handgun in the unlikely event that you run out of ammo. Types of weapons include rifles, CQWs (close-range weapons like shotguns and flamethrowers), heavy weapons, and pistols. Specific classes have different weapon slots. The shooter carries a rifle and CQW, the wrecker has a rifle and heavy, the doc has a rifle and a pistol. There aren’t a lot of guns out there, but I don’t mind that much, since you improve them with use. It takes enough time to upgrade a single weapon that you don’t get to max it out, even though you use it to beat every campaign mission.
Your head is racing
Shooting is enjoyable, which is good since that’s the gist of the game. The guns are punchy and deadly, and the enemy’s reactions to being hit are loud and accompanied by sound design. solid. The sickening crackle of an exploding Xenomorph’s head doesn’t really age, which is good, as you’ll be fighting thousands upon thousands of them. You will seriously see over 500 in most missions.
There is also a great variety, fortunately. Most of them are smaller runners, but there are also the prowlers that pounce on you, the exploding poppers, and the spitters that spit acid at you. Then there are the heavier types, such as the drone, the strongest warriors, and the towering Prometheans with armored heads. Xenomorphs are easily the best enemy here, which the designers got it right (and that’s how it should be). It’s really hectic to fight a swarm rushing at you, that’s where Aliens: Fireteam Elite is at its best.
There are actually two other types of enemies. You’ll face battles against the Weyland-Yutani synthetics, as well as swarms of zombie-like enemies accompanied by tiny white insects. Synths are honestly pretty fun to fight, as going from hordes of Xenomoprhs taking cover and blasting the heads of humanoid enemies makes the action more varied. Zombie enemies are a bit annoying, as they swoop down at you and pose little to no threat. Although they only appear in one mission. I mean that, by the way. You see them once and never again. This brings me to one of my main complaints with Aliens: Fireteam Elite.
Why does the game have even more types of enemies?
As noted, Zombies are the focus of a mission, while Synths spawn for two. Synths appear briefly in another mission, but that means nine of the 12 missions feature players facing primarily against the same group of Xenomorphs. Elites spawn more frequently down the line, and eggs containing facehuggers appear near the end, but there’s a surprisingly small amount of enemy intersection. In a mission or two, Xenos and synths will appear simultaneously and fight each other, but Aliens: Fireteam Elite don’t use that sort of thing a lot.
Honestly, it’s a waste. Mixing and matching different types of enemies in varying combinations would have been a lot more interesting from a gameplay standpoint than just fighting Xeno after Xeno, mission after mission. I understand why it was designed this way, but it still gives a more repetitive experience when tools for unique circumstances were readily available. There is so much potential left in the game that has not been tapped for unknown reasons.
At least the environments are doing better. Each of the four campaigns of Aliens: Fireteam Elite takes place in a significantly different setting. The first is a typical abandoned station, but it is followed by a hike through caves and the surface of a planet. Next, we go to the Promethean ruins, and the game culminates in taking us to an abandoned industrial complex that has been transformed into an organic Xenomorph nest. Objectives are primarily waypoints that point you to a sign or object to interact with. This unleashes a wave of enemies. You can also find Intel collectibles that unlock new dialogue pieces on your home ship, or hidden caches that contain consumables, equipable perks, or cosmetics.
Do the jitterbug
The game looks good, with focused art direction and good use of lighting and textures. Xenomorph models aren’t as intimidating as they could be, as they’re mostly of the smaller variety, but they’re still weird and menacing. Their animations can behave strangely from time to time, as they tend to teleport, randomly disappear, or drop their bodies through the ground. Granted, there are dozens of them on screen at once, so that doesn’t bother me too much. It’s also quite humorous to see their models shake or fall sometimes. However, getting blown up by prowlers is annoying, as they wait in invisible areas and essentially teleport above you. In the last level, you even see a queen, although you can’t fight her. Oddly, there isn’t a single boss battle in the entire game, which is another missed opportunity.
It can take a dozen hours to upgrade a single class, which additionally unlocks a grid on which perks can be placed, as well as new perks themselves. I like the way Aliens: Fireteam Elite handles these unlocks, as it really allows each class to become more versatile over time. Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a good game, but it just doesn’t offer as much value as it could have. Horde mode is also disappointing for the most part, as it just puts you in one place and has you fighting wave after wave with little to note. There is simply a lot more potential for this game that hasn’t been scratched. I would really love to see more, but I’m not sure that will happen. As it stands, I think a lot of people will just be bored before they know if the price is right.
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