Alienation: More Than a Twin Stick Shooter?


Sony's newest exclusive title Alienation is now upon us. It is the newest title from Housemarque's, whom are responsible for bringing us the brilliant zombie killing fun that was Dead Nation. So how have they done? Have they built on what made Dead Nation so much fun? In short, "yes" and I shall tell you why.

Twin stick shooters are typically basic and do not require too much thought other than making sure you do not get swamped with enemies and making sure you always have a loaded clip ready to go. What Alienation does so well is that it is so much more than just mindlessly walking around shooting and killing then moving from point A to point B. While the objectives are simplistic and you pretty much do walk from A to B and plant a bomb or fire a gun, it is how you go about getting there and completing the task that matters. You can make a beeline straight to the objective point or you can take the long way around gaining experience and picking up new loot and killing epic bosses. The active reload button keeps you alert and a timely reload can prove life saving!

The open maps allow for complete user control for how to approach the situation, using the environment to your advantage and always looking to gain the upper hand on the masses of enemies that can quickly get out of hand. What sets Alienation apart from its peers is its abilities to incorporate RPG elements including a levelling system as well as 3 different playable characters that each have their own skill sets. You can choose to play as a Tank, a Bio-specialist, and a Saboteur. With each level gained you earn skill points that can be used in either tree of the passive or active abilities.

Within missions, there are events that you can accomplish to earn better gear and gain more experience. These include 'Hitman' events which require you to a kill a powerful enemy with insane abilities, 'Challenge' events that range from defeating an ambush to exterminating a certain amount of aliens, and 'Hideout' events which require you to take down an enemy hideout by any means necessary. Increasing the difficulty of missions also increase your chances to obtain better gear and also add to your experience multiplier, essentially letting you level up quicker.

Much like many RPG games, Alienation has a rarity level of certain weapons and more or less copies Destiny's colour scheme. With white weapons being the most common and least powerful, green also being common but being more powerful than white, blue is uncommon, purple is rare and orange being the best you can obtain and being known as legendary. Apart from colour scaling, each weapon comes with a certain amount of slots that can be used to upgrade things such as weapon damage, fire rate, clip size and critical chance. You can also use resources such as cores that are picked up during missions that can be used to reroll stats in a bid to make the weapon much more powerful.

With varying difficulty settings, and a hardcore mode Alienation is sure to test even the most gifted twin stick shooter addict. With death in hardcore mode permanent, even that slightest miscalculation can lead to death and a whole lot of rage!

With up to four player co-op, Alienation is that perfect game to chill out with friends, have a few laughs, and wind down after a day of work you would rather forget. Unfortunately Alienation does not support couch/local co-op which is a bummer, but then again who likes to share a screen in this day and age? While you can play Alienation solo, and solo play is required if you are a big trophy fan (I mean who isn't a fan of trophies?) to acquire the platinum, it is most definitely more enjoyable with your mates rather than by yourself, but in saying that many people enjoy their solo play and if that is the case than you can most definitely play on your own. If your friends are not around and you don't want to play by yourself then there is a matchmaking service that makes it easy to join other people.

In closing we have been having a lot of fun with Alienation and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys twin stick shooters or particularly enjoyed Dead Nation! 

Thanks for reading and until next time!
(Zachary Weeks) 

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