Review: Alien: Isolation Digital Series

Does IGN have a winner?

Overview: 

Fifteen years after the strange disappearance of the Nostromo, Ellen Ripley’s daughter is still searching for her mother.  Amanda Ripley is approached by Weyland-Yutani with the news that a recording has been found from the missing spaceship.  She agrees to join a crew in securing the recording from a space station deep in space. 

Unfortunately, upon their arrival, they find the space station in terrible condition, and while trying to get themselves on the ship, Amanda is separated from her companions.  Searching the station on her own, Amanda runs into dangerous survivors, psychotic synths, and of course, Xenomorphs.  She must find her mother’s recording, try and help her friends, all while trying not to be eaten by the most dangerous aliens in pop culture. 

Our Take:  

Allow me to preface this review by saying that I am a major fan of the Alien franchise.  While most people of my generation were swooned by Star Wars, I was always a fan of the darker horror sci-fi, Alien.  And, of course, Ellen Ripley is one of my all-time favourite characters.  Needless to say, I am very excited to know that there is a story following her little-known daughter.  Unfortunately, as nerdy as I may be, I have never been much of a gamer, so Alien: Isolation, released in 2014 was a story that I thought I might never know. 

Thankfully, with 2019 celebrating the 40th anniversary of the original release of the inaugural film, game developers in association with 20th Century Fox have decided to re-release the story of Alien: Isolation as a digital series exclusively on IGN.  Finally, as of today, fans like myself would be able to experience the story-line without having to invest the hours of game-play.  Additionally, developers have decided to add some fresh scenes while cleaning up original ones to make the story more congruent.  Released in a seven-episode series, the complete series can be binged in little more than an hour.  

The plot follows Amanda Ripley who had passed away from old age by the time the original Ripley was discovered in deep sleep in Aliens.  It is kind of genius to go back and look at the 40+ years that the younger Ripley was alive and naturally curious as to what happened to her mother.  Considering the genes, this hero has inherited I would expect nothing less than the hardcore bad-ass character that she is in this series.  In fact, she carries the same bravado and determination while being extremely intelligent and capable as an isolated space explorer. 

Sure, the graphics of this series may feel outdated, that is just the nature of technology these days.  Releasing anything to do with video games more than a few years old will automatically look choppier than what we are used to now.  But, even with this being a straight recording of a video game there are only a couple moments where the first-person view plays a part.  Though, it is still evident that you are watching a video game and not an original piece developed for viewing.  

We should probably talk about the series namesake, the Aliens.  I was kind of shocked at the minimal amount of aliens we actually see in this game.  I would have thought that in any game made for this franchise would include armies of the Xenomorphs with a plethora of weapons to stop them in their tracks.  Yet, for the majority of the series, there is just one alien that is only seen passing by and not often killing anyone.  In the last few episodes, they remedy this with the inclusion of an entire Alien nest – minus a queen.  Though I may have wanted more of the Aliens, it does feel true to the original film and on its own makes an excellent sequel to the 1979 film. 

The plot is easily the highlight of the series.  It is no wonder that the developers wanted to see it re-released for fans like myself who would typically miss out on the story.  There are many details including the designs of the ship and the undeveloped look of the androids that are very true to the franchise.  It is clear that this game and series were made by fans for fans.  It is simply a solid addition to the Alien folklore, and it makes me want a movie featuring an adult Amanda Ripley even more.  Because let’s be honest, Sigourney Weaver is probably a little too old to reprise her role for a fifth film.  

Score
8/10

Jesse Bereta

Jesse (Green Onion) Bereta is a chef of words. Classically trained in the kitchen, Jesse changed careers in ‘015 to pursue his passion of writing (and being a full time pop culture nerd). Aside from his work as a freelance writer, Jesse also operates his own website, podcasts, and is a father of two budding sprouts. The Green Onion headquarters is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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