Aliens Fireteam Elite Review - A Mediocre Journey With the Worst Possible Beginning
Carrying the Aliens brand wouldn't cover a lazy gameplay design.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite
Cold Iron Studios
Focus Home Interactive
Action, Third-Person Shooter
Review copy provided by the publisher
I think it’s safe to say that most shooter inspirations of the Aliens movie series didn’t turn into great successful titles in the past. Aliens Fireteam Elite is only another effort to further approve this claim.
When I first started playing Aliens Fireteam Elite, the character creation system and different combat classes made me think that this going to be a fun and deep co-op shooter, but everything was vice versa until the end of the first chapter. The biggest problem with Aliens Fireteam Elite is there’s a bit of laziness behind some major aspects of the game, especially when it comes to the quest design. It’s almost like, in my opinion, the developer doesn’t seem to want to do anything to make this game unique.
- CHECK THIS OUT: What is the Aliens Fireteam Elite Best Class?
Aliens Fireteam Elite, at times, felt like a carbon copy of all the other co-op shooters on the market. It also comes across like the goal behind the game was to create the most basic Aliens-themed third-person PvE shooter. Of course, the game is still fun and challenging, but it doesn’t deliver anything new to make it a special experience. You’ve seen dozens of games like this so far and this one isn’t any different.
The game features two major modes. The first is campaign mode with a series of missions that you can play with real or AI teammates but don’t expect anything special about the story behind the campaign. It’s only a shallow narrative to keep the missions a little bit more engaging.
Now, let’s get to the first and probably one of the largest issues of the game. The biggest mistake that Cold Iron Studios has made is putting the worst chapter of the game as the beginning chapter.
This felt totally wrong – like throwing in the coffin before digging your own grave. The beginning of most games is usually supposed to feature some of the most exciting parts to keep the player engaged and entice them to continue but this wasn’t the case in Aliens Fireteam Elite.
The first chapter is so bad that you might actually want to leave the game forever and I wouldn’t blame you. From map design to quests, it’s messy. In three of the missions, which are back to back, you’re trapped in a map that has limited creativity. All of the locations look almost identical to each other. Enemies are the same as in the first mission, and quests don’t offer any room for change. It’s like repeating the first mission three times.
However, once you start the next chapters, the game shows you its real potential. The variety of maps in each mission, the expanse of enemies, and the ability to use the cover system properly make it feel like a different game.
Although Aliens Fireteam Elite features different classes with special abilities and weapons, you won’t last too much in campaign missions or horde mode without a shotgun among your arsenal. The most challenging part about the game is the fact that Aliens move really fast, which makes it tough to lock your aim onto them.
In a situation where dozens of aliens spawn one after another, even if you have good aiming, you wouldn’t be fast enough with an SMG or an Assault Rifle as you would need more bullets to kill an alien consumes time and ammo.
On the other hand, you can easily spray bullets on enemies even with messy aiming when you have a shotgun. Usually, when picking up a class without a shotgun, you run out of bullets before you reach the ammo chests.
At the end of the day, it’s the developer’s choice to keep the game linear or to give some more options to the players and reward their exploration and this just wasn’t one of those games.
The only use of assault rifles is for higher-tier Aliens and the second type of enemies – which I won’t spoil – that can be drilled by bullets of a high fire-rate gun. So, this already tightens your weapon choice and makes the shotgun a must-have for every player in the game. As a result, you would probably choose Gunner and Demolition classes over the other two.
When it comes to in-game technical issues, the only problem that I faced was minor freezing situations that, thankfully, happens rarely. For instance, sometimes it took a while for the game to show me the next objective, but neither of these was game-breaking issues.
When it comes to the environment and map design, there is almost no exploration available. Most of the doors are closed and there is only one way to go, which is not really a huge issue. At the end of the day, it’s the developer’s choice to keep the game linear or to give some more options to the players and reward their exploration and this just wasn’t one of those games.
The only thing that the little exploration of the game awards is some collectibles that don’t really require too much digging around on the map. You can hand over the discoveries to people at the base and get new things added to your armory.
Unfortunately, things get worse when it comes to quests. All of the tasks during the campaign are like “go to A, activate the X device, hold your position for a few minutes, then go to the next section,” and this cycle repeats again and again in each section. There is nothing new or innovative. To me, it seemed like the developers picked the easiest way to create combat and clutch on the map, which could be seen as a sign of laziness in gameplay design.
Aliens Fireteam Elite is a title that will disappoint you during the first few hours, but once you get rid of the first chapter, the game starts to open up to its potentials more
Although you will get the best experience out of Aliens Fireteam Elite with a team of real players, the work that Cold Iron Studios has done with the AI teammates is pretty impressive. Your AI teammates not only help you out all the time with their high rate of kills and assists but also will put reviving you as their priority when things get messy.
That being said, AI teammates would only be good for Casual and Normal difficulty levels. Once you go beyond that, it would be almost impossible to finish missions without a proper team to communicate with and navigate through the game with.
Aliens Fireteam Elite is a title that will likely disappoint you during the first few hours, but once you get past the first chapter, the game starts to open up to its potential more. If you have a squad ready for some challenging scenarios in a decent, albeit familiar, co-op shooter, then you could see yourself with an enjoyable couple of hours on your hands.