It is hard to believe it, but the third and final chapter of the Alien Breed saga is finally here. I say hard to believe mainly because this is the third game in the series in less than a year. Built as a trilogy from the ground up Team17 has created a collection of games to host this story that draws inspiration from movies such as Event Horizon and the classic Aliens. The problem here is that by now gamers have either forgotten about the game or simply stopped caring as each incarnation is hardly much different from the last; oh and the story lost steam after the first game. Still these are solid top-down shooters and Descent caps off a decent run for the team that brought us Worms.
If you have been following the story up to this point, you will be happy to know that this one picks up right where the second one left off. Conrad is still making his way through the ghost ship, fighting aliens and trying to repair the ship. Storytelling remains the same for better or worse, and if you haven’t cared up to this point, this won’t change your mind. It is nice to finally get some closure and Conrad gets my vote for having the worst day ever.
The gameplay also remains mainly untouched. You still play from a top-down isometric perspective and use the bumpers to navigate the camera around your character. There are times when the camera shifts to a static position, which can be cumbersome much like the last game, but it never breaks the game. You move with one stick and aim with the other while firing with the trigger. Pretty standard stuff and Alien Breed has always done it remarkably well. The problem here is that this outing does very little to differentiate itself from the previous two entries.
Environments feel recycled, enemies remain mostly the same with just a few new bosses and there are no new modes to speak of. Granted since the second manifestation of the series the visuals have been slightly cleaner, this one still feels more like chapter three of one single game. The objectives remain the same, the pacing feels lifted from previous entries, and all around the game just feels like an expansion pack that stands alone. Now don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with extending an already impressive title, but this one feels like it might have worn out its welcome with the last title.
Visuals and sounds are again top notch for a downloadable title. The lighting effects and environments are impressive to say the least. The sound also deserves mentioning for its great immersion. The effects aboard the ship are incredibly well done and the music sets the mood just right. Again Descent is an impressive title from a technical standpoint. There are also plenty of modes to keep you busy with co-op and even a horde mode to plow through. Both of which were also available in the previous iteration, and unfortunately there are no new modes to speak of.
Alien Breed Descent is definitely a solid title in all the traditional categories. While it may be a bit repetitious at times, it is hard to argue the value as long as you can handle the monotony. If you have been sticking with it since the beginning you won’t be disappointed with the finale. There is plenty of content here to justify the purchase, you just may be growing tired of the same objective-based missions and searching dead bodies for ammo. Still the game has carved a decent story and plenty of action that still keeps it as one of the most technically impressive downloadable titles currently available.
Review copy provided by publisher.