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Aliens: Infestation - DS Review

Game Info
Aliens: Infestation

DS | SEGA / WayForward | 1 Player | Out Now
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10th January 2012; By Patrick

Developer WayForward has created numerous fantastic experiences on the DS, with one of their most notable efforts being
Contra 4. Now, towards the end of the DS' life cycle, the renowned developer crafted Aliens: Infestation, a game with a 'Metroidvania' style of gameplay; very fitting as Metroid was created based on sci-fi films around the time of the original Alien films. With all the stars lined up, was WayForward able to create their swan song action title up to expectations, or is this title best left in the far reaches of space?

    For fans of the films, such as myself, the story takes place post-Aliens 3. You explore the Sulaco space ship, and get four Colonial Marines to choose from. While their personalities vary, who you play as will have very little impact as far as the story goes as they all play identically. The story is present with more than enough dialogue, but it is never extraordinarily gripping -- which is perfectly fine for a DS action title. The only complaint is just the large quantity of dialogue, most of which is inconsequential to the enjoyment of the game itself.

    Over the course of the game, there are a total of 15 Colonial Marines that you can find, bringing the total of Playable Characters to 19. The reason that there are so many characters that play almost identically is because once a Marine dies...that's it. They're done for; their goose is cooked. Effectively, the game grants you 19 lives, not 19 characters. These last throughout the entirety of the game, so you'll have to closely monitor how many chances for getting a new Colonial Marine there are left in the game. Lose all 19 and it's "Game over, man!"

    Speaking of needing to monitor your lives, this game is not a very easy game either. Even towards the beginning, my first character had almost died before making it back to the save point where the game allows you to heal up. At the end of the game I had five Marines left, having collected every Marine available to me.

The level design in the game is top-notch, allowing for exploration while still making you feel isolated and constricted. The game incorporates a certain amount of backtracking, while being sure to repopulate old areas with more and more enemies as you return to them for the purpose of missions. This helps to avoid boredom and feelings of repetition as you cross the ship for the next mission. As you progress through the game, you can unlock Bishop's Knife Trick as a mini-game, however it is nothing that you will spend too much time on.

    The game also provides a surprising level of attachment to it, being able to provide thrills and scares throughout; something that is expected when the main enemy is the mighty Xenomorph. It is highly recommended that you play the game with the audio on -- with or without headphones -- so as to hear the dynamic music changes and enemy cries. In terms of visuals, the game's sprites and character animations are of WayForward's usual quality, keeping the game world pretty while immersive.

    A game is nothing but the sum of its parts, and the overall sum of the game is fun. Aliens: Infestation is simply a fun arcade Metroidvania action title, and a highly polished one at that. It is an excellent swan song for the DS courtesy of one of the most well-respected DS game developers, and is truly a blast to play. Do not think that the Aliens license will alienate you either. This is a game that any action game fan can enjoy.

24/30 - Very Good

Gameplay 8/10 - Metroidvania style across tight corridors, exploration of the ship key, characters play the same but play well
Presentation 9/10 - Artwork fantastic, music sets tone and allows for attachment with the game, overall package well polished
Enjoyment 5/5 - Great WayForward swan song for DS, highly enjoyable even if the license alienates you, thrilling action carries well throughout
Extra Content 2/5 - Bishop's Knife Trick included, lots of backtracking through re-infested areas, 19 characters in all

Equivalent to a score of 80% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by Patrick

Aliens: Infestation
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