Alien Rage Review – So Much Lens Flare
Good news, everyone! On a far away planet, humanity found a huge supply of Promethean, a fuel-like alternative, which seems enough to last for ever. Oh, look at that, an alien race called the Vorus also came from a far away land to this planet because they also need Promethean, let’s share because that never went wrong ever. Oh no, they are shooting at us now, better send one guy to commit genocide. Because that never went wrong ever.
This is the premise of CI Games‘ Alien Rage – Unlimited, an oldschool styled sci-fi FPS. Just like in typical oldschool FPS fashion, the story take a backseat in this game, actually, the story is pretty much non existant. Something about a fuel source, aliens getting pissed for no reason, a plan to destroy humanity… nothing new in the sci-fi world. In short, you have to shoot aliens because people tell you to in your headset. Of course, you are going in alone, because you are bald and have a tattoo and scars on your face; meaning you are tough and don’t need backup, apparently.
You start the game just outside a large Promethen refinery with your objective being to sabotage and destroy the plant so the Vorus don’t get any more Promethean. Anyone who played an FPS before knows what to expect the game to play like: you run, you shoot, pick up alien guns and shoot some more. Alien Rage is no exception and, just by playing the first level, you saw pretty much everything the game will throw at you save for a few weapons and enemies which will appear later on. With 10 weapons at your disposal and 14 levels to blast through, you will quickly uncover the larger plan the Vorus have been scheming, and you are the only one who can stop it.
The biggest issue with Alien Rage is that the factory you enter in the first instants of the game is where the whole story takes place in. From the beginning to the end, you are shooting aliens and blowing up machinery in the same factory whose environments quickly become stale and overused. The levels are also extremely linear; you will be walking through narrow corridors until you find a slightly more open area which will quickly fill up with aliens, you kill them all and proceed through another corridor. Powered by the Unreal Engine, Alien Rage looks good graphically, however, the art direction is sub-par, often re-using the same assets and creating a very uninspired sci-fi world. For some reason, in order to make the repetitive level design even less bearable, there is an over-abundance of lens flare. If you thought Battlefield 3 was bad, Alien Rage brings lens flare usage to the next level: there were times I had to pause the game so I could rest my eyes from the sheer amount of bright lights coming from all over the environment.
There really isn’t much more to the game than this, you can only walk through corridors so many times before you start to feel the repetitiveness of the game, which isn’t helped by the lack of variety in enemy types. Throughout Alien Rage, you will encounter the same five or so different kinds of enemies who use one of two tactics over and over again: blindly charge you guns blazing or waiting for you to shoot them as they stand still in a corner. Both tactics really don’t pay off for the aliens, unsurprisingly.
One alien class which will make you curse is the grenadier. This guy has an unlimited supply of grenades for his grenade launcher and, the worst part other than being ridiculously accurate and deal a large amount of damage, is that they will damage you even if you are behind cover. I’m not sure if this is a glitch or the game is actually designed like this, but it happened more than once when I ducked behind a wall, thinking I was safe only to be blown up by a grenade launched from the other side of the map which landed in front of my cover. There isn’t much you can do to avoid it, and it will leave you cursing at the screen for what feels like a cheap and undeserved death.
Luckily, checkpoints are fairly frequent, even if they are oddly placed. You’d expect them to be after every major battle, however, sometimes, you will find yourself having to repeat a tough skirmish because you died stupidly shortly afterward.
To break the pace of the game, there are eight bosses scattered throughout Alien Rage which you will have to defeat. These boss fights are very tedious and involve very little strategy; usually all you have to do is run around in circles, get behind cover when you hear the boss charge up a powerful attack, then empty your clip into him. Sometimes you have to shoot a glowing orange spot but the tactics used to achieve this are always the same. Run, duck, shoot. These boss fights are neither memorable nor challenging and leave you with very little satisfaction after you defeated them.
Alien Rage tries to employ a score system not unlike Bulletstorm which rewards you for killing opponents with a bit more style – with headshots, explosions or melee. Unlike Bulletstorm, however, this system falls flat on its face and is just a cheap excuse to get you to compete with friends and improve your score. Instead of building upon this and give you ways to combo your kills or try and vary your playstyle a bit more by offering more points for killing with different weapons, for example, Alien Rage just keeps the point system basic without adding any extra depth to the game. It’s a wasted opportunity to what could have provided some much needed variety in a very repetitive game.
It took me a little over 6 hours to make it to the end of Alien Rage, however you can possibly stretch the time required to about 8 hours by playing it on a higher difficulty, making it a little shorter than average in terms of campaign length. You can always replay levels to improve your scores and try and get all the collectibles, but other than that there isn’t any reason to go back. There is a multiplayer mode available, unfortunately the servers won’t be available until tomorrow, therefore I am not able to say anything about it; we’ll update this article shortly after the servers are live.
Alien Rage is a game which has some good ideas but doesn’t deliver on any of them. The result is a stale sci-fi FPS full of tedious combat, unsatisfying boss fights and uninspired level and weapon design. And A LOT of lens flare. There were also instances in which I encountered annoying glitches and bugs, some of which forced me to restart from a previous checkpoint. Alien Rage – Unlimited is just another sub-par shooter and a difficult one to recommend at that. Only the bravest space marines should choose to pick this one up.