When you think Team17, you think of the Worms series, plain and simple. However, back in 2009, they released the first game in a planned downloadable trilogy reviving the early-’90s Alien Breed series. And here we are today with the PlayStation Network release of the third and final game, Alien Breed 3: Descent. It tries to emulate the most popular action/horror games but ultimately fails to do so.
The game does have some things going for it. There is a myriad of modes and options available to the player, including multiplayer and the ability to play through the entire campaign in co-op (both online and off). While the multiplayer is hit or miss, the co-op is the best part of the experience; playing through the entirety of the campaign with a friend can make up for its dull and repetitive nature.
It’s a shame that the actual core of the experience is such a letdown. You can tell that the developers tried really hard to emulate the experience found in a series like Dead Space, but they can’t quite pull it off. The campaign features a nice variety of aliens to kill and weapons to kill them with, but it mostly relies on things we’ve seen before. There are sections where you’re outside, in space, relying on oxygen tanks and with minimalist sound design. Sound familiar?
The camera doesn’t help either. Instead of offering direct control of it with the right analog stick, you instead use that to aim your weapon. Not shoot your weapon, mind you, just aim it. If they were going to go that route, they might as well have made it a duel joystick shooter. Instead, there is a separate fire button and separate camera buttons, making controlling the camera a bit wonky when surrounded by enemies. Combine that with a selection of technical glitches and you have a somewhat buggy experience.
On top of that, the campaign is just not that fun. Getting from place to place isn’t confusing, just tedious, as the objectives are a bit of a pain. Most of them involve hitting a switch to hit another switch to go through a door to hit one final switch. And sometimes you get to the switch just to find out you need to hit one more switch you passed before you can hit that switch. Sounds fun, right?
The basic design of Alien Breed 3 seems to be fine and with a friend the campaign can be fun, but trying to play this game solo will test your patience. It’s a shame, because you often see glimmers of a great game in here, they are just covered up by some poor design choices and campaign structured less like an exciting top-down alien shooter and more like one giant fetch quest.
Pros: Nice variety of modes; multiplayer and co-op are fun; good enemy and weapon variety
Cons: Campaign is full of tedious objectives and backtracking; camera can be troublesome at times; some technical issues and hiccups