Review: Alien Rage (PS3)

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Title: Alien Rage
Format: PlayStation Network Download (2.6 GB)
Release Date: September 24, 2013 (NA), October 4, 2013 (EU)
Publisher: City Interactive Games
Developer: City Interactive Games
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: M
Alien Rage is also available on Xbox Live Arcade, PC and Steam.
The PlayStation Network version was used for this review.

Gameplay:
I have to start off by saying this: I could not complete Alien Rage due to a game breaking bug. I have seen/heard many people get through the section of the game that I got stuck at, but I was not able to. There are hundreds of doors that you have to open up to proceed through the game; all of them were working perfectly, then I ran into one that wasn’t, it just wouldn’t open. After uninstalling the game and reinstalling it AND deleting my save and re-playing to that scene, the issue still was present. I am at a loss as to why my game wouldn’t allow me to progress, but other people have been able to.

Alien Rage is, at its core, a score chase game. It is a non-light gun version of House of the Dead or a first-person shooter version of Pac-Man. The whole premise is to see how quickly you can chain together kills and what the highest score is that you can get per level, then compare it to everyone else who is playing the game. This could make you want to replay a level to try to see if you can get a higher score, but you will quickly learn that it isn’t worth the headache of going through the level again.

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No, wait, Alien Rage is a cover-based game. Requiring you to jump from cover to cover while picking off the countless similar enemies that want you dead. You are required to use cover, and use it a lot, as your character can’t survive more than only a couple of bullets before he goes down and you have to restart at the most recent checkpoint. The formula of running into a combat zone, enemies emerge and you take cover is repeated…well almost every minute; bringing a giant feeling of boredom that sets in way too soon.

Hold on, let me re-think this. Is Alien Rage a cover-based shooter, or is it an old-school arcade score-chasing game? Well, honestly, it is a bit of both; but because of this divide, it doesn’t do either that good.

For those of you who enjoy games that will punish, you might find some enjoyment in Alien Rage as it is very difficult. You will experience moments when there is seemingly no way out of the situation that you have been placed in, to only escape with basically no life left; bringing a sense of accomplishment that is rare in the first-person shooter genre. The standard enemy waves that you will meet offer a rather impressive level of difficulty, but nothing that will make you pull your hair out. You will die, but after a couple of understandable deaths you will learn quickly what you need to do to beat these mindless aliens.

Then Alien Rage, seemingly out of nowhere, will become the hardest game created. No cover, amount of grenades or skill of shooting will save you from death. You might go through a section of the game only dying once or twice, then come to an encounter that will have you stuck for 20 – 30 minutes trying to beat only a handful of enemies. These random encounters of outlandish levels of difficulty, though honestly lasting for a short amount of game time, really begin to hurt the overall feeling of Alien Rage as there is no true explanation as to why it is taking so long to beat these sections. Your main tool of defense, cover, becomes basically useless when the game sees fit as it will send enemies at you that will come in close and shoot you, or throw grenades with pin-point accuracy, making your fragile character die within seconds.

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For as mediocre as Alien Rage is overall, the difficulty is its one true novel idea. The difficulty, thankfully, doesn’t lie in amount of damage that enemies can take or that they are super accurate with their shots. Instead, the difficulty lies in the way the AI handles taking you out. They use cover a lot, throw grenades constantly and with precision, and there seems to be no end to the number of enemies that will spawn in a level. Those combinations together really do give you a level of difficulty that isn’t seen a lot in first-person shooters; it’s rather refreshing for a while. Then it gets boring again.

As I mentioned earlier, Alien Rage is partly a score-chasing game. Not only are you striving to out-score your friends on a certain level, the score you gain also affects how the game plays. Once you obtain a certain overall score over multiple levels, you will begin to unlock perks that you can equip to your character to alter some of their abilities and skills. Luckily, which three perks you have equipped to your character can be changed on the fly, making re-playing a section more tolerable as you try to find the right combination of perks to use.

First-person shooters have a bad rep when it comes to being repetitive, right? Alien Rage takes the cake on that topic as each level you play feels the same as does each enemy that you pump multiple bullets into. There are few enemy types and you normally get a group of them thrown at you at once. The times where the enemies change are during the boss fights, which sadly, could be considered even worse than the areas of the game between them.

Visuals:
Hmm…what to say about the visuals on Alien Rage…I guess they look decent. Just as I previously said above about the game itself, the visuals are also nothing impressive or even memorable. Alien Rage looks just like countless other first-person shooters; its full of a bland color palate, boring scenery and too many lens flares. Nothing looks downright horrible, but there isn’t anything you will remember once you have passed through that part of the game.

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Audio:
Continuing the theme of mediocrity, the sound of Alien Rage is just as forgettable as the boss fights. Nothing stands out and, frankly, you could easily play this game without sound and it may make it better actually. At least if you played with your TV on mute you wouldn’t have to listen to the overly played enemy sound clips, which honestly could make the game far better to play.

Online/Multiplayer:
If you are still interested in Alien Rage you will be semi-happy to hear that the multiplayer, when you find a match to play, is actually on the good side of decent. The map designs are interesting and fun, while the game play is fast and exciting. If there is one shining part of Alien Rage, it is definitely the multiplayer part of the game.

Conclusion:
Nothing sets Alien Rage apart from the hundreds of other first-person shooters available on the PlayStation 3, so you might find more enjoyment somewhere else. And that makes me really sad, I could have sworn from the opening minutes of Alien Rage that I would be playing a rather good game that was missed by the masses, possibly another Vanquish…but, sadly…it is far from that.

Score:
6.0

Written by Kyle Jessee

Kyle Jessee

Your lone Kentucky writer on staff. Loves the Big Blue Nation, rock music, and Resistance 2 (the best in the series).

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