Alien Breed 3: Descent

It's the best title in the series, but the lack of creativity is a shame

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Team17 Software Alien Breed 3: Descent
  • Team17 Software Alien Breed 3: Descent
  • Team17 Software Alien Breed 3: Descent
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Technically, this game is just about flawless 00 excellent visuals, excellent sound and great action

Cons

  • You've probably already played this twice before in the prequels, the serious lack of creativity is downright depressing the third time around

Bottom Line

Alien Breed 3: Descent comes highly recommended -- assuming you haven't played either of the previous games. It's hard to justify buying all three, but just about everyone will enjoy playing through one of them, and this is the most exciting act.

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Alien Breed is a franchise that's been around for a long time, and, really, it's the kind of game that will always have an audience. Shooting Aliens in confined corridors is a visceral thrill — after all, that's what has kept the Aliens movie franchise alive all these years. And because it's the kind of thrill that's filled with action and light on plot, it translates well to video games.

Like the first two Alien Breed games, Descent makes great use of the Unreal 3 engine to create an atmosphere of horror in a slowly decaying space ship. Like the first two, it is a traditional, top-down twin-stick shooter, and, like the first two, it's a compelling but limited experience.

The shooting itself is fun, and the game features a survival mode that is endlessly replayable. In it, you're just killing stuff, getting better weapons and racking up points. While it's not quite as compelling as, say, the Mercenaries mode of a Resident Evil or the Zombies mode of Call of Duty, it will have you coming back for more.

The story mode suffers a little from the endless backtracking you'll be doing. Progress through the game can be summarised like this — approach door A, be told you need to go to computer B. But computer B is out of power, so you'll need to go to power generator C to reboot. While you're doing this fetching you'll be attacked periodically by alien nasties, which is fine, but this is Alien Breed's one and only trick.

It grows tiring after a while, although it works, and people who have already played the first two games will be disappointed by the lack of imagination in level design.

There's online co-op for missions, which is good fun — when you find a game. The servers are severely underpopulated, so the only way you'll get a game going is if one of your existing buddies on your friends list also has the game.

It's really hard to criticise the game — Alien Breed: Descent is atmospheric, is a lot of fun to play, and is fault-free. But it's also so limited in scope, especially considering this is the third time the exact same formula has been rolled out, that you're going to have to be a diehard dual-stick shooter fan to go through the process again.

That said, if you're new to the Alien Breed franchise, this is the one to get. You're filled in on the limited backstory from the start, so you won't be confused with the plot, and, as everyone knows, the third act has the biggest baddies and is where best action happens.

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