Sega Alien Syndrome

Sega Alien Syndrome
  • Expert Rating

    2.50 / 5

Pros

  • Character customisation is neat, it's a trip down nostalgia lane

Cons

  • Nostalgia is overrated, shoddy framerate issues, fiddly controls and samey gameplay.

Bottom Line

Alien Syndrome fails as a mindless shooter thanks to a number of irritating design flaws. Fans of the original will find little enjoyment here, we're afraid.

Would you buy this?

A summer sequel you may not have seen coming, Alien Syndrome picks up about a hundred years after the original arcade game. Unfortunately, it may not be worth $80 to save Earth Command all over again.

Like other games of its ilk think Diablo but set in space and with aliens instead of demons Alien Syndrome lets you pick from a variety of classes, each with different starting stats and proficiencies. You can choose to be a melee character, a long range sharpshooter who uses a gauss rifle, a demo expert who wields a bomb launcher, a Marine like character who wields a laser rifle and a Firebug who wields a flamethrower. I started up my initial game as a Firebug, feeling that fire would be just as good for dispatching aliens as a laser gun or melee weapon. The good thing is that as you level up, you can add any proficiency to any character, so there's no worry about choosing the "wrong" starting character.

Unfortunately, the character creation and the subsequent character leveling is the most compelling part of the game. Each level you earn gets you two points for the four base stats (strength, dexterity, accuracy, and endurance) and one point to put towards a specific proficiency. At the end of my game, my character had evolved from a regular Firebug to one with better armor, stronger melee and fire weapons, the ability to recharge health, and one crazy critical hit percentage. There are nineteen proficiencies in all, so there are quite a range of combinations to try. You can even build a character that's specifically useful in co-op mode by taking healing and recharge auras which affect all players (up to four via Ad Hoc) in range.

There's also a ton of loot that gets dropped and that helps mix things up a bit. The amount of stuff you can carry is determined by your strength stat, which also predictably affects your melee damage. In addition to health and energy (used for your temporary shield) pick-ups, you'll find armor, weapons, and add-ons for a nifty little robot friend you have, called a SCARAB. If the items you find are of a grade lower than what you're using or don't have the stat bonuses you want, you can feed them to the robot for salvage and he'll craft you something you do want, like extra ammo. He's like a store that follows you around and even shoots if you mod him that way.

But beyond that, the game is sort of a slog. It never evolves beyond the basic shoot-everything-that-moves model. You enter an area, kill a bunch of enemies, pick up loot, enter another area and kill more aliens. There's something inherently entertaining about the whole experience but it also can get repetitive and tedious after a while.

Also, the controls are tough and take some getting used to. Without a second analog stick a common complaint about the PSP, I know aiming your weapons is an exercise in frustration. You have to move the analog stick in the direction you want to shoot and hold down the fire button to lock your character down in that direction; you can then strafe around. Changing the direction of your aim is a hit and miss affair and you'll waste a lot of ammo just trying to draw a bead on an enemy (thankfully, there's a ton of it lying around).

There is also an issue with slow down when the screen gets crowded, the action would sometimes slow to a crawl. I even experienced a complete hang up of the game when things got really hairy I can't imagine what it would be like during a four person co-op multiplayer game.

The deep character customization options aside, Alien Syndrome is a flawed game with too many quirks to recommend. It's a passable single-player experience but if you can find some friends to play with, it just might help you kill an hour or two here and there.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?