Aliens Fireteam Elite is a third-person multiplayer FPS, based on the hit movie and game franchise Aliens. The game was developed and published by Cold Iron Studios and was released on August 24th, 2021. The gameplay is third-person FPS, where you play on a team of three through linear level maps. The most similar play style I could compare it to is Left For Dead. The overall game has an RPG system with a skill tree, classes, and other various character progressions. There are five classes you can play, Demolisher, Doc, Gunner, Technician, and Recon. There are five difficulty settings and a total of 12 campaign missions. If you play a higher difficulty then you receive better rewards at the end of the mission. There is a lot of variety when it comes to the enemies, the weapons, and how you play.
As I mentioned before, you have to play this game on a team of three people, and unfortunately, there is no local coop. This isn’t so noticeable with the Steam version, but if you get a console version an online membership is a must. Playing this game online completely ruins the fun, especially as the AI players are awful and cannot be customized in terms of gameplay. The ideal would be to have friends fill in the other two spots, but you can also play just fine with people online.
Aliens is a legendary movie series and have a few acclaimed games in its library as well. So commenting on the game in terms of an adaption and entry in the series is pretty important for a complete review. The source material is famous for its specific visual aesthetic, and use of space to create its atmosphere. Thus I think the environment design for any Aliens game would be the most important aspect, and the developers felt the same way. The visuals try and capture that iconic H.R. Geiger style, plus the amazing cinematography of the series as best they can. It is pretty hard to live up to legends of an industry, but they did justice by the original at the least. The developers play with the lighting and color tones creatively, and everything is kept pretty linear in line with a more cinematic type of game. The sound effects and music act as the perfect cherry on top to add to the immersion and atmosphere of the game.
I won’t go into details or spoilers, but there is a story and plotline in Aliens Fireteam Elite. As far as I can tell it is also canon-compliant and takes place in the Aliens universe. It isn’t the best writing in the world, but the plot isn’t bad and introduces a lot of fun elements. If you’re a fan of the Aliens franchise in any way, you will find something to love with a casual campaign playthrough.
There is one fairly big issue I have with the game, and it was one my friend also encountered. There is not a good tutorial system here, very important gameplay aspects are never explained, and you’re likely to encounter some head-scratching. Tutorials to me are the mark of a good game and a great game. If your tutorial never feels like a tutorial and explains all you need to know, it’s a mark of design mastery. The introduction and controls are still very functional, and somewhat intuitive. You are likely going to have to put in a bit of mental work and hours in before you know everything you should, but that’s not the most egregious flaw for a game to have.
Overall, Aliens Fire Team Elite manages to be a solid entry for the franchise on the whole, and an enjoyable game at the same time. The level design was both solid from a game design perspective, and in creating a unique atmosphere. Cinematic shots, creative use of color, lighting, the environment, and claustrophobic spaces are iconic points of the series. Aliens Fireteam Elite made a significant effort to use these techniques, but not copy and paste what had already been done before. The high-quality visual and audio design creates an atmospheric and immersive experience. Any fan of the movies or previous games will find something to love with this iteration, as long as you have online and good internet.
Score: 8 out of 10
Reviewed on PC via Steam