Why Did I Buy #3 – Alien Rage


I have a terrible habit of buying things with the best intention, and then never using them. This is usually the case for Video Games (I’m looking at you Steam), Kindle Books, and Digital comics. But as I still own them, I may as well take the opportunity to finally force myself to look at them.

While discussing my extensive (and extensively unplayed) game library with my friend, we will call him Ronald McDonald, he came up with the idea for a series of videos where I try to explain myself out of the hole of self pity as I answer the question of ‘Why did I buy this?

What happens when you try to develop Halo, but without the budget needed to make it? You make a game that carries a probably quite fair ‘mixed’ rating on steam. This is Alien Rage – Unlimited.

I played 23 minutes of the game at some point, but didn’t catch when it was. I seem to remember it a little as being a fun but underdeveloped first person shooter game that was trying to be like both Doom and Halo, without having the power of a big studio behind it.

Unfortunately this is another game that I can’t find a record of getting. I think back in the day Steam didn’t record adding keys to your library, because I definitely have less entries in my account, than I do steam games in my library.

Anyway… As a 3.4gb download, this is by far the biggest game I have reviewed so far. So let’s hope it doesn’t under deliver.

Starting the game

I was offered ‘Alien Rage – Unlimited’ and ‘Multiplayer’, which interested me a little as I would love to see if this game has any kind of community around it. However, I started with the main game. After all the Microsoft redistributables were installed, I was ready to go.

The games intro felt very professional, with the studio name, and the unreal engine logo. I did get a bit of hope when I saw that this wasn’t some home-brew engine, and I knew that the game had to come with at least a minimal level of quality.

The controls on the menu were a little funky with mouse and keyboard, so I decided to switch to controller when I noticed that was an option.

I chose all the default options, including ‘hard mode’ difficulty, as that is the ‘normal’ in this game. And then I held my breath and screwed up my eyes as I waited for what I thought was going to be a terrible experience.

Level One

The game feels Unreal.

I don’t mean that as a positive or a negative. It isn’t a compliment. The game immediately feels like it is made in the unreal engine with as little modification as could possibly be done. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because Unreal is a good foundation. But I wasn’t hopeful that this game would offer anything that would blow me away.

Visually the game isn’t unimpressive. It feels relatively generic, but compared to the poor graphics of some of the games I have been playing recently, this does look pretty decent. I did have everything turned up to maximum, and my PC isn’t too powerful, so I expect if they made the game now with the new Unreal Engine, the game would stand up even better. I would say for a game made in 2013, this game does look pretty good, overall. This is a great example of how the Unreal Engine, as well as other pre-built engines (like unity), can really help a game get off the ground with a professional look to it.

I enjoyed the fact the game was made to an attempted high standard. Some of the explosions look a little 2004 for my liking, but I liked the fact that it was a fully voiced game which was rarer at the time for non-AAA titles.

SIDE NOTE:

I should say here, though I do mention it in the conclusion, I am being perhaps a bit harsh by saying this game is not a AAA title. It is made by a fairly decent studio who have a reputation for making a high number of ‘ok-ish’ games. I reserve AAA games to a very small elite group, and I don’t always use it as a complement either. This studio is somewhere in between, perhaps more accurately making games in the region of AA – B games, like the Sniper Ghost series and Lords of the Fallen.

The tutorial is quite standard, as it puts you in situations that require you to do things like crouch and climb. It is well integrated and doesn’t feel out of place.

Killing the first few aliens was actually quite satisfying, but it does feel very much like a clone of Doom or Quake, even including the ‘double kill’ banner and announcement. This game clearly isn’t made to be one that immerses you in the world, but instead is supposed to be an action packed romp.

I want to say though, as tentative as I was going into this game, I was really heavily invested after about 10 minutes of playing. The speed of the game really goes in its favour, and means you don’t have much time to think. It really feels like a modern attempt at an arcade shooter, and made me want to actually give the new Doom games a try, something I had mostly been avoiding, for no particular reason.

The After Life

My first death came after the introduction of a new class of enemy, the grenadier. The first one I took out no problem, but the second one hit me with a single shot and killed me.

This first death was great, because it actually taught me something and was avoidable had I realised how deadly the enemy were. It also showed me that this game wasn’t just a simple attempt to copy something like Halo – because without the pleasure of shields, this game can actually be quite unforgiving.

Upon retrying the point where I died, I decided to pull back to hold my position, and was then surprised again when the AI decided to push forward. This did remind me a little of something like Halo, where the AI aren’t just locked in position, and gave me a momentary surprise for sure.

After getting out of that bind, my second death came soon after. The game is brutal in it’s speed but it is easy to pick up again, and death doesn’t feel too punishing instead being part of the game cycle itself.

In great Quake fashion, some of the weapons have interesting features that I appreciate. One Alien shotgun, for example, has a secondary fire mode which shoots what I can only describe as a gravity ball which throws the enemies in it’s vicinity all over the room. It’s nice to have some variety, and I wasn’t necessarily expecting it.

Conclusion

I played this game for longer than I expected, and I enjoyed what I played way more than I thought I would. I can’t really think of any major negatives for the game, but for a game that retails at £14.99 on steam, I think it may trying to shoot a bit above it’s weight.

This game wants to be Halo, it wants to be Doom, but it isn’t. This game is a fun mindless shooter with some good choices in design and style, but ultimately it is quite generic. I didn’t get any real feel for the story, and honestly after closing the game I didn’t feel a desire to start it up again. It is exciting to play at the time, but doesn’t really have any features that draw you in or make you want to come back. It just feels plain, ordinary, and very vanilla.

After a little research I discovered that the Studio who made this game were actually responsible for some other games I had heard of. Lords of the Fallen, Enemy Front, the Sniper: Ghost Warrior Trilogy along with a host of very low quality games throughout the 2000s. While I haven’t been overly impressed with the games that they offer, I am hopeful in the fact that they announced in 2019 a new arm of the studio that would help indie developers publish their games (for a percentage of the profit, of course). I think this is a good move, because there are a lot of indies out there who may struggle to get games out on the platforms still, and in recent history Indie developed games have had more success than small name studio games like this have managed.

KEY STATS:

Price Paid: ?? (Probably not a lot, in a bundle)

Steam Price: £14.99

Time spent: 30 Minutes (+23 minutes play time in past)

Value for Money: Meh (at full price)

Value for Time: Great (It’s actually fun)

Star Rating: 4

Steam store link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/217920/Alien_Rage__Unlimited/

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