I’ll admit it – I am such a chicken sometimes.
If you saw my earlier post a few days ago, you will know that I have been waiting and waiting to start playing Alien: Isolation on my PC (gloriously put together/modified by me in a daring attempt to avoid a PS4), and indeed, I finally got to start playing it!
There’s just one thing: I am a total coward. That’s right. As much as I love horror, I am totally the guy who will insist that his friends go into a dark room before him to make sure that whatever horrible monsters are lurking within will get them first before me. It’s a part of myself that traces its roots all the way back to childhood when my father convinced me that the Abominable Snowman had walked through our yard and was peering at us through the windows at night. That single event scarred me for life and it was years before I could go into the kitchen alone at night, or any other part of the house without looking over my shoulder.
Alien: Isolation brings that sense of unease back to the front of my mind. I started the main campaign and felt trepidation with every step I took. What is hiding around the corner? In the vents? Below me? It’s very uneasy. I haven’t encountered the alien yet, mostly because I am slow and nervous, so I thought I would get used to the old gal by playing Survival Mode, a specific quest that pits you against the alien.
What is terrifying about this mode – and the entire game, basically – is what you can’t see. Instead of seeing an animation of the alien for long stretches of time, you are given sound effects all around you. The magic of this is that your imagination fills in the gaps and the result is more terrifying than any animation could be. Where is the alien? Was that bump caused by the alien, or something else? I was very impressed.
So, if you’re looking to play this game and enjoy survival horror, I highly recommend it. I don’t know how long it will take me to finish it, but I will get a thicker skin for Isolation as I get further into the campaign. I like to think that if I were on a space station in real life, I’d be brave enough and smart enough to escape the crazed alien and survive. Alien: Isolation is proving that I have a long way to go to live up to that image of myself!