A fun, faithful budget experience; Aliens: Fireteam Elite manages to achieve nearly everything that Aliens titles have set out to accomplish in the last decade.
How Many Drops is This for You, Lieutenant?
Before getting into the game’s first impressions, I want to praise Cold Iron Studios’ developers for their work here. The team is a small group of industry veterans that managed to outdo, in my opinion, any other studio that has taken a shot at creating a game with the same feel as the Aliens film.
Managing to come out of the gate swinging like this is an impressive feat not only due to the team’s size but also as their very first title.
For more on Cold Iron Studios’ background and formation, check out Dual Shockers’ extensive article here.
Playing as the Ultimate Badass
What makes Aliens: Fireteam Elite such a blast to play is how much it makes you feel like a Colonial Marine fighting through a hive of Xenomorphs. Everything from the radar blip sounds, the smart gun and pulse rifle bursts, the hissing of approaching Xenomorphs, the steam erupting from the vents on Katanga Refinery, to all the different M3 Pattern Personnel Armor customization options feels authentically Aliens in a way that shows a level of respect and fondness to the source material that this medium hasn’t seen before.
Currently, I’m sitting at around five hours total, having played through the first couple of missions in public co-op, and I’m loving everything about the experience. My favorite class so far is the demolisher. Using the smart gun to mow down countless Xenos and then using the shoulder rockets when things get too hectic is a ridiculous amount of fun; it feels like I’m playing as Vasquez or Drake straight out of Aliens.
Aside from the run-and-gun moment-to-moment gameplay, there is a substantial class progression system under the hood. As you play more, your class ranks up, and you get access to more perks. This is great for those that enjoy theory crafting and finding what builds work best in different situations and class compositions.
Beyond that, and it’s sad that I have to highlight this, but there are no microtransactions! That’s right, folks – a budget-priced title that isn’t constantly pulling at your wallet for more money through predatory systems like loot boxes. Imagine that. Instead, loot caches randomly spawn throughout maps as you play, and opening them gives random unlockables. This is, obviously, a fantastic system and a much-welcomed return to form when games rewarded you for playing instead of paying.
I’m a huge fan of this game and the Alien franchise, so the key elements that the team decided to focus on were an easy win for someone like me. That said, I was totally not expecting anything from this title, so I am, currently, very pleasantly surprised. Granted, the game isn’t perfect; some elements could be cleaned up. The animations and overall production values can come off as a bit janky; but, as the first outing as a studio, and with a reduced price point, I’m willing to overlook those shortcomings, especially considering how much love was clearly poured into the final product.
I hope to see more from Cold Iron Studios and the Aliens: Fireteam Elite game; they’ve certainly won me over as a supporter. I can’t wait to play through more of the game, level up some more classes, and unlock some even cooler gear. I’m also pleasantly anticipating what Cold Iron has in store for the season pass.
What do you think of Aliens: Fireteam Elite? Have you picked the title up, or do you plan to sometime soon? Let us know in the comments below!
For everything else Aliens: Fireteam Elite park it here, and stay tuned for our full review!