This Multiplayer Shooter Lets You Relive A Classic Sci-Fi Film on PS Plus
‘They’re coming out of the walls, man!’
James Cameron’s Aliens is one of the best action sci-fi ever made, combining the high tension and incredible creature design of Alien with fantastic action scenes and memorable characters — a few of which aren’t even massacred by aliens in the end. With its focus firmly planted on space marines blasting away at xenomorphs, it’s always seemed like a perfect fit for a video game adaptation.
And there have been plenty of games based on Aliens, going all the way back to a 1986 computer game. The most recent, Aliens: Fireteam Elite, isn’t Alien series game adaption, but it may be the best at putting you in the shoes of a colonial marine on a bug hunt.
Set after the events of Alien 3, Aliens: Fireteam Elite does away with any pretense that xenomorphs are still an unknown threat. You are here to find aliens and shoot them, full stop. It’s a starkly different tone from the creeping horror of Alien: Isolation, which is to be expected given how much the movies each are based on diverge from each other.
While there’s a perfunctory story in Aliens: Fireteam Elite, it’s mostly there to keep you moving from one action-packed setpiece to the next. Neither your character nor any of the game’s NPCs are really all that interesting. Instead, the xenomorphs are the stars of the show.
You’ll mow down wave after wave of standard xenomorphs through each of the game’s levels, which are all about getting from point A to point B while fighting off hordes of enemies at every turn. Don’t go in expecting any complex mission objectives here. Surviving is hard enough to keep you occupied.
While aliens can descend upon you at any time, you’ll also hit chokepoints in each stage where you’re waiting for an elevator to arrive or a door to be cut open. These are where the biggest fights occur, as dozens if not hundreds of xenomorphs can swarm you at once, putting both your shooting skills and your ammo reserves to the test. Seeing a mass of aliens coming at you from the ground, the walls, and the ceiling all at once is a terrifying sight, even if you’re armed to the teeth.
Mixed among the cannon fodder are more specialized xenos that can spit acid at you from long range, charge toward your position with a ram attack, or pin teammates to do sustained damage. Especially with one of these variants on the scene, sticking with your squad and working together is essential. Wander too far on your own and you’re almost guaranteed to get picked off before long.
Compared to other horde shooters, Aliens: Fireteam Elite honestly doesn’t have a lot of personality. But where it shines is in forcing your squad to work together against seemingly hopeless odds again and again. To make the situation even more dire, you can use challenge cards before each mission, which add additional objectives in exchange for better rewards. One card causes missions to fail if even a single teammate falls in battle, while another removes the entire HUD — including the all-important radar, which pings the direction of nearby hostiles much like in the Aliens film.
There are also multiple classes, which add additional skills with some tradeoffs. As the Doc, you’re better at keeping teammates alive but not as good at picking off enemies. Demolishers trade some mobility for the ability to use more powerful weapons.
Challenge cards and classes add a nice layer of strategy to Aliens: Fireteam Elite without bogging it down in tedious team management. The focus is always on blasting away at xenomorphs, you just get to choose how to do it. Finding the best team composition and challenge cards to suit every particular stage keeps things fresh even after you’ve fought off thousands of xenomorphs.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite may not become your favorite multiplayer game, but it’s hard to beat its tense action, especially since it puts you in the world of an all-time sci-fi classic.