Aliens: Dark Descent Review – Aliens Meets XCOM

Aliens: Dark Descent is a thrilling and horrifying new addition to the franchise.

Aliens: Dark Descent Review
Overall
3
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Aliens: Dark Descent is a great game with a lot of thought put into its world and aesthetics, but those can only get you so far.

  • Developer: Tindalos Interactive
  • Publisher: Focus Entertainment
  • Release Date: June 20, 2023
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
  • Tested On: PC

Pros

  • Unique Gameplay Quirks
  • Aliens Setting
  • AI Learning
  • Gritty Visuals

Cons

  • Limited Gameplay Mechanics
  • Repetitiveness
  • Bugs

It has been some time since we’ve seen a great Alien game in action, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be a Real-Time Strategy or RTS game like the one we have in store for you today. So our Aliens Dark Descent Review will briefly cover some of the crucial aspects of this wild mashup of genres.

In our experience, Dark Descent is a pretty unique game. It has its fair share of cousins in similar genres like Hard West 2, XCOM 2, and a little squad-based gameplay like Empire of Sin. However, unlike Aliens Dark Descent, none of them implement the thrill of resource management in a horror sequence filled with monsters ready to eat you alive.

Story And Setting

Setting Image of Dark Descent
Setting.

Aliens Dark Descent is a thrilling survival horror real-time strategy game. It is also a squad-based title where you can embark on an extraterrestrial adventure with your friends with the sole goal of survival. And as a commander, you must guide your squad to success or succumb to the dangers of the outbreak.

The story is set 20 after the events of Aliens 3. So, it’s roughly in the year 2198, a few years before the events of Aliens. The timeline can be a little confusing, but in our experience, the dialogue in Dark Descent does all it can to keep you on track.

The major area in Dark Descent is the Tantalus Base, a former Yutani Corporation facility. An outbreak occurred here, and now the place is swamped with Xenomorphs. Now you, alongside your marines, must survive the outbreak and somehow overcome the crisis with expertise.

The timeline can be a little confusing, but in our experience, the dialogue in Dark Descent does all it can to keep you on track.

To your surprise, the Xenomorphs have started morphing with humans into creatures that now pose an even bigger threat. So as you crash into this site, be ready to give it your all in order to explore and make it out alive. 

Gameplay

Gameplay of Aliens Dark Descent
Gameplay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Descent’s gameplay is reminiscent of games like XCOM or the old-school Command and Conquer titles. But again, it is also a strategy survival game, so you must be extremely careful with utilizing your resources.

You take command of your squad of marines and issue them commands in real time. Xenomorphs are more than ready to attack your troops, and that is why you must traverse the map carefully, as you fight the aliens while also worrying about how many items you are using.

The most important thing to note about the gameplay is Stealth. You can go in guns blazing and kill whatever you can, however, that won’t prove to be very effective a lot of the time. Once an alien spots you, it alerts the Hive, which in turn increases the spawn rate of enemies. Along with this, each battle or each indication of a Xenomorph will cause your squad to gain three random debuffs over time. These debuffs can make it harder to control your squad, affect accuracy and potentially lose you the game. Therefore, you need to traverse extremely carefully and with extreme stealth.

Dark Descent’s gameplay is reminiscent of games like XCOM or the old-school Command and Conquer titles. But again, it is also a strategy survival game.

To counter the Mental Breakdown of your squad, you need to prepare some countermeasures and affirm safety. You can bolt down doors or rest in safe rooms so that the stress meter doesn’t fill up too quickly. This is one of the more disappointing features in Dark Descent as it, among other things, makes the gameplay extremely slow. However, when it comes to the more mechanical nature of the game, there are some mixed feelings.

First up there is the AI, which will eventually learn to counter you depending on how you play. And while that is interesting, the overall mechanics of actual combat are nothing too unique. For an AAA-priced game like Dark Descent, it should offer more mechanics for players to enjoy. It does seem like Focus Entertainment focused a lot more on the variety of features than the quality of the gameplay in their latest publication.

Visuals And Performance

Aliens Dark Descent Game Visuals
Visuals.

Now it’s time to discuss one of the more controversial parts of our review. Although the hame gets a fairly decent score in the categories listed above, Dark Descent is one of the most bugged games in recent memory and can sometimes get extremely annoying to play. The constant lagging, paired with the frequent stutters, is embarrassing for a game of its stature.

Paired with all the above, the clunky controls make navigating the game extremely hard. Granted, the experience is supposed to be hard, but it is more annoying than it is difficult. Lastly, the UI is clean but unnecessarily more over-complicated than it should be.

Dark Descent is one of the most bugged games in recent memory and can sometimes get extremely annoying to play.

And unlike the performance, the visuals are quite spectacular for its genre. It handles the aesthetics of a deadly outbreak, fear of unexpected doom, and atmosphere of uneasiness with class. The entire theme comes together brilliantly for you to explore.

The game has a very expansive world for you to interact with and explore, and that’s one of its winning features. It is almost like reliving the old Resident Evil titles with the held camera angles, this time with a semi-third-person view.

Verdict

Verdict Image Aliens
Verdict.

Dark Descent is a great game, with a lot of thought put into its world and aesthetics, but those can only get you so far. The gameplay is serviceable, if a bit simplistic, and the whole experience can get repetitive well before the finish line.

Additionally, the many bugs and technical issues that sometimes make it impossible to enjoy. It is a great addition to the Aliens franchise but still has a long way to go before reaching its full potential.

This has been our Aliens: Dark Descent Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles. 

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Haddi is a Senior Writer & Editor at eXputer who loves to play games and talk about them like a fanatic. Hadi's years of experience in this industry let him provide a unique and critical perspective on games to share with his audience. His work is also featured on several other websites. You can hit him up on his gaming profile at Steam!

Experience: 5+ years || Previously Worked At Gamepur, Gear Siege, GearNuke

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