Alien Breed: Impact was a good game (read our review here). Capturing the moody atmosphere of James Cameron’s Aliens, it was a high-action top-down dual stick shooter. At it must have been a commercial success, because now we have a sequel.
Alien Breed 2: Assault takes off immediately after the first finished. Same macho hero, same story, same enemy.
Same weapons, same (admittedly gorgeous) visuals, same music and same basic gameplay modes. Right off the bat you know exactly what you’re getting in this game, and while this lack of innovation would hurt many games, for fans of the series, this downloadable ‘expansion pack’ has just enough in it to be justifiable.
There’s a couple of new tricks in this release that add a small but noticeable improvement to the experience. For starters, the map and waypoint system has vastly improved. In the original game you’d be constantly pulling up the map trying to work out where the heck to go next. With this game, waypoints are set close enough you’ll work out how to get there pretty quickly.
The action is slightly improved too, as the game is quicker in throwing a wider range of enemies at you, you’ll encounter bosses quickly, and perhaps it’s just me, but the game is ever-so-slightly more difficult, and more rewarding in he process.
Although the online lobbies are still pretty empty, you’re probably going to find it somewhat easier to find a co-op game with Assault, as it’s newer. Dedicated online players will probably want to upgrade for that reason.
All this said, the major problems that hurt the last game hurt this one too. Because you’re on a spaceship the whole time, the environments eventually become bland and forgettable. The game still looks good thanks to the Unreal Engine, and the game doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, but memorable Assault is not.
Mission objectives however, are the worst part of this game. They’re universally of the variety of ‘go to point B to get key A to get through door C.’ After a while all this backtracking gets downright boring.
If you’re a fan of the original Alien Breed, or a fan of dual-stick shooters, there’s probably enough in the sequel to justify a purchase. If Team 17 plans to continue the series further, however, it’s going to need to try something different next time.