Developers Housemarque have built up a name for themselves for arcade-style gameplay with a flawless control scheme. Resogun was probably the best launch title for the PlayStation 4 and eyes have been keenly set on Alienation. Taking cues from one of their other titles Dead Nation and mixing it with aspects of Diablo, Alienation is one of the most fun experiences on PlayStation 4 that’s incredibly hard to put down.
Alienation isn’t a particularly long game. The game features 20 base missions that will take no longer than a couple of hours to complete. It’s everything else that surrounds it that will keep you invested. The missions act as a foundation to which the game can they lay on the layers to create a surprisingly deep experience.
First off, you can choose between three different classes. The three classes feel very different from one another and this is truly felt when you play the online with others. Alienation can be played alone and even though you still very much get the excellent gameplay, it’s only when you throw others into the mix when the game truly comes into its own.
Every missions can be started on your own and others can join throughout or you can pick a current game in the list below and jump right in. This is done incredibly well. From choosing to join, you can be in the game shooting waves of enemies in just a few seconds. This really does give an excellent incentive to keep playing the same missions over again as the core gameplay loop never gets tiring, especially in multiplayer.
As you complete missions and kills aliens, you will earn XP and enemies will drop loot. Levelling up will allow you to upgrade and gain new passive and active abilities. Each class has three active abilities and three passive abilities which can be chosen to suit your build. While the abilities are fun, it’s only when it is in multiplayer where you can truly see their benefits with one another.
When enemies are killed, they have an chance of dropping loot. Each character has a primary, a secondary, and a heavy weapon slot and each slot has different types of weapons. You can have an assault rifle in your primary slot to take out enemies from mid-range but should you get surrounded switch to your secondary which could be a shotgun and then when things get hairy, pulling out a heavy weapon like a rocket launch can really even the odds. This is only one example of how you can spec your character to take on the hordes of enemies.
As you level up you will get better drops. This happens naturally as well as choosing a harder difficulty but it isn’t long before you have plenty of resources and cores. The cores are used to level up the weapon which will have its own little grid system and putting the correct coloured cores into the sockets will yield the biggest stat improvements although you aren’t forced to this. The resources are used to rerolling certain attributes about the weapon but it doesn’t always improve it. If you find a weapon with excellent damage output but an awful fire rate, rerolling call make it more to your liking.
Getting from point a to point b is not always simple as the game progresses. After a certain point in the game, icons will show up on the map that will lead you to challenges and extra-tough enemies. Killing them will yield rewards but dying will fail the challenge.
Dying though isn’t penalised all that mush apart from your experience multiplier. This is good because Alienation is not an easy game. You can quite easily be overwhelmed and especially on the higher difficulties, a couple of hits and your down. Should you play in co-op you can be revived by a team mate but it’s almost always risky. It’s frantic, tough, but forgiving in a way that doesn’t diminish the gameplay.
Housemarque have created another game where gameplay is king. The feeling of the game is flawless but most surprising is the depth of the game itself. It adds to the simplistic gameplay and that’s a tough task to succeed in. It never feels like it intrudes on simply playing the game but it opens your options to suit your gameplay style. It’s fun by yourself but an absolute blast with others.