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[PC] Alien Swarm

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[PC] Alien Swarm

Unread postby infernovia » 24 Dec 2016 19:58

In a gist, it's a fun top down action game that eschews stats and loots for a more tactical and visceral experience. The core of the game is planning your route through the campaign and mowing down hordes and hordes of aliens as you and your friends are barely hanging on to life. Sweet.

Some things in Alien Swarm that I would love to see in other games of this genre:
  • Shared map where you can all plan your route.

  • Minimal loot, minimal stats, focus is on loadouts and interesting effects (freezing, burning, electricity etc.). Going through loot is tedious when all you are doing is increasing DPS.

  • That climatic end. Believe me, if you don't spoil yourself by playing on a lower difficulty, the finale is worth the wait.

  • The tactical nature of the game. This is not a game where you can succeed by spraying bullets everywhere. Friendly fire on is the default and it cannot be turned off. You even lose ammo if you reload early. However, you do have a lot of tools and weapons to work with. Bar the door, and the alien has to spend time smashing through it. Lay a wall of fire and watch the hordes melt before your eyes. But all the defenses are temporary, and the aliens can and will overpower/overrun them. You and your friends have to plan properly to use your limited resources for victory. Some of the greatest moments in this game is defending a point while hordes and hordes of aliens stream in from everywhere. All the defenses and traps we laid are exhausted but we manage to pull through.

    There are some cool things in this game borrowed from third person shooters, like crouching (for cover) and calculating line of sight so you don't hit obstacles/the floor/the wall/players. Definitely makes the game feel more "grounded" and adds to the tactical layer, although I honestly don't remember if I ever used crouch.

Get some friends, play on brutal (yes, from the beginning), and have fun.

Rating... I am torn. This is honestly one of my favorite top down action games. It was just a blast playing with the guys. I really want to give it a 5/5. My only complaint is that the environments and levels themselves should have been more distinct and memorable (ex. Shock Troopers). It also doesn't have everything we want here like permadeath, and the top down perspective is inferior to the third person/first person. It came out after Killing Floor (2009), which has a lot of the things that makes Alien Swarm good. And it's better due to 6 player support and because it is first person. But Killing Floor lacks a campaign. So, 4/5.
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Unread postby icycalm » 04 Feb 2017 19:00

To dock this game points because it is top-down and not first-person amounts to docking Hard Corps: Uprising points because is it side-view and not first-person. Yes, first-person is the most immersive perspective, but that doesn't mean that we should give all other genres one less star because of it, or we wouldn't have five-star strategy games or adventure games or belt-scrollers and so on. It's like you've never read a game review before.

Is this game a five-star top-down game? That is the question you are concerned with here; the question of whether the top-down genre is a good one is assumed to have already been addressed in the review of the first-ever top-down game, and the answer to have been in the affirmative.
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Unread postby icycalm » 04 Feb 2017 19:06

Also, there's no point giving the Shock Troopers example when -- from what I can tell by the Alien Swarm trailer -- every overhead shooter ever has more interesting-looking levels than Alien Swarm. Examples are meant to illustrate a point, but your example here does the opposite, as it conceals the point that the environments in Alien Swarm are far below the average for the genre (again, going by the trailer. I haven't played the game).
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Unread postby infernovia » 17 Feb 2017 05:43

I am stuck between 4 and a 5 then. The lack of awesome looking levels to play through was the biggest problem that I had with the game. I have a hard time docking a full star because it still did a decent enough job at keeping things tactically interesting.

So, something like:

The game needs more evocative environments and better setting, but ultimately, it doesn't stop this from being one of the best co-op games I have played. 5/5
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