Alien: Isolation Review

Welcome to Sevastopol. A Seegson space station orbiting gas giant KG348… I’m a survivor of this horrifying accident. 32 hours of hell in space…

This was the first game for which I haven’t really watched any trailers or gameplay previews prior to release. The main reason for this was not to ruin my experience. And I was right. I did know that I’ll meet one of the most terrifying organisms in the movie industry, the Alien. And I was aware that it’s heavily stealth based game. But other than that, I didn’t really know what I was getting into. Trailers and teasers just show too much these days and you already get the feel for the game even before you try it. Which is not cool, trust me. Try one game this way and you’ll see that experience is indeed a lot better.

Basically I had a very very really long review in the pipeline, but decided to sack it and make a lot shorter version which still ended up being quite long. Anyone who wanted to read a review about it already did so, no point in doing it twice. I’ll just make few highlights and my opinion on the critics others have made. Be aware that there will be spoilers ahead!

The story is pretty good, it has few twists, but isn’t anything on a level of System Shock 2 or the original Deus Ex. but still reasonably good for an Alien game, considering we basically know everything about them and anyone who has watches all the movies and played all AvP games knows how things go. Since I haven’t watched any trailers I didn’t really know how I’ll meet the alien, so I was very cautious through the entire “introduction” section, because I thought it will jump on me any second. The tension escalated quite well till around the middle of the game. Which I thought was actually the end, so the game sort of caught me by surprise, especially at the 3/4 of the game where I found out that things went to shits down below the reactor core of Sevastopol. Ending is a tiny bit disappointing and I wish the whole game would escalate in a more tense way, because the first half was really intense and after a middle of the game, tension sort of just drops to zero when you’re dealing with those malfunctioning working Joe’s. They are a challenge, especially the maintenance ones, but they just aren’t as terrifying as the alien and that really killed the atmosphere for me until you deal with some more aliens. The game sort of escalates in tension twice and not in one big linear escalating chunk. The ending is not definitive and clearly calls for a sequel. Do it Creative Assembly! Do it!

Graphics and audio are a fantastic aspect of this game and I wish more of developers would follow Creative Assembly. The graphics are amazing. Sharp textures, amazing shading, shadows that actually have soft edges and not serrated, like we see them in so many games. Environmental lighting is just out of this world with all the sparks making tiny fragments of light in the corridors, light penetrating smoke and fog, the volumetric fog itself is really on a movie level that really makes a damn good atmosphere. Or the heat haze all over the place when you’re down at the reactor engineering. Really subtle touch that gives a great feeling to the levels. Oh and light corona and lens flares are the most spectacular thing I’ve seen in any game so far. When you get that rare occasion to stare out the window of Sevastopol station and observe the orange glowing star in the distance, just breathtaking. And best of all, I was able to experience this brand new game maxed out with silky smooth framerate on a 3 generations old graphic card at 1080p. I have an overclocked Radeon HD7950 which is quite old by all means and definitions and it ran this game as smoothly as butter. That’s amazing and it shows that the game is superbly optimized. There are few tiny glitches like small gaps between certain world elements and alien tail doesn’t get shadow and SSAO treatment when it’s being dragged on the ground, but these are really tiny details.

Sound is amazingly detailed and while I really miss EAX 5.0 (software 3D renderers used in modern games make environmental sounds feel artificial and sort of plasticky) that would give it that proper realistic material feel to the sounds, It’s still good. I especially loved the EVA sequence where you hear pieces of debris hitting your EVA suit and helmet. It just felt so realistic and overwhelming. Especially since whole game is based on being aware of the sounds and the fact that half of the sounds will scare the shit out of you. Music is also great and makes really amazing and tense atmosphere in the parts before you meet the alien, however once you have to actually deal with it, I had to disable music. I prefer to play realistic as a true survivor against a terrifying alien creature, so trying to work out its footsteps over the entire orchestra slamming on the instruments wasn’t all that helpful. It’s sort of part which is great, but is conflicting with the game mechanics. One important fact to point out, this is one of the rare games where motion tracker, a first person player device affects the outer world beyond just a player “element” or a device in your hands. If you use a motion tracker when alien is very close to you, it will actually hear it. So it can help or doom you if you’re not careful. Really nice detail. Oh and you just have to play it with headphones. It’s the only proper way to play such a game. With headphones and a dark room. Only that way you experience the visual and audio together in an almost perfect form.

And with the sound affecting gameplay, there are also weapons that do the same. Holding molotov cocktail or flamethrower primed in your hands and the alien will actually see the flame and it will attract it. Just the same as with the sound, something I’ve never seen in any other game and really adds up to the realism factor. Initial weapons like the revolver are not of any match against the alien and they just attract more shit onto you, but alien is afraid of fire and once you get those kinds of weapons, things become a bit more forgiving and while you still have to think a bit since ammo is not exactly plentiful, you are allowed to make mistakes since it will not mean an instant death anymore.

There were also some complaints over few game elements like alien discovering their hiding places “randomly”. That’s not true at all. All such scenarios that people complained about were not “random” because the game decided so, but because they made crucial mistakes. And I could see all that in their Youtube recordings. You can read more about them in my Alien Survival guide down below, but they mostly violated sneaking rules where they simply walked or even sprinted when alien was in the room. That will always give you away. Or not taking into account alien field of vision. While it often doesn’t see you when you’re hiding, being hidden under a bench where alien can see you from the side of it from a far, that’s not random, that you picking a wrong hiding spot. Plain and simple. In the entire game, I’ve NEVER been discovered randomly, because I was very careful when picking hiding spots. And when I was discovered, I simply fucked up my timing. But it was NEVER random. The other cases that I’ve seen were people bringing up motion tracker or molotov and flamethrower when alien was nearby. Those 2 things mentioned above that people apparently aren’t aware of. The first person weapon effects that affect world around the player. So, the alien is not “cheating” as some say, they just screwed up. Only place where alien felt like it’s cheating is on Hard difficulty. It wasn’t more difficult as such, I could just clearly see the game directing it towards me even though I sneaked past it like a true ninja. So, playing it on medium is really a must if you want to make alien feel like a real living creature and not like a scripted cheating robot.

Save points and lack of auto saving. I disagree with both. There is auto saving when you enter trains, most elevators and even some game sections towards the end of the game. And the save points really aren’t any different from Dead Space 1 saving stations. There are enough of them not to make the game too frustrating and they force you to decide how you’ll progress through the game. I’ve saved so many times even though it said “Hostiles nearby”. It was really tense to pick a critical moment and get to the saving station and save. And in the entire game, not a single time I got caught during the saving. There were near “hit” moments, but never got killed while saving. It adds to the tension and atmosphere. I generally hate limited saving, but having Quick save and Quick load in this game, you’d basically be slamming that all the time and that would kill the experience for sure. I used to be one of those quick save junkies because I’m a perfectionist in my life. So, game forcing me to do things more slowly and carefully actually makes sense and I appreciate it.

Next major complaint was backtracking and re-using of the existing game levels. I frankly didn’t feel like they were annoying at all. In fact, they gave the Sevastopol that immersive feel that you’re actually walking inside a meaningful structure and not just endless unique corridors that never repeat themselves or make meaningful connections to each other. But they did it in a fine way and not like developers did in Halo with freaking copy and pasted 6 bridges, countless retarded copy pasted Library corridors and copy and pasted end ship with just a bit different burned textures. I still take that as the worst offense in level design history and I always compare games to that. Alien:Isolation was nothing like that. Yes, you do walk through same transit stations few times and you do walk through some of the older sections, but just so you can get to the doors and parts that were out of reach in the beginning. Anyone who played System Shock 2 has experienced the same and it gave that immersive feeling just the same. It just feels proper and physical if you can always return to most of the game level parts. Which you can and all the gadgets, objects and items will be still there after hours you left them behind. It makes the world alive and meaningful and I actually like the level design decision for that.

Yes, the game has few minor issues and glitches, but if you look at it as a whole, the game is amazing experience and I think it is the best game I’ve played this year. And it’s certainly among the best games I’ve ever played in fact. You just have to experience it in a way the game was intended to be experienced. Invest time into proper sneaking, making sure you’re silent, sparing resources, make smart decisions. My idea was to play it as a true survivor, trying to die as little as possible and take as much time as needed to end the game as I was really trying to get away from a real alien. If you have the intention to just rush through the game, forget it. You’ll miss half of the game and you’ll also miss half of the true survival experience. People are so obsessed these days to finish the games as quickly as possible and then brag about it on forums. I’m not ashamed of playing this game for full 32 hours. I’m proud of that fact and I wish more players would take more time to enjoy the games. Because when you’ll play it for the second time, the experience will never ever be the same, because you already know how levels look, what major will happen through the story and what’s the end like. So take time and experience the game fully the first time.

I’m not going to give it a % score of X out of 10 score, I’ll just say that game is excellent if you’re willing to invest your time in it properly. And as such, the game earns that cult status. You know, the: “Every time you mention Alien:Isolation, someone will reinstall it.” thing? System Shock 2 has it, so does Deus Ex. And I think Alien:Isolation certainly deserves that same cult status. Masses will not love it, but every time you’ll hear a mention of this game, it will bring back all the amazing and terrifying experiences that you’ve had in it. And that’s for me worth more than anything else.

Buy the game and support developers like Creative Assembly, who have some grande cojones to release a game of such type in times where everyone churn out Call of Duty clones on yearly basis just because that business model guarantees money. They’ve instead gone for the “by gamers for gamers” model. Reward them by opening your wallet. And because it’s the right thing to do.

Here is also my Alien Survival for Dummies guide:
http://rejzor.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/alien-survival-for-dummies/

You might be surprised how many of the “rules” you’ve violated when you got caught by the alien. Or how many ways there were to get around a problem. I think there are quite a lot of really useful tips and ways that will give you a new view on a game replay value.

Sennheiser MX375 earphones review

As much as Sennheiser is well known for their high end audio peripherals, they also provide quite a lot of very affordable gadgets for your multimedia life.

I used to own Sennheiser MX470, but they got physically damaged at the jack-cable joint, because I’ve dragged my laptop from the desk several times because I forgot I was wearing them or because my dog or someone else walked through the cord… Anyway, I loved MX470 because they lasted the longest considering the extreme abuse and they had a really good sound quality along with decent bass and comfortable wear. And they weren’t that expensive.

MX470 model isn’t available anymore, but Sennheiser offers MX475 which are rather similar to my old ones, even spec wise, but a lot cheaper than MX470 used to cost back then. But after some thought, I said what the hell and decided for the MX375. While the name suggest they are lower model than MX470 or MX475, they in fact offer higher frequency range, up to 22kHz (MX470/MX475 only go up to 20kHz). MX375 provide amazingly clear sound with slightly less bass than MX470, but still deep and punchy enough to be really nice listening experience. I’m a huge fan of vocal trance and as such I need both, good bass and also crystal clear vocals. And to my surprise, the MX375 delivers both with excellence (in my opinion).

Construction wise, they are similar to MX470. Angled 3,5mm jack, symmetric cord design that isn’t adjustable like on MX470 (I never used that anyway), no volume control and classic ear phones that don’t actually go inside the ear channel, but hang on the ear channel “entrance”. I just don’t like things stuck deep in my ears and those silicone plugs always get all nasty even if you keep your ears clean all the time. Changing ear buds is always easier for me and the come cheap from eBay. Having no volume control on the cord is not really a disadvantage. Sure it come in handy sometimes, but the fact they are always the weakest link on the cable, they always lose the connection to the cord after few accidents like I had above sooner or later. Or they just start to make sound all crackling and skipping when the sliding button gets worn out and dusty. Sennheiser also places a raised dot on the left earpiece, giving you ability to know which channel is left and which is the right even in complete darkness by just touching the earpiece, which is quite useful.

Only thing that I slightly dislike is a bit cheap feeling thinner cord which doesn’t feel as posh as it did on MX470. But that’s really the only downside that I could find.

Sennheiser MX375 come in a blister package with a pair of black ear buds and black synthetic leather pouch with Sennheiser brand on the side for earphones storage.

The selection of such type of earphones is really poor as all companies seem to be obsessed with those crappy silicone ear plugs (that I absolutely hate) nowadays and out of all those you can hardly find, Sennheiser clearly delivers good earphones for affordable price. If you also don’t like those in-ear silicone plugs, consider these (or even MX475). I think you won’t be disappointed.

Sennheiser MX375 retailed for around 11 € (incl. VAT) on Amazon Germany, where I bought them.

avast! Antivirus 2015 released!

AVAST Software has released a new major version of their flagship product avast Antivirus today. Here is the list of major changes/improvements:

• HTTPS scanning
Ability to detect and decrypt TLS/SSL protected traffic in the Web-content filtering component. This feature will protect you against viruses coming through HTTPs traffic as well as adding compatibility for SPDY+HTTPS/ HTTP 2.0 traffic. You can tune/disable this feature in the settings section.

• AVAST NG
A hardware based virtualization solution capable of running each Windows process in standalone safe virtualized environment (VM) and fully integrated to your desktop. Each process is executed in its own instance of VM, which means totally isolated from your other applications. This feature is now powering the Avast DeepScreen, resulting in better detection. Avast NG requires HW virtualization enabled.

• SecureDNS (this feature is active in the paid versions only)
A new provider which guards against unprotected DNS/DNS hijack on a router/client (including unsecured networks, public ones, etc.).

• Home Network Security

Scan your home network for vulnerabilities (wifi status, connected devices, router settings, factory passwords, etc.). It helps to discover potential problems not isolated on the particular device only, but in the entire network of devices you use or connect to the Internet from.

• Smart Scan

Integrated all on demand scans into one (Antivirus, Software updates, Home Network, GrimeFighter). One scan, different results and recommendations.

• New Support System
Easy contact for paid users to submit a ticket with all info included automatically. Improved knowledge base for free users. Help is completely online and is more up to date.

• General bugfixing
This covers a lot of stability & performance changes in all components (but the main focus was traditionally on the network & engine components).

avast! Free download with referer (if you weant to help me out)
http://www.avast.com/get/PylIx3WC

Download locations
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_free_antivirus_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_pro_antivirus_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_internet_security_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_premier_antivirus_setup.exe

avast! cleaner:
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avastclear.exe

My updated, super silent, fully automated config file for the new avast! 2015:

http://rejzor.wordpress.com/avast-2015-protection-tweaks/

It should be possible to install this version on top of your existing avast! installation (all settings should be preserved). Or you can use in-product updater.

Enjoy this release!

Firefox 33 launched!

Some more news from the Firefox front. This time with some really important new performance features.

Two of them are OMTC or Off Main Thread Composition which gives Firefox ability to utilize more CPU threads more efficiently, providing faster webpage rendering and also a lot smoother interface behavior. The second improvement is for the JavaScript engine with faster and slimmer JS strings. There are other features but these two are the most important to me.

You can already grab Firefox 33 through their FTP:

ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/33.0/win32/

The way how Firefox 33 feels ultra snappy on a 4GHz quad is incredible, I can’t wait to test it on my low end laptop with AMD E-450 which is just a very low power dual core. Should be interesting…

Comodo and how not to be a fanboy

So, here we are again. I wanted to write this in the morning when I’d wake up, but since it’s already tomorrow now, I’ll just do it now. Because I’m so utterly pissed it just has to go out, otherwise I won’t be able to sleep.

People often accuse me of being an avast! fanboy. You know, people are fanboys about every bloody thing there is. Apple fanboys, lemon fanboys, Ferrari fanboys, Adidas fanboys and there are also some of us who float in a security circles and fall into a X brand of security software fanboy section. I’m supposedly avast! fanboy accused by people on forums because I very often recommended avast! from the great experience that I had with it. And I admit it, I used to be a fanboy to a degree in the early days when I found avast!, but later on through the months and years, found out that sugar coating everything doesn’t really resolve things. It’s better to just tell things the way they are. Sometimes truth hurts, but if you’re aware of it, you can make things better. Improve things. I’ve made few quite critical complaints about avast! in the last few years, where I could sense from the replies of developers that they were not exactly appreciated, but were noted. No one wants to see complains over your product, but if you actually care you man up and improve things. It makes sense and it’s perfectly logical right?

Well, apparently it isn’t to Comodo fanboys on their official forums…

Their logic goes like this. Brag about Comodo all days long, praise it to death and anyone who is stupid enough (like me apparently) who walks into their little perfect world and actually dares to tell the truth, gets banned. Apparently 99% of most hardcore Comodo fanboys are also moderators waving with their moderator sticks. How convenient…

Months if not years ago already?, their cloud backend for file submission started churning out errors “File cannot be found” error when trying to submit unknown files through their program. Like every normal bug, I filled a report. Because it wasn’t in some incredibly retarded format they demand there (which was not needed because they don’t have any automated bug tracker) it got rejected so to speak by getting thrown in the “bulk” section of bugs despite me explaining it in such detail it was almost idiotic). Fun fact is that other users also submitted it. In their stupid format. And guess what, months have passed, I got banned in the meanwhile… Rejoined their forum now under some other name and perfectly politely asked what’s the status on that bug in a BETA section where they just run a brand new CIS 8.0 beta test (I’ve encountered the bug during beta test of CIS 7.0 i think). Because for some fucking retarded reason I still wanted to get things fixed and get a working product that I could use…

This is how it went (luckily I saved it during writing)…

ME: Has integrated file submission been fixed or does it still spew out “file cannot be found” errors when submitting files?

SOME USER: No they did not fix that prob. They don’t show any interest on that bug. Just accept this bug and use cis.

ME: I don’t get it why they refuse to fix it. It makes submission of files impossible, meaning they have a broken cloud backend which means they will have an entirely crippled product…

And here comes their Comodo smartass moderator EricJH…

EricJH: It’s a hyperbole to say it cripples the product. Nothing happened to the proactive security of CIS that does not need or rely on av signatures.

ME: And the same applies to saying it doesn’t. Cloud is as useful as the data fed to it. If you’re not getting data to it, it’s useless. Why would you spend time and money developing cloud system and then not bother fixing the essential part of it when it gets broken? And we aren’t talking about days or few weeks of being aware of this bug, months and months have passed and nothing got fixed.

The basis of every cloud system is to have more users to get larger feedback from users via data submission and then aggregate this data into a) further cloud detection b) improving the whitelists. But they just don’t seem to care (can’t really think of anything else considering how much time it has passed with no fix for something that used to work perfectly well). A bit weird logic if you ask me. Saying “it doesn’t matter” is just plain ignorant.

EricJH: Nor does polarizing. It does not cripple the complete suite. The first line of defense is not the av.
Under a former user name you have not made friends with at least part of the mod squad. Consider that a warning.

Sorry MY_USERNAME, you are banned from using this forum!
Former banned member
This ban is not set to expire.

So, that’s how my short lived conversation went there…

Now, lets get to facts, because unlike this idiot EricJH, that knows jack shit even about theoretical security and just knows how to use a fucking BAN button in their forum software…

Cloud systems are essentially only as effective as the data fed to them. The more users you have connected to the cloud and the more data you get in it for processing, the more efficient algorithms you can make, the more extensive whitelist bases you can create, you can have the most extensive reputation services and you get more samples to analyze for file scanning detections and so on.

What he was saying was basically load of horseshit garnished with some bullshit. Saying it “doesn’t affect” you is the one and main from the menu. Their AV is mostly fueled from their cloud detections, offline local signatures are just a backup when you’re offline. Their Autosandbox system heavily relies on whitelists which are local digital signatures as well as “live” digital signatures that can override local ones when necessary. And their Autosandbox system in its absolute essence relies on whitelists. If file is not digitally signed, it has to be checked against online whitelist (hash check). Otherwise things get sandboxed and get very limited and quite often functionally broken after that and then users have to sort files as safe/unsafe on their own. If a product is unable to submit new samples to the cloud, this means you won’t be able to make effective whitelist, you won’t gather new digital signatures, you won’t get new samples for file detections, nothing. And he just keeps on going and reassuring me with his bullshit. So, EricJH, stick your fucking retarded arguments wherever you want. You can fool some noob with such stupid comments, but they don’t work on me. If cloud is not getting new data in from user base, your beloved Autosandbox that is relying on it becomes a useless turd that will sandbox pretty much everything that isn’t digitally signed, because that is the easiest and most permanent method to flag something as safe or not. For unsigned stuff, you need to process the files regularly and flag them as safe (or unsafe). If your cloud is broken in the way I described (and it is), then half of your so-called “unaffected” systems are actually affected.

Conclusion?

Fuck them. Yeah, I’ve actually said that. Fuck them. I actually thought they had a good product that needed some polishing, but now that I see the clowns are running the show, bugs never get fixed unless they are reported by idiots like EricJH who can’t get his head out of his own ass and those who actually want to improve things get banned and banned again for being banned before, makes me just scream at these fuckers and slap them in the face. How can anyone actually be so fucking retarded is beyond me. I just can’t comprehend that on any level. I just can’t.

So, if anyone you know wants to install Comodo or you want to install it for someone. Just don’t. Because I wouldn’t install this pile of garbage even on the PC of my worst enemy. Because that would be just too cruel. Use any other security product. It really doesn’t matter which one for as long as it’s not Comodo.

Alien survival for dummies

As you may have already noticed I’m totally all over Alien:Isolation game. I think the game is totally awesome. But surviving there is hard. So here are some tips on how to make your life on the Sevastopol space station a bit easier. I’ll list more stuff when I observe effective methods.

ALIEN SURVIVAL FOR DUMMIES

Last update: 2014/10/26

- Don’t play using Hard mode. It’s not challenging at all, in fact it feels stupid because alien knows exactly where you are no matter what you do and it’s really annoying and cheap because you can clearly see it’s scripted to know all that. Play with Medium difficulty which is still very challenging, alien actually wanders off or goes into the vents for a short time, you can actually leave its area and gain some extra space and time. It just feels more realistic and simply better.

- Disable music. While it makes some great atmosphere at the beginning, it gets in the way badly when you’re trying to track alien or other enemies through sound. Best motion tracker are your ears. Use them.

- When picking up a maintenance jack for the first time, pick it up first and then use the recorder next to the corpse holding maintenance jack. Playing the recording first and picking maintenance jack during playback will cause the game to lockup. It’s repeatable and reproducable bug, at least it hapepned 3 times in a row for me until i switched the order of doing things. Then it worked fine.

- When randomly encountering a weird noise when moving your mouse around (usually after aiming with the flamethrower), sort of like you’re carrying 20 bottles of flamethrower fuel on your belt, switch to a revolver and aim around with it for few seconds. The weird noise should go away. It’s a bug with flamethrower fuel noise when moving it around.

SNEAKING / HIDING / TRACKING ENEMIES

- Be aware of your surroundings, especially escape routes and hiding places for current room, one room back and for the upcoming one. You don’t want to be retreating into a dead end… Plan ahead and try to remember where you’ve seen hiding places as you walk through the rooms.

- Ceiling vents, if possible, try to walk around them and not underneath them. When alien is waiting, you’ll see the slime dripping from it and you’ll also hear heavy breathing of the alien. It’s best to always walk around the ceiling vents just to be sure.

- Never walk or run when alien is in the room. This will give you away and you won’t be able to outrun it because it’s way faster than you are. In fact don’t run at all unless you’re running away from a synthetic and you know there is no alien around…

- Place yourself into the alien shoes. So to speak. If you’re about to hide under a bench or a desk, imagine yourself from the alien perspective if it would be able to see you. Because sometimes you might think you’re hiding well, but you’re in fact very much visible. Staying out of its entire field of vision is the best way to hide.

- Don’t stay in one hiding place for too long. Alien tends to roam into the room, scout it and then leave for a short time. Take this as advantage and try to sneak into a next hiding place before it returns.

- You can track alien through listening to heavy footsteps (like walking barefoot flat on ceramic tiles). If you hear them, hide. You’ll also hear a distinctive noise when it jumps inside a vent (or out) and you can also track it through footsteps inside the vents. They have more echo and you’ll also hear a lot of metallic noise in footsteps.

- Stay away from main corridors if possible. Use vents or side corridors to progress. Avoid large open spaces without any chance to hide. The same reason why rats always move along walls in real life.

- When you’re hiding in a locker or those tiny closets and alien spots you inside, hold RMB (Right Mouse Button) to hold breath and press back key to lean backwards. Be aware that holding breath for too long will hurt you (health), but letting it go too soon will give you away. Game will notify you when you have to press RMB and lean back. You just have to do it quickly. In fact I tend to lean back even if the game doesn’t require me to do so. I somehow feel safer that way :D

- You can also hide from alien out in the open, just make sure the object you’re hiding behind covers nearly your entire screen. If you can’t see alien, it won’t be able to see you either. But if you can clearly see it while hiding (without poking the head out), it will also see you. Been able to hide this way quite few times in the medical sector behind some chairs.

- Hiding in a floor vents doesn’t seem to help much despite not moving at all or making any noises. Which is odd, like the designers intentionally left out ground vents as valid hiding places. Now you know, if you have to pick between locker and ground vent, take the locker…

- Alien will investigate the origin of loud noises. So, if you fire the gun, alien will investigate the location where you fired the gun. If you know alien is around and you do have to fire a gun, make sure you will leave the area and hide as quick as possible. This can also be used to eliminate other humans. Either by provoking them to fire weapons at you or by doing it yourself near them and then hiding. You can also use “Noisemaker” device to attract alien exactly where you want it by throwing the device or to distract it and make your escape route easier.

- Areas where people or synthetics are patrolling are rarely visited by the alien unless if you or humans provoke its appearance. It’s often better to get around humans silently and you will also avoid alien at the same time. Once provoked, it will continuously roam the level, so plan ahead if you want to go full stealth or deal with alien once you clear out humans. You can gather some more resources from humans this way, but will require a lot more hiding in the long run…

- Synthetics are slow and you can outrun them. And just like humans, if you run out of their field of view and hide, they will eventually give up. Just keep listening to their chatter (monologues), to see when this happens. Synthetics and humans will also not chase you inside vents, so use them to evade humans and those emotionless creeps that way.

- When hiding underneath the desks, make sure you always pick the narrow path around the desk that is preferably facing a wall and not the wide one facing open room space. This will force alien to indeed get closer to you, but will also force it to look down at the desk and not you from the side, giving you a safer place to hide..

- Moving is allowed during alien’s presence, but only out of its field of vision and only in crouch stance. Use this when you have to play a cat and mouse around a desk, closet or a large pillar in the room.

DEALING WITH ENEMIES

- Don’t bother attacking alien with weapons other than explosives and fire. They have no real effect on it.

- Never attack synthetics with maintenance jack, from behind or head on, because they will always block your strikes eventually. First EMP or Stun prod them and then hammer them down in peace.

- Maintenance synthetics dressed in orange hazmat suits are highly resistant to stun prod, EMP or fire. Don’t waste those resources on them. Either outrun them or use Pipe bomb. If you can pack them nicely together you can do extra damage with a single pipe bomb. Shotgun seems to work OK against them as well. Face shot is the best option.

- Avoid human enemies if possible or take them down silently using maintenance jack. Revolver is easy, but makes a lot of noise and bullets aren’t that easy to come by.

- Molotov can be thrown or placed on the ground (which makes it proximity triggered). This way you can scare away an alien when it’s already hunting you and you have no chance to hide yourself. Or by using proximity sensor to secure room entrances or vents. When enemy gets close, the molotov will detonate. Alien will retreat for a short time, so make use of that time well.

- Be aware that alien attacked by the flamethrower needs a clear escape path, otherwise it will jump you and then escape. So, when trying to fight it off with a flamethrower, make sure the vent is not between you and the alien, because your flamethrower will prevent it from escaping and you’ll consume more fuel because it will stand there for longer than it would otherwise, trying to figure out how to escape. If needed, try to back off and give it space for it to jump inside the vent.

RESOURCES

- Resources, while your carrying capacity is limited, don’t leave resources behind you. If your inventory is full, craft some items that you think will be useful. This will give you useful items and you’ll free up inventory to carry more stuff as you go along.

- In addition to your inventory, you can also store components in a construction screen. Just open up a construction menu and move some components to the construction fields. Even if you don’t finish creating the device, you will clear up your main inventory, allowing you to pick up more stuff. Components will wait in that screen till you finish construction. However, do this carefully since you can’t seem to be able to move components back to the main inventory.

- You can only carry 3 of each crafted devices plus have a 4th prepared in a crafting screen. You can carry 6 medpacks and have 7th prepared in the crafting screen.

USEFUL FACTS

- Flares can be used as a cheap dsitraction for the alien. Toss it the other way and alien will usually chase it if it sees it. There are plenty of flares around. They aren’t as effective as Noisemaker but still.

- Don’t use motion tracker if you don’t have to, because believe it or not, alien can hear it beeping. That also includes when you’re hiding in lockers. Use your ears instead at that time until alien leaves the immediate vicinity and then you can re-deploy motion tracker if needed.

- Motion tracker doesn’t work well inside vents (metal vents cause interference).

- When using tracker, slow moving or stationary dots are usually synthetics and humans. Very fast moving dot is the alien.

- Deploy motion tracker and spin for 360° to perform a full space “radar” sweep. You might catch something you’d otherwise miss by pointing it to one direction only.

- When you see a glowing square near a wall (that is placed at around 45° angle), pick it up. It will reveal a larger part of the map in your player map menu without actually exploring the level. You can usually find them when you leave elevators or in general at the level starts.

- Molotov and flamethrower can be used as a free illumination when holding it in a hand (RMB). Illumination range is not great, but it lights up the area well enough to see a lot better than without any aid. Be aware that alien can see the molotov/flamethrower flame, so put it away when hiding under the desk…

- Don’t bother using portable radios to form some sort of distraction. I thought they’ll do something since they make noise, but alien did not react to it in any way. To my suprise, Working Joe’s did react to them.

- Knocking off chairs and other small items doesn’t seem to affect alien. Still, try to move around stuff if possible just for the sake of realism ;)

- Use emergency override buttons next to the doors to lock them for a short time and block alien from reaching you. This will give you short time of absolute safety in some closed rooms.

- Use flamethrower in short bursts to conserve fuel.

- When you see a dead synthetic on the ground that you can’t search like you can other bodies, beware, it will most likely jump you by surprise and you’ll have to fight it off and lose tiny bit of health. Stay away from them or prepare in advance to fight it off fast. Maybe you can even shock it with Stun prod in advance, haven’t tried that yet though…

- Closed alien eggs will spawn facehuggers if you get too close. Already open eggs are safe.