Alien Rage. Probably one of the most overlooked first person shooter games (considering how I managed to entirely miss it since release back in Sep 2013!). But here and there, people come across them and this time, it was me. I picked it up on Steam at the beginning of January 2015 since it was on the deals list (otherwise I probably wouldn’t even notice it) and it kinda looked interesting. So I gave it a try. And man I’m glad I did…
To kick things off, Alien Rage runs on Unreal Engine 3 engine, so I don’t really have to brag about graphics much. It looks properly good. It’s all neon bright, glowing, sparkling and filled with amazing massive world scenes. It even has minor world destruction involved where cover objects get slowly disintegrated by the weapons, forcing you to move around a bit and not just stay behind one cover. Player movement is also typical for Unreal Engine based games which is also a very good start. I too often started a game just to find out aiming is totally awkward and that you move around like a giant wooden barrel. But not here. If game doesn’t flop on this point, it still has chances, but if they screw up this very foundation of a shooter, then it’s a real pain to play. Luckily, Alien Rage feels great in motion.
You can wield weapons from human and Vorus side, ranging from basic pistol with unlimited ammo to submachine gun, rifle, shotgun, RPG and sniper rifle or multibarrel chaingun. The Vorus side has more alienated weapons that are sort of equivalent of human weapons, just without any reloading and different behavior as well as a chance to operate Vorus vehicles (which was jolly fun!). Each weapon comes with two fire modes and all weapons also employ iron sights/aiming mode which is somewhat odd for a fast paced shooter like this one, but it integrates in to the game surprisingly well, especially since accuracy and usage of environment greatly rewards you. Either by making deadly explosions by targeting explosive crates or by doing headshots. And this is probably one of very few games where basic weapon, the pistol can be used through entire game. With good aiming, you can take out even heavy enemies or make deadly long ranged kills not possible with other short and medium range weapons.
And the main reason why pistol works so well through the entire game are player perks (especially the last tier!) that get unlocked through the game by doing combos, picking up bonus pyramids and just earning score points. When you have enough of them, you’ll gain a set of 3 perks out of which you can assign just one to your player slot (you have 3 slots). The game will give you 12 perks in total to choose from, so you can buff yourself up. I’m not gonna tell you what exactly you get because that’s the main charm of this game, knowing in advance will just ruin the urge to progress further. Trust me on that one. I can just tell you that they are very useful and make a huge difference and can also be freely re-assigned on-the-fly for various combat situations.
Especially because Vorus are a bit dumb, but they come in large numbers and some are really deadly, especially up close. And let me tell you, you will die a lot. And by a lot I mean A LOT if you won’t be careful. Your health regenerates in a similar way as it does in Call of Duty games and when you run out of it, well, you die. Game uses checkpoint system and sometimes these checkpoints are quite widely apart which means you’ll sometimes repeat same segments of the game even up to like 6 times. But for some really odd reason, despite me smashing over the keyboard and screaming quite often, I constantly had that need to beat the crap out of the Vorus and get over it. And I did. And when you do it, it’s so rewarding and you feel awesome to beat what it seemingly looked like an unbeatable level. I’ve played it on Hard which is actually the medium setting, but it was still seriously challenging game. So, if you want challenge, this shooter will certainly deliver it.
Another decent thing about this game are the Vorus. They come in the usual bunch of cannon fodder grunts, but unlike most games which throw you like 1 up to 3 bosses, hell no, Alien Rage will constantly throw massive bosses in your face. And they aren’t just shoot ’em till they die, you sometimes have to think how to take them down. It kinda brings back the good old times of first person shooters. And let me tell you, the bosses are really majestic most of the time. I mean, they are like these 15 or 20 storey buildings and you stand in front of them like a tiny ant. Good ol’ times.
Story, well you can get the glimpse of it in the trailer above. It’s not gonna win any Oscar’s, but it’s engaging enough and you get more of it through in-game audio logs left behind by a member of Vorus greeting party and a lab scientist who worked with Vorus. It’s all right. The point of game really isn’t story, as it is more along the lines of Serious Sam than lets say System Shock 2 or Deus Ex…
Oh and I have to compliment the dev team behind this game for one monumentally important and cool thing about this game. It has a FOV setting in the graphics menu. A properly functional FOV setting. Can you freaking believe that? Some Polish game developer and publisher managed to integrate this thing properly into a game that other multimillion game corporations apparently can’t. Do you hear EA, Activision, 2K and all you lazy bastards who force shitty narrow view angle on us PC gamers!? This is how you do it! So I don’t have to hack the entire game apart through game and config files just so I don’t get a gigantic headache after 5 minutes of gameplay. I was literally shocked to see this setting in the menu and also very happy at the same time. Thanks CI Games for this!
Oh btw, never heard of “CI Games” before? This is the old City Interactive, Polish guys behind a lot of rather mediocre games from the past. They’ve renamed themselves into CI Games and apparently, they have also turned a new page in games quality, because this one, despite not being a AAA title, it has a lot of qualities of those games. It looks good, feels good, is challenging and simply fun. It might be slightly short at only a bit over 7 hours, but at least it was all good within that entire time.
I can only say, give it a try and you might be positively surprised like I was.