Alienation on PS4: Close encounters of the isometric kind - Games Weekly

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Alienation on PS4: Close encounters of the isometric kind

It’s hard not to admire Housemarque, the Finnish studio responsible for Resogun, PS4’s most critically-favoured launch title. Having bounced back from the unfortunate timing of its artisanal delight Outland (which launched alongside the infamous 2011 PSN hack attack), these fine folk have gone from strength to strength.

Alienation, their latest isometric sci-fi shoot-a-thon, leans on the visual romp of the developer’s back catalogue, but feels like a whole new prospect. It is, to coin a new term, sci-fi-ablo (that’s sci-fi spliced with Diablo to you and us).

Throughout procedurally generated maps, which are vast enough to get lost in and capable of housing huge waves of marauding enemy hordes, you blast mutantry, suck up experience points, and tinker about with plenty of tiered, upgradeable loot to boot.

Space jams
But this is still Housemarque. With each pitched battle, the up-to-four co-op player avatars on screen visually zing with neon pervasiveness. Throbbing mutants explode in different hues of gore, and pick-ups gleam as they bobble up and down in the visceral aftermath of a fight. With foot-tapping tunes flowing and a general emphasis on bullet dodging and facing off against uncountable foes, this plays like a tantalising mix of the maker’s marquee titles, Resogun and Dead Nation.

Sure, there are a few kinks yet to iron out, such as making the huge maps slightly easier to navigate, but the meat and potatoes the shooting and the looting are already worth a probe.

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