Here's another review fresh from Trapped Dead. This time, instead of killing zombies, I'll be killing aliens in Alien Shooter 2: Reloaded. Alien Shooter 2 is a third-person arcade shooter with RPG elements, in which you play as a merc who goes out and saves the world, and in the meantime kill about 20,000 aliens (that's how much I killed at least). Its top-down sprite style also reminds me of Fallout, which is definitely a good thing.
Alien Shooter 2 is a sprite based shooter in which you clear level over level of aliens in order to save the world. The game features a RPG in which you level up, place skill points, and purchase items and gear. Most importantly, you pretty much go ape$hit on thousands and thousands of aliens. I'm not joking. You literally paint entire streets red.
Literally. I'm serious.
The best way to describe the gameplay of Alien Shooter 2 would be Clusterfu-k.
I'm not sure what's going on either
The game's a top-down Serious Sam, but without the puzzles and with way more enemies, and the only tactical skill you'll need to know is press to shoot and strafe; even the reloading is automated. The story is so simplistic that it was probably thought up during a class session, and really only serves to carry the gameplay, which is fine because as simple as the gameplay is, its awesome. The game never has a dull moment has hordes of aliens always attack you at once, leaving you constantly strafing, gunning, and switching guns to stop from being trapped and gutted, but it never makes you feel completely vulnerable, so laying the smackdown on a horde is very rewarding...kind of what Alien Swarm should have been. The game also incorporates RPG elements like experience and leveling and a money system, but it's more robust than the one offered in Dead Space 2, allowing you to deck yourself out. And I'll be perfectly honest, this game lets you feel like a badass, even though you look absolutely stupid running with a pistol (go play the demo and see for yourself). The game is well paced, so that you can see very visible character development as your character moves from his pathetic leather armor to full out power armor (this must be a tribute to Fallout or something).
Understandably, some people would find the game repetitive. The overall structure of gameplay doesn't differ too much, as you'll consistently be running and gunning, so there's no real strategic depth. The enemies, I suppose, are varied, but they all ended up turning into tomato paste anyways, so most of the time I can't really notice a difference. And finally, most of the guns look the same. However, even though the game is predictable, I never found it to be repetitive; even after I beat the game, I was still itching for more. If you can stand the repetitiveness of Fallout 2 sprites, then you'll probably be fine with Alien Shooter 2.
The game also features a number of items and weapons at your disposal. You're given five slots for five types of weapons: pistol, shotgun, submachinegun/assault rifle, explosive weaponary, and finally energy weapons, which is a nice nod to Fallout. Weapon variety is abundant for each category. More importantly, switching from weapon to weapon is instantaneous, thus surprisingly gratifying. You can gun down enemies with an automatic shotgun, switch off to a gatling gun, and then finish off with a mini-nuke launcher. The only gripe I have with this, and I know that not everyone will mind, is that the game uses realistic guns, but has the stats all messed up. You'll have this awkward situation in which guns that use the same calibers having wildly different stats, like a 5.56x45 assault rifle being weaker than an AK, but then a different 5.56x45 rifle doing dramatically more damage than the AK. It's really a pet peeve, but it's something I'm throwing out anyways. In terms of items, you have your fair share of armor and med kits, and coolest of all is the opportunity to purchase a flying attack drone that follows you around (so...a familiar or companion basically). Another thing I should mention is that the way weapons and items are made available for you is very well paced, revealing a new level of item per level, so it really gives you an incentive to see what's new.
The game offers a wide assortment of weapons and armor allowing you to
Start off with this sexy flamethrower/sword thing
Then ground them down a gatling gun
Then top off with a nuke
In terms of level design, the game does a fairly good job. Levels are open enough and filled with hidden sections, encouraging players to explore the levels, but there are always arrows that will guide you towards your objective, so you're never really lost. The levels are also filled with little bonuses like quests, explosives (as that's all the tactical planning you'll need for this game), and those secret sections that encourage you to shoot walls. In addition, many levels give you the option to ride vehicles ranging from cop cars, military jeeps, sentry robots and howitzers. If getting on the vehicles are annoying (I can't see why though), you can run and gun on foot for epic lulz too, and the game won't overly penalize you for it. Even though the game can get repetitive sometimes, the game shakes things up by changing level themes from installations to cities to caverns, and the structure of the game changes also. Installations are more password/bs related, while city/traveling levels are more open.
Chinese driver coming through
I preferred the open ended exploration of the city levels
The game's system requirements are
OS: Windows 2000 / XP / Vista
Processor: 1.7 GHz
Memory: 512 MB
Graphics: nVidia GeForce2 / ATI Radeon 8500 or better video card with 64MB video memory
Hard Drive: 600 MB Free Space
Sound: DirectSound compatible sound card
Take a look at the screenshots, and you can probably guess that the system requirements are not particularly high, but it is beyond what a netbook is capable of. I didn't try it on my netbook, but I've heard that it can play netbooks. I suppose some of you with more powerful netbooks or a regular notebook will probably be fine. If not, lower the graphics a bit. It's not that much more impressive than Fallout, but there are a lot more sprites at once. Oh, and the decals never leave. So if you love blood, this game is full of it.
Oh, and I couldn't get the game to run in 16:9 resolutions, so I hope you like big black borders.
There is a demo available here, which will give you a pretty good idea of the gameplay of Alien Shooter 2 also: http://www.sigma-team.net/games/action/alien-shooter-2.html
As from what I've seen, the game's only bugs (I'm not making a pun about aliens here) are related to clipping issues. Sometimes you'll get stuck in between two objects, but I've always been able to escape after a few tries.
I purchased the game at Gamersgate on sale for $2, but the game will usually retail for $6 at GOG. How long does the game last? The game's about 15 levels or so, and actually can be finished in a long day, so it's actually quite short. The game also offers three survival modes.
The first is career mode, which is five levels. You basically survive against a horde of monsters in a small area, with each kill racking up experience and sometimes drops. The drops are pretty amusing, ranging from armor repairs, cars, reinforcements, nukes, etc, and I found this mode to be challenging and fun. In the end, you basically stomp around with miniguns and power armor. Word to the wise, specialize in two weapon categories.
Other survival modes include a much more traditional survival without level ups, which is kinda boring, and a gun survival:
Overall, however, they don't last long. I had a lot of fun with career survival, but it lasted only about an hour. The game, for some odd reason, features no multiplayer. Worse of all (and the game will be penalized for this), you can't reuse your character for continuing campaigns. In fact, if you start a new game, your old character WILL be erased. That's bull$hit.
There are no mods available either, which is pretty disappointing since it's an indie game. But then again, the game's only about $6 retail, and often on sale. If you've got a good notebook and a long plane ride, I suggest you dig in. For me, it was worth the $2 but I want more.
I didn't really think I'd enjoy such a simplistic game, but I honestly loved the experience. The pacing is well done, the @$-kicking factor is great, and the overall gameplay is ridiculously excellent. Plus, the game's cheap, and probably netbook capable. The only downsides are that the game looks like crap, the additional modes are severely limited, the game has terrible support for newer resolutions, and the inability to continue to use your own character is downright idiotic. Otherwise, try the demo, and if you like it, get this game.
- Support newer resolutions.
- More modes, or maybe throw in a cooperative multiplayer. I mean, why not? Every game now has multiplayer.
- Let me reuse my character. Or at the very least, don't make me delete my old character to play a new one. What's wrong with you?
- Editor, or at the very least make some sense out of the gun caliber and gun stats.
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