Alien Breed 3 Descent Review

Game: Alien Breed 3 Descent
Publisher/Developer: Team17 Software
Price: $10.00USD
Consoles: Xbox 360, PC & PS3 (Reviewed on PS3)
Genre: Top down shooter
Alien Breed 3 Descent concludes the Alien Breed Trilogy that has already been released on the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace.  Recently released on the Playstation 3, this game is the definitive version of the series and the pinnacle of Team 17’s gritty franchise.

The spaceship Leopold has jumped out of hyperspace and collided with a strange vessel.  Engineer Theodore J. Conrad and his Artificial Intelligence, Mia, find themselves in a sticky situation.  The two spaceships are hurtling to nearby planet’s surface.  They have 6 hours to rescue their lives.  Complicating this task is the alien invaders who decimate anything that moves.  But that is just the story told in the first two games.

Alien Breed 3 starts out with a bang.  You have found your nemesis: a human that is now a self created AI and who has offered you immortality.  Plus, he has corrupted Mia.  You can no longer rely on her expertise to help you.  Unfortunately for him though, Theodore Conrad is not interested in this kind of science fiction crap dream of immortality.

Of the series, this game probably has the best story of them all.  Although the first two games had interesting plots, this is the game where everything starts to pick up.  Although it is just a basic alien shoot’em up with limited character depth, it is still an enjoyable run through a fantasy universe.  All in all, this game provides a fantastic conclusion to the trilogy.  If you have not played through the first two games, the game will include a cutscene that condenses the two games.  When your first start it up, you will be able to view this video and learn all about it, so no worries there.  Nevertheless, one of my main complaints about the first two games is still a problem. The monochromatic coloring of the comic book cutscenes are a huge annoyance.  They are still in this game, but it seems as though they have been replaced with a bit more actual animated scenes.

Alien Breed 3 Descent is presented in an overhead isometric camera view.  One stick controls the body of Conrad; the other one controls your laser sight on a gun.  Of course, there are the usual grenades, stun grenades and the like.  Some unique weapons are also introduced.  While patrolling the halls of a cavernous ship, you must kill all the aliens that  surprise attack you.  Finding credits to upgrade your weapons or health will benefit you.  You can even loot dead bodies to find health packs or credits.  Although some camera issues do present themselves, they seem to have been improved slightly from the previous two iterations.  On the other hand though, awfully long loading times for respawns have not been addressed at all.  A tepid co-op storyline rounds out some of the game’s disappointing aspects.

The game design is lazy, but addictive.  For the majority of the game, you will be running around to various computer consoles specified on your map.  When you reach them, you have to press X and wait for a few seconds.  Other than that, most of your time is merely spent doing the things mentioned above: collecting stuff and shooting aliens.  Yet, somehow, I managed to eke out some real fun playing this.  It was like a drug – go to a waypoint, tap X, shoot aliens, find stuff, repeat.

A more balanced difficulty curve and some gunplay damage tweaks make this feel more like a game that belongs to this generation.  Other advancements to the game include some minor interface changes that create a much less annoying experience.  For example, instead of holding down “X” for 5-8 seconds to loot a a body or access a console, the time has been shortened to about 3-5 seconds.  That may not seem like a huge deal.  However, when you are being besieged by a large creatures, it helps a ton.  It also makes the gameplay flow together smoothly.    The darkened atmosphere and superb graphics make the atmosphere of the game stand out.  It did feel like I was playing in a spooky ship filled with nasty inhabitants and smelly cabins.

Compared to the others, Alien Breed 3 Descent looks like it had a slight graphical overhaul.  Nonetheless, Alien Breed has never really had a problem with graphics.  Each game uses the Unreal Engine to the full, producing crisp environments and detailed artwork & character models.

In summation, Alien Breed 3 Descent is more or less the same game as its predecessors.    There are not any stunning changes to the gameplay, nor are there are radical departures from this generation’s normal style of game.  However,  Descent is the best of the three.  It fixes some of the problems that held the others back. A more thrilling story is also told.  For a miserly $10.00, this game will keep you entertained for quite a few hours, but it probably won’t stick with you for much longer after you finish.





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