The atmosphere of Isolation is inspired by the 1979 film, where flickering monochrome CRT monitors are part of the future technology. There’s no better example of this than the iconic motion detector, which is big, clunky, and provides a small amount of useful information. It scans across a 2D plan across a narrow field right in front of you. On top of all that, its beeping can draw unwanted attention. Yet, even with all these drawbacks, the motion detector is the most useful tool you have… which is probably indicative of how screwed you are.
Playing Alien: Isolation is like going through a vicious Groundhog’s Day. This alien is no joke. It’s bigger, faster, tougher and way meaner than you. It moves unpredictably and has the single minded goal of seeking you out and ripping you apart. Isolation puts an extreme emphasis on the “survival” part of survival horror.
The playable demo starts in a small room and one simple goal: make your way to the exit. So, I started picking up everything I could see, including the teasing flamethrower. The miscellaneous hardware can be combined in an old-school adventure game sort of way into gadgets like a noisemaker to draw the alien away from you. However, you have to find a safe place to construct your tools, because the game doesn't pause while you duct tape your gear together.
It turns out that it doesn't really matter what you piece together. Even the flamethrower has very limited value, since it quickly burns through its fuel and only temporarily repels the alien before it swings back to impale you with its tail. The best way to get through the game is to keep moving, stick to the shadows, and hide whenever you can in closets and lockers. Hiding doesn't guarantee safety either, since there were plenty of times when the alien was able to hear my breathing from a distance before sniffing me out. Then it tore the door off the locker I was hiding in before tearing into me because I was a bit too slow on holding my breath.
I tried a dozen times to sneak past the alien, using different paths and strategies each time, but never managed to get very far. Each iteration was like an exploration mission, where I would locate a new tunnel or hiding spot before the alien found me and punched a hole in my skull. Despite my best efforts, I never managed to get very far in the level.
The motion tracker like a best friend with a drinking problem