Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Alien Swarm is free on Steam

Alien Swarm is a game released by Valve for free on Steam. I haven't really played it much, but it does look promising. The whole game reminds me intensely of Dead Space, except for the fact that the player can actually use guns, not just laser cutting tools and saws. Alien Swarm is apparently a graduated Mod from Unreal tournament, but it looks like it could be pretty fun as a game by itself.

Honestly, I've only played the offline training, because Steam screwed up installing Alien Swarm the first try, which then screwed up Steam itself, which took a couple hours to fix. (Hey, I have 62GB of games to backup that I don't want to lose.) But that's another story.

This might be a little premature, but Alien Swarm does look a bit unpolished, at least in terms of menus and instruction. It has no intro movie or no Valve intro screen and the beginning menu is extremely basic. I haven't actually played online yet, but the offline was pretty cool. I liked the look of everything, like the 3rd-ish person view and the graphics of the marines and landscape. The aliens I saw were a tad uncreative, and I could honestly go with less of a "pop" when it comes to killing the aliens, but I'm not one for things exploding into green slime.

When it comes to killing things, the gameplay is obvious and intuitive: move around, aim with the mouse, left click fires, scroll wheen changes weapon, right click melees. But beyond that, I was pretty confused. For example, I welded a door when I was trying to open it, and I shot my teammate when I was trying to deploy ammo for him.

All in all, that's the biggest complaint I have with the offline training: I didn't what the crap I was doing. I don't mean in a sense of where I was supposed to go, but the controls really kind of confused me, and quite honestly, it seems like they should walk you through them. Instead, the game only tells you to "Control the marine" with A to walk left, then "Control the marine" with S to walk down. After that, you're on your own.

I know that obviously the numbers 1-4 have something to do with crap, but there really should be a tutorial. Or at least something that tells you the gist of the controls. Instead, little popups appear like pressing Shift to weld the door, but the Shift does other crap as well and 4 seems to do just about everything, and then 1 does a medkit, but E helps your teammates.....all in all, they need a better way to teach newbies the controls. Truly the best way to do this is a tutorial, a beginner level. And I'm not talking little neat popups, I'm talking complete sentences, saying "1 does this, 2 does this, 3 does this, turrets can be planted and turned, etc". But I didn't outright see one, which is a dissapointment.

The same thing goes for the characters and whatnot; sure each class has its own stats and such, but some of them are kind of vague, and it would be nice to see what they mean....not that each character's life story isn't interesting...

The only other thing that comes to mind is possibly the overemphasis on "point A to B". From what I gleamed from the offline play, it was mostly "get from here to there and kill aliens along the way", which is basically what Halo's entire plot was (and Halo 2 and Halo 3 as well...) So my first impression of the game is basically Halo + Dead Space. That's not saying anything bad at all, since I loved Halo and Dead Space.

So all in all, Alien Swarm does look fun and I would definitely recommend downloading it....as long as it's free. Like I said, I haven't played it much yet, but it looks like it could be entertaining, once you get the hang of it. I really don't know if it's going to be one of those games you can spend hours on, joining game after game, but it does look like a game that you can play with a couple buddies every now and then.

If anyone ever wants to play games with me, whether it be Alien Swarm or Left4Dead 2, go ahead and look me up at hewhoeatspie.

No comments:

Post a Comment