Alien Swarm Review
I will start by thanking Valve and the team that worked together in creating this free to play game for all of us that use Steam. Not only is a classic top down and generally full of amazing fun, tactics and weapons, but they gave us a little extra by allowing us to learn and create ways to make new maps of our own choice, change things in our own ways, and make things more personal, unique and adventurous by gifting us the SDK for Alien Swarm, pretty neat eh?
Alien Swarm is just all around pretty solid little game. You team up with 3 other space marines and work your way through a series of levels in a top-down, 3rd person shooter style. The proccess of the game follows by completing objectives with your team while facing off a deadly mob of aliens, the main goal is team work based and knowing your role within the team. The menu of the game feels and seems pretty close to the likes of Left 4 Dead games, and the game in itself also does, as the aliens hit you hard and fast having many ways to kill you.
Having the Alien movies vibe, you will encounter small facehuggers which infect you with a desease that kills you in seconds, there are regular grunt aliens, plodding mothers that can only be killed by shooting their backs, quick and small flying pests, and to add to it, a few more little surprises. This game isn't based on being a tough cookie, by running off and believing that you going to make it out alone. The squad of marines have to work together through each level with a lot of communication and tactics in order to survive.
To the likes of many online games today, knowing your team and getting a long with your team is a must in order to complete the mission. If the right balance of the 4 classes in the game ain't there before the match begins, the team will be defeated and the mission will fail. Alien Swarm has done a good job in integratin the cooperative mode very deeply within the game.
There's the officer, a typical soldier with a good variety of weapons. The special weapons marine, more or less your heavy. The tech, a more sneaky blend of medium-grade weapons and cool gadgets, and the medic, the weakest member weapons wise, but the only one who can offer the very important group heals. Every class also has either specific secondary tools or skills they can use (for example the tech can hack doors/computers for easy access to parts of a level) or a certain weapon that is only available to them. However, all these ideals are interchangeable and your load out can be swapped in a healthy variety of ways . The game also offers two sections of the basic 4 classes, all being different in terms of the bonuses stats. An upgrade system is in place within Alien Swarm. The more you play, the higher you will level up and with that more weapons and gadgets will unlock like a missile barrage, turrets, freeze grenades, shotguns and a few more other items.
Completing the class specific achievements makes this all the more easier, but overall, leveling up is pretty straight forward and simple. A lot about Alien Swarm is standard, it is just very well done. After a few levels of play you will see that each class brings something different to the squad and more importantly, you will appreciate the team work as you achieve your goals, level by level.
This is where Alien Swarm to me shines bright, by working together everyone wins. You can get a lot of people who just want to go and do it by themselves, simply it wont work and you will be defeated every time. You do have to be careful though as friendly fire its always on, so please do check your shots and try not to kill your squad you will need them.
A good aspect of the game is the swarm, they never stop coming in any part of any level, they will never give up, they want you and they want you dead. Stay in one place, stay with your team and don't rush through because they will follow you and it will be harder as the more aliens will develop and group up to kill you. The aliens hit you hard, a few hits from the grunt, or a couple of blasts from the green-goo explosions of the mortar based enemies and you can kiss your squad members goodbye.
Controls is good all around, they are a simple interface that you'll quickly get familiar with the more you play with, unless your me and struggle for a little while longer with the top-down view, but nontheless they remind you of Smash TV with a few tweaks here and there and a few upgrades. Graphics aren't bad and very detailed at parts, the aliens and the squad are well done.
The level designs of Alien Swarm are strong with many changing pathways and corridors to explore, sharp details like bridges, elevators help flesh out the details of the design. That said, the ability to weld and forcefully open and close doors is yet another interesting aspect of the game ( and another Aliens movie alike feature ) often meaning life or death if you neediing to be on one side of the door and the aliens on the other.
In itself the game isn't exactly the same quality of what we have come to know and expect from a next-gen game in terms of overall polish, but the design is pretty fantastic, the gameplay is throughly enjoyable and it is magnificent to play. Really, the fact that is free and incorporates all this traits and unique things within this game, you also get given the SDK so the map creator enthusiast can bring their own ideas and new campaigns for all of us to try and enjoy all the same, is truly a gift from Valve.
Is easy to see that a lot of time, love and hard work has been put into Alien Swarm, there are some games out there that sell at retail value that simply don't have the spark and entertaiment yet very addicting top-down shooter.
And with nothing left to say apart that if you enjoy shooting aliens, working as part of a team, enjoy and love creating new things plus also like freebies? Then, Alien Swarm is the game to download.
Thank you again Valve, we all hope to see more of this in the future.