After Hours: Aliens Fireteam Elite
Hey, welcome to a new column idea I’m trying out. Basically, I am one person, I can’t always cover everything the minute it comes out either due to schedule or finances so if I get around to playing something that has been out for a minute but hasn’t been out so long that it’s a retro release, this will be the column for that. It won’t be a once-a-month thing but totally something that could happen a few times a year.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite was a game I certainly had my eye on when it launched a few months ago as while I’m not a massive fan of the franchise I’ve seen most of the films and would love a solid game built on the IP. I know a lot of people loved Alien: Isolation, I certainly gave that a shot years ago but it didn’t really connect with me as it did with other people. However, I initially skipped out on it both due to other things I was playing at the time and the fact that while it had a single-player mode, the real draw was clearly playing with two other real-life people gunning down hordes of Xenomorphs (and other types of enemies) and it’s been a long time since I’ve been someone who regularly plays stuff online with other people so I just figured I might check it out on sale somewhere down the line. Well, now Aliens: Fireteam Elite just recently dropped on Xbox Gamepass with little or no mention so it seemed like the perfect time to at least give it a pass. This won’t be full-on review, but some impressions based on what I’ve played.
At this point, I’ve played a couple of online sessions and then a couple of missions by myself, which the game assigns you two competent but not super bright AI synthoid companions. Like they definitely can kill stuff and are smart enough to heal themselves but higher-end tactics are not their forte (though for casual difficulty which I mostly played on they work).
It is apparent from the get-go, even on the easiest difficulty settings, you can’t screw around too much in Aliens: Fireteam Elite. My first online session was with two people who clearly had no interest in working as a team and had little to no experience, it was miserable and just reinforced my feelings that online games just aren’t for me, at least not with randos and I rarely have a schedule that syncs up with friends I could play with for almost any game really.
I did give it one more try however and the next time I just happened to end up with someone who was super experienced (they knew pretty much every step of the mission) and was helpful and suddenly it was a pretty good experience. The Russian roulette of playing with random people online still doesn’t hold much appeal to me but it’s good to know online doesn’t have to be a completely horrid experience.
I will say for what’s clearly not a AAA budget game, Aliens: Fireteam Elite is impressive where it counts, which is pretty much the aliens themselves. The environments are kinda bland and your marine has a few cosmetic customizations available but nothing super exciting. The alien symbiotes, however, look great and are varied and act like aliens, they crawl out of everywhere and over everything and if the gameplay was more exciting, I think this could really carry Aliens: Fireteam Elite to a truly memorable experience.
But unfortunately, that’s kind of where Aliens: Fireteam Elite stumbles in the most important area, the gameplay. It’s not terrible by any means, but it just feels competent without anything really exciting to it. It might not be a fair comparison given the budget difference sure but I cannot imagine playing this when say Halo Infinite, which just feels so good to play (and I haven’t even had a chance to start the campaign yet, just a few online sessions) is an option. It just feels like super standard stuff you’d get out of a kinda bland low-budget shooter which this exactly is, just with the Alien franchise stamped onto it in a loving fashion.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite does try to mix it up by adding RPG elements, but to really take advantage of those you have to run these same missions time and time again to get those perks, especially for multiple classes and while they are fine to play through once or twice, doing it ad naseum just holds little to no appeal. And I’m someone who has put in hundreds of hours in Marvel’s Avengers at this point, I don’t mind repetition and grinding out levels and gear but the base gameplay has to be appealing enough and this just is not.
But hey if you like Aliens and you have Gamepass, there’s literally no reason not to try this. Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a perfectly competent shooter it just doesn’t have the staying power for more than say maybe one full playthrough of the campaign when it’s clearly aiming to be something you and some buddies play for weeks or even months on end wiping out Xenomorphs and upgrading whatever class you are currently working on.
That’s it for today, I definitely will not have another post this week as Christmas is just around the corner, but may try to squeeze in one last post before the end of the year. I am probably going on a hiatus soonish, but definitely have a couple more posts I want to get out before I take a break. See ya real soon!