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Xbo- eh-hueheheh, Playstation 4!
I've thought about this for a while. I've always been a Sony boy, always will. That being said, I loved my 360 for the first years, it had great exclusives. It was clean, efficient, a real joy. Then ( I dare say without inciting), that the PS3 really started to gain traction and momentum toward the second half of it's generation, to the point where I sold my Xbox and jumped straight back into familiar territory.
Now, the Xbone. It's an all in one media player (eurgh), it has regular updates, it's got some cool games, even the Kinect isn't complete crap, i think the concept for it is there (if not novel and slightly impeding on occasion), yet, the PS4 is quite bare bones at the moment, with even fewer features than it's predecessor. The exclusives are good too, with more coming along the way, but my real question is, why is it edging into first place? And I don't just mean edging, I mean all out dominating by sales figures and whatnot? I'd point fingers at Microsoft and their less than egalitarian policies before launch, though some linger even now with reference to the ID@Xbox program.
So what do you guys think it is, is there a little Japanese magic in the PS4, or have Microsoft done most of the seppuku for them?
Now we have that bias out the way, let me say this is not a review. A review would entitle myself to the complete opinion gained from completing that which I would review. I have yet to complete it, but not because I get sucked into vents, not because my abdomen repeaedtly gets punctured, nor my gunshot to the head or my general neck breakage at the hands of Synthetics (first world problems, right?) This is a 'my journey so far'. A sort of diary, a little memoir of my time with Alien:Isolation. I write this because I know one day, it'll be over and that makes me sad. Sad to think that Ripley Jr. and I will have escaped this imperilment together, and that the Sevastopol station and it's adorably antiquated mechanical and electrical systems will have a shed a brief but lovely light.
The lovely thing about it though, isn't the tense, thrilling nature of avoiding evisceration. Nor is it finding out how the Alien got on board and how this intermediary chapter weaves it's way into the narrative. It even isn't throwing a flare so that it chases after it like an overly jovial dog. It's an appreciation of how goddamn silky smooth the universe is. The doors, the tools, the sights and sounds, the old as shit computers. It's wanting to watch the movies again, and thinking to yourself "Man, that's familiar" and being thoroughly astounded that you since have more of an appreciation for the films after having lived and breathed the universe. It made watch the first four Alien movies again, halfway through the game (a laá Chris). The little bleeps and bloops, the art direction, even the style of the characters become all too apparent, as if they're deja vu (which is the reverse of what you'd expect, from going back to watch the movies) It had me yearning for more of the universe, and there's not many games you can dig more into with that respect (not ones we talk about, anyway)
Now, it's all well and good exploring and reminiscing and being absorbed by the architecture and the fateful recreation, but the majority of us are here for one reason. That.
It's sort of difficult to take take screenshots whilst it's...y'know, trying to fuck your face.
Entering the station, I had no clue what to expect. I saw dead bodies, general chaos, but no Alien. "Does he get me now? Does he get introduced in a cutscene?" I pondered. I had no way of knowing. It's this uncertainty that first enamoured me. The game holds your hand, in much the sense someone does on a merry-go-round, then promptly lets you fly off. You don't know what to expect, and that's a treat. It's not unfair in it's presentation. You have an objective, it tells you where you need to be, but not how to get there. There's no CLICK HERE FOR THE BUTTON THAT STARTS ANOTHER CUTSCENE THAT ADVANCES THE PLOT. It treats you with maturity, with respect. Even dignity. Which you'll need, because I assure you, those qualities will be meaningless the first time the Alien gets you. And it will get you. It was 1am, I was wearing headphones, and the great big bastard came hurtling down toward me, jaws slung wide open mirroring Hades and his eternal damned kingdom. I had no choice but to hold in my wails (or breath, we can call it that too), to flap my arms and legs in the air at the sheer tension of being this guys snack. That, by the way, never stops. Y'see, save points are manual. You need to think before you go galavanting off on some hair brained, half thought adventure to collect things. If you stock up well, and find some neat stuff, you become more tense. You hide more, take fewer risks, because you don't get any checkpoints, no reassurances that you're gonna live. You might have to do everything again, and if you get caught, it'll be entirely your fault.
It could be i'm manifesting my thoughts and feelings into an articulated stream of nostalgia, colloquially known as chatting complete bollocks. But I implore you to do the same. Really, it's ace. Videogames make you think and feel all sorts of things, more intensely than music or films, I would argue. You're taking part, you're in the shoes or paws or whatever the fuck else of the person (or creature, urgh) who can make a difference and who can actively decide the outcome. No other form of media gives you that freedom. The freedom to hide in lockers and to think yourself "Yeah, I made it!" when really you were dead all along. You just hadn't realised it yet.
I guess what i'm trying to say is, I admire it's purity.