Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Xeno Herd

Today we’ve got a particularly well polished game up for recommendation. ALIEN SWARM!

Originally a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004, this game featured squad level game play from a top down perspective where you work with the rest of your team to accomplish the mission objectives in “Alien” style sci-fi environments while holding off an endless tide of aliens out to get you.

 The updated game made some changes, such as not having the levels be so dark, and an upgrade in graphics as it went from the UT2004 engine to the Source engine. However the core game play remains the same, with an emphasis on teamwork, clear lanes of fire and speedy completion of the mission.
No lone wolves here, always bring a battle buddy
The game wears its inspiration from the “Aliens” movies on its sleeve, from the dialog the marines have to the sleazy corporations wanting to use the aliens for nefarious purposes. Even the little snippets of backstory and world building you get have the same feel from the movies, such as the use of cyro-sleep chambers on space craft.
They even added that little "Beep" from the motion detector radar
The game’s biggest problem however, is that midway through development the team making the game was bought up by Valve. Now while this was good for the team, and its certainly an indicator of their skills, the game ended up releasing with only one campaign. Fortunately, this has been rectified by a large number of custom maps and campaigns being made by the community, from challenge and survival maps to full blown campaigns that could be mistaken for maps made by a professional team.

Wave survival maps are simple, but fun
Since release the game has been updated with an onslaught mode, and a “Brutal” difficulty level, over the mere “Insane” that was the previous hardest difficulty, so there’s no shortage of challenge if you’re into that (having personally played that, that mode and difficult DON’T screw around)
You WILL all die horribly at least once
I greatly recommend playing this multiplayer game with three other friends. Whether you only do one run through of the original campaign for a quick hour's worth of entertainment, or decide to dive into the custom maps or try to survive the harder difficulties and make a weekend of it, the game is certainly worth the hard drive space. If nothing else it should tell you which of your friends can handle working as a team, and who will freak out or forget what they’re supposed to do once a situation gets bad.
Sorry, but you'll only get everyone killed, so have fun with the zombies!
Alien Swarm is available for free on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/630/

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