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Aliens: Dark Descent Puts You on an Express Elevator to Xenomorph Hell, Going Down


NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

We got our first look at Aliens: Dark Descent, the new real-time tactics game set in the Aliens universe, and we came away incredibly impressed with the tension it creates through its Xenomorph-influenced gameplay mechanics. Previewed on PC by Will Borger.

- 🎮 Aliens: Dark Descent is a real-time squad-based tactical action game set in the Aliens universe.
- 🚀 The game features a large map with side quests and resource management mechanics.
- 🐉 Combat is intense, and every battle has stakes, as any Marine who dies is gone for good.
- 🔍 Exploration is important to find resources, but it also means risking the squad and making the hive more aware of their presence.
- 🤖 The game has attention to detail and nails the look, sound, and feel of the film, including the way the Xenomorphs move.
- 💥 The squad has a number of abilities, and activating them slows down time, but using them requires resource management and strategic decision-making.
- 🌡️ Stress is a gameplay mechanic that builds up over time in each individual Marine, and if it reaches 100, the Marine gets debuffs that can quickly debilitate the squad.
- 🔥 Flamethrowers are one of the squad's abilities, and they force the Xenomorphs to avoid an area.
- 📈 Thinking on your feet is crucial in the game, and even killing an alien can be dangerous if their blood sprays onto one of your Marines


Aliens Dark Descent is a real-time squad-based tactical action game that offers a unique take on the Aliens franchise. Instead of controlling a single colonial marine, players command a whole squad. The game drops the squad of four into a facility reminiscent of Hadley's hope in Aliens. The attention to detail in Dark Descent is impressive and it nails the look, sound, and feel of the film.

##Gameplay Mechanics

The game's core gameplay mechanic is resource management. The stress level of each Marine builds over time on a scale of one to a hundred. When it hits 100, the Marine gets one of several debuffs that can vary between lowering accuracy or being scared and less likely to engage in combat. The stress level also builds over time in each individual Marine, quickly debilitating your squad if you're not careful. The game offers several options to manage stress, including using health kits to bring down stress, reprimanding your squad to temporarily stop it from rising, or welding the doors of certain rooms to create a sanctuary so your squad can rest.

Everything you do costs resources. Welding doors cost tools, spending a health kit to reduce stress means you can't use it later, and reprimanding is a quick fix. Delving deeper into the facility meant risking the squad and making the hive more aware of your presence, but it could also get you resources that might help you out. Every trip into new areas was spent with the eyes on the motion tracker and the squad status.

##Combat and Abilities

Combat in Dark Descent is intense. In addition to their standard weapons, the squad has a number of abilities. You can fire grenades, drop flares, have your squad pull out shotguns and close encounters, or lay down cones of fire with flamethrowers. Flamethrowers don't just damage any Xenomorphs they hit, the fire forces them to avoid an area. Activating abilities slows down time, but you'll still have to be on the ball to hit a moving target. Like anything else in Dark Descent, abilities are a resource, and picking your spots is key.

Every fight has stakes. Anyone who dies is gone for good. Battles are tense and hectic even with the ability to slow down time. Thinking on your feet is crucial. Even killing an alien can be dangerous if their blood sprays onto one of your Marines.


Aliens Dark Descent is a special and unique take on the franchise. It offers a fresh perspective on the tactical action genre. The game has already gotten its hooks in us and we can't wait to see what the final release has in store.


Gold Member
It looks really, really good. Bring it on.

James Cameron Gun GIF by Aliens
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That looks very cool.

For a property that couldn't be anymore perfect for video games, they really haven't done it justice almost ever. I would have preferred a AAA budget UE5 FPS built around ray tracing flashlights off your guns, but this one does look like a good time.
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With little effort they could make the game also playable in Turn Turn Based Strategy with no design changes and please both fanbases for more profit.


This is the right way to do an Alien game (if it's not going to be Isolation, that is)... squad management, uncovering and clearing rooms, finding space to breathe when going through levels into a hive, that's what makes Aliens so good.

Will definitely be checking this out.


As a huge fan of the license, it pains me to see that a lot of effort seems to have been taken to make an Alien title with gameplay that in no way whatsoever interests me. Well, good news for the people, at least, that like these types of games, I guess.
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