Aliens: Dark Descent - A Chilling Journey into Ridley Scott's Alien Universe
In space, no one can hear you scream. Embark on a harrowing adventure through Ridley Scott's frightening Alien universe in Aliens: Dark Descent. This real-time squad-based tactical action game puts you in command of a team of elite Colonial Marines tasked with halting a terrifying Alien outbreak on Moon Lethe. You'll lead your squad in pulse-pounding combat against a horrifying horde of Xenomorphs, rogue operatives, and nightmarish new creatures.
As you explore the treacherous landscapes, Aliens: Dark Descent challenges you to recruit and level up your Marines to ensure survival against all odds. Delve into the heart of darkness, deploy your team strategically, and guide your team to safety. But beware, as a marine's death is permanent and unforgiving.
Release date & platforms
Aliens Dark Descent arrives on June 20, 2023, and will launch on:
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series X/S
As one of the most beloved franchises in film history, we'll outline what is known about Aliens: Dark Descent.
Aliens: Dark Descent Plot
In Aliens: Dark Descent, experience the spine-chilling authenticity of an Alien narrative as it unfolds through a cinematic campaign rife with sinister secrets, iconic Xenomorphs, and never-before-seen threats.
This original Alien story propels you into the year 2198, two decades after the events of Alien 3. Your goal: to quell a menacing Alien outbreak and repair your crippled USS Otago spacecraft. Assemble a squad of Colonial Marines and embark on a high-stakes mission at the remote Tantalus Base on the mysterious moon of Lethe.
You scour the wreckage of a spacecraft in search of an offline relay to reestablish communications. As commander, the clock is ticking as the mission's fate rests on
your shoulders. Spearhead your squad through the chaos, fight for survival, and fix the Otago. Can you stop the outbreak before it's too late?
Aliens: Dark Descent Gameplay
Unlike other Aliens franchise games, Aliens: Dark Descent is neither an FPS nor a horror game. You face off in a single-player real-time strategy (RTS) game from a top-down perspective, similar to XCOM. As the squad commander, this overhead view gives you extra vision to decide where to deploy forces and tactically direct their efforts.
In a departure from playing as a single Colonial Marine, you command an entire squad simultaneously, reminiscent of Lt. Gorman's role in Aliens. Picture yourself issuing orders from the safety of the APC, then watching as your marines execute actions based on their equipment, attributes, and positioning.
"I want you to lay down a suppressing fire with the incinerators and fall back by squads to the APC, over." - Lieutenant Gorman
Throughout the game, you must adapt your squad's tactics from mission to mission. Plus, manage their health, resources, and sanity to avoid the devastating consequences of permanent marine losses and mental breakdowns. This unique blend of strategic gameplay ensures that each mission remains engaging and challenging, keeping you on your toes as you navigate the iconic Alien universe.
1) Unique squad
You'll lead a squad of five colonial marines in battle against their foes. Command your soldiers in real-time combat against iconic Xenomorphs, including Facehuggers and Alien Queens.
Recruit your perfect team from five distinct starting character classes, each boasting unique:
Your foes will adapt to your tactics while hunting you. Develop your base to research new tech, customize your squad, and level them up to ensure success.
The gameplay is heightened by its permadeath system, instilling a sense of genuine horror and thrill as you navigate the treacherous environments infested with deadly Xenomorphs. Any squad member killed is lost forever, making managing your marines' health and resources vital. This unforgiving mechanic ensures that every decision raises the stakes and amplifies the tension.
As you command your squad, you must assess your strategy and determine whether an evacuation mid-mission could save your team from total annihilation. Dark Descent blends the franchise's signature horror with intense, strategic gameplay.
3) Stress meter mechanics
Aliens: Dark Descent introduces a sanity system that ingeniously captures the fear and tension inherent to the Alien franchise. As your marines confront the horrors of the Xenomorphs, stress levels rise, wreaking havoc on combat performance by causing:
- Missed shots
- Irrational behavior
- Mission sabotage
This stress meter mechanic pays homage to the movies, where fear could break down even the most well-trained marines. To maintain control of your team, you'll need to carefully manage their stress levels with a variety of measures, such as:
- Health kits
- Upgrading and customizing your arsenal between missions
- Welding doors shut to create sanctuaries
- Reprimanding your squad
But be warned - resources in Dark Descent are scarce, and every action has consequences. Using tools to weld doors might leave you short on supplies later, health kits spent on stress reduction won't be available for healing, and reprimands are only a temporary fix.
As the game progresses, your marines' stress levels will inevitably climb again, challenging you to think strategically and adapt on the fly to keep your squad intact and focused on the mission at hand.
4) Persistent world
Aliens: Dark Descent immerses you in a dynamic, persistent world where every decision echoes throughout the game. Changes to the environment, like deploying motion trackers or welding doors shut, have lasting effects. Exercise caution: a welded door might stop Xenomorphs, but it could also block your escape later.
Exploration is crucial to discover shortcuts, gather more resources, and deploy motion trackers to monitor alien movements. Tactical creativity is critical, whether using an electrical saw to breach locked doors or sealing passageways for strategic retreats.
Venturing deeper into the facility presents risks and rewards. Spending resources and increasing stress levels may jeopardize your squad and alert the hive, but it could also uncover valuable resources. Move cautiously, keeping an eye on your squad's status and motion tracker updates.
Motion trackers play a vital role, with two types at your disposal:
- The iconic Alien tracker integrated into your UI
- A deployable version placed strategically on the map
These trackers offer invaluable situational awareness but beware—Xenomorphs will eventually locate and destroy deployable trackers, leaving you to face the fear of the unknown lurking around every corner.
5) Challenging missions and adaptive AI
Brace yourself for challenging, longer levels as Tindalos Interactive's adaptive AI pushes back against your playstyle, bypasses traps, infiltrates encampments, and even kidnaps soldiers. With mission durations ranging from 20 minutes to an hour, you're in for a thrilling and immersive experience.
Throughout the game, you'll confront iconic Xenomorph creatures, such as:
- Facehuggers: swift, agile parasites that latch onto their victims
- Warriors: fast and deadly, these Xenomorphs relentlessly pursue their prey
- Praetorians: heavily armored and powerful, they act as guards for the Alien Queen
- Alien Queens: the monstrous, intelligent leaders of the hive
In addition to these fearsome foes, you'll also encounter rogue human commandos from the insatiable Weyland-Yutani Corporation and a brand-new threat unique to this Alien storyline.
Survival is paramount—create safe zones, set up motion trackers, and brace for soldiers losing their sanity as you advance toward the game's climactic conclusion. Real-time combat can slow down to allow strategic planning and ambushes. Remember: death is permanent, and your enemies will adapt as they hunt you down.
Steel your nerves and drop into the gripping journey of Aliens: Dark Descent, a single-player, squad-based action game that plunges you headfirst into the eerie depths of the renowned Alien franchise. Prepare to adapt, strategize, and make life-or-death decisions as you forge your path to victory or defeat.
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Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.