Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Alien Swarm: The Tensest Co-op Since Left 4 Dead

I played Alien Swarm for over three hours last night. It was a total blast (and, again, it's free). It delivers left and right. There are two different characters of each class, each with individual strengths and weaknesses and customizable load-outs. The co-op element is feels really natural- it emerges from the gameplay with a seeming inevitability. I played as Vegas, one of the technicians. I found myself yelling things like "cover me while I hack this terminal!" and "hold on, guys! I'm almost through!" Seriously, do yourself a favor and pull it down.

The tension, the claustrophobia- I haven't felt like this since, well, since Left 4 Dead. It took this game to make me realize why L4D2 never grabbed me quite the way the original did. I couldn't put my finger on it before. Everything seemed to be an improvement. It's the maps. It's all that open space. In the original, you were always hemmed in. When the maps did open up, there was always a momentary sense of disorientation while you sussed out which way you had to go. The sequel was too open- the maps are mostly open with occasional tight spots and the effect of stepping out of a hole into horrible, horrible freedom isn't present. Don't get me wrong, my favorite part in either L4D title is running through the sugar cane field in Hard Rain, but being able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, four across for most of the game doesn't evoke the same tension that having to always crouch out of the way of fire from behind while the horde bears down on you. It's a tension that's present in Alien Swarm, in buckets.


cardinal23 said...

I propose the bringing of gaming laptops and the playing of this game during the upcoming game weekend.

avk said...

I think that's a pretty good idea.

Gus said...

I'm in.

Wolf said...

Pulled it down on my PC to learn the interface. Looks fun. TBD as to whether it will run on my laptop.

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