Alien: Isolation

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Alien: Isolation Game Poster Image
Movie-based action horror game is soaked in gory violence.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 22 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

All about survival while eliminating a vicious alien race running amok on a spaceship. Not a negative message overall -- protect yourself and other innocent lives -- but the game being heavily focused on killing (and gory for entertainment's sake) takes away much of what's positive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You're young Amanda Ripley (the daughter of Sigourney Weaver's character in the Alien movies). She seems like a positive role model, as she cares for her shipmates and gets emotional when talking about her mother's experiences. But she also becomes the leading human warrior in the crew's goal to eradicate the alien race. One version has additional playable characters.

Ease of Play

Although it's not always clear what to do -- such as where to go and what your goal is -- the controls are fairly intuitive. The left analog stick controls Ripley's movement, while the right analog stick is used for her head movement. With the PS4 version, there's a "head-tracking" option to peer behind walls using an optional camera. Aiming and shooting weapons is easy.

Violence

Very violent: Frenetic combat, blood, loads of gore, and frightful circumstances designed to scare the character with a feeling of helplessness. Played from a first-person perspective, Ripley uses lots of weapons to kill creepy alien creatures -- including handguns, shotguns, bombs, and flamethrowers -- although ammunition is limited, ratcheting up the tension. Ripley also is hunted by aliens during portions of the game, with brutal and very bloody cut scenes shown as a consequence of failing to successfully avoid creatures. Some non-interactive scenes show Ripley attacked and killed by these aliens, which might involve impalement by a spiky tail, being bitten in the face by huge rows of teeth, or getting ripped into air ducts by creatures in the floor or ceiling.

Sex

You might see the main character in her underwear briefly (near the start of the game) and some suggestive posters on the wall or on magazine covers (one of a woman eating a hot dog).

Language

Intermittent strong profanity, including "f--k" and "s--t" in the dialogue sequences, especially when Ripley is attacked unexpectedly. The game also offers online play, which supports unmonitored chats between players (even strangers).

Consumerism

Directly based on the Alien movie franchise; many nods to the films. The characters look like their real-life counterparts. The game offers some optional downloadable content, with the first batch of material (including new characters to play as) free for some versions.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In one scene, you can see an ashtray filled with smoked cigarettes but no characters smoking them.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Alien: Isolation isn't for younger players, primarily for the large amounts of violence, blood, and gore but also because of horror elements; players will be hunted by aliens that respond to their every mistake and track them down, with graphically shocking results. The game also packs lots of jump scares on every level; young kids and many teens might not be able to handle the stress of the tense action sequences. Seen from a realistic first-person view, you play as a young female protagonist who can shoot and kill aliens using an assortment of guns and bombs; you can even set them on fire. Scenes that depict Amanda Ripley's death can be disturbing, as she is impaled or bitten on the face by huge jaws or suffers more graphic fates. Intermittent strong profanity ("f--k," "s--t"), primarily during jump moments. Serious privacy concerns; although you can play with other people online, it's completely unmoderated.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6, 15, 15, and 16 year old Written byJorcovin October 9, 2014

Great for fans of series, ok for mature tweens

Not too violent, a little scary, but that's ok. The worst part is you see a tail in your stomach. OUCH! ;)
Parent of a 2 year old Written bySpaceYeti November 6, 2014

Best horror/survival game I've played.

I'm giving this a 16+ rating for the gore and profanity. Those really are the only two questionable things in the game in my opinion. Despite the official... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byRandy Brownell November 30, 2014

Alien Isolation: The Game That Will Truly Scare the Crap Out of You.

I have to say, this game was really well done and delivered some great scares. I only had this game for a while because it was glitchy on the 360, but it was st... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySilveredge October 7, 2014

A fun, but horrifying exsperience.

Alien is one of my favorite movies, so naturally I was very excited to play this game. In the game, you play as Amanda Ripley (the daughter of the protagonist i... Continue reading

What's it about?

As you'd expect from a video game based on the iconic Alien movie, ALIEN: ISOLATION is a creepy sci-fi game that has you fighting nasty aliens in a survival-of-the-fittest scenario. You play as Ripley's daughter, Amanda, who roams the many corridors and rooms of a large space station. You'll destroy alien creatures big and small using a number of weapons, from shotguns to flamethrowers to explosives. Along with action and exploration, this first-person game also includes some puzzle solving (hacking), character interaction, and hunts for collectible items.

Is it any good?

Though it's not without its issues, Alien: Isolation builds nicely on the coveted film franchise to create an engaging, atmospheric, and challenging game. First, the not-so-good news: Once you load the game, you need to download an 840 MB file and wait for it to "patch" the game. Then, the first hour or so could be frustrating for players who aren't sure where to go and what to do. Even with instructions such as "go to the bridge to talk to so-and-so," you might find yourself lost or in a room with people who stare blindly ahead as if you weren't there (even old story-driven shooters such as Half-Life 2 had characters who would look at you and say hi or ask a question); characters who won't acknowledge your existence disrupt the all-important immersion factor. One other issue: If you die -- and it'll likely happen often -- you might load a save-game slot that requires you to repeat parts of the game. Frustrating.

Things improve greatly once you start fighting creepy aliens. The cat-and-mouse play is terrifying and exciting; in fact, the interactivity and the tension of Ripley being hunted under your command makes Isolation far scarier than the film. You'll need to figure out how to best approach the creatures, what to use, and where to position yourself. Being chased by aliens is equally exhilarating. The game supports an optional PlayStation camera for head tracking (you can peek around corners by leaning your head, and Ripley will do the same) as well as noise tracking (if you make any noise in your home, it might attract aliens). Along with the single-player campaign, which has varying levels of difficulty, there’s support for multiplayer modes, downloadable content, collectible items that add to the backstory, and other extras. Despite its issues, Alien: Isolation is a thrilling game that might not be as good as the hype but still serves up a thrilling experience -- if you play with the lights off and speakers cranked.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents can talk about the fact that most video games based on movies aren't very good. How does Alien: Isolation fare? Should game developers continue to create games based on coveted movie franchises?

  • Talk about violence in games such as Alien: Isolation. Is the violence against the aliens OK because they're not human, or is it hard to justify a violent game like this? If you've seen the movies, how does the games compare?

Game details

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