Reviews - Updated on April 8, 2022

When it comes to the creators of the best ports for Switch, the Panic Button team immediately comes to mind, thanks to which DOOM, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Warframe and other popular entertainment came to the hybrid console. The British from the Feral Interactive studio, apparently, are also jacks of all trades – not so long ago they transferred the GRID Autosport race to the Switch, which will soon add online multiplayer and split screen mode for free, and now ported Alien: Isolation.

It’s just as creepy

The game hardly needs any introduction – to learn more about it, just watch our video review. In short: this is not only one of the best Alien games, but also one of the best horror games of the last decade, created by the Creative Assembly studio, which usually deals with grand strategy. In the role of Ellen Ripley’s daughter, we go to the Sevastopol station, find that it is in a bad state, try to investigate it, and after a few hours the Alien begins to pursue us.

One of the main advantages of the game was and remains the atmosphere. Yes, the process of opening doors and deciphering locks can be tiring at some point, and the storyline campaign is a bit long, but Alien: Isolation always looks mesmerizing. All the rooms hide some stories, the areas in the locations are connected with each other in an interesting way, and the visual effects are terrifying: either steam comes out of the pipes, or the light starts flashing, and when interacting with computers, they load data for a couple of seconds, as if they were real.

In the Switch version, everything remained in place. Of course, this is not as surprising as the port of DOOM, which was originally created for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Unlike her, Alien: Isolation came out on the last generation of consoles, so it can hardly be called too demanding on hardware. But it’s still hard not to notice how nice the game looks on a hybrid console. In stationary mode, it in most cases is played in 1080p resolution, while in portable mode it drops to 720p.

Both versions look great – you can either play in front of the TV the old fashioned way, or hide from the Alien, lying in bed before going to bed, and in any case, you do not deprive yourself of any features of the horror. On the contrary – on a small screen, which you hold with both hands on the attached “joy-cons”, it becomes even more creepy due to the vibration of HD Rumble. The main thing is that the light does not fall on the screen, otherwise there are solid dark corridors with ventilation.

Alien: Isolation on Switch - Alien in the toilet

Texts on monitors are convenient to read in portable mode.

Alien: Isolation on the Switch uses temporal anti-aliasing, which means that the game does not have graphical artifacts, “ladders” are not conspicuous, and it is generally difficult to notice significant flaws. Compared to PS4, there is no background shading (AO) and motion blur, but these are minor things that do not affect the gameplay in any way. In portable mode, new effects do not appear, and old ones do not disappear – this is the same game as in the stationary version. The only thing that will be noticeable in stationary mode is the heavily “shrunk” videos: they look better on a small screen.

No flaws

The sound is also not affected by the transfer, and this is one of those games that are recommended to be played with headphones. Here, something is constantly making noise, someone is scratching or talking, announcements are heard over the speakerphone – even if you just stand still and do not move, you will be able to catch a lot of sounds. Not to mention the Alien episodes, the tense hide-and-seek with a dangerous monster that’s just as creepy as any other platform. By the way, Russian localization has not gone away – both the translation of the interface and the voice acting are in place.

In terms of optimization, Alien: Isolation feels as comfortable as possible on the Switch. There is no feeling that they were trying hard to make it work on a hybrid console. Moreover, the game seems to have been created for it from the very beginning – everything looks and works so nicely. The graphics are great and the downloads don’t take long.

For all the time I had only two crashes with an error – every time I picked up some trash. In a game where you need to save in special places, and not rely on “autosaves”, this is a significant disadvantage, but this happens very rarely. And judging by the reviews of other players, then I was just unlucky – for many everything works flawlessly. There are no significant bugs, the frame rate does not sag (and if it sags, it’s hard to notice), the Alien has not become smarter or dumber – if you had any complaints about his behavior, then nothing has changed here.

Alien: Isolation on Switch - Alien in the toilet

Well, at least, the joycons do not need to be held motionless in such scenes.

The only thing that can really ruin the experience a bit is the input lag. It does not interfere very much, but when using some tools and turning the camera, it will definitely remind you of itself. This problem is likely to affect only those who spend a lot of time in first-person shooters – since I logged into Isolation every time after long gatherings in Overwatch, I had to get used to the delay. Others may not notice the flaw until you tell them about it.

someone else’s wealth

The passage of the story will take more than 15 hours, and this number will increase significantly if you study the locations. There are constantly doors that cannot be opened until some kind of tool is obtained, computers with interesting letters are placed everywhere. Searching for secret passages and studying everything thoroughly is a pleasure, especially if there is some kind of audio recording waiting for you at the end. I rarely get carried away looking for such collectibles, but here I tried not to miss anything – the atmosphere of the film about Alien is so well conveyed.

There’s plenty to do after the credits. The main menu launches both the game itself and bonus content. For example, Suicide Squad is an additional mission based on the plot of the film and tells about the fate of the crew of the Nostromo. Or “Last Man Standing”, where, playing as Ellen Ripley, you have to start the process of the ship’s self-destruction. Both additions are small, but fans will definitely like it. There is also a challenge mode “Survivor”, which the game does not recommend starting before passing the story. It has few resources, no saves and no map – if you want to run away from the Alien again, completing tasks for a while, entertainment will fit perfectly.

The frightening effects have not gone away.

***

Alien: Isolation for Switch is another great port of one of the best games of recent years. It hardly makes sense to buy it for those who have already gone through the horror before – you won’t see anything new here. Those who missed the add-ons, but finished the game itself, should not spend money either. But for beginners, this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the sensational hit – there is enough content here so that you don’t have to regret the money spent. And the port itself is made so high quality that during the passage you never have to think about what you are playing on a weak console – and it looks wonderful, and it is perfectly optimized.

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