Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review (Xbox Series X)

This time there's more

Aliens Fireteam Elite is an incredibly generic game. From the opening screen where you pick your marine’s face, it’s clear there won’t be many original ideas on show. Nor will there be any subtle, insidious horror in the style of Alien: Isolation. This is a squad-based cover shooter that tasks you with crushing xenomorph hordes like they are ants perishing under a hot kettle.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite review for Xbox Series X - Xenomorph attacks!

That sounds like it should be a ton of fun. While enjoyable in small bursts, samey action against predictable foes kills any sense of longevity. There are so many aliens to kill. So many, in fact, that it totally removes the satisfaction of killing any.

Grunts fold like paper with one bullet. They burst out of vents and clamber across ceilings at ultra-speed. It’s admittedly an impressive sight on the more open levels, but a decent portion of the game is spent in grey corridors that don’t do the sheer scale of numbers justice. More often than not you barely have to change where you’re aiming to eliminate multiple enemies, especially when bottlenecked down a corridor.

Another unfortunate side effect is that it creates dull encounters with the tougher Xenos. Warriors stomp towards players and then scuttle off at the first response. Prowlers become nothing more than an annoyance as their ambush tactics await around too many corners. You will be pounced on. A lot. The more dangerous foes get lost in the mix and lose their impact.

Even so, gunplay is smooth and weapons pack a punch. The shotgun is absolutely savage and a major help all the way through the campaign, almost to the point where it feels unfair. You will progress to utilise handy kit improvements, including sentry guns, incendiary rounds, and power-ups that must fit into your armoury, similar to the limited space of a Resident Evil loadout.

Squashing the Xenomorph vermin with fire and might

Your squad of three can of course include human players or generic Alpha/Beta synthetics to aid your cause. It’s a shame there’s no crossplay, especially as many players are likely to give up once the approximately four-hour campaign comes to a close. There are additional challenges to tackle, but by then, the already exhausted playbook will have folded like the thousands of aliens beforehand.

Verdict

While nowhere near an Aliens: Colonial Marines disaster, Fireteam Elite is disappointing in that it doesn’t take advantage of such a formidable franchise. So many players will want to love this game. There are definite flashes of fun. But even the most ardent fans will be hard-pushed to see anything more than an unimaginative shooter that takes the term ‘by-the-numbers’ and has it attack you through a vent until the credits roll.

Thumbs up

  • Gunplay is sharp
  • Alien swarms can look brilliant in the bigger areas

Thumbs down

  • Painfully dull
  • Remove the Alien skin and it wouldn’t get a second look
5/10