Hey, remember Bulletstorm? I do. Not immensely fondly, but it had a thing it was going for, and boy did it go for it. The parts I really liked about Bulletstorm were pulling off fun, nifty “skill kill” tricks with guns, whips, and kicks and getting big points for it, along with sliding around the open-ish environments. Well, Alien Rage–what a balloon-deflating name–is pretty similar to Bulletstorm, with a focus on earning points by killing enemies in more unique ways than simply shooting them in their faces.
Alien Rage takes place on an asteroid that humans and an alien species known as Vorus were jointly mining for Promethium, a highly efficient source of energy. After the Vorus turned on the humans and wiped the miners out, Jack, the player character, is sent to the mining facility to kill the aliens and destroy the facility. I’m sorry if you wanted a story with a little more depth to it, but that’s all I got. It’s basically a SyFy afternoon time-filler movie starring nobody you have ever heard of. Audio logs try to flesh things out, but there isn’t much to go off of from the start.
Well, obviously, Alien Rage is a first-person shooter, in which players fight through several linear levels, killing a variety of aliens. At the end of every few levels, you have to do battle with a larger alien in a boss fight. Players score points by killing a large number of aliens in a short period of time or by killing them in special ways, such as using explosions or getting sick headshots. These points can be used later to upgrade Jack–for example, by boosting his resistance to damage or increasing the amount of ammunition that he is able to carry. The better you do, the better you play. Jack can carry two weapons at a time, but also has a pistol with unlimited ammunition so you are never without a weapon. He can also use both human- and alien-manufactured weapons in the game, and alien weapons use a cool-down period instead of having to reload.
I’m playing on the “normal” level of difficulty and finding Alien Rage extremely challenging, only getting myself up to the third level. Actually, the “normal” difficulty setting calls itself “hard” next to the arrogantly named “challenging” easy level. Um, okay. There are frequently unpleasant areas that throw a ton of enemies at you at once. Now, they’re not really all that tough to kill and they’re dumb enough to round a corner in single file at you, but their weapons deplete Jack’s small health pool extremely quickly so if you aren’t constantly ducking in and out of cover you are going to go down swiftly. I’d complain more about this, but this type of challenge seems to be what Alien Rage wants and prides itself on, and that’s fine, I guess, but I’d prefer not to play a first-person shooter by inching myself forward at a snail’s crawl and having to replay entire chunks of fights over and over again.
Alien Rage also offers competitive multiplayer. There are two modes–deathmatch and team deathmatch–and a small number of maps to run around in though I couldn’t really get into any of these due to a lack of other people still playing this easily forgettable game today. Oh well, so it goes.
I truly don’t feel a lick bad about only giving Alien Rage an hour or so of my time and then uninstalling it from my PlayStation 3. It’s bland and generic and a bit too tough for my fingers. Good luck, Jack, dealing with the Vorus without me…you’re gonna need it!
Oh look, another reoccurring feature for Grinding Down. At least this one has both a purpose and an end goal–to rid myself of my digital collection of PlayStation Plus “freebies” as I look to discontinue the service soon. I got my PlayStation 3 back in January 2013 and have since been downloading just about every game offered up to me monthly thanks to the service’s subscription, but let’s be honest. Many of these games aren’t great, and the PlayStation 3 is long past its time in the limelight for stronger choices. So I’m gonna play ’em, uninstall ’em. Join me on this grand endeavor.