Thursday, 16 May 2024

Alien: Isolation Crew Expendable – A Unique Nostalgic Experience

Alien fans were thrilled when The Creative Assembly announced the Crew Expendable pre-order DLC for Alien: Isolation. This bonus mission takes players back to the iconic Nostromo, featuring the likenesses and voice talent of the original Alien crew. While the DLC offers a dose of nostalgia, it does come with its fair share of challenges.

A Dire Mission with Checkpoints

The Crew Expendable mission breaks away from Alien: Isolation’s manual save system and introduces traditional checkpoints. The objective is divided into three main parts: sealing off the hatches on the Nostromo, navigating the primary air shaft, and luring the xenomorph into the airlock. The initial playthrough can take about an hour, but once you become familiar with the mission, it can be completed in just 15 minutes. Keep in mind that the DLC is more scripted compared to the main game. Although you don’t have access to advanced distraction tools, avoiding the xenomorph is still manageable since you’re equipped with a flamethrower to frighten it away.

A Frustrating Airshaft Sequence

While the first and third portions of the mission stay true to Alien: Isolation’s core gameplay, the airshaft sequence presents a frustrating challenge. Unlike the main game, the xenomorph seems to have uncanny knowledge of your position, making a beeline toward you. After numerous attempts, I finally found a route through the complex vents, but it still required using fire to scare away the alien. Listening to Lambert’s hysterical directions as you navigate the vents adds a touch of amusement, but the airshaft section involves a lot of trial and error. It falls short of capturing the intensity of Dallas’ death scene from the movie.

A Disappointing Ending

The ending of the DLC is a letdown, as it tries to mesh with the narrative of the original film, even though the events you experience don’t align with the movie’s canon. It would have been more interesting if The Creative Assembly had provided an alternate, what-if scenario based on your actions. Instead, Crew Expendable feels largely inconsequential and doesn’t offer any unique gameplay perspectives that the main game doesn’t already provide.

Nostromo Exploration

The chance to explore the Nostromo is a major draw for Alien fans. However, the iconic ship in the DLC is mostly pieced together from environments found on the Sevastopol, the doomed space station in Alien: Isolation. While the Sevastopol’s environments are based on the design and look of the Nostromo, it results in the two spaceships feeling indistinguishable. If you play Alien: Isolation first, the novelty of exploring the Nostromo won’t have much impact.

Iconic Characters Brought to Life

At the beginning of Crew Expendable, you get to choose between controlling Ripley, Parker, or Dallas. Each actor recorded new dialogue for the DLC, adding authenticity to their in-game counterparts. However, the choice you make doesn’t have a significant impact on the gameplay. You’ll encounter the other two characters while sealing off the vents, but interaction is limited to a few lines of dialogue through a window. Additionally, you’ll stumble upon recordings from various crew members discussing minor details from the movie, but these don’t contribute much to the lore. Regardless, it’s impressive that The Creative Assembly managed to bring the original actors back together.

Patch Installation

The Creative Assembly released a day-one patch for Alien: Isolation, which is essential to download and install before playing Crew Expendable. Without the patch, I experienced a glitched ending with missing scenes and dialogue. However, after installing the patch, everything ran smoothly.

Conclusion

Crew Expendable offers an interesting approach to pre-order DLC. It doesn’t feel like content cut from the main game, and playing it will not impact your overall enjoyment of Alien: Isolation. However, the DLC is relatively short and lacks the depth and finesse of the main campaign. It also doesn’t take full advantage of the setting or the involvement of the original actors. If you already have access to it, it’s worth playing. Otherwise, if you didn’t pre-order the game, you won’t be missing out on much.

FAQs

  • Q: How long does it take to complete the Crew Expendable DLC?

    • A: The initial playthrough can take around an hour, but once you’re familiar with the mission, it can be completed in about 15 minutes.
  • Q: Can you avoid the xenomorph in the Crew Expendable DLC?

    • A: Yes, avoiding the xenomorph is manageable, and you’re equipped with a flamethrower to scare it away if necessary.
  • Q: Is the Nostromo exploration in the DLC different from the main game?

    • A: The Nostromo in the DLC is mostly composed of environments from the Sevastopol, making the two spaceships feel similar.
  • Q: Do the character choices in Crew Expendable impact the gameplay?

    • A: While you can choose between Ripley, Parker, or Dallas, the impact on gameplay is minimal, and interaction with other characters is limited.
  • Q: Is it necessary to install the day-one patch for Alien: Isolation?

    • A: Yes, it is highly recommended to install the patch to avoid any glitches or missing content in the DLC.

For more on Alien: Isolation, please visit the official Wqaindia website.