The Gauntlet - Gameplay
At its best, Alien Breed is a nerve jangling, reflex punishing, gun festival. It doesn’t always reach these heights, but when it does it’s a frantic [all of] them or you battle to the death that encourages tactical thinking, as well as being fast on the trigger. Grenades for example, have set up times; they can be launched while moving and firing, but they will not be thrown unless uninterrupted, which is an interesting spin on what would typically be an instant use item that promotes both forward planning and tension.
While there are hints of survival horror genre blending, that is more about setting than actual content, even though there may be times when ammo is sparse or you find yourself dreading going into the next room because it is so obviously going to be a trap. Kind of like… yep, Doom again, the game really does play like Doom would if it were top down and a little brighter.
Oddly, the multiplayer co-op brings out the best in Alien Breed, as players are cast as ancillary characters, attempting to find the story mode protagonist. It’s a nice touch that an alternate game mode plays off another angle of the story. However, it is a much less forgiving game in multiplayer, without previously found equipment or upgrades, more numerous enemies and an onus on both teamwork and the survival horror aspect that this Alien Breed: Impact review is so eager to point out. There is relatively little ammunition and items to be shared between players and no way to interact with said items i.e. using a medkit on a team mate or handing off ammo.
There are also hints of a mild RPG element, with the upgrade system. Only one upgrade can be present at a time, and are each quite expensive, forcing players to choose upgrades carefully or suffer. The damage upgrades visibly alter weapons, which is a welcome detail. While a good idea, the upgrade system would have been better served with some expansion and more variety. Each weapon has the same set of upgrades, and though they interact slightly differently with each weapon, it seems like something of a missed opportunity.
Gameplay boils down to shooting things and trying to fix mechanical systems. Sometimes, it gets repetitive. The constant errands can be annoying, but the scenes that follow them which often involves enacting repairs whilst holding off the breed is rewarding and a good example of what makes the game a good one.