Alien Breed 3: Descent Review

alien breed 3 descent

Teams 17’s Alien Breed trilogy has come to a close with Alien Breed 3: Descent, and with it comes the familiar top-down, dual-stick action fans of the series have come to know well. For better or for worse, Team 17 has left the game’s core mechanics unchanged since the first two entries on XBLA and PSN, and delivers a shooter that feels somewhat flat and predictable.

As an Unreal-Engine game, Alien Breed 3: Descent looks great. The cold, dark and dank environments of a dilapidated spaceship are really brought to life by the engine, and coupled with eerie sound effects, invoke memories of Dead Space and James Cameron’s Aliens. The space ship’s environments do tend to get a bit repetitive, and end up looking all too similar at times, which can make it easy to get turned around or lost.

Given the game’s visual aesthetics and audio design, it’s fitting to say that AB3:D features a good deal of classic survival horror gameplay. Ammo is sparse and the enemies are quick, and at times quite numerous. Moments of intense action are interspersed by dramatic lulls in combat, where the player is left to explore or solve environmental puzzles.

Due to the limitations of the top-down perspective, exploring is a necessity in order to find easily missed item stashes, secret areas, and stores. Stores are very important because not only are they the only places to save the game, but they also allow the player to purchase upgrades and ammo. Money is yet another thing in short supply, so making careful decisions about which items or weapons to upgrade is very important.

alien breed 3 descent

For $10, AB3:D features a pretty lengthy solo campaign. It borders on overstaying its welcome, but helps make the price tag feel worth it. It would have been nicer to see the story told in a better fashion, however. Awkward cutscenes interrupt gameplay to forward the narrative, but most of the time, the only story and important plot points are conveyed through on-screen text. Without any voice acting to help give these parts of the narrative any context, it becomes too easy to for the player to miss these story elements and lose all sense of what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.

To add to the frustration, AB3:D‘s controls can be a real pain in the thick of battle. Running, switching between weapons, grenades, and healing items, and rotating the camera to see where you’re going is much too complex and difficult, especially in tense situations. It’s never a good thing when I have to take my thumb off the joystick to stop moving and take damage from a boss or swarms of enemies just to switch weapons. Checkpoints are frustratingly implemented during boss battles as well, with an untimely death resulting in starting the entire battle over again.

For a budget title, AB3:D is mostly worth the $10 price tag. It’s a good-looking Unreal-Engine shooter, albeit somewhat repetitive, and tends to embrace the pros and cons of survival horror gameplay. If the first two Alien Breed games appealed to you, then there’s no reason you won’t enjoy AB3:D. On the flipside, if either of the first games turned you off in visual style, gameplay, or the like, then AB3:D most likely won’t be your cup of tea since most of the game is unchanged from the previous two.

3 out of 5


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Author: Tyler Cameron View all posts by

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