Alien Syndrome Review

You know, when you sit back and think about it, a lot of "classic" (or popular) sci-fi really makes no sense. The stories are often corny, characters are clichéd, and the ending is – for the most part – usually predictable. But there’s just something about them that make them endure the test of time, grow a loyal following, and demand respect regardless of the fact they aren’t that great after all. Unfortunately, Alien Syndrome features the same mindless action, recycled plot and generic characters many sci-fi games and films have utilized, but doesn’t manage to make it a memorable experience.

Alien Syndrome’s story really is… well, let’s just say you probably knew a kid in high school who could write a better one. The game focuses on Aileen Harding, a soldier investigating a ship looking for survivors. As the game progresses the story unfolds a little bit, but it’s really sort of like unfolding a napkin at McDonald’s, as opposed to unfolding one of those fancy napkins at a high class restaurant, or even a Sizzler.

That shouldn’t deter fans of the original Alien Syndrome game or hack ‘n slash enthusiasts, though, because story is rarely important in those situations. One of the better aspects of the game deals with the class system and RPG-like qualities thrown in. With classes ranging from demolition experts to pyros, there’s a good deal of options to choose from. As you level up and make your way through the game, you can always add to skills which will let you use weapons other classes are good with, but there’s really no point, as you’ll always be better with your best-suited weapon.

After creating your character, though, Alien Syndrome takes a turn for the worse. Unlike a lot of more popular games in the same genre, this one just doesn’t feel like it offers anything truly new or memorable. You’ll see the same aliens over and over and over again, and while the RPG-like system is nice, it’s not implemented as well as it could have been.

Some originality comes in the Wii version, which uses the nunchuck to move and the remote to aim (while the PSP version uses the normal analog movement and aiming). Sadly, while the shooting with the remote is easy and fun, the melee combat is anything but.

The Wii version may suffer from a lot of control issues, but the PSP is pretty solid. It’s hard to walk and aim in other directions (alright, it’s downright impossible), but at least the game doesn’t require you to just flail around to simply spin in a circle with a staff.

The graphics are also way better. Well, they aren’t better so much as crisper; the Wii looks like it’s just the PSP visuals blown up to a bigger size, making it a lot harder to tell what everything is.

Between the two versions, PSP is definitely the one to get. Both are infinitely better with three other friends playing, but the PSP one is the only one worth playing alone (although the game isn’t anywhere near as good solo as it is with others). Given the nature of handheld consoles, a game like Alien Syndrome with a lot of repetitive action and repeated environments also works better, since you’ll likely play it in short bursts if you don’t want to get sick of it too soon.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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