Steampunked: Alien Breed 2: Assault

2013-03-03_00001I admit it… I’m weak.  I strayed from my path of Steam completion and paid the ultimate price.  But where SimCity and Origin have completely failed me it did give me some time to get back on track and complete the next game on my list.  It’s a bug hunt man in Alien Breed 2 Assault!

Game: Alien Breed 2: Assault

Developer: Team17

Release: September 22, 2010

Genre: Action Shooter

Rating: 3/5

If you liked: Alien Swarm, Alien Syndrome, and probably Alien Breed 1 and 3

The unimportant story is told through comic book cutscenes and sometimes laughable dialogue

The unimportant story is told through comic book cutscenes and sometimes laughable dialogue

Alien Breed 2 Assault is the second in a new trilogy based on Team17’s original Alien Breed series.  Team17 are most notable for their popular Worms series, but Alien Breed actually predates those games and now we have an updated version running on Unreal engine with all new shiny bells and whistles.  Why do I have Alien Breed 2 and not 1 or 3?  Well I believe they gave this game away for free on Steam.  While this series was being produced Valve decided to hire a group of modders to create Alien Swarm, a practically identical title running on Steam engine and gave that away for free taking a lot of wind out of the sails of this series.  I assume they decided to give away the second entry in the series rather than the first as it was newer or something… I don’t know… suffice it to say the story doesn’t really matter so you won’t be angry about not playing the first game.

Get ready to pick up a lot of fuses and push a lot of buttons

Get ready to pick up a lot of fuses and push a lot of buttons

Alien Breed 2 is an isometric third person action shooter, you walk around using one thumbstick and you aim your gun using the other, much like in Smash TV.  The controls work fairly well and on a controller I had no reason to complain.  On the keyboard they get a little fuzzier but nothing an experienced player can’t handle.  The game also looks rather nice, running on Unreal Engine 3 we get some nice particle and smoke effects and the environments are satisfyingly creepy and atmospheric.  The game actually reminds me a lot of Dead Space.  It follows the same formula of “This thing is broken, go to this area and push the button, oh and while you’re going there an enemy will jump out of the ground/air vent/sewer and attack you”.  It works fairly well and keeps things moving forward though it does become a little tedious after a while.

You are one ugly mother...

You are one ugly mother…

The game is broken into 5 different sections, each one taking you about an hour to play through.  For a free game, and assuming the other entries have the same amount of content, it’s a fair deal.  The levels are lengthy and the gunplay is satisfying.  Unlike Dead Space however, you are given the most weak ass melee attack I have ever seen.  I tried using it on a few enemies and I could never tell if I was connecting with it or not, at which point I just relied on shooting everything in sight.  Thankfully the shooting is enjoyable.  There are multiple weapons to use from the standard assault rifle and shotgun, to the much more fun flamethrower.  You are also given a pistol with unlimited ammo should you waste all your resources on the other guns, though this will likely only be a concern on the harder difficulties.  On normal I only ran out of ammo while fighting the games bullet soaking bosses.  Subweapons can change things up a bit, such as stun and frag grenades as well as turrets.  Unfortunately the turrets are not movable and must be placed on stationary power nodes.  This has the unfortunate side effect of screaming in large bold letters “GIANT ARENA BATTLE INCOMING” when you see one of these nodes, but it’s nice that they are there in general as some sections could be too difficult without them.

A turret? GIANT ARENA BATTLE INCOMING

A turret? GIANT ARENA BATTLE INCOMING

The biggest problem I had with Alien Breed 2 Assault was fatigue.  While the game plays well and looks very nice there’s really not a lot to it.  You walk around shooting aliens while trying to get to the next button to push.  You can be guaranteed that by the time you get to the big button you needed to press that something will go wrong elsewhere and you’ll have to walk to a completely different section of the ship to push a completely new button.  After an hour of playing I feel I had seen everything there was to see in the game.  There is a co-op mode available which would probably lighten things up, but playing any game with a good friend is always better so I’m not sure how much that reflects on the game itself.

So much death...

So much death…

Much like the other games I’ve encountered in this library cleanup Alien Breed 2 Assault is a competently well made game.  The action is fun and in small doses it could be enjoyable.  The asking price isn’t unreasonable for any of the 3 entries in the series, however since Alien Swarm does exist absolutely free and gives you a very similar experience I don’t see why I could recommend one over the other.

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