Aliens: Fireteam Elite is only sometimes a good Aliens game

Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a great game, but it’s only sometimes a good representation of Aliens.

The game takes place in the world of Aliens, which should be obvious enough, and the main story takes you through two locations: Katanga and planet LV-895. Though this seems low, the game utilizes these locations to their fullest potential.

The game is split up into four chapters with three missions per chapter. The first and last chapters take place on the refinery ship Katanga where the first time around nothing seems too wrong, but as the game progresses, you realize it’s a Xenomorph hive and you have to destroy it. The other two missions take place in ancient ruins on planet LV-895. Both locations call back to the Aliens novel, Aliens: Infiltrator, which is a prequel to the game.

Speaking of the setting, the story goes hand in hand with it. You play as a space marine tasked with saving people from the Xenos, which leads to an interesting middle half of the game with a character called Cynthia.

Upon first launching and playing the game, you won’t find it too hard. You won’t need to think about what class you play nor the weapons you pick all too much because the standard difficulty is quite easy; it makes the Xenomorphs look like puppies instead of the killing machines they are.

That is what I thought the whole game would be like, but it is not. You think a sniper shot in the head will kill the weakest ones with only two difficulty rankings up? I wish it did, but it takes more. A gun that traditionally kills in one to two shots on lower difficulties takes four or more shots.

On the topic of guns, each of the classes, and yes I’ll move onto them next, can only wield two types of guns. The types of guns include rifles, handguns, CQWs (close quarter weapons), and “heavys.” To be less vague, the rifles include rifles of all kinds; handguns include hand cannons, pistols, and mini shotguns; the CQWs include shotguns, mini flamethrowers, and SMGs (sub machine guns); and the heavys include the miniguns, grenade launchers, and non-mini flamethrowers.

The classes consist of a demolitionist with crowd control and area of effect damage, a gunner with massive single target damage, a technician who’s job is area denial, a doc who can heal the group, and a recon that buffs teammates and reveals enemies.

It makes the Xenomorphs look like puppies instead of the killing machines they are.

Now that we know all about the game, let’s talk about gameplay. The game is a third person shooter with classes that each have different weapon types and abilities. The core gameplay consists of pushing through hordes of enemies to reach an objective with a hold on your ground section at the end of each mission. For example, at the end of the very first mission you have to fend off a horde of Xenos for about two minutes.

Once the difficulty starts to spike due to difficulty changes, challenge cards, or progression difficulty, the composition of your team—made by you and two others—becomes much more important; each class performs best in one area while being overshadowed by another class in other categories.

This progression of difficulty and the wave based combat leads to a fun and repetitive gameplay loop. The game only gains more replay value once you find out that leveling up your classes gives you more customization options. Do you like the gunner’s grenade? Why not give it remote detonation or turn it into smaller grenades that stun enemies in front of you? This combination of leveling up and customization leads to even more replay-ability.

Another factor that gives the replay-ability some fun is the challenge cards, which augment the game in one form or another while giving out rewards. Want more exp? Sure ok, but your gun now jams every once in a while. Want the game to be easier? No extra reward for you then.

All of this makes Aliens: Fireteam Elite a fun horde fighting game similar to Left for Dead, while the firefights give me a nostalgic feeling of Destiny. If you have some friends who don’t know what to do, give this game a shot.