Some thoughts about Alien Isolation:
It definitely pads for time. At one point, I had to go to the far end of a hall to unlock an area, then back to the other end to try a door, then back across to restart a generator, THEN BACK AGAIN TO ENTER THE AFOREMENTIONED DOOR. It’s one of the more notable example of “This needs to be “worth” $80” I think I’ve ever seen and I played NuGoW.
I kinda felt the challenge diminished near the end. Even on hard. I was hoping for more varied combos of enemies, more mixtures of armored humans, Joe’s in hazard suits, et cetera, but it’s mostly just the Alien who wasn’t super hard to fight off alone as flamethrower fuel was always nearby. I would be exploring Sevastopol, she would pop out like a cat and I’d use my spray bottle on her. I may give those challenge rooms a go, or play the campaign on nightmare, but eh.
APART FROM THAT STUFF THOUGH, it was a hell of a time. Earlier on, the gameplay is firing on all cylinders, the first couple encounters with the Xeno and hostile Joe’s are legit terrifying, ESPECIALLY THE JOE’S, and the first time I tossed a noisemaker in the middle of a group of humans, only to hide as the alien dropped down and butchered them all was incredible, Isolation has maybe my favorite sound design of any game, period.
Everything about the game’s general ambience kicks ass, really. The lighting, music, layout of the Sevastopol, the constant whirring and click-clacking of wholly impractical machinery all do a wonderful job of selling the incomprehensibly oppressive nature of the setting. Now I realize it’s just a copy, a facsimile of the '79 film, but it’s a fucking great one, and considering the Alien franchise hasn’t explored the original’s headspace all that much, I’ll take it (Though I still like Aliens more).
Also, my man, my bro, my absolute dude Harry Dean Stanton in a fucking video game. That’s pure gold.