Aliens: Fireteam Elite
GameOn Magazine|Issue 144 - Oct 2021
Cold Iron Studios was founded in 2015 by a team of industry veterans, and Aliens: Fireteam Elite marks their first official release as a studio, and an ambitious one at that.
Luke Greenfield

Publisher: Cold Iron Studios, Focus Home Interactive

Developer: Cold Iron Studios

Genre: Third-Person Shooter

Release Date: Out Now

Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series

To say that Aliens: Colonial Marines soured the industry's perspective of the Alien franchise is an understatement. Alien: Isolation helped redeem this to some degree, but when a co-op shooter based on Alien was announced, the general consensus online was that it would be a disappointment. Even friends who saw me playing Aliens: Fireteam Elite through Steam messaged me under the assumption that the game was bad.

Fireteam is able to sit comfortably amidst its sibling titles by managing to still carve its own path in the story. It doesn’t tell the tale of an all-out war with the Xenomorphs, nor does it tell a story of a single isolated incident against an indomitable foe. In Aliens: Fireteam Elite, the Xenomorphs already won. The Colonial Marines are now on damage control, trying to reach out to ravaged settlements in the hope of extracting just one survivor. And that's where you come in.

Players can choose from one of four classes: Gunner, Demolitions, Technician and Doc. You can also unlock a Recon class upon completing all campaigns. I took a great liking to the Technician class, who got access to a very powerful revolver and had abilities designed around area denial and defensive capabilities. All classes come with two activated abilities, a passive ability, and perks that can be unlocked and attached to them as they level up. The perk system in Aliens: Fireteam Elite is one of the most interesting methods of doing a perk system.

You have a small board to play with in a system akin to a Resident Evil inventory system. To take a perk, you need to place it into your board (and have the space to do so). Some perks can be universal, but a majority are tied to each class and are unlocked by leveling them up. Leveling up a class also unlocks more space on the perk board, allowing you extra room to play perk-Jenga with. It’s an innovative system that works surprisingly well and is a nice way to add progression to the game in a way that feels refreshing.

Outside of your class and perks, you can also customise your weapon loadout that you bring with you. You unlock more weapons as you level up your account, and you can find various attachments & consumables by playing through levels and finding hidden caches, or getting them as rewards upon completing the level. Consumables range from a temporary buff of incendiary ammo, to a sentry turret that shocks Xenomorphs that get too close. Consumables can be found in missions, and those that aren't used will be added to an inventory that you can access on the ship before leaving for future missions. Weapons have three attachment slots, usually related to the barrel, the magazine, and the sights, and each upgrade offers various bonuses to how they handle. There’s no grinding for powerful add-ons, but rather each add-on is a side-grade that grants varying buffs to match your playstyle. It’s a fun system to tinker with, and after only a few missions, you can use the store on your main ship to unlock any attachments you want to try out by spending requisition credits.

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