If you're going to call your game Alien Rage, you're either gunning for one of two audiences. Firstly, those that see the words "alien" and "rage" and immediately set their mush caves to amazement. Secondly that slightly hipper, more smirk-ridden crowd; the type that will cock their head to the side, make an obscure reference to SiN and whisper "I get it".
Sadly, Alien Rage - Unlimited, caters to neither audience. The aliens aren't self deprecating in a 3D Realms kind of way, or even all that angry. It might be best described as Moody Hooded Dudes IN SPACE. Or even Gears of War: The ASBO Years. Duke Nukem 3D this 'aint and neither is it Call of Duty.
Because really, AR needed to fit one of two shooty moulds, but its developers have laid down awkwardly somewhere between both. This run-and-gun excursion has pretensions of being an early 90s throwback, complete with gruff marine and ex-wife gags, but there are too many modern troupes to ever let it get going with its Fresh Prince of Bel Air vibes. If it wants to be DOOM, then make with the health packs, allow more than 2 weapons, and go further, further, further.
But it does none of this. Instead this "truly intense, old-school styled shooter game" feels like a cover version of all your old favourites. There are the predator-like aliens from Unreal, a few corridor nasties direct from DOOM 3, and even Gears of War's immulsion makes an appearance. Throw in every other piece of software you can think of from Quake to Killzone, and package it all up in the same wrapping paper as Bulletstorm, and you have a game which makes you want to play about 400 other titles.
Which makes AR fairly redundant by the 15 minute mark. This is your standard, one marine takes on the world set-up, but it lacks the balls-to-the-wall action of an old school FPS, whilst also lacking the spectacular set pieces of the Call of Duty generation.
And yet, that isn't to say that AR isn't fun, because in act not too dissimilar from having Pornhub in your browser history, this game is a guilty pleasure. The shooter is the type of mindless bullet fest that most FPS adventures never attempt anymore. If you like headshots, explosions, and multi-kills, then the chances are you will find something slightly loveable here.
Name that game
The narrative is largely explained away within minutes, while voiceovers rarely trouble details beyond "go here" and "do that". A blue marker will also lead you by the rifle to each new arena, meaning that you can really check your brain in at the door, and run into this gorefest like a child at a Whacky Warehouse.
What makes all of this possible is that CI Games clearly have a good deal of competency behind the code. The sci-fi environments look great thanks to the evergreen Unreal technology powering the experience, while the combat is tight and frenetic.
The rest of the components that make up this headshot simulator also make for a fairly enjoyable, if always derivative skirmish. Boss battles colour corridor crawls, while new enemies make a timely appearance to stop the game from feeling completely insipid.
So while AR is undoubtedly a vanilla, bland, and unneeded FPS, it is none the less enjoyable. This is a shooter that rarely bothers with pretensions of grandeur, and simply settles for pastiche, but it doesn't stop it from providing a few hours of fun.
Big Daddy? That you?
CI Games' entry into the world of space marines and alien bastards is redundant, but it has its place somewhere in the dusty backroom of the FPS genre. Perhaps with a little more ambition, the studios' clear talent would be given a better vehicle with which to showcase their collective skills, but as it stands, this is just simply OK. Nothing special. Nothing groundbreaking. Nothing earth shatteringly bad.
ALIEN RAGE VERDICT
Competent to the last, Alien Rage Unlimited will tick the boxes for anyone wanting to indulge in warfare, whilst perhaps parting ways from any sort of thought process for an hour or two.