• Alien Swarm

    Alien Swarm.

    A Steam-Powered game (but don't let that put you off, as it did me, for so long.

    Firstly, it's free, bandwidth notwithstanding... it's a 1,3 Gb downnload.
    Don't let Steam confuse you with the 'download meter' thing. That says 2,8 Gb, but actual download was only 1,3 (I checked on the ADSL user stats page).
    Dunno what's up with that... I chalk it up to "Computers only make very fast, very accurate mistakes".

    This is essentially a purely multiplayer game, designed for co-op play betwen 4 or less players, but I strongly recommend you get the full 4-man team on board before you play the campaign. You need every skill and gun in the team to get through the game. You can bumble through with fewer players, but you end up trying to divide useful items (like welder for opening locked doors, or sealing doors behind you as you progress) between you, sacrificing other items that definitely come in handy.
    Also, you use a lot more ammo when they are fewer of you, and the tech has a limited resupply capability.

    Interface is nothing like what you're used to.
    The view is similar to Diablo/Titan Quest, etc. where your characer is seen from a 60 degree top-down angle.
    A,W,D and S control where your little dude goes. Mouse controls where he looks. So, you can run up the screen, as you fire backwards, and still be able to see what you are runnng towards. This does create some confusion for those more accustomed to the FPS control set, or the 'click-and-go' interface used in like Diablo.
    Takes some getting used to, but you can practice in the 'Offline Practice' mode.
    That is basically the Single Player aspect of the game. You play whichever character suits you. The rest of the party is comprised of AI characters, which you have to give orders to (or take direct control of) to get things done. Once you've used that mode, to figure out what does what, and who is best at performing which functions, forget that control system completely, coz you won't use it in multi-player.

    All you need to remember for MP, is:
    WASD = move
    Mouse = aim/facing direction
    (The little 'ring' on your lazer beam is where you are 'aiming', as in that's where he will throw his grenade to (for example). Bullets go straight down the lazer beam, so you don't have to 'aim' directly at an alien. Just have the beam on him).
    Left mouse button = fire (or use whatever you have in your hands. E.g. med pack, ammo, turret gun)
    Right mouse button = moer him! Not terribly effective....
    F = Alternate fire (some weapons, like the assault rifle, have alternate fire modes, like a grenade launcher
    1= Use offhand item (this can vary, depending on your level and class. Useful items, from torch, through damage multiplier beacons, to auto-guided missile swarms)
    C= VOIP (and it works like a dream. No breaking up, good clear signal)
    E= Pick stuff up
    G= Drop whatever is in your hands
    Mouse wheel= Switch active weapon/item

    That's it!
    You'll get a pretty good feel for the control system in single player, but you are limited to the first stage of the campaign only, and you earn no XP.
    Ja. Just what I thought... Urgh! Stats...
    But these XP's allow you to level up, and get new toys (like advanced offhand items, new weapons, etc.). No ability score boosters and stats, just goodies.

    The general story is that you're a memeber of some sort of marine unit (comprised of a 'leader', 'medic', 'technician' and 'heavy weapons specialist') that is sent to investigate the sudden lack of comms from a colony (sounds a bit 'Aliens' with colonial marines, doesn't it?). You work your way through 'levels' to safe zones, somewhat like L4D, where, after your individual XPs are calculated, you are healed, re-armed, can select your gear, and move on to the next area. There are 'boss' stages too (like a Shield bug... he's not very nice at all) but nothing insurmountable, if you work together, and can keep your head out your ass, unlike may random game-joiners you will find online... remember them from L4D?
    "Never mind me. I'll just run off and do my own thing.... HELP! A Jockey has me!.... Now I'm dead. Why didn't you all save me? This is a team game, you know?".

    While your level is saved, nothing else is. If you stop playing before you complete the campaign, you start over.
    There is only one campaign, but I haven't finished it yet. I think there are about 8 to 10 stages to the campaign. I have gotten through about 5 so far, and I'm at level 10 already (there were quite a few restarts due to our getting munched on a bit. When it goes wrong, it goes really wrong, really fast!
    Some missions are class-specific. You may need a tech. If he dies, you restart that level. No good picking up his stuff.... you're not an engineer!

    There may be DLC somewhere, but I haven't looked into that yet. So far, the standard campaign hs kept me very busy and entertained.

    Stay together! Many items have limited range (healing, etc.) so be sure you're near them.
    Work together!
    Protect the man that is doing the deed (opening door, or whatever). He has a pop up screen he's dealing with. He can't even see the swarm coming.
    CONSERVE AMMO! There isn't much of it lying around, and your fancy sci-fi gun can go through it at an alarming rate. The tech may carry extra ammo, but he doesn't even carry enough to re-equip the whole team fully, even once. Luckily, the medic carries lots of healing thingies.
    Find bottlenecks and hold them while the swarm is coming. If you get caught out in the open, the aliens will overwhelm you with numbers. Try control how many avenues of approach the aliens have, and cover each other. All it takes is one dude to try change clips with no support fire, and he will be over-run. Then you all die .... did I mention teamwork?
    WATCH YOUR FIRE. Friendly fire is real, and it hurts!

    Personally, I am developing obsessive tendancies wrt this game.
    I... must... finish... campaign

    I'm going to give this an 8/10, despite it being a Steam game, mainly, I believe, because it is something new and different.
    Plus, I am sick of Starcraft 2 already
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Alien Swarm started by SoSheOhPathix View original post

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