Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review - The Best Aliens Shooter Ever

Aliens: Fireteam Elite is ultra-chaotic, thrilling, and intensely fun, making it the best Aliens shooter on the market today.

@DeekeTweak
Published Sat, Sep 25 2021 4:10 PM CDT
Rating: 86%Developer / Publisher: Cold Iron Studios

Introduction

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  • Developer - Cold Iron Studios
  • Publisher - Focus Home Interactive
  • Platform - PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC (Reviewed)
  • Genre - Third-person Shooter, Action
  • Release Date - August 24, 2021
  • MSRP - $39.99
  • What it is - Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a third-person squad-based shooter with 3 player multiplayer. There are five classes, tons of weapons, and you gun down hordes of xenomorphs in survival-style combat. Mix and match abilities, classes, and guns to take on waves of enemies and unlock a new narrative that expands the Alien franchise.
  • What it isn't - It's not an FPS or a live game, but it will get new content over time. Don't expect tons of missions or a huge 100-hour long storyline.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite is the best Aliens shooter ever made. Hands down. This is the game that Gearbox was trying to make with Colonial Marines--it's the definitive Aliens survival shooter that puts strong emphasis on empowerment, fun, teamwork, and old-school arcade chaos that you really don't find anywhere today.

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Fireteam Elite is a love letter to the sci-horror franchise. It's a game that's been meticulously crafted by a team of die-hard fans for die-hard fans. Everything in the shooter is authentic, from the heart-pumping and enthralling action to the foggy spaceship corridors and the mystical and bizarre Engineer constructs on LV-895.

The attention and care that's been put into every area, every scene, and every model is clear as day, and Cold Iron has created one of the most eye-catching Aliens experiences on the market today.

Make no mistake: This game is all about action. Cold Iron swaps out Isolation's blood-curdling suspense for high-octane chaos. Where in Isolation you fought a handful of xenomorphs, in Fireteam Elite, you'll fight thousands of swarming monstrosities as they pour out of crevices, vents, and the very shadows themselves.

There is an anxiety with Fireteam Elite, but it's not the slow burn of Isolation. It's the thrill of being completely outnumbered and having to rely on wits, skill, and sheer ammo count to survive.

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Aliens: Fireteam Elite is to the 1986 film Aliens what Alien Isolation is to the original 1970s Alien film.

The best part about Fireteam Elite is how easily it blends high-quality cinematic storytelling with interactive action. The story is believable, the characters are a product of a space-trucker era that's a mix of high-tech and scrappy Star Wars junk and analog computers. Nothing in the game really seems out of place. The weapons, the aliens, the environments--everything looks, reacts, and feels as it should. Cold Iron follows in Creative Assembly's footsteps in this regard.

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As a fan, you can simply jump into the game and take a ride into the Aliens universe. Nothing about the content really suspends disbelief--once you fire up the game, you're a marine gunning down bugs and uncovering interstellar secrets with a gruff attitude, and there's not a whole lot that pulls you out of the experience.

You're part of the Aliens universe as long as you play Fireteam Elite.

There are nods to all of the films--Alien-style suspense, Working Joes straight out of Alien Isolation, shadows and interiors lifted from movies like Alien 3--and of course, the machismo of Aliens. It feels really good to not only experience but even better to let everyone else know that the Aliens franchise is back.

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One of my favorite things about Fireteam Elite is how it perfectly captures the spirit of the 1986 sequel.

Aliens is a mix of schlocky, campy horror, and over-the-top James Cameron-style action, complete with explosions, huge guns, and lots of violence. Fireteam Elite really pays respect to the film while adding a new dimension now that players can jump in and direct their own movie of sorts. That blend of campy and ridiculous chaos is still there as you gun down dozens upon dozens of aliens in an acid-soaked massacre, all tinged with the serious macabre tone that underpins the franchise.

Buy at Amazon

Aliens Fireteam Elite - PlayStation 5

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$39.99$33.88-
* Prices last scanned on 10/22/2021 at 2:44 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Gameplay Mechanics and Content

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Aliens Fireteam Elite is a surprisingly competent and robust third-person shooter. This game is all about team play, and fun is 100% contingent on you having two other buddies to play with. You really need to have a three-person team in order to enjoy the combat. Don't play singleplayer with AI...it's just not the same.

Having two other live bodies there to gun down xenos, call out enemy spawns, and generally work together creates a synergistic flow that's found in only the best PVE games.

There's a kind of magic here when you're staying up late, playing in the cold of night with the lights off, trying desperately to survive against towering Big Chaps and the blade tide of never-ending xenomorphs. It's an electric thrill ride experience that can only be truly enjoyed with two other friends you know and trust.

There are four classes to choose from, each with their own unique strengths, synergistic abilities, and weapon types. The classes each have two abilities--usually one active and one passive that boosts your allies--to aid in battle.

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Gunner - Middling offensive class, can use a rifle and a close-quarters weapon like a shotgun. Abilities include a frag grenade (super useful) and a passive ability that increases fire rate.

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Demolisher - Great for beginners. Heavy offense, can use massive two-handed smartgun straight from the Aliens movie, alongside the M41A3 Pulse Rifle. Totally offensive abilities include blastwave concussion ability, micro-rockets (great for finishing off bosses or groups), and a perk that boosts damage.

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Technician - This class can lay out portable turrets that gun down groups of enemies. Great for teamwork in tandem with offensive or defensive classes like the doc. There's also a nice perk that reduces damage taken when players are near your turret, and you can throw shock traps too. Limited to a pistol slot (not great) and an SMG slot (also not great).

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Doc - The doc is my personal favorite. He can lay down an AOE healing ability that restores HP over time. The tank is limited and will run out, but you can recharge it by collecting health packs throughout the levels. The class also has a rifle slot and a handgun slot, complete with awesome upgrade paths to boost damage and healing output.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Review - The Best Aliens Shooter Ever 34 | TweakTown.com

Phalanx - A new update added a fifth class, the Phalanx, which uses a portable shield alongside a pistol and shotgun. This one is a little tough to get used to.

All in all, the game has a great variety of classes for squad-based combat. You can mix and match different characters or just go in as 3 docs or 3 demolishers for maximum carnage.

The mechanics are very well-designed, and the combat is extremely fluid, dynamic, and fun. The guns themselves are very rewarding and enjoyable to use, and while not all of them are actually good, they're still satisfying in their own right.

The HUD is positioned correctly, complete with a mini-map radar ripped straight out of the movies, and the in-game systems are functional and polished.

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What's most surprising to me is the depth of the weapon stats and the creative skill system. The perk tree is extremely innovative and offers some serious RPG-level customization. Its layout reminds me of Resident Evil inventory management which is a huge plus.

There are three main parks of a perk tree, and gamers can attach little bars in a Tetris-like field. Where you place these bars determines how they synergize with the ability. There are passive buffs to specific abilities and general character stat buffs--like improved damage, speed, etc.

A lot of thought and effort went into the weapon stats and skill tree, and things are incredibly well balanced. The weapons themselves have a ton of different attributes and offer customization and min-maxing similar to Destiny's excellent caliber.

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There are detailed stat readouts, attribute modifiers, and a plethora of mods, attachments, scopes, etc. to customize the guns to fit your needs. In this way, you can turn a doc into a defensive long-range killing machine, or make a Technician into more of a mid-range support class.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite basically supports any playstyle. If you want to go hardcore and collect all the weapons, build up your perk tree

On the surface, the game looks like a live service title, but it really isn't. Fireteam Elite offers a four-chapter story arc each with 3 missions a piece. The missions are pretty meaty and can take around 20-40 minutes to complete at a time, depending on difficulty.

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There are also helpful things like a ping system, but you'll want to be playing in a Discord server with voice chat to best communicate with your team. This is a multiplayer game, and you really want to have that tighter cohesion on the later levels where things get absolutely insane.

There are some annoying things too, including progression gates. Everyone has to be on the same mission in order to progress. If one player is on mission 5, for example, but one is on mission 1, the lower level one has to get to mission 5 to move forward. It's not a super big deal but something to keep in mind. The game is somewhat short-ish, so you'll be replaying the campaign in order to progress.

Environments: H.R. Giger would be proud

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The environments in this game are incredible. Some areas are like walking into an HR Giger painting. Others have you carousing through the steam-filled bowels of a spaceship, making your way through the command decks until you get to the MOTHER AI hub with its brilliant blinking lights, circa Kubrick's space era.

Cold Iron has captured the franchise's unique 70s-80s sci-fi style perfectly, complete with a great mix of analog and futuristic tech blended with that distinct NASA spirit.

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The game's aesthetic is alluring, exotic, and beautiful, encapsulating a variety of areas and environments, from the mysterious, unexplored alien temples of LV-895 to the Predator ruins and Weyland-Yutani ships. There's a distinct mystique to the environments that pull you right in, and everything is designed to accommodate a level of exploration while setting you up for thrills--there's always a long corridor that promises tons of xenomorphs, or a bunch of cover areas that telegraph a big battle royale is about to ensue.

There's a lot of environmental storytelling throughout the game that all Alien fans will recognize and be able to enjoy, coupled with superb level design befit of a cover-based squad shooter.

PC performance and optimization

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As great as Aliens Fireteam Elite is, there are some issues with optimization. My PC got pretty toasty while running the game, and there doesn't seem to be a good reason why.

Higher temps while playing at 2560 x 1440, hit up to 84C with a 70% fan usage curve in Afterburner with an RTX 2080 Super. Fan usage stabilized when putting in a 1:1 curve in MSI Afterburner, hitting around 70-73C. I'd recommend playing this game in 1080p and definitely not in 4K unless you have a great cooling setup.

What's strange is the pre-release version actually ran at a consistent ~75C in 1440p. It was only after the day one patch did the temps rise so dramatically.

That being said, the game ran at a smooth 120FPS in 1080p with an RTX 2080 Super, and actually hit 100FPS+ in 1440p with the same graphics card. Other than the temp issues--which are pretty big, mind you--I didn't have any other issues with the game's overall performance outside a few glitches and crashes.

PC System Tech Specs:

Aliens: Fireteam Elite PC spec requirements

MINIMUM:

  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: AMD Athlon X4 950 / Intel i5-2500K
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD R9 285 4GB / NVIDIA GTX 760 4GB
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 30 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Integrated or dedicated Direct X 11 compatible soundcard
  • Additional Notes: Minimum graphics settings, 1920x1080 screen resolution, 30FPS average

RECOMMENDED:

  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 1600AF / Intel i5-7400
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD RX 480 8GB / NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 30 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Integrated or dedicated Direct X 11 compatible soundcard
  • Additional Notes: High graphics settings, 1920x1080 screen resolution, 60FPS average

Wrap-Up: What's Hot and What's Not

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At its heart, Aliens: Fireteam Elite is hands-down the best shooter ever made in the franchise. Every single time I've played this game, I've had tons of fun. Aliens: Fireteam Elite respects your time and your money by offering you instant action you can enjoy time and time again. There's no real requirement for grinding or pressure to unlock everything.

You can simply fire the game up, join a squad, and jump right in.

It's a chaotic shooter where levels conclude with a mad dash to the end, sometimes with tons of enemies just swarming the screen. It's an absolute blast.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a fun, frenetic, and competent squad-based shooter that does everything right. Some optimization issues aside, I can say Cold Iron has nearly perfectly recreated the authentic look, feel, and spirit of the Alien franchise and James Cameron's 1986 action flick.

You'll want to conscript two friends and pop on a headset to best enjoy this game, but once you do, be prepared for over-the-top chaos.

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What's Hot

+ Variety of classes and weapons to customize your character

+ Chaotic, fun, and exciting, hands down the best Alien shooter on the market

+ Balanced abilities make multiplayer fun

+ Authentic visuals with nods to movies

+ Amazing musical score

+ Instant action that you can play right away

What's Not

- Runs hot sometimes, optimization isn't great

- Multiple crashes while trying to join a Steam invite

Buy at Amazon

Fun Factor

100%

Graphics

80%

Content and Mechanics

90%

PC Performance

75%

Overall

86%

The Bottom Line

Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a fun, chaotic shooter made by fans for fans. A nostalgic thrillride.

TweakTown award
86%

Aliens Fireteam Elite - PlayStation 5

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$39.99$33.88-
* Prices last scanned on 10/22/2021 at 2:44 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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