Alien Breed is one of those weird franchises that no one seems to know about, but manages to sell enough to warrant game after game. At least that was the case in the Amiga era. However, Team17’s recent addition to the series was a bit on the dodgy side. Alien Breed: Evolution was released last year. The story revolved around getting rid of pesky alien invaders aboard a big space ship. It was perfectly playable, but we didn’t feel like it brought enough to the table to warrant a new release. This was a bit worrying, as it was the first episode of a new series of Alien Breed titles but paid homage to the series a bit too much.
Enter Alien Breed 2: Assault. Team17 listened to the complaints everyone sent them about Evolution and their response was to basically ignore everything. The frankly annoying spamming of aliens is back, as are the occasional (and woeful) boss battles. It’s as if the team doesn’t want the game to actually sell. There’s really nothing here that we haven’t seen done better elsewhere before.
However, it does still have that odd addictive Alien Breed quality. Despite Team17 making the game as mundane as possible, you actually want to run about blasting aliens in the face and fixing your lovely space ship. The problem is that the gameplay follows an all-too-familiar routine: go to place x, get told you need an item/switch/card to proceed then go back to place x to carry on with your journey. It’s repetitive and uninspired to say the least. Going by conventional logic, it’s as if the game doesn’t like you actually trying to progress. That statement can also be backed up by the ridiculous amount of enemies the game throws at you.
We understand that the protagonist’s space ship has been invaded by aliens, but throughout out the course of the game we must’ve killed at least an entire planet’s worth. It seemed that whenever we wanted to get something done, aliens would pop out to ruin our day. Quite why Team17 is continuing with the Doom 3 school of cheep scares remains to be answered, especially as they blatantly have the history behind them to make something truly awesome. They seem competent to release serviceable updates of past titles without trying to better them in any way.
It’s a shame really, as the presentation has been improved and the ability to upgrade your items/weapons adds something new to play around with. Some of the new aliens can actually be fun to fight, especially the ones that heal their buddies as they take some of your punishment. Co-op play is a bit better and the game generally looks nicer too. It seems that the game inside this mess really wants to come out, but Team17 are holding it back. They need to go back to the drawing board and not be afraid to change things up a bit more.
Verdict: Alien Breed 2: Assault is a game that can be fun in short bursts. If you try to play it like a regular game you will become annoyed by the repetition of completing boring tasks whilst aliens try to jump all over your face. As such, we can’t recommend it.