Despite what some may have you believe, there is some serious enjoyment to be found in Aliens: Fireteam Elite; I have and still continue to enjoy my time with the base game, some months from first launch. The mix of classic Aliens sounds and the chance to fire the weapons from the second film in the franchise, in addition to the iconic Xenos, is enough to keep me playing. But now Cold Iron Studios have released an expansion to the base game, one which promises to bring more of all the things we enjoy. Does the arrival of Pathogen allow for a stand up fight, or is it just another bug hunt?
The story aspect of Aliens: Fireteam Elite – Pathogen continues the good work set previously, and the development team have obviously worked hard to integrate it into the overarching narrative of the game. The events in the Pathogen expansion take place after the events of the main story, and so cannot be accessed until after you have finished the four chapters of the original game.
Once in, it appears that something is mutating the Xenos that have made the planet their home, and whilst regular Xenomorphs are bad enough, mutated ones are bad news with a capital B. Someone is going to have to pop down and sort out the whole mess, and who better than a bunch of some rough tough Colonial Marines? After the rather damp squib that was the encounter with the Queen in the main game, maybe this will be rectified in the DLC…
Presentation is again on a par with the rest of the game, which is to say that it pretty much looks like you are thrown straight into the middle of the movie. The aliens are still fast, and the mutated ones are even worse, with new types to take on. Well, I say new types, but the archetypes still seem pretty familiar – there are still the cannon fodder Xenos, the acid spitting ones and the big tank like ones, but the mutation seems to have coated them in Tipp-Ex, as they are a fetching shade of white.
Again, the sound is exactly as you’d hope for with the roar of the pulse rifles to the trumpeting squeal of a dying Xeno all bang on the money as always. All in all, Aliens: Fireteam Elite is still a very good looking game, and it still moves at a very fast pace.
Now, it’s all very well making sure that the story is coherent across the new content, and that the sounds and sights are all good as well, but what we really want to know is, what is new? Well, there is quite a list of stuff, so pull up a chair and get comfortable. First and foremost is a new chapter of the story, called “The Promise of a Flower”, made up of the usual three missions that task us with descending into an alien hive and sorting out the enemies, just for a change. To be honest, the first two missions feel like rehashes of earlier objective carriers, just with white aliens, but the third chapter is by far the best of those found in the entire game.
There are also a number of new weapons that have been added into the arsenal of the Fireteam, as well as new attachments that you can then glue to these new weapons. There are a total of four new weapons, one for each chapter of the new campaign, and one for completing it on a high difficulty. These attachments are available at Parks’ weapon shop straight away. There are also some new outfits to wear, as well as new decals and weapon colours to obtain. And that’s not all as you can throw in some new emotes to get, and even new headgear. This is most definitely a fully rounded package, with some almost useful things to collect. I don’t really care about painting my gun pink, or putting stickers on it, but in case you do, it’s good to know that Cold Iron Studio has your back.
There are a couple more facets to this Pathogen expansion as well. First of all, there are new achievements to obtain, which is always welcome – a lesson that Bungie should learn for their next Destiny 2 expansion as the last few have seen no new achievements at all. Secondly, a whole new way to play has been introduced with the addition of the Hardcore mode. It’s here where your character is reset to bog standard, and a perma-death mechanic is added. Yes, if you die in this mode, it’s game over man, game over! Hardcore mode brings with it a slew of new challenge cards, alongside even more cosmetic stuff, so while it all sounds a bit serious to me, it promises to provide a stiff challenge.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite – Pathogen is pretty good and in fact the only real issue I have with this expansion is the price. There’s no easy way to say it, but £11.99 for about an hour or so of gameplay in the new campaign seems too high. The cosmetic stuff and new weapons are okay, but by no means essential, so basically you are left with quite a high price for not an awful amount of content. The new campaign is fun, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been left wanting more.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite – Pathogen is on the Xbox Store