Aliens: Dark Descent trailer reveals brutal tactical shooter

Alien Dark Descent SGF 2022
(Image credit: Tindalos)

The new game reveals at the Summer Game Fest have kicked off with Aliens: Dark Descent, a top-down tactical shooter in the style of Alien Swarm and The Ascent. You’ll get an overview of the action, which just means you’ll have an even better view of the xenomorphs as they swarm and eviscerate you.

The Aliens: Dark Descent reveal trailer has a lot to like and acts as a great start for Summer Game Fest. It kicks off with a view of the classic marine dropship, close-ups of pulse rifles, smart guns, and motion trackers, it’s everything we’d like to see in an Aliens game.

Check it out for yourself below:

While there are a lot of Alien games, they’ve certainly been a mixed bag. The absolute pinnacles are Alien Isolation and Alien Vs Predator 2, but more recent entries, such as Aliens: Fireteam Elite left a lot to be desired. The third-person co-op shooter didn’t capture the raw terror and power of the creatures you’re fighting.

So, will Aliens: Dark Descent be able to enter the pantheon? At first blush, a top-down view shooter doesn’t seem like something that fits the Alien canon. If you’re not up close with the action how can you possibly find the xenomorph all that scary? Except, there’s a fantastic game that developer Tindalos looks to be using as a model for Dark Descent: Alien Swarm.

Available for free on Steam, Alien Swarm is an excellent co-op shooter that sees you facing off against, well, you guessed it, swarms of aliens. You and your friends are constantly up against it with walls of fleshy enemies crushing you into tight corners and corridors before eating you alive. 

You could control the space by using heavy weapons like miniguns and flamethrowers, but also by welding shut airlock doors to try and limit the speed of the swarm. It looks like Aliens: Dark Descent has the same functionality.

Alien Dark Descent Gameplay View SGF 2022

(Image credit: Focus Entertainment/Tindalos Interactive)

Although, where Alien Swarm was a co-op game, with each player controlling a marine and facing down the deadly menace, in Dark Descent you're the sole commander of the whole squad.

According to Dark Descent's description on its YouTube video, you will "infiltrate large open levels and annihilate enemies with your squad, dispatching orders strategically and intuitively at the touch of a button." 

The game features permadeath, with your squad being a precious commodity. An interesting detail that's left unexplained is that you will "forge unique paths for survival, uncovering shortcuts, creating safe zones, and setting up motion trackers in a persistent world where your actions impact levels forever."

You'll be able to level up and customize your squad, too, unlocking "unique abilities and an arsenal of weapons, armor, and perks". There's also a home base that you will expand and use to research new tech. It sounds like a fleshed-out game and not a throwaway shooter. 

We’ve a while to wait to find out if Aliens: Dark Descent lives up to Alien Swarm, it’s not due out until 2023. But I can’t wait to see more. It's coming for Xbox Series X|S, PS5, Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Julian Benson
Contributor, TechRadar Gaming

Julian's been writing about video games for more than a decade. In that time, he's always been drawn to the strange intersections between gaming and the real world, like when he interviewed a NASA scientist who had become a Space Pope in EVE Online,  or when he traveled to Ukraine to interview game developers involved in the 2014 revolution, or that time he tore his trousers while playing Just Dance with a developer.