The Alien Breed trilogy has finally come to an end as the last chapter, Alien Breed 3: Descent, gives closure to the mysterious alien invasion. Much like Alien Breed 2: Assault we find our hero Conrad trapped in a spacecraft, battling through waves of aliens for his survival. In fact, the game is so much like the second one, it was sort of a let down.
Overall very little has changed between the games and it's not until the fifth level that Alien Breed 3: Descent picks up and comes into its own. For those who were enjoying the story, this final chapter will be a welcome addition. For more casual players though, there is not a lot to work with. Conrad is a very basic character with only a little back history, beyond how he loves to blow things up or shoot aliens.
The gameplay in Alien Breed 3: Descent consists of shooting aliens while avoiding broken power grids, random fire spouts and more aliens. To those who enjoy the overhead arcade shooter style, this may be fulfilling. On the other hand there is very little to keep you hooked in the game. While the story behind Alien Breed is interesting, much of the game is spent killing endless waves of aliens, then holding down a button (the same button each time) to activate a computer, elevator or other random electronic device. Each time one of the devices is activated, you also have to watch a cutscene, which does little to move the story along. This was a common issue found in Alien Breed 2: Assault, but luckily it was reduced slightly.
Cutscenes in general were relatively bland, especially the comic style scenes that explained what Conrad was doing on the ship. The graphics in the physical game were no different than the previous Alien Breeds, and made use of the Unreal engine. There was a slight change in the environment though, as you finally get to travel outside of the ship. Much of the game takes place in the failing ship that has crash-landed into a melting ice planet though, which means Conrad will be trekking through a lot of water.
An annoying physics issue introduced in Alien Breed 3 leads to a lot of frustration. Certain small boxes now impede movement, so rather than simply moving a very small box out of the way it deters Conrad. During certain situations, like when fighting the queen alien, Conrad will get stuck and the physics issue drastically reduces the area for avoiding attacks.
Sure, there appears to be a lot going against Alien Breed 3: Descent, but that may be due to how quickly this chapter was released after the previous. When a game has a sequel, generally there is an expectation of improved gameplay, weapons and other features based upon what customers have stated. For Alien Breed 3 it appears Team17 only reduced the amount of meaningless cut scenes and fixed the melee attack. Sadly there were no other improvements and trying to find a co-op game online was a chore. Luckily for the Xbox Live version there is an option to play locally (split screen), and of course friendly fire still a concern.
Overall Alien Breed 3: Descent was an average game, but concluded the trilogy properly. If there were more weapons, aliens, and missions then Alien Breed could have been a better game. Each installment of the series was only $10, for a total of $30. For the amount of content provided in the Alien Breed series the cost can be justified, but there is not much replayability available.
Alien Breed 3: Descent is currently available on Xbox Live arcade for 800 Microsoft Points, Steam for $9.99 and PS3 at a later date.