In anticipation of the Destroy All Humans! remake’s launch this week, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best games starring aliens released during the past ten years. From Alien Isolation to Half-Life: Alyx, ogle at all of our test subjects below:
1. Alien Isolation
Xenomorphs may be the most intimidating extraterrestrials in popular media. In Alien Isolation, these hulking, faceless creatures crawl through vents and hide around corners to pounce on the player when he or she least expects it. The most frightening aspect of their anatomy, aside from the fact that they’re incredibly strong and agile, is their profound auditory ability. Few things are quite as scary as accidentally tripping over a piece of trash, as one could expect a Xenomorph to show up literally seconds after. Holding one’s breath inside a locker while one of these extraterrestrials stands inches away may be the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One’s most terrifying experience.
2. Dead Space 2
As if Isaac Clarke’s adventure aboard the USG Ishimura in the original Dead Space isn’t harrowing enough, Dead Space 2 ratchets up the horror to 11, introducing new Necromorphs to freeze in stasis and mutilate to pieces. The most disturbing of these new variations are the childlike members of The Pack, the likes of which usually appear in hordes and swarm Isaac with their sharp talons and high-pitched squeals. That’s not to mention Dead Space 2’s boss fights, which often involve elaborate set pieces that hurl Isaac across space. This sequel represents the culmination of the series, as Dead Space 3 veers into a different direction and introduces co-op play, for some reason.
3. Resistance 3
Resistance 3 may be the best title Insomniac’s Resistance franchise has to offer, as it excellently wraps up the events of the main trilogy and introduces a range of new weapons for one to use against the loathsome Chimera. The game’s best aspect is that it succeeds in capturing a war-torn, defeated United States, complete with burning buildings, abandoned farmsteads, and crumbling infrastructure. Resistance 3 also neatly brings the series’ overarching plot to a satisfying conclusion, explaining the Chimera’s motivation in invading Earth and capturing humans for experimentation. It’s a shame that we haven’t seen more of Resistance since 2012, though it’s possible that Insomniac could go back to the franchise now that the company is officially part of Sony’s Worldwide Studios.
4. Mass Effect 2
While this list does single out Mass Effect 2 for its impressive character development and thrilling overarching narrative, each one of the first three Mass Effect games represents science fiction at its best. Mass Effect 2 in particular does a great job fleshing out each extraterrestrial’s unique way of life, be it the kind Asari or the brutish Krogans. The game doesn’t stop there, however, as it fully explores each alien’s personality and motivations. Arguably, Mass Effect 2 fleshes out its species in a way that Star Wars wishes it did, as the game isn’t afraid to stop the action and let its aliens speak for themselves. Also, Mass Effect 2’s character designs are awesome.
5. Half-Life: Alyx
Throughout the Half-Life series, most extraterrestrial species were depicted as antagonistic. In other words, they existed simply for Gordon to kill them and protect mankind from extinction. Half-Life: Alyx, the VR spin-off that released earlier this year, adds a degree of complexity to the alien species in Half-Life’s universe, particularly when it comes to the Vortigaunts. Without giving too much away, this alien race plays an integral part to Alyx’s adventure, the likes of which has players go on a mission to steal a superweapon from another species called the Combine. The dichotomy between the Vortigaunts and the Combine fleshes out Half-Life’s universe in a way few other franchises manage to achieve. Aside from this, Half-Life: Alyx may be one of the best VR games to date.
Here’s hoping that the upcoming Destroy All Humans! remake lives up to the out-of-this-world pedigree that the games above established this past decade. Destroy All Humans! launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on July 28.