Alien: Isolation is the greatest horror game ever made. I know that's a bold claim, but it's true. Everything about it is note perfect, from the terrifyingly devious xenomorph AI to the gorgeously atmospheric retro-futuristic aesthetic. It's every bit as thrilling—and chilling—as it was back in 2014. However, if there's one game screaming out for a PS5 update, or a Death Stranding-style 'Director's Cut' re-release, it's this. The PS4 version is perfectly playable, but it's stuck at 1080p and 30fps. The low resolution doesn't do that stunning art direction justice, and the camera movement feels a little sluggish. Having played Alien: Isolation at 4K on a high-end gaming PC, I know how good this game can look and feel with a resolution/frame rate boost, and I'd love to have that experience on PS5.
But not just for the visuals: for the audio too. I recently bought Sony's Pulse 3D headset, and have been enjoying the spatial audio simulation in games like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and the PS5 versions of Death Stranding and Ghost of Tsushima. The sensation of sound moving around you, coming from different sources, is incredibly well done. Forget the ugly-sounding 'virtual surround sound' you get on some gaming headsets: this actually works. But while the games above do make great use of PS5's dramatically named Tempest audio engine, Isolation has the potential to be the best implementation of the tech yet. Sound is always important in games, but Isolation takes it a step further by making it an essential survival tool. In this game, a gun won't save you—but your ears just might.
There are three ways to track the alien: the motion tracker, your eyes, and your ears. The motion tracker is useful, but the alien can hear it, which makes using it risky in close quarters. This isn't an issue with your eyes, but when the creature crawls into a vent or it's in another room, they're useless. That's why listening is often the best tactic in Isolation. Play the game for long enough and you start to recognise sounds, like the telltale clumsy thump of it retreating into a vent, meaning it's safe to come out of your hiding place. Isolation's sound engine already has its own spatial audio simulation, and it's well implemented. But imagine how much more powerful it would be using the PS5's 3D audio tech, to let you really feel the presence of your alien stalker as it moves around you.
The game could also make use of the DualSense controller's haptic feedback: feeling the thud of the alien's heavy footsteps pounding in your hands, increasing in intensity as it draws closer. Isolation is a game about using your senses to outsmart a deadly and relentless predator, and features like this would enhance this aspect of the game massively. With a lot of PS5 upgrades or re-releases, it's really just a chance to re-experience a game with better visuals and smoother controls. That's cool—I'm thoroughly enjoying Horizon Zero Dawn's 60fps patch. But Alien: Isolation is an example of a game that would actually be improved by being on PS5 and taking advantage of the system's unique tech.
Will it happen, though? Sega still clearly has some love for Isolation, if 2019's excellent Switch port—which actually looked better than the PS4 version—is anything to go by. But implementing these PS5-specific enhancements would involve a lot of additional development, so it's more complicated than just porting it to another platform. Isolation is one of the best games in Sega's back catalogue, and an enhanced PS5 version would be the perfect way to honour that. The recently released Death Stranding Director's Cut is a perfect example of how an existing game can be cleverly reworked for a new platform and new tech—and can have new life breathed into it in the process. Of the many games that deserve another shot at glory on PS5, nothing comes close to Alien: Isolation.
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