Somerville is the best alien invasion game since Half-Life 2

Fighting aliens in video games has been a staple of the medium since its inception. The first video game, Space War, was about a war in space. Space invaders are a cultural phenomenon that was originally rumored to have inhaled so much money that it created a money supply problem in Japan. Halo, one of the biggest video game franchises ever created, is about an ongoing war with aliens. We love fighting aliens in video games because it’s easy to turn creatures from other planets into enemies and they can look like anything.

However, the story of the alien invasion is smaller, more personal, than a specific sub-genre of alien narrative that we don’t often see in video games. . When we’re fighting aliens, it’s usually a power ride that aims to provide a playground for action possibilities, but Somerville tells the story of a family just trying to figure out how to survive. in the face of an unknown threat. You’re not trying to find the best weapon to hit the alien’s weak point. You don’t even take the time to get a good look at the aliens. You’re just trying to get to the next safe point.

Somerville is thrilling for this reasonAnd in its best moments, it reminds me of the last time I experienced a truly great alien invasion in a video game: Half-Life 2.

Now, there’s a semantic argument to be made that Half-Life and specifically its sequel is not an alien invasion story. Half-Life’s nemesis, the Combine, comes from another dimension rather than an alien world, but the core idea of ​​Spielburg-ian is the same – there are new strange creatures on the planet, they We don’t know what they are, and we don’t know how to deal with them.

Unlike Somerville, which never really puts you in a position of power (although you do have some special abilities), Half-Life 2 quickly becomes a force of illusion. The Gravity Gun is capable of some truly amazing feats, especially late in the game, but it never gives up on the fear and confusion of a world contemplating an invasion.

In Half-Life 2, you are dropped into a world that has dealt with the Combine for years. Humanity is scared and confused – but they are still alive. And during the opening hours of the game, you get the chance to walk around and explore it all. If Half-Life 2 is about how humanity tries to deal with an invasion, Somerville is about the day it happened.

These two games are very different in completely different genres (even if the main characters have similar faces), but I can’t help but think of taking my first steps into City 17, voiceover Breen’s voice echoed through the speakers welcoming me to my new game. in fact, while my dog ​​and I tried to make our way through the giant purple light through the trees. If you like the overall tone of Half-Life 2, I recommend you check out Somerville. And if you like Somerville, but have never played Half-Life 2, now is the best time to visit City 17.


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