I was lazily browsing through the Free To Play section on the Steam catalogues (yes I know I’m a cheapskate) when I found this:
After double-checking to make sure that it isn’t the old Alien Swarm, I did some extra digging. Turns out, this actually started off as a ModDB entry. The team behind it submitted it onto Greenlight and it passed. And since it’s on Steam for some time I assume they have Valve’s blessing.
Either way, the reviews seem positive, unlike the remakes and extension attempts for one of my favourite games. So I downloaded it and jumped in when it’s done.
People familiar with the original Alien Swarm will notice the Single Player option in the menu. It’s similar to the Training mode here, which is identical to the Offline Training in the original. However, in this case you get to choose the equipment and character for your AI teammates, and like in Training mode you can get them to deploy the off-hand items they’re carrying with the number keys. Also, this allows you to choose the campaign and stage you want.
And yes, you get to choose the campaign you want to play. Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop has new campaigns added in to the game, breathing new life into it. I tried playing one of the new campaigns, Area 9800 solo and got beaten so hard on the first stage I swear I felt actual physical pain. But then, I am as competent at video games as a blindfolded gibbon trying to play Starcraft with just its tail, so don’t take my word for it.
The first stage of Area 9800 feels much like the official campaign, Jacob’s Rest quality-wise. One thing I did notice, however, is that the campaign uses the same voicelines for Williams from Jacob’s Rest, shuffled around to fit what’s happening during that stage. Since it started off as a mod for the original game, I’m not so surprised that they didn’t have new voicelines from the original voice actor, but it would be nice to have new voicelines made for it, especially now that it has a full release on Steam.
Before I forget, they also added PvP gamemeodes. According to the features list there are “Deathmatch, Gun Game, Instagib, and Team Deathmatch”. I’ll be honest, multiplayer isn’t really my thing (I still have no idea how I ended up playing and liking TF2 to be honest) so I didn’t try that one.
Lastly, one other thing added to Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop is Steam Workshop support. Mods for a mod for a mod can be downloaded here, like reskins, custom UIs and new campaigns. This will keep it fresh with new content streaming in, keeping it alive for a really long time.
In fact, this game is pretty much Alien Swarm+1. It is the original game with a lot more content added to it, as well as a way to directly obtain more content. Best of all, it’s free. Not free to play where they find some way to nickel and dime you later down the line, but FREE. There is literally no way you can spend a single cent on this game aside for paying for the electricity bill and your computer. So yeah, go get this game here. By the way, you do not need to have the original Alien Swarm installed, it is a standalone.
P.S. For some reason, the default aspect ratio for me is 4:3, and the bottom part of the windows is cropped off. This is rather annoying since some of the buttons are at the bottom of the screen. Took me 5 minutes before I realized what’s wrong.