Detailed review of Alien Swarm - Valve's free co-op shooter

    Alien Swarm - A Free Co-Op Shooter From Valve

    Unexpectedly for everyone, on the official Steam website, the page of the new Valve game appears under the well-known name - Alien Swarm . And the best part is that the game is completely free! That is, to start playing, you just need to get Steam, find Alien Swarm in the list of games and just download it. Isn't it wonderful?

    Full review of the game. Under a cat, especially for Habr!

    Experienced stories

    The game is a classic shooter with a top view. And as usual, contrary to all the laws of logic, various evil spirits begin to creep out from everywhere, and our main task is to destroy these very alien creatures. As it turned out, Alien Swarm developed over two years. A talented group of developers, which consisted of ordinary fashion designers, worked tirelessly. Let's take a look at a few facts that the developers themselves advertise:

    • 4-person tactical top-down team shooter
    • Open source game and full SDK , for quick creation of maps and modifications
    • New items inside the game, after leveling up
    • More than forty types of weapons, with their unique characteristics and features
    • 4 classes and 8 unique characters
    • In-game stats
    • Tile based map generator
    • And all this beauty is running Source Engine

    Valve is a cake!

    I allow myself a little digression. Many players cannot understand how it is, not some enthusiasts there, but Valve itself , a large company with a huge staff of employees, creates a free game and asks for nothing in return. How is it, because we all know the old folk wisdom: free cheese is only in a mousetrap. This is in some way true, but in this case everything is a little different. Friends, Valve just made a great move! By releasing a free game distributed through their Steam computer distribution system , they advertised it. Millions of players from all over the world have downloaded Steam just to enjoy another Valve game.

    Thus, the company attracted many new players to its service. And, of course, in the eyes of others, Valve rose another notch. We are only better off from this, because now we have a wonderful team shooter in the person of Alien Swarm . Now let's get back to the game itself.

    Light, camera, motor!

    Alien Swarm will take on your hard drive a lot - 2 GB of free space. On the first night, right after the release of Alien Swarm , when the game just appeared in the public domain for download, it turned out to be problematic to download. There were many who wanted to taste the game, the servers were loaded, and in some countries the speed almost dropped to zero. Now, everything can be downloaded at maximum speed, the download time will depend only on the speed of your Internet.

    After launch, we will see this menu here:

    In general, the menu is standard, and there is nothing new. You can join existing games, create your own new game on the server, join already playing friends, or start a single mission for training and trying out your new weapons and ammunition. By the way, in solitary missions there is nothing interesting. The cards are the same as in multiplayer, but you will have to run along the dark alleys not with real teammates, but with computer dummies. All the salt of this mode is only to test a new cannon or try the game for those in whose area there is no Internet, or it works poorly. The rest is boring and dead mode.

    In the case of creating a new game, we will be asked to choose a map on which the whole battle will take place, not for life, but for death. At the same time, your nickname will be marked with an asterisk so that other players know who the boss is here. Accordingly, you are given all privileges, for example, you can change the card if you want.
    In addition to the above possibilities, in Alien Swarm you can arrange voting between players, whether it is the appointment of a new leader (the person who first created the map, starting a new game), or the offer to “throw out” a player for indecent behavior or fire on allies.

    As soon as you select a map and configure everything appropriately, the game will load all the necessary resources and you will see a new window, a character selection window. Here you can observe the choice of each of the players. Game chat is activated by pressing the "Y" key, voice chat, of course, is also present and is assigned to the "C" key by default. Alien Swarm includes 8 characters, each of which has his own specialty. All characters have unique characteristics, whether it is the level of health or firepower. Each specialization gives unique abilities that are not inherent in another type of specialty. For example, a physician cannot break open locks, and a technician, accordingly, can treat his comrades.

    game user menu

    A choice of 3 cells for weapons and ammunition. There are types of weapons designed for only one specific specialty.

    Great emphasis in the game is made specifically on team play, and if your team does not have a medic, then at difficulty levels higher than Normal , it will be difficult to complete the mission. Some missions require the participation of at least one character, with some specialty, usually a technician. Without it, it will not be possible to break into the castle necessary for further passage or to launch a turret.

    We would play in the army

    And now a little about the gameplay itself. As you may have guessed, the whole process comes down to an endless cutting of aliens from all kinds of cannons, turrets and other murder weapons. The weapons here, it is worth noting, are very diverse. As experience is gained, for completed missions, your level will grow, and with it the number of available tools will increase. There is everything that a real maniac can wish for: guns, shotguns, grenades, pistols, a minigun, a chainsaw and much, much more. To my surprise, there is even a weapon of Nikola Tesla himself , which, incidentally, is very effective!

    The game has a map and a list of tasks in order not to accidentally get lost in dark rooms. And on the map you can draw:


    I apologize for the quality of the picture, for reasons unknown to me, the just drawn letter disappears very quickly, so I had to hurry to have time to draw it all.

    As for the game levels themselves, they are made at the level. The design of the cards will not make you bored, only tasks seriously let us down. They are not interesting and monotonous: press that button over there, crack the door, blow it up, kill it. But there are also a little more interesting ones, consisting not of one but several movements, for example, one of the cards needs to open the door, and in order to do this, you must turn on the electricity. And now we are rushing at full speed in the opposite direction of the card to turn on the idle electric current generator.

    I will bring to your attention several screenshots demonstrating the gameplaySwarm Alien . Dilute all this with a few videos:

    Official trailer of the game:

    Gameplay Demonstration:

    However, default cards, most likely, are subject to familiarization. After all, the game flaunts an excellent SDK , designed to create new cards and modifications.

    What should we build a house

    As I already mentioned, Alien Swarm has a full SDK for creating new and editing old maps.
    The Alien Swarm SDK consists of several tools, some of which are very familiar to mod makers and map makers of games such as Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike . As you might have guessed, such a tool is the Hammer World Editor and Model Viewer.

    You can see other tools in the following screenshot:


    Hammer World Editor (in the screenshot the downloaded map from Alien Swarm:


    This concludes my story about Alien Swarm . The result was a pretty good game, and most importantly, that it is completely free. A little below I posted links to resources about the game, maybe you will find there something interesting.


    The official website of the game
    The game page on
    The official forum of the project
    Wikipedia game page

    Minimum System Requirements

    • OS: Windows® 7 / Vista / Vista64 / XP
    • Processor: Pentium 4 3.0GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB for XP / 2GB for Vista
    • Graphics: DirectX 9 compatible video card with 128 MB, Shader model 2.0. ATI X800, NVidia 6600 or better
    • Hard Drive: At least 2.5 GB of free space
    • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

    I wish you all a pleasant game!

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