As I work my way through the thrill-ride that is Alien: Isolation, I have truly come to appreciate the importance of sound design as it pertains directly to the over all immersive experience. Between the banging of the ventilation ducts and sudden swoosh of an opening door, there are sounds that you are trained to very quickly listen for and, more importantly, sounds you are taught to fear. I’m barely past what I would gauge to be the halfway mark in Alien: Isolation and already I’ve developed a strange, almost Pavlovian fear response triggered by a very specific set of sounds.
The swoosh of opening doors sets me into a panic almost immediately, especially if I know it’s a door far enough away that I didn’t trigger it’s action. Equally terror-inducing is the banging and thumping of the ventilation ducts while my own personal alien menace tracks me down in an attempt to evacuate my brains from my skull as expediently as possible. All of these sounds, combined with the general hum and whir of the Sevastapol station itself, combine with gameplay itself to create a tense and overall vivid multimedia experience.
I spend almost every minute of my time in A:I terrified witless at this point in the game, and yet I still crave more. Never discount that audio experience, folks. It really can transform an otherwise mundane gaming experience.