Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop is a refreshing co-op game that gives you and up to eight players the ability to shoot, blowup, burn, punch, and chainsaw aliens to death; all while trying to survive. Whoever thought a flamethrower would be good at burning a swarm of aliens charging at you should be promoted, assuming they haven’t already died from a head crab. Yup, there are head crabs and they scare me more than anything!
Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop is a four to eight player co-op game that has a prestige system, progression system, eight characters to play, and takes considerable team work when you up the level difficulty. As you play you progress and gain levels which unlock new weapons for your character. Most weapons and items can be used across all characters but some are class specific. Once you hit max level you can start back over at level 1 and you gain 1 prestige rank which will show up next to your name as a medal indicating you’re a veteran. The progression and prestige are both nice features for feeling accomplished.
Once you’ve selected your character you can then choose their loadout. Each person gets three choices, the first two are usually weapons or a special item like ammo, health box, sentry gun, and the last one is an additional perk. This could be armor, personal health kit, fire mines, rockets, whatever you might need to kill aliens. As you up the difficulty choosing the right weapons for each level does make a difference and this is where playing with friends is helpful.
Alright, once you’re in the map that’s when all the fun begins. The game feels action packed and there are always aliens trying to kill you so you have to always be alert. When you’re playing with eight players people get split up, aliens are swarming on everyone, your teammate is shooting you in the back (yes friendly fire is ON!), it’s great. Within each map there are some objectives that the team works toward and once you get there usually your tech’s will have to hack a terminal while people defend them. Each role within the team is crucial. Techs hack, open doors, complete objective points. The medics keep everyone alive, such an important job. Then the other two roles mow down and blow up as many aliens as possible to keep the team alive. Everyone plays their part and you always feel like you’re an important component of the team. This game is really about team work.
One thing I like about this game is it feels real, at least more real than a lot of shooters these days. I play CS:GO and I’m used to popping off a few rounds, reloading to get a full clip, and not thinking about losing bullets. Not in Alien Swarm! If you have 100 rounds, shoot 2, then reload, you just lost 98 bullets! Also, reloading times vary. If you look at the screenshot above when you reload a bar appears next to your character portrait in the bottom left of the screen. A line goes from left to right and you have to click your reload button again once it’s on the square int he line. If you do this your gun reloads and you keep going, if you miss this you jam your gun and have to wait a few seconds to reload. This can get ugly! But I really like this feature.
This game has great solo play with good A.I. but the player with other people is where the fun is for me. When I first went to the multiplayer screen I was bummed that I didn’t see any games, but that’s because they’re all full! If you don’t see a game just create one, it will fill up in a few minutes. You can always just add bots, start the game, and people will join as you play and take over the bot. There is still an active community.
The game also has PvP to mix things up and the steam workshop for the creators of the gaming world. There is something for everyone in Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop and the best thing, it’s absolutely free. So whether you need a new game, are in between games, or just want a game to play with some buddies one night I think this is worth a try. And if you really want some fun, crank up the difficulty one or two notches and it feels like a whole new game. Good luck out there Marines, and watch out for those damn head crabs!