I've been playing "Alien Breed (1): Impact" the past days. Given the right approach, it's OK. The shooting is really good and the weapons feel right, and target priorization is important. Especially if you're under time constraints, things can get pretty tense and fun. And the upgrade system is neat.
However: there rarely are time constraints. Sure, the mission introduction urges you to hurry, but that's the usual to-be-ignored exposition, you can take your sweet time. In the old AB games, you had a constant pressure: aliens were permanently spawning (or rather, crawling out of the floor) around you; if you stopped moving, you ran out of ammo quickly. Not so here. Only once so far (almost done with level 3), a sub-objective in a level was on a timer, and aliens spawn in strictly limited numbers. I suppose the total mission completion times count for the online leaderboards, but I don't care about them. Which is all sad, because other elements of the reboot are designed specifically to work only when you feel pressured for time: you can explore corridors off the direct path, and rummaging through lockers and ripping valuables off corpses both take some time during which you can't defend yourself (you can abort, but the timer starts anew as soon as you continue). Without external pressure, that time is just your time that gets wasted and isn't meaningful for the gameplay.
Then there's the story and the missions. The story presentation starts well enough, with a voiced comic showing enough to get you interested, but also leaving some mysteries. In the game itself, you can then access logs (right away) that immediately destroy the mystery. And the missions are just horrible excuses to send you around the ship and plain nonsense. Example: There is a door that won't open. You're told to go to a diagnosis console. You do, it tells you the door is broken and that the automatic repair system will provide you with spare parts. You have to pick up the parts on the other side of the ship, naturally. You go there to find a slowly moving conveyor belt. You're told you need to stop the conveyor belt, but not why; the control console is another three screens and rooms away. You go there and press some buttons, but there's a malfunction and it fails. Plan B is to *destroy* the *three* power generators that power the conveyor belt. Apparently, no emergency shutdown buttons on this ship, I wonder whether it complies with Galactic Safety Regulations. So you pick up some explosives you walked by earlier (no 'oh look explosives, bet they'll come in handy later' prompt then), blow up a door (no, you can't just use them to blow up the broken door you are trying to repair the whole time) and the three generators that look dimensioned for a Death Star tractor beam and positioned nowhere near either the console or the belt, then go to the stopped conveyor belt and fetch the spare parts from it. Yes, Mr. Buff Space Marine, who according to the logs is also a Super Genius, couldn't pick them up from a moving conveyor belt. Maybe that is against Galactic Safety Regulations. Anyway, then you finally go back and fix the door.
Look, Team 17: I bought this game to run around samey corridors and shoot aliens. I don't need a contrived series of excuses to do and enjoy that. The levels are built from recycled parts anyway; was it really so hard to just build bigger levels and let me run around in those? I can accept a certain density of nonsense in my videogames. It's fine that I find logs, describing the different alien species, even though it's a mystery who could possibly have written them and lost them there. It's fine that the elevator that arrives on level 2 from below is on the other side of the ship to the one going further up. It's fine that the Intex Terminals want me to pay them with stolen cash before they hand out the tools I need to do my job. Of course I can carry five guns the size of a bus with enough ammunition to eradicate a small planet all at once. But AB:I's mission structure is overstraining my suspension of disbelief, and with that the whole fantasy collapses. The game would be better without it.
There. Writing that mainly so I can enjoy the rest of the game, mentally replacing the inane plot with... oh, dunno yet. "The ship's scanners picked up another chocolate bar some poor dead guy dropped! Follow the marker to gobble it up." sounds about right.
By the way, Dead Space is doing similar things in its missions, but with crucial differences:
1. They only send you to a destination, then back once, and not on wild goose chases.
2. The activities you need to perform are more varied than 'stand here, hold A for two seconds', so they are things to look forward to.
3. It makes some bloody sense. (On the SF TV show level, at least.)
Also, WTF? We Euros only get Kirby in 2011? Why?