Alien: Isolation update adds Nightmare and Novice difficulties

Alien: Isolation's monster is so cunning and unpredictable that, once team GamesRadar collectively calmed down and emerged from our hiding place in the storage closet, we couldn't help but give the game some of our highest accolades this year. So what's Creative Assembly gone and done now? Oh, just released a free update with an even harder difficulty setting.

It's not just harder in the typical sense of they-do-more-damage-you-do-less-damage, though. Nightmare Mode screws up Amanda Ripley's motion tracker, distorting its display and making its feedback far less reliable than the life-saving gadget Isolation players rely on. It also strips the health meter, ammo count, and flashlight battery indicator from the screen, on top of making enemies more aggressive, resources more scarce, and disabling the map system.

Of course, if you prefer your perfect organisms a little more imperfect (or just want to marvel at the Sevastopol's lo-fi sci-fi aesthetic instead of the inside of its lockers), you can also select the new Novice mode, which sails in underneath Easy with more docile baddies and plentiful resources. But if you don't end up with a tail jabbed through your sternum at least a dozen times, are you really playing Alien?

It's a great goodwill gesture from the developers, giving players of all stripes an excuse to pick up Ripley's adventures again. We may just take them up on it - stay tuned for Lucas' essay expounding on our love for Alien Isolation's new breed of horror that publishes later today.

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.