Aliens: Fireteam Elite from Cold Iron Studios is a brand new co-op third-person shooter, which is out officially today and it works right away on Linux with Steam Play Proton. Note: key personally purchased.
Since I am an absolute fanatic when it comes to the Alien franchise, I couldn't pass up this opportunity. Not only that, we don't get a lot of good online shooters that work on Linux with so many blocked by anti-cheat. Thankfully this is one game that seems to just work. Testing with the latest Proton 6.3-6, everything appears to work out of the box.
It's pretty clear that this is something of a budget game though. It's nowhere near the quality of Alien: Isolation but it's the first reasonably good Aliens shooter we've had in a long time. Remember Colonial Marines? Gearbox destroyed that and my hopes of any future alien blasting games. Also a surprise to even see this being released since Cold Iron has been through multiple owners which complicated the development.
Here's how it looks on Linux with Proton:
Running it on Linux everything seems to work reasonably well. The initial short cutscene (if you can even call it that), NPC voices, matchmaking, gamepad or mouse both work fine. On Linux though, there's the notable stuttering and frame-drops when you load it up for the first time since we are running it through a compatibility layer, which needs to load everything in and build up a shader cache. It doesn't take long for that specific issue to smoothen out though, so it's just an initial inconvenience.
There's also a few settings with the MangoHud overlay (top left in the video) that will cause performance to drop severely. Even when not recording though, performance is wildly all over the place. Here's where the fun vanishes: with my 2080 Ti, it will go from over 100FPS and randomly drop down hard to 30-40FPS but with no clear reason why. Some firefights with tons going on stays over 60FPS happily, while I've seen other smaller fights flick all over the place. Sometimes it seems that each time you just fire your gun it turns into a terribly stuttering mess for the entire mission. The performance just isn't great. Thoroughly annoying because it swings so wildly between perfectly playable one mission, not so the next. So yeah it works but the experience is a nuisance more than anything.
As mentioned it's a budget game, and that's pretty clear (if the lower than usual price didn't give it away). For example: voiced dialogue for NPCs is great but characters just stand staring at you with no lip syncing. It's a little funny to see from a brand new release, especially for a major franchise but you don't see much of it so it's a minor issue. They clearly spared the expense on any cutscenes too, of which there's basically none. It's all about the running and gunning. There's also no FOV slider, so it's pretty claustrophobic. There is a keybinds menu though, so you can happily set up the controls how you want them.
I'm a simple man - I like to run around shooting Aliens as if I'm a Colonial Marine and this hits the mark for that when it works well enough. Living out that fantasy gives you an initial high while playing. The fact that I can do it on my favourite operating system day-1 is lovely thick chocolate icing on top of the cake. However, it's not going to be for everyone because it really is quite a basic cover shooter. Fun to see aliens hopping from wall to floor and swarm you, so it's very much like Left 4 Dead Aliens. It's repetitive in exactly the same way all other horde-style shooters are.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite will keep me busy for the next week but after that? It remains to be seen if it has any staying power. It's fun enough for now but it's not massively exciting once you've played a few rounds and the performance is problematic. The developer has plans for a bunch of free post-release content and any extra purchasable content will only be cosmetic.