The lesson of the new Aliens: Fireteam Elite DLC, the Pathogen Expansion, is that you should be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. Developer Cold Iron Studios says it’s listened to fans who have asked to fight the alien queen in the co-op game – and that’s just what they’ll be doing in the Pathogen Expansion.
The new DLC, which is out now, adds a new story campaign that picks up right after the events of the fourth set of missions in the base game. Set on planet LV-895, Pathogen spans three missions that see the marines investigating strange xenomorph behaviour: they’re moving in large herds down to a big canyon complex. There’s a reason for that, and that reason is probably not good.
As events from the previous campaigns have established, the xenomorphs are being changed by a mysterious pathogen that mutates them into pale, enhanced forms. The Pathogen Expansion adds four new xeno variants to deal with. There’s the Pathogen runner, which is more or less an up-armoured version of the standard-issue xenomorph runner. It’s bigger and tougher, but a bit slower, than its vanilla cousin.
Then there’s the Pathogen blight, which hides in the shadows similar to the base game’s stalker variant. It blasts globs of explosive goo from the giant orifice it has in place of its head, so you’ll want to watch where you step. The Pathogen brute is exactly as advertised: it uses its huge, mutated fists to pound enemies (i.e., you and your fireteam) into a fine red puree. It hits hard enough to cause shockwaves that damage nearby enemies, though – so use that knowledge to your advantage.
Finally, there’s the Pathogen Queen. This alien queen isn’t attached to a huge immobilising ovipositor sac, which means she’s on the prowl and ready for a fight. She has a “heavy external carapace” paired with a long tail covered in sharp spines, so keep your distance while you’re laying down fire.
Fortunately, the expansion also adds a hefty selection of new weapons, gear, and perks to bring into the field, as well as a brand-new array of cosmetics to make sure you look sharp in the field.
The Pathogen Expansion for Aliens: Fireteam Elite is available now on Steam.