Aliens: Colonial Marines Reviews

AuthorReview
PeaceSquid
471,928 (281,675)
PeaceSquid
TA Score for this game: 2,043
Posted on 15 February 13 at 10:23, Edited on 04 March 13 at 09:37
This review has 60 positive votes and 19 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Well, Aliens: Colonial Marines has certainly caused a stir hasn't it? Randy Pitchford is suddenly 2013's Jimmy Savile and everybody is ready to turn up at his house carrying pitchforks and burn it down. That's the danger when you take the best sci-fi action film license and don't deliver on it. It's a bit like those dicks over at Vicious Cycle mangling the EDF license with Insect Armageddon. Some things are unforgivable.

I'm no fool for hype anyway, and so I expected very little from Colonial Marines. Gearbox have never been that good in my opinon. Sure, Borderlands, and its sequel, was great but when they ruined it with that terrible DLC, I lost all respect for them after the terrible Moxxi and Robot Revolution packs and Duke Nukem Forever sealed that opinion. I only preordered this because I found it cheap online (£32) and because of the words "four player co-op" and "set on the Sulaco."

I had my exit strategy planned too. Grainger Games were telling me a quick trade in would net me £33. One pound profit. In your FACE, Randy.

So on Tuesday the 12th of February I fired up the game with doomed resignation having seen some of the review scores out there, all written by angry men who insist one throwing in a heap of Aliens quotes to show what big fans are and to give their opinions more weight (I'll try to avoid the temptation but believe me, I'm as big a fan of the series as anyone).

Initially I was surprised by the graphics. They aren't amazing by any means but I was hearing tales of PS2-quality visuals. Far from it, the game looks okay. The stilted animation, highlighted by the famous .gif of the boiler xeno, was also somewhat oversold by the reviewers. Admittedly there are glitches and the game has some of the worst v-sync tearing I've seen since Resident Evil 5 but it wasn't awful to look at and the setting (initially the Sulaco) seemed sound enough.

After a tense encounter with the first xenomorph in the game, things start to warm up. Your motion tracker beeping helpfully whenever you get too close to an enemy. Luckily Hudson was right. You've got a decent arsenal on your side, especially the pulse rifle which handles most encounters efficiently enough. You are able to upgrade your weapons too which helps as you go along.

After a while I realised something, the game hadn't gotten awful yet. I was enjoying the combat, albeit it a tad easy on the default difficulty setting, and the story and the atmosphere was bang on. Of course getting the atmosphere right in an Aliens game is a given anyway. Dark corridors, the beep of a motion tracker, a nicely sampled pulse rifle... it's ready made for developers but even so, Colonial Marines was more authentic than most.

After finishing the Sulaco levels and moving down to LV426, the atmosphere got even better. I grinned like a fool when I arrived in Operations and saw the room where Hudson is taken. This was virtual Aliens tourism. Little touches like finding the room Newt and Ripley slept in was another one. Especially when a quick inspection revealed the two dead facehuggers (one pinned behind furniture as expected) and an upturned bed. The Aliens fanboy in me was loving it, even if that was what caused the majority of bad reviews out there from disappointed fans.

As the story continued, I kept expecting things to tail off but they never did. What I got was a solid, enjoyable campaign with a heap of fan service on top. It's short (clocking in at just a few hours) and extremely linear (which is no bad thing in my opinion as there are too many sprawling shooters out there with no real focus to them) and may not give great value for money but I can't say I didn't enjoy it.

The story does occasionally take liberties with the series' canon which annoyed me a fair bit but overall they've done a decent job with the license.

After experiencing the entire campaign in single player I got into some four-player co-op which worked nicely once we realised that friendly fire was an issue. With other players, you do get that feel of the movie, especially the part when they first enter the colony. Set to the hardest difficulty the game presents a more credible challenge (although it's never that difficult) and led to lots of 'hey, look at this' moments for the Aliens fans in the squad.

Is Colonial Marines an excellent shooter? No. Far from it. It's a solid one though. With some enjoyable combat and entertaining setpiece battles. Is it the best Alien story ever told? Nope. It's a game. What did you expect? But it works for the most part and the new xeno types are a necessary evil if you want any kind of variation in your gameplay. Likewise the human enemies (who, disappointingly, are more of a challenge than the aliens) do help to switch up the action a little and they make sense in the context of the story.

Does all that mean I recommend it? Well, your mileage may indeed vary. That said, everyone I know personally that bought this has wondered what all that fuss was about on launch day and has enjoyed what they've played so far.

Multiplayer

Aliens: CM offers just four adversarial modes and a small number of maps but the game lobbies are still packed with players (as of March 4th 2013) and can be a lot of fun. Some balancing is needed, with certain xeno classes being less effective than others but I've managed to have fun despite usually hating this sort of thing. There are, of course, cheap spots in certain maps that people will exploit but overall this wasn't too bad.

Upcoming DLC is expected to focus on multiplayer modes rather than campaign ones so this may end up being quite well supported.

Achievements

The campaign achievements are relatively easy. Even beating the game on Ultimate Badass difficulty is a breeze thanks to the drop-in four player co-op. The campaign also has a smattering of collectables to worry about but nothing too annoying.

The hardest achievements to get are mostly grinds. Getting your marine to level 60 will take a while. I completed the story three times, did all the other achievements and still was only at 53. The rest was ground out by playing the last level over and over in co-op.

The other annoyance is getting all the challenges done. These are a big list of in-game accomplishments earned across the various game modes. For the most part they are easily gotten legit and you can boost the tricky ones (such as killing two marines simultaneously with the woefully underpowered acid spit attack) but you can only work on the challenges that are highlighted which ultimately means this will take at least twelve hours to do even if you boost.

Difficulty-wise there is nothing here that is too hard. It's mostly just a grind.


(review updated 4th March 2013 after maxing out the achievements)
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HWNDarkside
854,726 (457,455)
HWNDarkside
TA Score for this game: 2,585
Posted on 23 February 13 at 16:00
This review has 27 positive votes and 6 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Let’s get the fanboy crap out of the way first. Alien was the first really scary film I ever saw. Aliens is the best sequel ever made and one of my favourite films of all-time. Alien 3 Director’s Cut is sorely under-rated. Alien: Resurrection is watchable drivel. AVP was a total travesty. AVP2 is one of THE worst films I’ve ever seen. Prometheus was a noble attempt to breathe life back into the series.

To say I had been excited about the prospect of getting my hands on Aliens: Colonial Marines is an understatement - I’ve been waiting since Aliens appeared on the ZX Spectrum in 1986 to go back to LV-426 and kick some Xeno-ass.

With the weight of one of the most important franchises in cinema history on its shoulders it was always going to struggle. Add to that 6 years in development hell, and being palmed-off to the makers of Duke Nukem to finish. Aliens: Colonial Marines is a sequel to a 27 year movie using 8 year old AI, 6 year old cut scenes and 2 year old graphics. James Cameron is probably turning in his cryo-tube.

Am I disappointed? Yes. Could it have been better? Damn straight. Did I enjoy it? More than any game I’ve played for a long time despite it’s numerous, unforgivable faults.

Aliens are cunning little bastards in real life, they cut the power when you really need it, lurk in the shadows waiting patiently to pounce, will happy sacrifice one of their own to escape from cells and they can use lifts. Here they just run straight at you without a care in the world as if high on too much Alien-meth, happy to sacrifice their alien blood for the player’s pleasure. It’s all very Doom. But don’t let that put you off…

The human (yes, human, get over it) enemies fair slightly better, but still prefer to shoot you from the open rather than cover and don’t really do much when you shoot back. It’s all a bit PS2 really. But don’t let that put you off…

Colonial marines are “a very tough hombre” packing state of the art firepower and enough harsh language to sink a battleship. Here they are very good at shooting walls and getting in your way, and stupid enough to MISS USING A FREAKING SMART GUN! But don’t let that put you off…

The opening cut scenes were like watching a baby being boiled. I could not believe what I was seeing…it was so freaking UGLY. Screen tears, lip-sync so bad it looks like a bad foreign dub… but don’t let that put you off. (note – no babies are actually boiled in the game).

Still here?

Good, because after 30 minutes of playing things very surprisingly didn’t get any worse. In fact, they got better, and continued to get better until the final boss level (which is, quite frankly, bollocks). Because, for all of its short-comings, Aliens: Colonial Marines absolutely nails that Aliens vibe and made me grin like an insane madman for the majority of it’s 6/7 hour campaign (don’t start, size isn’t everything).

From the opening levels on the Sulaco, crash-landing on LV-426, the walk to Hadley’s Hope and the final encounters on the alien derelict, it is a fan-boys wet dream. The locations are graphically acceptable without being PS4 next-gen, but are so well reproduced and so accurate it’s like walking through the film’s sets. The atmosphere is rightly dark and foreboding. Get your motion tracker out and you are IN Aliens.

The sound design is spot on too. From the iconic roar of the pulse rifle, the crackle of the welder, each and every sound you hear is authentic. The musical score does James Horner proud and is perfectly executed. I’d go as far to say no other movie tie-in I’ve played has done as good a job of putting you into the film it’s based on.

The game play is a simple corridor shooter, but what’s wrong with that? You have big guns with endless ammo – just pull RT and get on with the slaughter. The Marines arsenal has been successfully expanded should you wish to ditch the Pulse Rifle and the customisation options are very impressive. You earn XP as you play which carries over into Multiplayer, and vice versa.

The story itself, now apparently considered canon within the Alien Universe is a decent effort. Poorly scripted at times, it does at least try to offer a meaningful bridge between Aliens, Alien 3 and Prometheus. Some will argue it focuses too much on Weyland Yutani (the Company) at the expense of battling xenomorphs but what’s done is done. It’s no Pulitzer Prize winner but it’s no AVP either.

Multiplayer is surprisingly well-balanced and reminded me of Left For Dead Versus. The Xenomorphs benefit from a raft of unlockable abilities which make them a real threat to their fully armed opponents. It’s miles better than the mess AVP (2010) MP was, Survival and Escape being the best executed modes. A worthy addition and great fun to play.

Aliens: Colonial Marines is not the definitive Aliens game I was hoping for but I doubt that will ever exist now. But it is also not the worst game in the world as the majority of “proper” reviews suggest. A Metascore of 49 puts it below Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian FFS – go figure!

3.5/5 but I’m giving 4/5 because it made me smile for at least 20 hours in total.

The reviewer played through Campaign twice, smashed the back out of Multiplayer for hours on end, completed the achievements 100% and paid £62.99 for the Collector’s Edition on pre-order.

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Fatal x Blade
1,138,980 (735,947)
Fatal x Blade
TA Score for this game: 501
Posted on 19 February 13 at 17:11, Edited on 09 March 13 at 01:03
This review has 20 positive votes and 8 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
"Worst thing to happen to the franchise since Alien 3"

Video Review



Intro

First off I just want to say that I'm a pretty big fan of the Alien movies. Being so I had hopes that this finally would bring the Alien Franchise on the map of a new media. A game that would both excite Alien fans and compliment the movies nicely. Sadly, this game fails pretty heavily on both accounts. It's beyond me how this game obtained the level of hype it did. I don't say that to put down the large amount of people who did follow the hype this game created prior to release, because I likewise was among them. After having played this game I can now safely say that the hype was falsely given. Actually, this game might be the worst thing to happen to the franchise since Alien 3.

Presentation/Story

From a purely graphical perspective this game feels outdated. The game's many character models give off a sense of lifelessness. Meaning they don't make very convincing humans. This is mainly seen in the characters eyes, which make them come across as very doll-like. Certain textures in this game are also very poorly done. To be perfectly honest, some of these textures are so lazily executed that they look as if they came straight from a Playstation 1 game. It's not every texture in the game but, a fair amount of them after becoming even somewhat close come across as being extremely blurry, and ugly. The most noticeable of these bad textures comes in the form of screens placed on computers found often throughout the levels. It's not only that though I encountered a truly awful looking sky texture on one of the outdoor segments. Even the green light texture placed on the games hundreds of doors just looks bad. There is no excuse for ruining textures that are so often encountered during the gameplay.

At times the environments look "alright", and even pay homage to the movies. Although, these environments also suffer from an overly shiny look, a look that a lot of games made early on in this generation suffered from. You'll know what I mean when you play it, instead of looking gritty and realistic, it comes across as plastic-y and unrealistic. Last generation all of these graphical hiccups wouldn't of looked out of place, but nowadays we as gamers have a different level of expectations. Especially from a game that we were teased into believing would be a high-quality game.

The story associated with this game probably won't interest many. Instead the majority of those playing will probably skip the cinematics, and will not miss anything special in doing so. Majority of the characters in this game aren't very likable and by the end of it, your opinion and feelings towards them won't have changed. The dialogue in this game while being fairly well done, comes across as being kind of cheesy. For anyone wondering no, it's not the kind of cheesy funny dialogue one would get from watching the Aliens movie now, it's just simply cheesy. The story is unraveled by both in-game real time dialogue, and through high res cut-scenes. While, these cut-scenes look decent, the character models lips still don't appear to match up with what they're actually saying. Which further assists in taking the player out of the already dull story.

Gameplay/Structure

As some people like to say "it's not the graphics that matter it's the gameplay", I am a firm believer in that statement myself. If this game had outstanding gameplay I could overlook the graphics, sadly though it really doesn't. The gameplay has just as many, if not more issues than the graphics. It plays like a low budget first person shooter. Player movement feels clunky, and the aiming feels loose. The controls are nowhere near as tight and refined as they should've been. The control layout unsurprisingly is very similar to that of Call of Duty's. You've got your iron sights, and sprint button.

The gameplay rarely is accompanied with a feeling of fun. It's just simply too bland. A lot of just standing around facing waves of Aliens or soldiers. Encountering an alien for the first time should be both exciting and scary. In this game it is neither, it's just a target to shoot. The only cool thing one could mention about the aliens in this game are perhaps their movements. They'll crawl along walls, jump at you and look good doing so. They have the ability to knock you down and put you into what I would call Last Stand mode from Call of Duty. Whilst knocked down you have about 5 seconds of only being able to shoot your pistol until you automatically get back up. Generally this ability is more annoying than anything. The encounters with soldiers while adding variety, just tend to showcase the bad shooting mechanics. Along with all that there will be a lot of times in this game where you'll die due to stupid reasons. This becomes further aggravated by the awful looking death scene that accompanies your every demise.

Majority of time in the game you'll be accompanied by friendly AI's to assist you in battle. While these friendly AI's do occasionally kill things, they are extraordinarily stupid. They'll bump into things, get in your way, and show you at times some amusing glitches. I've seen them float in the air and I have also seen them literally run through solid objects. The glitches don't stop there though, you will have a hard time making it through the campaign without seeing something amiss. Whether it be enemy bodies falling through the ground, or sticking to the environment after being killed. Luckily none of the glitches I came across were game-breaking.

Aliens Colonial Marines is set up like your typical First Person Shooter. It's chapter-based and linear. The campaign is extremely short, I'm talking 3-6 hours a play through depending on how fast you choose to play. Actually I bet if you really tried you could get it done in less than 3 hours considering during my second play through I realized that a lot of the enemies I could just run by. Which is completely unacceptable a game that allows you to run by the opposition is a sign of a bad game.

At times it attempts to break up the gameplay, and add some much needed variety. There is a stealth segment in the game where you're in the sewers sneaking past "bugs", and luring them into traps. On top of that the game also has a few minor boss battles, and a chase segment where you're running from a particularly nasty Alien and sealing doors behind you. Two times in this game you will get to control the famous yellow "mech" from the movie. The first time you'll get to use it for about 10 seconds to lift up a door. I'd like to say the second time is more intense, but honestly it's not. I mean you do get to use it in a battle to kill a very large Alien but it lacks creativity. Consisting of a lot of pressing down on the right and left triggers to punch the Alien until it finally dies. The boss battles, if that's really what one can even call them are some of the worst I've ever seen. The final boss fight in particular, was verging on pathetic. I won't spoil it for those who actually still want to play this game but you'll know what I mean when you get there.

This may be hard to believe seeing how I've had a lot of negative things to say about this game, but there were times where I did enjoy the game. Although, these instances were far and few between. I would say I enjoyed it as one enjoys a B-Movie. Along with that I liked it when the game coincided with the movie. The instances where I would be in a location where Ripley was in the movie. And, the idea behind the Legendary weapons hidden in different levels, which were actually weapons taken out of the movie itself.

Aliens offers a pretty underwhelming, unbalanced online experience. Some people will appreciate it more than others, but I don't see anyone sticking with it beyond a couple of weeks. Along with the less than stellar online this game includes a 4-player co-op which makes the campaign slightly better than playing solo.

Audio

I really don't have much to say about this game in terms of audio. Perhaps, this is because it simply doesn't have much. When I say that I'm referring mainly to the music department, which this game has little to none of. Aside from your typical gun firing and aliens dying there is rarely any kind of background music. This becomes really noticeable during the game play and at times the silence annoyed me. A lot of the sounds effects though do remain true to the movie, even the infamous screeching sound that is accompanied with the Pulse Rifle.

Conclusion

On paper this game has absolutely everything someone would want out of an Aliens game, it's such a shame that the execution of all these ideas was so poorly done. Very few redeeming qualities exist within this game. Mechanics and graphics feel extremely outdated and bland. The game play only occasionally takes on the essence of fun, more so when playing co-op. The many glitches while being amusing, only assist in showcasing its poor quality. Boss battles are absolutely atrocious. Honestly, I have a hard time actually recommending this game to anyone even fans of the movies. Aliens Colonial Marines will undoubtedly go down as being one of the most if not the most disappointing game in 2013.

Pro's

+ Legendary Weapons
+ Some Great Ideas
+ Remains true to source material

Con's

- Bad AI
- Really Glitchy
- Terrible execution of Ideas
- Outdated Look and Feel
- Atrocious Bosses
- Not very fun
- Falsely Hyped

Rating

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BigFriendlyGeek
199,368 (143,564)
BigFriendlyGeek
TA Score for this game: 1,132
Posted on 08 May 13 at 21:55, Edited on 12 July 13 at 13:44
This review has 11 positive votes and 2 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
The Aliens franchise has taken a bit of a battering over the years. After two of the finest movies ever made, the franchise has never quite reached those levels again. Alien 3 was average at best, and Alien: Resurrection wasn’t much better and suffered from having the Human/Alien hybrid which was… well, less said the better. The two Aliens vs Predator films came and made Alien 3 and Resurrection look like classics. Then you had Prometheus, which Ridley Scott says wasn’t an Alien prequel, but frankly he’s not fooling anyone. I can only speak for myself, but I’d rather be sat in a room and made to watch Alien 3, Resurrection and the two AvP films back-to-back than watch Prometheus again. Not necessarily because it’s THAT bad a film, but because of the potential that it promised, but ultimately failed to deliver in all aspects.

It’s that same affliction that Aliens: Colonial Marines suffers from. With the subject matter of the game being set directly after the 1986 ‘Aliens’ film, and described as a ‘true sequel’ to that film, it sets the bar pretty high in terms of expectations. To try and deliver a direct follow-up to Aliens in video game format can best be described as risky and ambitious from the get-go, so any effort that was delivered was going to have to be slick, frightening, fluid, tense, brimming with nostalgia and, most of all, extremely playable.

Aliens: Colonial Marines is none of those things.

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I think the most frustrating thing about Colonial Marines is that with a bit of care attention it COULD have been a good game. But for a game that looks so impressive in it’s development stages, it’s a shadow of what it could have been. Slick graphics and impressive set pieces have been replaced with dated textures, ropey animations, lacklustre weapons and a complete lack of tension. This isn’t even mentioning the bugs - and I don’t mean the Xenomorphs. At the time of writing, well over a month after release and several patches later, the game is still broken and I don’t think any amount of patching will be able to fix it.

A prime example of bugs and lack of tension occurs at the very start of the game - let me set the scene: Seventeen weeks after the events of Aliens, a rescue team from the vessel USS Sephora replies to a distress call from the USS Sulaco - the setting of the aforementioned film. The Sephora sends a squad over to the Sulaco, which is now in orbit around the planet LV-426, instead of around Fiorina-161 (where Ripley wound up in Alien 3) as it should have been. The opening cut scene doesn’t actually look too bad, but only flatters to decieve, because once it switches to the in-game engine, it winds up looking like a game from 2005. But more on that shortly…

Upon arriving on the Sulaco, you take control of Corporal Christopher T. Winter, accompanied by Private Peter O’Neal, and Private Bella Clarison. Soon after arriving on the Sulaco, you discover the Alien infestation that slaughtered the majority of the Sulaco’s crew during the Aliens movie. Equipped with the Alien universe’s signature M41A Pulse Rifle and motion tracker, you follow the ever-so familiar ‘ping’ of the motion tracker, signifying that there is something just through the next room, waiting for you. You make your way through to the next room, the motion tracker getting louder and louder, the white dot signifying the target getting ever closer and closer. Then, all of a sudden that first encounter is upon and a Xenomorph bursts from a vent and…

It gets stuck.

The Xenomorph is bugged. It gets stuck on the scenery.

You walk up to it and shoot it in the head. Any tension that may have been built in the opening moments disappears, and it doesn’t appear again for the entire game.

This whole sequence of events encapsulated my entire experience with Aliens: Colonial Marines. So much promise, let down by a sheer lack of polish and execution.

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From this point on, the game just kept presenting it’s myriad of flaws. I’ve said it twice already, but the game looks dated to the point it barely passes looking like a current generation game. The textures look grainy and bland. The animations are abysmal - the humans run awkwardly, and when one dies, they ragdoll in a way that just looks like it’s crumpled like a stack of cards. Worse still, the Xenomorphs themselves completely lack the deadly grace and poise that we have come to expect from some of the deadliest creatures ever written from science fiction, running hither and dither like a herd of sheep.

Even worse are the ‘Boiler’ Xenomorphs that the game introduces. They sound promising enough - they’re essentially blind xenomorphs, which work on their hearing alone. They coil themselves up, staying deceptively still, and occasionally get up to stalk around the area. Instead of a traditional attack, they adopt a kamikaze tactic whereby the launch themselves at the player, and explode in a cascade of acidic blood. They’re even introduced at a stage where the player is unarmed and wading through a darkened, desolate sewage system, and it should be one of the scariest segments of the game. But once again all tension is ruined by the game’s mechanics, with the Boiler Xeno walking around on it’s hind legs like a brain damaged T-Rex that has been rectally violated. I wish there was a more eloquant way to describe it, but that’s the best I got…

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Besides how the game looks, it lets itself down in several other areas. The weapons feel ‘boxy’ and firing them doesn’t feel natural or satisfying at all. This is a cardinal sin when the game boasts two of the most iconic guns in science fiction in the Pulse Rifle and the Smart Gun. Also, annoyingly, the Smart Gun’s ammo is limited and can’t be reloaded, and yet your companion - Private O’Neal - can run around the entire game without running out of ammo. What’s that about?

The game also lacks any sort of real challenge. I started the game on the highest ‘Ultimate Badass’ difficulty despite being one of the word’s most average shooter players, and the only time I felt challenged was down to the game’s shoddy mechanics than needing any sort of any tactical nous or due to superior enemy AI. In fact, ‘intelligence’ isn’t a word I would apply to Colonial Marines, artificial or otherwise.

The simple fact is that past the terrible game mechanics, Colonial Marines is also just an average First Person Shooter. There’s little to set it apart from the rest of the games out there. You progress through the game chapter by chapter, occasionally facing off against a big boss fight or large shootout, and your character progresses by levelling up and unlocking new weapons and upgrades for those weapons. It’s been seen before and would have struggled to feel fresh and new had it been released 4 or 5 years ago.

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I don’t want to be completely negative towards the game, though, since every game must have some kind of saving grace. In Colonial Marine’s case is that the plot isn’t that bad, and is better than the last few films that have been released under the Aliens banner. The voice acting is passable, and when the game switches to the cut scene engine, it actually looks ok. It’s like these elements have been made by a completely different developer, which could well be the case, since Gearbox should be doing far, far better than this. Also, the game does have several collectibles and challenges that the player can complete, which honestly does provide for a welcome distraction from the monotony of the main game.

Also, in a change from the norm, the multiplayer is actually better than the single-player experience. I am not a big multiplayer gamer by any stretch of the imagination, with the gaming time I do get usually being dedicated to single player games. But I thought I’d try the multiplayer of Colonial Marines, and it was actually fun in small doses. It does suffer from the clunky mechanics of the single player game and the game modes aren’t anything to shout about either - you have a 6 vs 6 deathmatch mode, a 4 vs 4 mode called escape where the marines have to escape from the pursuing Alien team, and a capture-the-flag style mode called Extermination, where the marines have to destroy nests of Alien eggs. But with a team of humans controlling the Xenos, it actually gives them the danger, unpredictability and tension that the Xenomorphs should have had in the single player game from the very beginning.

This smattering of high points though aren’t enough to save Aliens: Colonial Marines from suffering the ignominy of being the worst Alien game of this console generation, with it making the distinctly lukewarm reception of 2010’s Aliens vs Predator seem highly-celebrated in comparison, and leaving us waiting for something to hit the heights of 1999’s game of the same name. It’s mystifying as to why it’s so hard for developers to come up with a definitive Alien game in this day and age of such high-spec gaming tech. There are two classic films to use as starting points in terms of how to build tension in two completely different ways, and the sad fact is that the closest we’ve come to the definitive Alien game on this console generation is the original Dead Space game.

As it stands, there’s very little here to recommend Aliens: Colonial Marines whatsoever, whether it’s to the casual gamer, hardcore first-person shooter nut, or avid Aliens fan who must own everything related to Aliens. All you’ll find here is a half-arsed attempt at cashing in on the franchise, that will leave you with nothing but disappointment and resentment.

Positives

+ The plot isn’t bad
+ Cut scenes are passable
+ The multiplayer can be fun

Negatives

- Dated graphics
- Terrible animations
- Buggy as hell
- Competely lacking in tension
- Unchallenging
- Feels like an 8 year old game
- Xenomorphs are laughable
- How long have you got?

Verdict: Game over, man. Game over.

----

As always, this review is also posted on my video game blog: http://bigfriendlygamer.tumblr.com
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Delirious Ben
101,794 (73,020)
Delirious Ben
TA Score for this game: 440
Posted on 13 February 13 at 22:34
This review has 27 positive votes and 22 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
"How long after we're declared overdue can we expect a rescue?" (Ripley)
"17 days." (Hicks)
"17 days!! Hey man I dont want to rain on your parade but we wont last 17 hours!!" (Hudson)

Aliens: Colonial Marines takes place 17 weeks after the movie Aliens, you are Corporal Winter, one of the Colonial Marines sent to find out what happened onboard the Sulaco and then LV426, The planet both Alien and Aliens take place.
I have tried to be as spoiler free as possible for the game itself but if you havent seen Aliens and want too.. maybe best not to read this.

The game begins with a distress message from Hicks (Michael Beihn), one of the few survivors of Aliens. It looks like it was sent at the end of the movie while Hicks was left alone on the Sulaco, the large space ship the marines travel in. This in itself shows how integrated in the Alien universe this game is, it was billed as the true sequel to Aliens after Alien 3 upset a lot of fans and Alien Resurrection killed it. Now the events of Alien 3 are mentioned and definitely still happened, but this shows what happened to the Sulaco and takes you back down to the planet where it all began.

Two years ago Sega released Alien Vs Predator (AVP),a pretty average game that seemed to mix elements from the Alien and Predator movies and also aspects from the the actual Alien vs Predator Movies. This game was quite enjoyable, it was interesting how you could play as a marine, an alien and a predator and how each had a story that was linked to the overall story told in the game, but it was not really taking place in the same story as the movies and didnt have the feel of them, sure at moments it screamed the jungles of Predator or the base in Aliens, but it wasnt part of all that despite its best efforts.

This game actually started production before AVP, and was originally in production on the Playstation 2 in 2001 before being shelved. And this game has suffered delay after delay. Is it worth the wait after all this time? I would say so. I am a massive film and game nerd and dearly love the better of the Alien movies whilst enjoying elements of the not so good ones. This fits in with the former, the better Alien stories.

One thing that I think helped make the first two Alien movies and Predator so compelling (to a lesser extent Predators and Prometheus) was the characters, people you cared about and were interested in rather than one dimensional characters just waiting to die. When each character in Alien, Aliens or Predator dies you felt moved and a rarity in games is to have such a connection and emotion, but this game achieves that. I saw some footage of the game about a year ago, a squad based game where you had to set up perimeters by setting up turrets and sealing doors, building bariccades and defending locations. Marines were dying left right and centre and in some ways it looked great but in reality thats not how the universe worked in Aliens and Im pleased to report alot of these elements have been dropped while keeping the impressive level designs.
Something that always struck me in Aliens and the huge Sulaco space ship was that really there werent many soldiers, but in reality there didnt need to be. They were the best of the best and to actually have just ten marines, one squad should suffice in most circumstances. I remember counting out the characters in Aliens, there was Burke the creepy company man, Ripley (Survivor of Alien) who was hired as the expert on the Alien creatures and Newt, the little girl they found on the planet. Then There was Gorman the commanding officer who was woefully inexperienced, Apone his Seargent, Corporal Hicks, Hudson, Vasquez, Drake and 5 other marines. 2 pilots, Bishop the cynthetic human and that was pretty much it. In this game we hear early that there are 3 squads on your ship which starts alongside the freshly located Sulaco, for the most part you dont see those squads just the aftermath of events that have killed them or spread them apart. You spend mcuh of the game fighting alongside O'Niell and a few others who drop in and out of the game. You care for them, they aren't flat heartless characters you see one minute before they die, you fight alongside them and care when bad things happen and go after them if they are captured.

In Alien games and even in other movies or games borrowing heavily from their influence they always feel like you are re hashing old events. In the Ghostbusters game that came out a few years back all the original film cast returned for what was billed as essentially Ghostbusters 3, but in reality it was going back to the same locations as the movies to fight the same Ghosts and it was just one big rehash. I was sceptical and feared this game would suffer from that especially knowing it was going back to the base from Aliens and the ship. But it was incredibly resfreshing that these locations arent dwelt upon and they arent used in the same way, you get to see parts from the movie exactly as they were but then can explore what was around the corner and how it all fit together. One example being you can see were Ripley and Newt fought two face huggers and Hicks had too break the glass to come in and resue them, but you dont reinact this. You can see Bishops legs in the hangar of the Sulaco, but dont see him split. Its this kind of intregue that grabbed movie goers, it sucks you in making you wonder what actually happened yet in seeing the movies you know. If you were new to the whole Alien thing this game works very well but as an avid fan it works even better because it harks back to the originals without recreating them. There is a Bishop android on board your ship, you see Hudson's body cocooned, you pick up Newt's doll head and you can find (then use) Hicks' shotgun along with a few other nods to Aliens The game works by itself much as Aliens works without seeing Alien its just even better if you have. They also seem to have captured the atmosphere of the movies brilliantly, it truly feels like it should. They take the elements of the movie you wanted, the marines, weapons, vehicles and locations and use them in fresh ways. There's references to the movies including Prometheus and even Spaceballs the Star Wars spoof that recreated the famous chest burster scene from Alien. So looking at it as an Alien fan its great. But is it a good game?

The gameplay is adequate, there are no fresh takes on the first persion shooter genre, but it certainly doesn't go backward either.
The graphics, if I'm honest, are poor. The game started and I was underwhelmed. Admittedly the lighting is excellent and well known characters like Hicks and Bishop look exactly as they should, but they could look better, Mass effect came out six years ago and looks better than this, particularly the characters faces and movement.
The sound I'm pleased to say is superb. Acting is excellent and the returning voices of the original actors for both Hicks and Bishop was a very welcome inclusion that helps cement this game into the cinematic universe. The music takes its Q's from James Horners award winning Aliens score, re using some old themes and creating new ones that fit perfectly alongside the original score and tone of the game. The vehicles and weapons sound exactly as they did in the movies and this is all very good and essential for believing it to be what it is. Aliens 2.5.

Overall thanks to an excellent, original story that nods to the original movies without recreating them, excellent sound and competent gameplay this game rates highly. It's not perfect, mostly let down by unspectacular graphics but its still very good and Id give it 4 our of 5.
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