GAME NAME: Aliens: Colonial Marines
DEVELOPER(S): Gearbox Software
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC, Wii U
GENRE(S): First-Person Shooter
RELEASE DATE(S): Out Now
Aliens: Colonial Marines is Gearbox’s video game sequel to Aliens. Gearbox has stated that the game is canon and if done right, Aliens 3 would be a better movie. I don’t think that happened at all. Even worse, I think Alien 3 had a better story… I know, right!
As the game begins, I was greeted with the most-screen-tearing-in-a-game-ever-award, cinematic scene. I arrived at the Sulaco in response to a distress call by Corporal Hicks. Obviously, the Sulaco is infested with Xenos that swarm down upon you. For the first couple hours you may be delighted, having been thrown into the Aliens universe. The iconic bad ass sound of the pulse rifles and smart guns firing. Hearing the Xenos hiss and scream as your bullets tear them apart, it appeals so much to nostalgia. Then you start to realize you may be halfway through the game and are still indifferent to the characters. The dramatic moments of the game only filled me with a superficial sense of pitty. The unique comradery or loyalty you would expect from Colonial Marines was never instilled in me, allowing the “sad” moments to fall flat.
As we have learned, a great story alone can carry a game, but so can gameplay, that’s also not happening here. While bug hunting through the campaign you realize the Xenos have no fear, none. So little in fact, they will run directly into your line of fire. A peculiarly dumb AI has been attributed to the Xeno, which is in stark contrast to the usability players are given in multiplayer (which I’ll get to soon.) Unfortunately, the real threat in the game comes in the form of the Weyland-Yutani human enemies. (I want to hunt Xenos, get out of here with this human stuff.) The Wey-Yu enemies at least give the slightest attempt to hide and outflank you. In fact, I was probably killed more often by human forces then Xenos. Sad, considering the Xenos are the ultimate hunters. So, now we’ve got you fighting through mindless and slightly stupid Xenos for a purpose you have yet to care about. Thank goodness the multiplayer offers you objectives that are interesting and the human controlled Xenos are much more terrifying.
I mentioned above the AI for the Xenos is strange considering what abilties players are given in multiplayer. For instance, players can wall climb, run on ceilings and dodge very efficiently. Xenos in the campaign may do this, but not to the extent that would make them a formidable opponent. The same cannot be said of the multiplayer, which is the one saving grace of Aliens: Colonial Marines for me. The multiplayer is able to capture the tension and chaos of fighting Xenos, not to mention the absolute thrill of dropping on an unsuspecting marine from the ceiling, then subsequently tearing them apart.
The modes consist of your standard fare team deathmatch and extermination (which is a domination style mode.) The other two modes are quite great. Survivor, in essence is a horde-style mode. You have four players as marines trying to stay alive for five minutes. The Xeno players have to knockdown the marines, then kill them before another marine player can revive them. The marine players get one life each, once killed they are out until their remaining allies survive or the Xenos wipe them out. The Xenos on the other hand of an unlimited amount of respawns and can even use the special Xeno species from the solo-campaign, Boilers. Each side takes a turn playing as both the marines and Xenos. The side that survives the longest, wins. The other mode is Escape, which I did a preview of back around PAX Prime. My one complaint about multiplayer is how frustrating it can be to wall climb as a Xeno. They can start walking backwards and in different directions, it can feel clunky and downright awful.
Aliens: Colonial Marines was a game I had high hopes for and even wrote two very positive previews of it. (Which I now see were both multiplayer previews.) Unfortunately, the bland story and dumbed down AI leave the campaign feeling overwhelmingly lackluster. I can say I will never go through the campaign again, but the multiplayer I will continue to play. For me the multiplayer captures the Aliens atmosphere and can keep me engaged for hours. So, if you’re a gamer that plays only solo-campaigns, I can’t suggest this to you. If you are someone that loves FPS multiplayer and want to try something new, then I can, with caution, suggest Aliens: Colonial Marines to you.
Reviewed on the Xbox 360