Oh dear, another one. This was probably the reaction of most when a new Alien game was announced and for good reason. The previous games that are based off the successful film franchise have been hit and miss and the last few have most definitely missed. Aliens: Colonial Marines is the latest attempt to salvage some hope within the gaming community that a good space outing within the Aliens universe can be created but have Gearbox Software done a good enough job? Let’s find out!
The game starts with a very familiar scene; a distress signal leading to a stranded unit on a distant planet, a group of marines comparing their perfectly crafted bodies and a spaceship heading into unknown territory. After a short cut scene you realise you’re part of the rescue team so you don your protective helmet and equip yourself with the iconic pulse rifle from James Cameron’s classic, Aliens. A good start! Sadly, it’s less exciting from here on out.
Most of the game is comprised of rooms filled with Aliens and you’re tasked with wiping them out with your team of poorly trained A.I. There are a few exceptions such as the squishy nesting grounds of the Aliens where stealth and careful footwork will allow you to prevail and some interesting battles in the Powerloader. Your teammates will offer little support, even when things get a little too hairy, but this isn’t a major issue as the difficultly of the game isn’t that tough even on the ‘Ultimate Badass’ setting. There have been several patches to change this since launch but overall the game can easily be completed with a team of four which can be made up of friends or randoms.
With a group of moderately good gamers the story can be completed in a few short hours and parts of the game can be skipped by running past your enemies. The Aliens are a little strange with their behaviour and will sometimes come straight at you causing you to die quickly or stand completely still allowing you to pop a quick shotgun shell to their head and finishing them off in one hit. The rogue marines you will find scattered across the planet your mission takes place on will also act a little odd with poor choices of hiding spots and sloppy aiming which can make the battles less entertaining than they should be. Luckily there are lots of different weapons from assault rifles to rocket launchers to keep things fresh. There are also various grenades and pieces of equipment that will help you take out the drones ahead.
Strangely, after the negativity above, the game isn’t the worst thing to grace the video game world and the story will leave you semi-satisfied. After slaughtering a small army of Aliens you can finally get some pay back on the marines by heading on over to the multiplayer modes and choosing one of the many modes on offer. There is the typical Team Deathmatch mode which sees the team with the most kills win, Extermination which is a mode where each team must fulfil a number of objectives, such as detonating bombs and protecting eggs and finally. Escape mode marines must try to flee the planet and the alien players must stop them and the last mode is called Survivor where the marines must live as long as possible in a set amount of time.
Each of these modes is very different and there are a nice number of maps to play on which keeps the multiplayer fresh. There are also lots of unlockable pieces of equipment, weapons, abilities and looks for your marine and alien. The only downside to all of this is the lack of players online, but with a season pass and promised downloadable content this will hopefully change over the coming months. Thankfully you can level up your marine within the single player campaign so you will always have a nicely levelled character to play in multiplayer if your Alien is lacking in power.
Graphically, Aliens looks like it belongs on the PlayStation 2, which is a huge disappointment considering the game had been in development for a number of years. Character models are lacking in detail and the textures on most of the objects are non-existent. While the game takes place on space ships and inside metal structures, the interiors are very bland and make the journey even less enjoyable as when you’ve finished with the easy to defeat enemies you are left with very little to look at as you walk to the next room.
There was a lot of hope for Aliens: Colonial Marines but it seems the gaming world is let down with another attempt to make a successful film tie in. The review should give you a few good reasons why the game suffers but other aspects such as the overused catchphrase ‘Stay frosty!’ and anticlimactic ending are a couple more to add to the list and this is why you should wait until this game gets thrown into the bargain bin before you purchase.