Aliens: Colonial Marines Review
By Janus 32
For years since James Cameron’s Aliens movie, there was an unspoken awe and admiration, predominantly for the male audience that witnessed the movie, of the badass Colonial Marines that went up against the Xenomorphs. They were a ragtag squad of men and women who knew when to lay on the firepower and the hurt when it counted. But of course as those who have seen the movie, they were overwhelmed against an enemy that clearly did not fear death and was a formidable the dark, in confined spaces and were agile.
Sega have teamed up with Gearbox Software to finally bring the experience for players to become a badass Colonial Marine. They have also mentioned that the game will be canon from James Cameron’s movie. Though Aliens: Colonial Marines was delayed a few times, this is a welcome start for the new year.
As always, we are not entirely sure about movies coming into games. They never usually work due to lame mechanics, way too easy objectives and generally it’s a crappy rehash all across the board.
But this is different…in a way.
We only speculate if this is a game that’s worth the wait. Though we only ask is it a game we would want to jump in, our pulse rifles and flamethrowers blazing? Or is it a game just deserves us to literally scream “Game over man, game over!” in our best Hudson voice?
It has been exactly 17 weeks since the events of the Colonial Marines were sent to recon the colonists area of Hadley’s Hope and of course Lt Ripley and Hicks’s escape from the planet.
A battalion of Marines have arrived on site to answer the distress call of the Sulaco. Which mysteriously has come back to LV-426 even though it was spotted outside the rims of “Fiorina ‘Fury’ 161”, another desolate planet.
The Marines have one simple mission, to explore the Sulaco and find out what happened and retrieve any survivors.
Though they are not alone as they enter the derelict ship, they also aren’t the only ones looking to what happened to the Sulaco and its crew…
The approach to the Aliens: Colonial Marines affair is a first person shooter. Players will be able to handle the iconic Pulse Rifle, Smart Gun, Pistol and other varied weapons that have not been seen in the Aliens franchise. As an FPS game, it works just as the genre entails. Though the differences that players will feel is the tension. The atmosphere, the lighting, the iconic motion sensor beeping creating that effect of complete and utter vulnerability for anything that will jump out at you in the dark.
The gameplay is very straight forward. Objectives have to be met to further the story and to further the gameplay. Controlling a very no-nonsense Marine by the name of Corporal Winters, will find out the conspiracy that has unfolded onto the Sulaco. The Campaign mode has 2 modes. You can go at it alone, or you can have a 4 player multiplayer co-operative mode that lets you and 3 friends tackle the campaign mode together. Both modes have its own pros and cons. With single player, you will experience the game with only a set amount of max ammo that you can carry and 3 weapons to carry. Your primary weapon, your secondary and your pistol. Your primary and secondary weapons have limited ammunition and you will be forced to scour every corner for ammunition for each of them. As for health, you have your health bar but also for armor. The armor bar is split into 3 segments and deteriorates with damage.
This same mode carries over to co-operative gameplay with 3 other people. Though the enemies will be increased due to the number of players. This mode is fun to tackle altogether, but it still doesn’t detract what taints a game that would have a lot of promise with bugs and less than average AI. An example will be the single player campaign, your partner in the journey is a veteran marine by the name of O’Neal that has a smart gun with him. Though he calls out the enemies and where they are located, his AI doesn’t help at all, maybe abit but it isn’t a lot. You’ll be finding out quickly that you will be doing all the work just to get out of the situation. Pro-tip: Short controlled bursts with any automatic weapon, it really does work.
Your enemy AI fares no better. Without revocation, the first 20 minutes is great, but as you get through the campaign, the aliens just seem to be…not as intuitive or as scary as I would want them to be. They almost just seem to be like cannon fodder, completely the opposite as to what the Aliens were depicted in the movie. When they rush towards you, they will slow down and go on their hind legs to either slash you to death or grab you for the throat in the face gouge move. You can melee them off you before they attack, but again, it soon becomes a chore to fight against the Aliens. Unless you poorly execute your manoeuvres or waste ammo and get horded by a few of them simultaneously, they are easy to take out.
Like any other game, unless you have a super duper, kick ass connection, connecting to or being the host of someone who has the complete opposite to that connection and you will be seeing some serious lag time and worst of all, glitches. I was stuck in a room with 3 other friends, we knew the way out but the door was not opening. When someone inadvertently ran into it, they just ‘clipped’ through. Alien bodies if you take them out in mid jump, the body stays hovering. Reviving, which you can do in co-op can take more than two times just to recover someone from bleeding out. This is particularly annoying as if you play with your friends, if 1 goes down then expect to be overwhelmed. At some points as well, you will be fighting against human enemies who tie in as soldiers from the Weyland Yutani Group. They will fight back and hide within cover to a degree that you will need to flank them to take them out. Several issues as, no matter how careful you can be in sneaking up on them or just peeking out, they always know where you are and will fire with deadly precision. This isn’t balance and will force you to always let loose a few rounds then duck away, sometimes spraying and praying. Both AI of the Aliens and Weyland Yutani troops also have inconsistent health bars. You could unleash half of a 40 round magazine from the Pulse Rifle and the enemy would either still keep coming (albeit be wounded) or go down. It’s strange how that is constructed but enemies seem like bullet sponges.
As players get through each level, they build experience points to use for new player skins for multiplayer, new weapons, weapon accessories/attachments and perks for the xenomorphs when they play them in multiplayer. Players also will be able to walk around each level and pick up iconic weapons from the characters that were with Sgt Apone and his ragtag of marines. Such as Gormon’s pistol and Hudson’s Pulse Rifle. Each of these “Legendary” weapons, as they call them, have their own attributes and own attachments like more ammo, larger capacity magazines and attachments.
It is great to see that for a game that has been reprised by Gearbox Software that they would revamp a franchise like Aliens: Colonial Marines. It’s a daring effort. And some aspects they do have to throwback to those who enjoyed the movie. Two original characters have come back as voice appearances. Lance Hendrickson as Bishop and Michael Biehn as Corporal Hicks. This is a great addition to as not only is it a throwback to the diehard fans that have loved the movie, but to the newcomers that the game has Hollywood clout.
It’s a shame that the overall visual presentation is not as amazing looking as what was shown at E3. Now you may be reading this and saying “why would you compare the game now to what was shown at E3 2012?” and my answer would be, because E3 is what made me grab my attention fully and wanting the game ever so much more. And the presentation for the finished product looks below average. It really does. Revisiting the area of ‘Hadleys Hope’ and the colonists area of LV-426 is just…so bland compared to what was shown at E3. It’s really disappointing that a game that is done by Gearbox just comes up with this final product. It seems rushed, unpolished and quite frankly it’s a disservice to us gamers who lose out on what should’ve been a very good looking game. It’s hard to actually say this without comparing to the movie, but the music rendition from the original movie score is, ok at best. It can sometimes capture the mood as you sweep bulkheads and spaceships and create some serious tension in dark areas, but overall is a mess. It sounds out of place when it tries to do it all the time and to try and accentuate the moments of the marines when they endeavour to take some bravado act.
As ambitious as it was, the game looked promising months ago, and it being delayed a few times, we as gamers would’ve thought this was a good thing for Sega and Gearbox to properly tweak the game and to refine it
The end result, utterly disappointing.
It’s not all lost though, the throwbacks to the movie and the franchise is great, the sounds of the motion sensor and the weapons used are great as well, in some ambiences and lighting is great to see. There is some serious tension for one level that will leave you weaponless and crawling in the sewers against an enemy that explodes upon contact.
Forget it. This is a really disappointing entry by Sega and Gearbox. The premise and the bar they had set to tease the public to want to get the game and then they put out this final product is a slap in the face for fans of the movie and the newcomers. I can only hope that there will be something redeeming that Sega can do because the games they put out just don’t have the quality. And Gearbox, this is the biggest surprise as it is expected such a company would delivery some serious quality, but yet this is a step back, or many steps back for both companies backing this game.