ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES REVIEW
Aliens: Colonial Marines has been some six years in the making. Is this more Borderlands from Gearbox, or more Duke Nukem Forever?
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Feb 28, 2013 14:19 (285 days ago)
Written by: Ian
"Aliens: Colonial Marines" has been some six years in the making. Is this more Borderlands from Gearbox, or more Duke Nukem Forever? I’m a pretty big fan of the Aliens films, with Aliens being my particular favourite. Whilst not featuring Ripley, this officially sanctioned sequel has been on my radar for years.
Fingers crossed Randy Pitchford and co. have got it right…
Set a few months after the events of Aliens, a new set of Colonial Marines have been sent to investigate the distress call sent out by Corporal Hicks, to see what has gone down on LV-426 and on the Sulaco. Unsurprisingly, stuff very quickly goes wrong as you’re facing both Xenomorphs and Weyland-Yutani Corporation mercenaries. Needless to say, this results in some pretty catastrophic events in space, and soon you’re on the planet, where the Alien Queen still is ...
The overall plot is pretty paper thin, the twist, unbelievable (in the literal sense), and the ending unsatisfactory, all of which are, frankly, a great shame.
In the six years since it was announced, the core gameplay of Aliens: CM doesn’t appear to have really changed, giving it at times, a particularly old-school feel. Don’t expect any on-rails sections, turrets, or vehicles. Do expect a Doom style health and armour system (replete with pick-ups flying out of dead enemies like its 1997), the ability to carry about 1000 guns at one time (despite the fact you can only select 2), and AI to rival ID’s quintessential FPS.
The core combat can be pretty fun, despite all of the glaring flaws, however. The blast of the pulse rifles, and the fact that you sometimes face pretty overwhelming odds give the game a Dead Space-esque vibe, albeit with tighter controls and more powerful weaponry. This doesn’t take away from the terror though, as the Aliens come thick and fast, hide in the corners, and can use the walls and ceilings as methods to attack. Whilst these sections never really seem to replicate the sense of hopelessness that faces the Marines in the film, they are still relatively satisfying.
Unfortunately, the game’s missions only take 5-6 hours to plough through, and at best, 50% of the game is this kind of combat. There’s a stealth section about one third of the way though the game which is just about the worst thing I’ve ever played- being frustrating and pointless at the same time. You also have long sections against other humans, whose AI is just dreadful. They also hit you without really aiming, and the general feedback in these sections is abysmal.
Death can be frequent, and the loads to get back into the game can be 30 seconds or more, even with the game installed. You also have to watch a crazy death-cam for a while, where the world continues to move, but everything else (i.e. what killed you) is totally stationary. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the boss fights, which are all terrible. Again, there’s a lack of feedback, and coupled with extraordinary difficulty spikes, I nearly gave in. Whilst the core experience of Aliens isn’t the best shooter about, it’s turned from a solid base into a bit of a mess as a result of these conflicting sections.