Aliens: Colonial Marines (Video Game)

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Aliens: Colonial Marines (Video Game)Developed by Gearbox Software

Published by Sega

Available for Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3 and PC

Rated M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

The Aliens franchise captured our hearts many years ago and has haunted our nightmares ever since. Every time I felt a rumble in my stomach, I could only dream that it was an alien growing inside. James Cameron created something so unique that almost everyone has some knowledge of what Xenomorphs are.

Gearbox Software and 20th Century Fox have presented Aliens: Colonial Marines as a true sequel to the 1986 film franchise, and so they should. The game will have you reliving those horrid nightmares once more and crying for your mom in the dark. In a campaign with over six hours of terror, there is enough nostalgia to go around for even the most die-hard fan. Gamers will enter the events of the films and search for the lost crew of the U.S.S. Sulaco. Fans will quickly notice intrinsic environments from the movies such as the LV 426 and Hadley’s Hope.

Joining the ranks of the Colonial Marines, players will venture through tight corridors with a large arsenal of weapons while fighting off Xenomorphs lurking in the vents below and above them. You will get tons of boom for your buck with weapons ranging from submachine guns to firebombs. The main goal of campaigns is to gain experience and rank up while unlocking valuable items on your quest.

The video game’s graphics are truly terrifying with environments ranging from spaceships to large open landscapes. The realism can be seen in every aspect all the way to the droplets of rain that run down your screen. The intense sound effects and eerie soundtrack heighten the terror to the point that you feel as though you are in the battle. There are some downfalls, however, which include the inconsistencies in difficulty modes. Players will notice that when they venture to harder levels above normal, the gameplay can be frustrating with streams of enemies that seem to never end, characters that becomes less interesting, and a storyline that’s a chore to play through.

Aliens: Colonial Marines can be played alone or with a friend in various multiplayer modes that take the game to a terrifying new level. If you love titles like Left 4 Dead, then you will really enjoy Team Deathmatch. In this multiplayer mode, players will take turns as either Aliens or Humans in a battle to the death. Aliens: Colonial Marines is a true representation of a horror title and has very little to dislike.

Many have complained that Aliens: Colonial Marines was an utter disappointment due to the fact it was in development for so long and has ended up being nothing more than a functional shooter, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and often times there are many great components in a game that are simply overlooked. Such is the case here as this game is dripping with Aliens themed flavor.

Players take on the roles of brand new marines led by Corporal Christopher Winter. The characters O’Neal, Bella and Cruz definitely have their own unique personality, perks and annoyances but are overall refreshing to the game’s storyline. The game starts out with a distress call from the U.S.S. Sulaco and you ready your character with weapons and items. The weapons really add excitement and authentic such as the M41A Pulse Rifle and the M52 Smartgun. The success of missions really depends on how well you prepare and this includes picking the right weapons. Some weapons are faster loading with more rounds but do less damage–while others are slow and unresponsive but will blast a hole through a cement wall. In some of the opening scenes, you will want to pack weapons that are fast loading and have more rounds, because you will have hordes of Xenomorphs coming at you while you try to unlock doors as you trip to get the ship’s mission logs and escape in one piece.

The team will have its problems and at the worst possible moments as bonds of trust are tested. The dialogue between characters is rather bland but all in all serves its purpose. Players will have some awkward moments not only with character scripts but glitchy graphics and animations. These problems are not as horrid as it may sound and can easily be forgiven. The game tends to really excel in overall visual elements in regard to horror. Narrow corridors are often dark and dripping with Alien goo, which is excellent since you can never get enough gross and nasty in a horror game. Missions are carried out as mini-puzzles which involve shooting down hordes of Xenomorphs while you complete them. Players are also granted a motion tracker which can be utilized to find near-by Aliens which makes the game even easier. But remember – you don’t HAVE to use it! It’s just an extra item that is there if you want or need it. At its finest there are some big battles where everything is on the line. In one mission, players must form a sort of rhythm as they disconnect fuel lines and fight off aliens that are quickly closing in. Unfortunately Aliens: Colonial Marines is more about shooting than storyline. That however doesn’t hamper the funhouse thrill ride blast you’ll have.

Even on the hardest difficulty, the game is not incredibly hard and some may see that as not enough of a challenge. I, however, think it makes the game fun for all ages and gamer types, because no matter if you have never picked up a game before – you can sit down and enjoy Aliens: Colonial Marines with its simple and responsive controls.

If you are looking for moments that don’t involve tons of shooting then you will particularly enjoy the level where you start out with NO GUN! It is almost a stealth mission where you must slowly step around Xenomorphs without being detected until you can get to the spot to weld the doors shut. This part of the game is pure defense and offers variety that others claim the game lacks. But aliens is action and horror. You shoot things and you run. Isn’t that what everyone expects from a game of that sort? How much more can you ask from it? Maybe have the marines wear dresses? Would that give it the pizzazz that people crave so much? For this reviewer it comes down to one thing, for me Aliens: Colonial Marines delivered the action, horror and gameplay it promised – so what more is there to say?

Most levels in the game are designed for co-op play and it would be tragic for those who don’t take advantage of that. When players start online matchmaking, you will find you need four players to play. If you don’t have enough then you will have to change your networking option to “friends only.” Players call also play split-screen co-op for two if you get tired of trying to find that perfect team and decide just to play with someone who is already at your house and ready to go! Most online matches will have “real” players take on the characters of the AI that are already in the game but not Aliens: Colonial Marines. The room really starts to get cramped as new players are added to the roster and everyone tries to kill the enemies while avoiding shooting each other. If a player gets too far ahead of the others then you will teleport to him. This can kind of get annoying since you may be in the middle of an intense battle or exploring.

Competitive play is a bit more intriguing with four modes that pit the Marines against the Aliens. Players can play on either side, depending on their mood that day. It is always nice to take on the role of a slime-throwing Alien when the opportunity arises. This mode has four marines trying to survive in an Alien-infested territory as you make it from one mark to the next. Teamwork is critical here since your team must stick together and protect each other’s back in order to survive. If you are in more of slashing mood, then you can take on the role as an alien and use your sharp talons to gut one marine after another.

Survivor mode is another great addition that adds hours of replay to the game. This time around the marines are just trying to survive for a set amount of time and try to stay alive while Xenomorphs attack them endlessly. Team Death Match and Extermination modes are just how they sound with each team battling to the end to wipe out the other. Nothing beats a fresh, bloody kill in the morning to get the day started right!

Aliens: Colonial Marines can be purchased now for the MSRP of $59.99 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 & PC. Aliens: Colonial Marines is rated M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Strong Language & Intense Violence. To learn more visit the official Aliens: Colonial Marines website.

Game Features:

  • Cooperative Campaign 1-4
  • Online Multiplayer 1-12
  • Online Leaderboards
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support
  • 3 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss Aliens: Colonial Marines in the comments section below!

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    • nonserviam03

      The deal breaker for me was the fact that you’re fighting humans for most of the game instead of actually fighting the aliens themselves. That’s just… wrong.

      • Uncle Creepy

        Who in the world told you that? That’s 100% untrue.

    • Sabretoothrulz

      I couldn’t agree more Uncle Creepy…I find reading most game reviews absolutely nauseating and they drive me nuts. I couldn’t do anymore than scour this one, and once i saw all the overlong comments and banter I just went ‘screw it’ -_-

    • Amanda Dyar

      That is a lot of the problem–people going around and see everyone saying this game sucks–so it must suck. We are not lemmings, since we are all given our own brains to form individual opinions and thoughts.

      I grew up on the Aliens franchise and they marketed this game as a true sequel to the movie and that is what was accomplished. They marketed to the horror fan and to give fans from the films who have been waiting for something more–they gave it to them. The environments are beautiful and exact representations from the films and the developers took every effort to do the sequel justice in comparison to the films.

      You can play and just SEE how much research these guys put into recreating the Aliens universe–this wasn’t just slapped together. They spent years trying to get it right and even have the film company and people who worked on the films to participate in helping them form this Alien universe. I have made games–I can tell when a lot of heart and work go into a game and this is one of those games.

      This is a horror website so that would have a lot of impact on how much HORROR overall raises or lowers the score. It has the HORROR and the game did was what it said it was. Every game doesn’t NEED to be the same. This game DOESN’T need to play like Halo, Call of Duty or all of the other shooters in order to be considered a decent game. These guys built a REAL LIFE pulse rifle from top to bottom before designing it into the game. ALL these people forget to look at those aspects…how far they went to give the player REAL authenticity. I have played some sucky games that justified a 1, 2 or even 4 overall score. They had nothing going for them, not graphics, sound effects, no story, nothing!

      Not even 10 minutes of fun. TO GIVE this game a 2 or even a 4 is ridiculous! It is not that bad even with the few flaws it has. EGM did give the game a 9 which is very high but it depends on what the reviewer is taking into account. Sometimes specific sites concentrate on a particular type of topics and reader base and certain elements carry more weight based on those factors. But he got cussed up and down for giving a game a high score by PEOPLE that had not even played it because EVERYONE else is putting low scores. Guess what…some of these places may perhaps GIVE low scores because they see the bigger places doing it. And they don’t want fans coming and attacking their pages for putting it was decent. There are many considerations to take into account. Also, on EGM they cussed saying he was “paid off” for giving a high score. I have never met a reviewer who gets a SINGLE DIME for giving a good score. It is the same rather the review is GOOD or BAD.

      There are not back-alley deals with black suitcases of bribe money in Video Game Journalism. Sometimes reviewers just stand up for what they believe and like and get tired of trying to go with the mass. Aliens did everything they said it would from the very beginning and there is no more to be said about it.

      There are other games–if you hate it–all you have to do it pick up one of the 10000s of others out there. But even if your reading reviews to buy games, only one person can really tell YOU if YOU like it–and that is YOU.

      • Rottenjesus

        Your post is better than the actual review! If you could pour half as much emotion and detail into your reviews they’d be a lot more helpful to people who are on the fence about certain games.

      • MonsterMash

        Well said.

      • LSD Zombie

        It’s not unreasonable to expect a game to be polished when you’re shelling out $60 for it. There is no polish to be found here. Everything feels very raw and unfinished. The only compliment I can give this game is that the pulse rifle sounds great and is fun to fire. Gameinformer has a link to a Reddit piece that was supposedly written by an ex-Gearbox employee who divulged a lot of dirty info on the making of Aliens: CM. I’m inclined to believe him because a lot of what he said makes sense. He said that 85% of the campaign was outsourced to a different developer while they burned the midnight oil on Borderlands 2. According to this ex-employee, the gameplay and script were constantly being dicked around with.

        I think I’m done buying Gearbox products. Fuck Randy Pitchford in his stupid spectacled ass.

    • Uncle Creepy

      My impressions… The game looks pretty bad texture wise, but the sound is great and it’s riddled with fan service. Me? I’d give it about a 3 out of 5 judging from the time I spent with it thus far. It’s insane that after 6 years of development time this wasn’t more fine-tuned. The game is nowhere near on par with this generation’s finest FPS’s like COD and Halo, but it’s good for some quick Aliens related fun.

      Guess we’re just gonna have to wait for that truly great Aliens game we’re all hoping for. Somebody really needs to get this license into the hands of a more capable studio.

      • LSD Zombie

        I think my biggest gripes with the game are related to the piss-poor level design and the almost complete lack of any score to create tension. It springs up here and there, but not nearly enough. Shooting Xenos with dead silence in the background is not appealing. Visceral nailed it as far as sound design goes with their Dead Space series. Gearbox could learn something from them.

        • Uncle Creepy

          See I dig the ambient soundtrack. With a good surround system it’s friggin’insane and a lot scarier to me then music pumping. The hissing steam. The clicking of the motion tracker. Pretty intense. I think the score has been placed appropriately.

    • LSD Zombie

      I think Sega should have let Visceral Games handle Colonial Marines. As depressing as these negative reviews are, I’m still going to pick it up. I’m such a masochistic fanboy.

    • addeisdead

      “James Cameron created something so unique that almost everyone has some knowledge of what Xenomorphs are.”

      Ridley Scott’s like, “What she say?”

      • Uncle Creepy

        Well technically this is considered a sequel to Aliens which was Cameron’s movie based on Scott’s original.

        • addeisdead

          Technically, that paragraph doesn’t say anything about this game. It does, however, discuss chest busters and Xenomorphs, which are not Cameron’s creations. So how did Cameron create something unique when he was using other people’s creations? That’s like saying the first guy who put mustard on a cheeseburger created something entirely new.

          • Uncle Creepy

            James Cameron created an expansion of the world in which Scott created. This game is based upon the Cameron expansion. If it wasn’t we’d be tracking a single alien, a single chestburster and have no variables to the alien species such as the Queen.

    • Rottenjesus

      Not a lot of substance to this review, it reads like a back cover blurb.

      • Scar Trek

        Welcome to Dread Central game reviews. They’re pretty much just copies of a press sheet with a score inevitably higher than most other websites, not really worth paying attention to anymore.

        This game is absolute dreck. It feels like a barely passable 7 or 8 year old game made on a small budget, yet on PC it costs more than most any other PC game release in the past year AND has a season pass waiting for you right out of the game. Utter waste of a license.

        • Uncle Creepy

          Actually the score for this game is kind of right in the spot most sites have given it. I’ve seen IGN give it a 4 out of 10 and I’ve seen EGM give it a 9 out of ten. a 3 1/2 here equals about a 7 out of ten. I would have given it a 3 if only because of the fan service. without the fan service, 2 1/2.

          • Rottenjesus

            So would you agree if this didn’t have the ALIENS trappings this game wouldn’t even be worth a rental?

            • Uncle Creepy

              It’s a good yet average first person shooter elevated only by license and fan service.

          • Foywonder

            2 1/2 – It’s going to be etched on your tombstone.

            And you’ve clearly not been reading many review sites because the ratio of negative reviews to positive is so far and away on the side of overwhelmingly negative that DC now falls into the very small select group of positives that consists of about 5.

            • Uncle Creepy

              No I didn’t scour the net looking, Foy. I looked at a couple of my usual haunts and moved on. When it comes to video games reading reviews can drive a person crazy. I loved several games last year that other people hated. Over all, I rarely agree with popular opinion, nor do I care to. I like what I like. Reviews are not gospel and the only way a person will know if they dig something is to try it for themselves.

            • Foywonder

              Would you recommend someone drop $60 plus additional $30 for an online pass for this game?

            • LSD Zombie

              No way. I think the game is only worth $20.00. It probably won’t be long before a significant price drop anyway.

            • Uncle Creepy

              That’s entirely up to the person playing it.

            • Scar Trek

              No need to scour the net, Metacritic exists solely to do that on your behalf. The average score of this game across the three platforms is 46/100.

              You’re entitled to your opinion of course, but it’s hard to take your game reviews seriously when you declare things like “The video game’s graphics are truly terrifying” about a game that looks half a decade old, with goofy as hell animations and blurry low-rez textures (they’re terrifying in entirely the wrong way), or “Aliens: Colonial Marines is a true representation of a horror title and has very little to dislike” when this game actively seeks action over atmosphere and refuses to build any tension.

              You want some things to dislike? There are PLENTY.

              The gameplay actively panders to the Call of Duty crowd, with silly out of place gimmicks such as laser sights for pulse rifles, an intrusive challenge/level-up system (nothing screams atmosphere like **YOU HAVE LEVELLED UP** flashing on the screen), and utterly atrocious scriptwork that sounds like a 13 year old military FPS fan writing fanfic on the Aliens movie after never seeing it but being told about it by a friend.

              The graphics are just bad. Go watch a video called “What went wrong with Aliens: Colonial Marines?” They had a video released to the press showing “actual gameplay” with full dynamic lighting that made the environments moody and tense, and that familiar alien hive fog across the floor, proper explosion and fire effects, tons of stuff that made it look like a moody, atmospheric game. The video was bullshit, as the What Went Wrong video shows how awful the graphics are by comparison. And not even compared to that, they look positively worse than the AvP game from 2010.

              The aliens are not in the least bit terrifying. The AI for them is broken, they simply run at you in a straight line, down the linear, tight identical corridors the game loves so much, and get slaughtered with ease. There’s no threat from them whatsoever. Bad animations make them look goofy even as they attack, clipping as they climb over rough surfaces, if there’s a crate nearby they go out of their way to run towards it just so they can play an animation of pouncing over it, and everyone’s seen how hilarious the Boilers walk during the Obligatory Stealth Segment that’s shoehorned in. Shoot them and they spontaneously get covered in huge blobs of dayglow green blood (apparently they’re all predaliens now) before the corpse vanishes in a green glow. There are lurker aliens that almost, ALMOST get interesting to fight, but the encounters with them are absolutely minimal. Their AI is still a few notches below those of all the AvP series.

              Motion tracker. Pointless as an early warning and tension builder because the game doesn’t spawn enemies in until you’re close enough to be in combat.

              AI of your squadmates is awful. They run directly into sentrygun fire. They get in your way constantly, making me believe they were such a problem in whatever little testing was done on this game that they just let you move and shoot through them. They fall behind and then magically teleport in front of you when you pass certain points, just in case your suspension of disbelief wasn’t completely shattered by every single other thing in the game. Having them suddenly be there in front of you in a flash as you open a door is probably one of the few scary moments in the game

              The game introduces human enemies early on and the entire time you’re fighting them, you’re playing a far inferior Call of Duty-esque generic military FPS with Aliens sound effects.

              “You shoot things and run” in this game. Problem is you shoot two types of enemy. One that just runs directly towards you in a slow, suicidal shooting-gallery charge, the other has been done better by practically every military shooter in the last half a decade. An obligatory stealth section doesn’t resolve the fundamental lack of variety in combat. On top of all that, the enemy is so lacking in threat that the game is EASIER to complete by just holding the sprint button and running from checkpoint to checkpoint. You can outrun the xenomorphs, mercenaries don’t care to follow you much, and reaching a checkpoint makes them all despawn and your squadmates teleport up to you.

              Facehuggers. You’re lucky if you see 5 in the entire campaign. 4 of them will be on the second level. You want variety in the game? WHY DIDN’T THEY HAVE SOME MORE OF THESE? Or the other kinds of aliens they included? Or outfit the mercenaries with more interesting weaponry. Anything. Instead most of the game is generic alien warriors suicidally and slowly running head-on at you or mercenaries doing a piss-poor generic FPS job.

              Character development. I believe the phrase is “lol.” The marines are completely interchangeable and expendable. They behave irrationally, such as the early example of one who gets a chestburster bursting out while crossing an umbilical between spaceships, so he drops dramatically to his knees (the animation for this always plays twice on PC for extra hilarity) and suicides with a grenade. Not having any clue what the chestburster inside him is, he attempts to blow up himself and the umbilical to kill all his fellow marines with him out of nowhere. Yet this nonsensical attempt to kill all his allies is about the closest to any personality any NPCs get asides Bishop and Hicks (and only because theirs was all imported from the movie).

              Multiplayer is laggy as hell. Even when I tried playing co-op with a s ingle friend who lives in the same town as me, with a ping of 28, he was warping around the room as he ran. We’ve played dozens, if not hundreds of different games together and know it’s not a problem at our end. Also stupidly unbalanced, but that at least is something they can potentially fix in a future patch (not that this should excuse it).

              The game would have been okay if it had ended up a functional shooter. Unfortunately this is a barely-functional shooter loaded down with glitches and bugs and a massive amount of squandered potential. Throw on top of that the behaviour of the development team. First they put out a “gameplay trailer” that didn’t represent the final product. This is common, because they have a little “not representative of actual gameplay” because it’s a rough and shoddy beta. I think this is the first time a gameplay trailer had that warning because it looked far better than the final product would. The game cost more than the average PC game, with entire game modes locked behind retailer-exclusive preorder bonuses. After the bad reviews started coming in, Gearbox attempted to blame an outsourced company for most of the game until Sega officially stated that was nonsense (unofficially, an anonymous Gearbox dev on Reddit admitted they knew what trash this game was, blamed TimeGate who it was outsourced, only for a TimeGate employee to respond and say they did precisely what asked of by Gearbox to the letter, and that Gearbox had it for 9 months to polish up but spent 5 of those months on Borderlands 2 instead). Now they’re refusing to speak to the press whatsoever about the state of the game and their studio head is being standoffish and insulting to his customers on Twitter.

              On top of all that, this game came out at the expense of the Aliens RPG that was in development by Obsidian. Sega cancelled that game despite it being functionally complete, so they could invest all their Aliens eggs into the Colonial Marines basket. Way to make that sacrifice worthwhile.

              That was a heck of a longer rant than I expected, but I paid good money for this game and what I got was a complete disaster, which would struggled to get above-average reviews if it were released in 2006. Which is when most of the assets in this game are from.

              I love you guys, I really do. Been a reader since shortly after you first opened. You’re the gold standard for horror movie reviews in my eyes, I trust you on them and make blind DVD purchases based solely on you giving something 4 knives or above, you rarely if ever let me down. But your videogame reviews are completely untrustworthy. Splatterhouse was a poor God of War wannabe, Naughty Bear was a 20 minute joke stretched into a fullprice game, and this game is an utter disaster that falls way below average. I disagree very strongly with your words and hope that anyone who reads the review, thinks this game is worth getting based on its strength, and scrolls down this far, rethinks that decision, gets on youtube and takes a look at how this game actually plays before they spend an above-average amount on the game.

      • Uncle Creepy

        Having listened to you guys Amanda sent in an addendum to her review, fleshing it out more. See above for additions.