Aliens: Colonial Marines (Video Game)
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.
3 1/2 out of 5