Aliens: Colonial Marines Review
developer: Gearbox Software
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Feb 13, 13
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Ridley Scott’s Alien is rightfully considered to be one of the most influential films in Hollywood history. Director James Cameron took things to the next level, with the highly coveted sequel, Aliens, which probably influenced more action games than any other movie, barring movies like Star Wars, Star Trek or Blade Runner (and Saving Private Ryan). The recipe is simple and it usually involves setting the right mood and a recognizable atmosphere – ya know, a group of fully armed soldiers heading into combat against an unidentified foe and then getting their asses kicked, with only a few lucky survivors trying to escape in one piece, facing incredible odds, naturally.
Before we go any further, you should cast away any doubts you might have about which studio developed this game. According to publisher Sega, Gearbox was responsible for most of the game, while various other studios (including TimeGate) merely provided assistance in various aspects of development. The bulk of the work was entrusted to Gearbox. End of story.
Back to Operations? It's always 'back to Operations'.
I miss Hudson...
Speaking of stories and premises, Aliens Colonial Marines, was somewhat pretentiously described as a true sequel to James Cameron’s, Aliens. The game kicks off following the events of Aliens. Many of the familiar sites from the movie were recreated, putting players one step closer to the spectacular scenes from one of the most revered action flicks of all time. In this game, your squad of marines lands on LV426, while Ellen Ripley, Corporal Hicks, Newt and the synthetic Bishop ejected from the ship called the Sulaco. Our hero is part of a search-and-rescue team sent to investigate the Sulaco and find out what happened to Ripley and the rest of the crew previously dispatched to LV426.
Treading on more than familiar ground, with standard FPS mechanics, the game also draws up on every single catchphrase or action scene from the movie. Weak characterization is one of the biggest downsides, and on top of that the plotline lacks depth. Diehard Aliens fans might to enjoy those movie references. Players can step into one of those yellowish power loaders (an iconic scene when Ripley fights the alien queen). However, these moments are so painfully underwhelming, you’d wonder why the devs even bothered to incorporate them. Trust me, you won’t feel the movie magic or relive the famous ‘Get away from her, you bitch’ scene. Even if they nailed that particular scene, it still wouldn’t matter because the campaign itself is so supremely disappointing and it would take more than that to make things remotely interesting in this game. Additionally, almost every event or battle situation is filled with predictable scenes. In fact, there’s nothing in this game that can be described as surprising or original. What a way to waste a franchise. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The visuals are out-of-date and the game is ripe with technical hitches. When maxed out on PC, the whole thing still looks crappy. And if you’re hoping for some kind of suspense or a chilly ambience, you’ll be discouraged right from the get-go. That leaves almost nothing to draw you in besides the gameplay itself.
The single-player option is second-rate at best. Having gone through the story mode, I have to say that there’s absolutely nothing memorable or noteworthy about it. The AI exhibited some of the worst combat maneuvers ever seen in a shooter. In addition to, aliens jamming on objects in the environment, we witnessed human foes leaning on glass windows (perfectly visible to your squad). Quite often it appears that human soldiers will rush idiotically to their death. For example, if you die in a mission and then restart from the last checkpoint and you’ll notice that enemies will use predictable movement patterns when seeking cover or attacking. Usually, one blast from the trusty Pulse Rifle grenade launcher can effectively take out a whole bunch of dim-witted soldiers.
There are many references to the Aliens movie and some memorable set-pieces have also made it into the game, multiplayer is fun for a while;
Doesn't elevate the franchise in any way whatsoever, scarcity of features, unbalanced weaponry, tragic AI, a bug-riddled mess of a game that offers little entertainment.