Aliens: Colonial Marines

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2.0 Overall Score

Competetive Multiplayer Can Be Fun

Massive Plot Holes | Terrible AI | Very Prone To Glitches

Written by on February 23, 2013 in [, , ]

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Six years of game development is a shaky predicament. Six years of careful, well thought out planning could lead to a masterpiece, using every available resource to create something wonderful. It’s risky, though, because a number of high profile games which have taken years to produce have turned out either as bland or just plain bad (see Duke Nukem Forever). However, when you have heard about a game for years, it’s hard not to be hopeful, especially when it’s a franchise you love. Aliens: Colonial Marines, with six years of development, has absolutely zero excuses for being as bad as it is.

You may have heard before the game’s launch that Colonial Marines is the actual sequel to the film Aliens. It’s meant to bridge a gap between Aliens and Alien 3. The game starts as a group of marines are sent to explore the Sulaco, the ship from Aliens that Ellen Ripley escaped on to Fury-161, the planet in Alien 3. The Sulaco has mysteriously re-appeared over LV-426 and the marines are sent in to discover why.

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There are so many plot holes with the game, however, that the story can’t really be classified as more than glorified fan-fiction. Why has the Sulaco re-appeared over LV-426? Why, and more importantly how, is a character from Aliens, who clearly died, suddenly alive? How did LV-426 survive a thermonuclear explosion with nary a scratch on any of the environments? How do the marines have detailed information about the xenomorph species, specifically what variant they are fighting, only minutes after encountering them for the first time? Not a single one of these questions is answered.

Any attempt at characterization that the game has is quickly thrown out the window, as well. The game attempts to create a bond between the marines, similar to how the marines interacted with each other in Aliens. The problem is that, while Aliens had interesting, unique characters each with their own unique quirks, Colonial Marines’ characters are cardboard cutouts, with horrid and generic “Oorah” style dialog. The reason that characters like Hudson in Aliens were so over the top with military bombast was that they were supposed to be over compensating. When things got bad, most of the marines in Aliens snapped to the point where a child was able to handle the pressure better. Here, it’s as if Gearbox just thought that the marines were super badass and were the best in the universe.

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If the story is broken, then the game itself seems to be designed to match it. Playing as a corridor first person shooter, similar in many ways to Call of Duty, Colonial Marines throws hundreds of xenomorphs at you as you tread the hallways of the Sulaco, and later LV-426. The problem here is that while xenomorphs have classically been shown to be intelligent and able to easily outflank their opponents, enemies here simply run head first at you with little regard for their own well-being. Not only that, but they can be easily dealt with meaning any sort of challenge or fear of these classic monsters of cinema is totally gone.

However bad enemy AI is, though, teammate AI is even worse. Often times one of your party members will have an extremely powerful weapon at his disposal that he won’t use. Often times, party members will just sit and stare blankly into space as you are swarmed by xenos. This can be somewhat alleviated by playing in co-op, but your partners will still be present and will still simply stare off into space.

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However, no matter how terrible the game is, the biggest problems occur in the conclusion.  The final boss fight (if it could even be considered a “fight”) consists of you hitting a few buttons. That’s it. All you have to do is press these few buttons and the game is over. As if that weren’t insult enough, the ending is confusing and fails to explain any of what you just experienced. In the brief, four hour experience, the game should at least have the decency to try to make some amount of sense but it fails to explain anything. Even if you’re a hardcore fan of the franchise, the conclusion will make little to no sense.

There are a massive number of glitches present in the Xbox 360 version, as well. Texture pop-in is atrocious, enemies can get stuck on walls leading to some hilarious moments of xenomorphs tweaking out and weapons will fire off the wrong type of ammo leading to you having a shotgun firing like an assault rifle. It’s an amazingly broken game, given that four teams worked on this game for over six years.

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The competitive multiplayer is slightly better, however. The texture pop-in is far less pronounced and there’s some genuine fun to be had with some of the game modes, such as “Escape” where four marines have to escape from four xenomorphs. However, it still feels fairly bland in comparison to something like Left 4 Dead.

Aliens: Colonial Marines is not the game that Aliens fans deserve. It’s a broken, muddled mess, with gaping plot holes and terrible design. Gearbox has been working on this game for over six years and this is the garbage they produced. Considering how much promise Colonial Marines showed over the years and how many times we heard that Gearbox was handling the plot with the utmost care, it’s insulting that this is the product they created and the one they expect you to pay for.

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Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

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