So Aliens: Colonial Marines has finally arrived and well what can I say, it seems like Gearbox has screwed up another long anticipated game, even the story behind what went wrong sounds similar to Duke Nukem.
So from what I can figure out Gearbox is claiming that most of the problems with Aliens were a result of Timegate who they passed the production of the campaign on to so that they could focus on Borderlands 2 (you can read more at http://www.destructoid.com/so-who-the-hell-did-make-aliens-colonial-marines--244939.phtml )Now while there are arguments that Borderlands 2 deserved all of Gearbox’s attention but surely the Aliens franchise deserves just a little bit more respect than what it got.
Now there are many issues with colonial marines from its pitiful and disrespectful at times attempt at a story to its AI however let’s start at the basics- the disc art which I honestly couldn’t whether it’s too plain or too clustered. What it consists of is half the disc is filled with xenomorphs with one on the bottom right and the rest is plain white the issue here is the bulk of the xenos just blends together and it just looks like they didn’t care.
So on to the game, while the core gameplay (which boils down to see enemy, blast enemy into oblivion) works fine with you being able to select between a variety of different weapons such as the iconic pulse rifle or the awesome smart gun (granted it’s only available for a few minutes). But there are many other weapons to pick from like the assault rifle or shotguns and they all look like they belong in the universe like the colonial marines have always had them.
Speaking of weapons, throughout the different levels there’s the opportunity to collect different legendary weapons based on weapons from the movies such as Hick’s shotgun or Hudson’s pulse rifle. These weapons also have a different look to the standard weapons in the game, the markings on Hudson’s rifle or a piece of bandana on Vasquez’ smart gun for example.
Weapons are all well and good but without a decent or competent AI to combat they’ll just make the game a breeze, and I am sorry to report that the xeno AI are atrocious. In the 2011 demo that Gearbox showcased, demonstrated an intelligent enemy AI where the Xenos would actually dash and jump around to try and avoid the player’s gunfire as well as utilizing the environment to try to get the upper hand in battle. Sadly in the finished product you’d be luck to see a xeno shift to the side, most just run head long into you firing line and maybe that could work if their movements weren’t so sluggish. In fact most of my deaths came down to my AI controlled team mates shooting the explosive containers dotted around parts of the levels.
Another thing when I buy a game called Aliens I actually expect to fight aliens through at least the majority of the game that however isn’t the case, a lot of the enemies you face are human which I haven’t got a problem with if they came in towards the end but they show up in the second level.
Another issue I ran into was the lack of explanation for what to do, it wasn’t until the 7th or 8th level (11 total) that I figured out how to select different weapons, Basically what you need to do is hold the Y button and use the joystick to select the slot which will take you to the weapons select menu; the problem is that when I see a menu like that I automatically use the D-pad to make the selection which doesn’t bring up the menu.
It also took me a while to figure out that you need to bring up the motion tracker for the objective marker to show up the issue with that is that at no point does it show the marker you to where you need to go and usually I had problems finding my way when I was in the middle of combat which is where you don’t want to be pulling out the motion tracker as you can’t use your gun.
The story for colonial marines also has some issues too, the main one being that they bring one of the characters from the movie back with a very vague explanation as to why they are there and this has been approved as canon by Fox this is officially confirmed to be part of the history of the aliens universe.
Then there’s the characters who’s solution for any situation is shoot shit up and it works, they also don’t seem that bothered about anything or at least that’s what it seems going by their facial expression, their voices are the only real indication as to what they’re meant to be expressing.
So you might be wondering “are there any redeemable qualities of this game?” well yes while the whole facing human enemies throughout a lot of the game is a disappointment there is one level that did leave a good impression. Basically you are moving through the sewers while these new type of xenomorphs that use sound to hunt prey and throughout this whole section your unarmed which makes for an exciting and intense experience. The environments while there are some lighting and texture issues look great staying faithfully to the atheistic of the movies
In conclusion while Aliens: Colonial Marines has some good aspect such as the multiplayer which is the only time I actually had fun, all of the negatives massively outweighs the positive with stupid AI on both side and uninspired characters the final verdict is a 5/10.