Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Preview: Hunting bugs in Aliens: Colonial Marines online

8:00 AM on 04.04.2012 // Jim Sterling

Aliens: Colonial Marines is quite an ambitious project for Gearbox, especially from a narrative perspective. It is, after all, a canonical sequel to Aliens, considered by many to be among the greatest science fiction movies ever created. Much has been made of the game's story campaign, to the point where you'd be forgiven for not realizing there's a competitive multiplayer element. 

Not only that, but competitive multiplayer pits teams of marines against teams of Xenomorphs. 

Yes, I felt damp in my panties.

Aliens: Colonial Marines(PC, Xbox 360 [previewed], PlayStation 3, Wii U)
Developer: Gearbox Software

Publisher: SEGA
Release: Fall 2012

Aliens: Colonial Marines' multiplayer will feature many modes, ranging from simple deathmatches to a host of objective-led contests. Freely admitting inspiration from Left 4 Dead, Gearbox has worked hard to create two very distinct forces to battle out across these modes. Unfortunately, we were only allowed to play as the marines, but that didn't do much to stop me from having a good time. 

From the Marine perspective, you have a very traditional first-person shooter experience. Pulse rifles and shotguns provide the kind of gameplay you've likely played often. It's solid, it does the job, but it's not exactly breaking any new ground. There's an experience system with unlockable equipment, as one expects from modern multiplayer games, and Gearbox has confirmed that actions in both the narrative campaign and the online modes will influence each other. Equipment unlocked during solo play will also be used in multiplayer, and vice versa. 

In many ways, it would not be unfair to liken Colonial Marines to Call of Duty, with its range of player challenges, upgrade system, and conventional shooting action. Of course, there's one major difference that sets it worlds apart -- the other players don't have guns. They have little mouths in their big mouths that bite your mouth off of your face.  

Played from a third-person perspective, the Xenomorphs are -- literally and figuratively -- worlds apart from the Marines. As human players use ranged fire to keep the bugs at bay, the Xenos must exploit the environment and work together to close in on their prey. There's a very nice balance at play; at range, the Xenomorphs are defenseless, but if they get close enough, a Marine will need pure luck to survive. Xenomorphs can leap huge distances, and cling to any surface at the press of a button (their movement was likened to "Assassin's Creed"), allowing them to sneak up on unsuspecting opponents and take them out in a range of wonderfully vicious ways. 

As a Marine, this changes the game from a humdrum shooter to something infinitely more frantic and panic-inducing. With the opposition skittering along ceilings, jumping entire stories, and crawling out through vents, you'll constantly have to stick with your team and keep running. Unlike 2010's Aliens vs. Predator, the Marines aren't ridiculously powerful. An isolated player is a dead player. Only by fighting smart and keeping on the move will a human team succeed. That, and making use of the motion tracker. There's no HUD in Colonial Marines, and you'll need to tap a shoulder button to bring up the tracker and get a rough idea where the bugs are coming from. 

There are multiple Xenomorph species for players to use, most of which can be selected on a whim with each respawn. The Crusher, however, is a supremely powerful creature that can be controlled with a pickup found in the environment. This brand of Xeno is an oversized, bull-like alien with a large head designed for doing exactly what its name implies. Those playing as Marines are alerted to the Crusher's presence by a sinister roar that echoes throughout the map. Once you hear it, you know things are going to get very bad. 

The Crusher is very reminiscent of the Tank in Left 4 Dead, including its foreboding aural cue. Incredibly powerful, tough to take down, and able to bowl through a team in a single charge, the Crusher provides a highly intense combat experience. At one point, I was stuck in a corridor with one rushing toward me. I was able to sidestep at the last minute, and turned to find it had already altered its course and knocked me to the ground. Their speed and their strength make them very scary prospects, and it's a huge relief to finally take it out. 

Although it's too early to get a full idea of what Colonial Marines can do, the game already looks beautiful and feels impressively solid. Marines are heavy and their weapons are meaty. There's a lot of fun to be had in mowing down five Xenomorphs in a row, only to get your head cut off by the one you didn't see. My one worry at the moment is that there won't quite be enough creatures on the Xeno side to keep the feeling of panic high for the human team, but we've only seen the most bog-standard of multiplayer modes so far. Hopefully there are some other gametypes that really exploit the "Left 4 Dead with Xenomorphs" vibe that Gearbox is going for. It's the type of game I've wanted for years, after all. 

With a commitment to authenticity, utterly beautiful representations of the Xenomorphs' fluid movements, and some panic-inducing thrills, I very much like where Aliens: Colonial Marines' multiplayer is going, and if Gearbox builds upon what is here, I see this easily becoming my online game of choice for 2012. 

You can count this Aliens obsessive very excited. 

Photo Gallery: (11 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Aliens: Colonial Marines

  Aug 13

Sega agrees to settle in Aliens: Colonial Marines lawsuit

Gearbox found crying by the toilet talking about how 'no one understands art'

  Jul 25

Now Bloody Playing: Aliens: Stasis Interrupted

Your ol' pal Sterling plays through the 'final' Colonial Marines DLC

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

To editorialize or not to editorialize: An editorial

Tiny Dangerous Dungeons REVIEW - The Pocket Metroidvania

Cblogs of 11/24/15 + Big Ass Fort

Primal Carnage: Extinction Review (PS4)

Belated Spoiler-Free SOMA Review

Friday Night Fights: The Blackest Of Fridays

Super Destructoid Community Interviews Hyper Encore ##Reload

So I Got a 3DS

Negotiations are over. Rainbow Six Siege is a no buy from me as of now.

Cheat Codes Podcast - Ep. 72: Sexy Dog

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
What? Wonderful 101 on eShop is $19? NO EXCUSES.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Robin secretly controls the boobs of Nintendo characters. She stole the Xenoblade boobs and took the Fatal Frame lingerie for herself. #DammitRobin [img][/img]
Matheus Railane avatarMatheus Railane
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I was just playing Skyrim and wondered if anyone has come up with Fallout 3/New Vegas weapon mods for Skyrim? Fighting dragons with assault weapons sounds almost necessary. [img][/img]
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Just bought Fallout: New Vegas. Throw me the best mods there are that AREN'T Total Conversion mods. So now Who Vegas - yet.
Parismio avatarParismio
Oh this Undertale summaration flipnote is so good:
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
For an early Christmas present I got my girlfriend Wooly World to go with our new Wii U. I've gotten more joy out of how adorable all the character designs are than I'd like to admit.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Hey Dtoiders ! Steam just destroyed my wallet ! Share here what you bought in this sale !
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
And so I purchased not just Hyper Dimension Neptunia, but also its sequel and Grim Fandango Remastered in the Steam Sale, and it isn't even the end of the first day. God damnit. At least refunds are thing a now.
Samsneeze avatarSamsneeze
I'm currently writing a review for a mobile game, but only because I'm enjoying the hell out it. I'm honestly enjoying it far more than Puzzles and Dragons.
Zer0t0nin avatarZer0t0nin
Damn, I think I'm Bruce Willis from Unbreakable. Just fell of a 12-foot ladder and all I got was a little scratch on my finger.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
After I finish Fallout 4 I'm thinking of 100%ing Skyrim and then installing a TON of dinosaur mods on it.
voex avatarvoex
4 hours into Hotline Miami 2 and I'm finding it just as fun as the original. So far it's a good balance between frustration and satisfaction. Still have no idea what the story is about.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
1. Start playing Ocarina of Time again. 2. Start having fun. 3. Discover fishing area. 4. Stop having fun.
AvtrSpirit avatarAvtrSpirit
A 2-d hovercraft platforming exploration game just came out today. Have fun collecting the coins! My record so far is 140.
Occams avatarOccams
Holy shit the new David Bowie video/song is just lovely.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
So many people angry at Play-Asia right now. Totally not exactly the kind of backlash Tecmo were trying to avoid by not releasing the game here in the first place.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
If you're a UK kid there's a Wii U 32 GB Wind Waker Premium Pack on Amazon for £240. It says sale... I dunno how much of a saving that is. You tell me.
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Not strictly speaking video game-related, but screw it. Team Captain America or Team Iron Man?
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -