The verdict is in for Aliens: Colonial Marines, and it's not pretty. Even having beaten the campaign over a week ago, I'm still in a hazy shock over just how bad it was, even by licensed game standards. Of course, I've made it quite clear in my review just how much I hated it -- what's everybody else been saying?
Colonial Marines seems to have a unifying effect among the videogame press, since most of the biggest voices in game criticism all agree on just how awful it is. Terms like "fan fiction" and "generic" are in almost all the reviews, accompanied by frequent savaging of the awful animations and broken A.I.
In Destructoid's first round-up of reviews around the Web, we've collected some of the most notable summaries from our fellow outlets, including a rather shocking outlier from one particular reviewer who, against the odds, managed to love this thing. How I envy him.
Eurogamer: "Even if it were polished to an acceptable, 2013-standard AAA shine, Colonial Marines would still only be a generic effort coasting on borrowed iconography. Weighed down by so many grindingly obvious mechanical issues, it never even gets off the ground. For a game all about exterminating bugs, it's a fatal irony." [3/10]
IGN: "There are some feelings of nostalgia to be enjoyed, but it soon wears off and all that is left is some bog standard run ‘n’ gun action that brings little of note to the FPS table - and it suffers from a severe lack of optimisation on PS3 and 360. Aliens: Colonial Marines has definitely been crafted with a lot of love for the franchise, it just needed a little more imagination - and a hell of a lot more polish." [4.5/10]
Polygon: "Aliens: Colonial Marines plays like a budget title from early in this console generation. The production values are underwhelming, and there's very little game present. Those things are enough to make Colonial Marines bad. But the infuriating amount of confidence on display as Aliens: Colonial Marines systematically misses the point again and again is what really poisons the experience. The end result feels craven and exploitative of its source material and the fans that will hopefully know better." [3/10]
EGM: "Like most successful license-based games, Aliens: Colonial Marines is much more than a loving homage; it serves as one of the most robust story-driven co-op experiences to date. The concept definitely has room to grow, but as maiden voyages go, Colonial Marines is a clear winner." [9/10]
GameSpot: "The four- to five-hour campaign has no thrust to it; it feels the same from beginning to end, and the finale just drops with a thud. And by being so easy and predictable, the game lets down the license. There's little suspense, nothing to absorb you or spur your curiosity. Colonial Marines is tone-deaf to what makes the Alien franchise what it is--and what makes the best shooters so exciting." [4.5/10]
Penny Arcade Report: "I’m not even mad at the game, I’m disappointed. I love the Aliens series of films, and James Cameron’s take on the material proved that he understood how to make a good sequel. You begin with what the creative individual did before you, you put your own stamp on it, and you make sure you move the franchise forward in a way that makes sense. Colonial Marines feels like fan fiction written by a group of developers trying to figure out how to make their first game, and the fact Colonial Marines is being sold for full price in this condition is unacceptable." [N/A]
PC Gamer: "Neither staged carefully enough to be scary nor dynamic enough to be exciting, it succeeds only where other players are capable of breathing life into it. There are better linear shooters, better asymmetrical multiplayer games, and better Aliens sequels, and your love of the motion tracker and pulse rifle would need to be profound to surmount those obstacles. I really wanted this game to be good: having played it, I still want to play the game it sometimes gestures at being. It’s one to study, maybe – but it isn’t one to bring back." [48/100]
VG247: "For every fleeting, enjoyable segment, there’s an irritating one waiting around the corner to dampen the mood. As a fan of the film I’m personally willing to overlook a handful of issues, but they’re too frequent and blatant to warrant £40-plus for the privilege." [N/A]
CVG: "If you want to experience Aliens as you saw it in the movie, stick to the competitive modes. They do a much better job of recreating its most tense moments, and it makes the xenomorphs seem like a genuinely formidable foe, rather than rubber ducks at a shooting gallery. But even with decent multiplayer, Colonial Marines is still a major disappointment; one that stands in the shadow of Cameron's film classic. Game over, man." [6.2/10]
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