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Aliens: Colonial Marines Review


The Aliens series has contributed to many video game titles over the last two decades and it's easy to see why. Alien, the original 1979 film by British director, Ridley Scott, is easily regarded as one of the best science fiction films around, rife with interesting characters, believable worlds and intense action sequences. So after numerous delays and over six years in the making - Does Aliens Colonial Marines live up to the hype and standard of the stellar series? No, just no.

Aliens: Colonial Marines is a morbid, depressing affair and easily the first disappointment of 2013's packed gaming calendar. Gearbox's latest title is a uninspired corridor shooter with cringe worthy dialogue, nonexistent tension and generally monotonous gameplay. Other than the odd stealth section it's lacking any sort of variety and often becomes plain tedious and tiresome to play.

The main gameplay consists of very basic first person shooter mechanics - run from point A to B while gunning, grabbing armour, ammo and picking up uninspiring collectables in the form of audio logs and previously fallen comrade's dog tags. Along with bleak and dismal corridors found within most of the game's chapters, you will find the other main character and deadly enemy, Xenomorphs. Unfortunately they are hardly the smartest of species, as they have a nasty habit of just running into the path of your pulse rifle bursts or shotgun shells. You never feel like the Xenos could outsmart or even outmaneuver you, there just isn't anything terrifying or the slightest bit scary about the Xenomorphs in the game, the animation is awkward and all they seem to do is lunge straight at you, which removes the spine-chilling nature of them found in the films. The game is padded out with private military human enemies from the Weyland-Yutani corporation who are equally stupid in their movements, often taking cover behind places that don't actually provide any protection from the barrage of bullets coming from the player and surprisingly accurate friendly NPC's.


Aliens: Colonial Marines takes place around 17 weeks after the events of the second film in the series - Aliens, and the past terrible events on planet, LV-426. A fresh bunch of stereotypical marines have been sent to explore the deserted USS Sulaco and what remains of the human colony, Hadley's Hope. Colonial Marines lays it on thick from the moment you start the thankfully short 11 chapter single player campaign. The story begins with a fade in to a gun in the hands of the player's character; but not just any gun...but the Alien M4A1 Pulse Rifle! Woah!, right? Nah not really. It seems clear that the developers were keen on creating an early sense of nostalgia with bucket loads of fan service with the opening, but the lackluster textures only remove you further from any immersion found within the game.

The unwavering disappointment continues with set piece sections of the game that could have been quite genuinely thrilling in the hands of a more experienced team, such as being able to control the iconic power loader in a boss battle, which turns out to be an awkward and button mashing mess of a fight where you're not sure wether you're hitting the aliens or your fellow squad mates. Or how about the moment where you have to wade through a dark, dank and bland sewer stealth section where blind Xenomorph husks, that supposedly hunt through their sense of sound, shift positions around as you attempt to creep by, which in reality is almost unintentionally hilarious due to the movements of the aliens; appearing to walk in a constant constipated shuffle. Your friendly squad mates don't fair much better either. Facial animations often disappear during speech leading to some very uncomfortable moments as you stare in to their cold, dead eyes as they are close to screaming in fear.

The game is filled with glitches too, there were numerous occasions where I had pumped an enemy full of Pulse rifle bullets, only for him to spasm in an ungainly fashion across the metal grated floor. On many occasions, the Aliens appear to just ignore the friendly NPC's favouring attempts to devour the player, even though the plucky squad mates would have provided a considerably easier chomp.


Fortunately, multiplayer is a superior experience, that's not to say that it's exceedingly better than the single player forte, it's just better. One standard mode has Marines fighting against an aggression of Xenomorphs (I wonder what the correct collective noun actually is), players control both Marine meatbags and the enticing Aliens. Each match is noticeably creepier and more of the experience you would expect from a Aliens survival horror title. The four player Cooperative game mode that was touted more than a few times before launch is merely just tacked on to the single player campaign and sadly doesn't really improve anything with its poor implementation.

Colonial Marines does includes a very competent XP and leveling system, that rewards players for almost anything done within the game. The level bar is always found within the top right hand corner of the on screen HUD and allows for a visual display of how close you are to reaching that next tier of rewards and unlocks. Presents dished out include unlock tokens allowing for a limited selection of gun customization, the usual selection of red dot sights, paint jobs and enhanced secondary fire slowly become available as you march through the story. A wide array of weapons, leading from the Assault Rifle to overpowered Combat shotguns are dropped as you progress; all the firepower in the game has been lovingly crafted by the original designer - to keep with in the feel of the series, which has to be noted as a nice touch from the developers.

You have to wonder what has been happening at Gearbox for the last six years, because for a title with so much hope and hype surrounding it to be released in a state is not acceptable. Aliens: Colonial Marines is completely rough around the edges, has a completely underwhelming use of the constantly impressive Unreal Engine 3 and also includes most basic combat seen for years. You would be best to avoid this one.

Versions Tested (PS3 / PC)

Pro's


- Multiplayer is...alright.
- XP System is decent enough

Con's

- Graphics are terrible
- Gameplay is terrible
- Laughable Dialogue
- Caused me to sigh in disappointment on many occasions


Edited On 14 Feb, 2013

Comments
73
wow thats a pretty bad looking review for a game ive heard good things about... unlike you joe to have that many cons about a game let alone more cons that pros and i think you forced the pros out just to get a few good points on the review.. i will not be getting this now
0000000000 2 years ago
you've heard good things about this? I'm finding it difficult to avoid coming across someone mad with disappointment for the game.
HappyNoodleBoy 2 years ago
granted to people who have told me are probably doing it to justify paying 35-40 quid for it
0000000000 2 years ago
Can't believe this game is soo terrible
THussain 2 years ago
It's such a shame about this game. It really shouldn't be hard to pull off a decent Alien game. 'Caused me to sigh in disappointment on many occasions' Haha, oh dear.
Gummy 2 years ago
Borderlands 2............thats what was happening at Gearbox, outsourcing the campaign and various other parts of the game and not wanting to risk another delay due to being sued by Sega if they did is why we got the Aliens game we did
The Dave 2 years ago
I have purposely stayed away from all reviews from this game, just had heard some bad things about it. Until now. Very dissapointing :( Will still probably give it a try at somepoint, will be worth a play view and a stab at the MP mode. O well, maybe next time an Alien game comes out it will live up to the name.
LFC Bywater 2 years ago
Playthrough*
LFC Bywater 2 years ago
After this disappointment, I doubt we would be seeing another alien game any time soon. Although a new predator game would be nice 8)
THussain 2 years ago
Anonymous user's avatar
Having experienced the diabolical mess that was Duke Nukem Forever, I'm not surprised that Gearbox screwed this up, and that is the very reason that I refuse to play any Gearbox games going forward. As far as I am concerned they simply do not deserve my money for the dross that they are peddling!
IAN 2 years ago
100% agree with you, duke nukem was a terrific game on PS1 but after playing the PS3 version, I gave up on the whole series altogether. A very big let down
THussain 2 years ago
Anonymous user's avatar
Having experienced the diabolical mess that was Duke Nukem Forever, I'm not surprised that Gearbox screwed this up, and that is the very reason that I refuse to play any Gearbox games going forward. As far as I am concerned they simply do not deserve my money for the dross that they are peddling!
IAN 2 years ago
Jeez that is bad. I'm really glad I held off of buying this. Outsourced or not, what were gearbox thinking? You can't sell a game on fan service alone! Just awful. Oh, and a thought. 17 weeks after the events of Aliens? How is the Sulaco back at LV426? It was on its way to Furina 161 by then!
troublemaker 2 years ago
Selling a game on fan service alone, and it's terrible.... Exactly what i think we will be saying when the Walking Dead game is out! Probably will still be wanting to play that too though lol
LFC Bywater 2 years ago
The Sulaco being back at LV426 is explained in the game, it's all down to W-Y.
Gloria 2 years ago
Also I don't understand how they can go onto the surface of planet since at the end of the movie a thermo nuclear explosion took place, 17 weeks isn't long enough they'd die of radiation poisoning
Boness 2 years ago
Couldn't agree more. Played it for about 3 hours and now it's on eBay. Terrible game and a big disappointment. I really like that you will say if a game is utter rubbish despite being a games retailer. Kudos. :)
Andrew 2 years ago
Totally agree, Joe is honest and want us fans to be happy with what we purchase.
THussain 2 years ago
I believe Joe doesn't deal with the shopping part of the site. I know he has connections to it due to, without the shopping part, shopto wouldn't exist, but he doesn't need to boost up reviews to try and hit sales himself.
DynamiteWhyte 2 years ago
Couldn't agree more. Played it for about 3 hours and now it's on eBay. Terrible game and a big disappointment. I really like that you will say if a game is utter rubbish despite being a games retailer. Kudos. :)
Andrew 2 years ago
Couldn't agree more. Played it for about 3 hours and now it's on eBay. Terrible game and a big disappointment. I really like that you will say if a game is utter rubbish despite being a games retailer. Kudos. :)
Andrew 2 years ago
I know it's not great, but I'm still enjoying it, and can't say I've noticed major problems with the AI or glitches, the xeno's attack the NPC's in my game, and the NPC's provide adequate covering fire for me,.
Gloria 2 years ago
i still want to give it a go but expectations is a bit lower again fantastic review shopto just hope this time you got it wrong
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
Lol I don't think the review is wrong, not just Joe but other reviewers are also saying terrible things about this game. Although I still don't mind trying it out just to see how bad it is.
THussain 2 years ago
why try it out if you have your mind made up already i will make up my mind when i play it thanks
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
lol... saw this coming a mile off :)
PrometheusFan 2 years ago
i still think its decent i know kratos said he tried it and it's not the greatest but not bad either
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
which console gloria as it might be just one edition which suffers issues
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
i have to disagree with this, i have had it for a few days now and being enjoying it a lot sure its not perfect but i have not run into any problems with anything , the atmosphere is there and game play is what you expect , its alot better than avp , i guess its down to if you like aliens then i think you will like this , i think just cause its not got cod in the name then instantly its so bad but thats not the case here
Dark572Assassin 2 years ago
who wants cod all the time anyway! i still want this looking forward to blowing up some aliens
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
totally agree i do not see why all the bad press on this game , its still a alien game at heart and loving the multi player side , i think many reviews on amazon say it as well that its ok
Dark572Assassin 2 years ago
I have to add to the people saying they like the game. On some levels it is disappointing, but it's still OK. I am hoping the SP section can be saved with patches / free DLC. The MP is great fun. Let's face it, it's not as if there are any really good Alien games.
Tepic 2 years ago
there has been a patch released with some problems fixed but i have not noticed any so far in the sp game
Dark572Assassin 2 years ago
Time to boot up Steam and check it out!
Tepic 2 years ago
Since you are playing on PC, here is a link (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=127060396#25266) to mods that increase the games visuals. Too bad there will most likely never be one to fix the terrible AI.
Thomas 2 years ago
so many people moaned about quake all those years ago and it went on to become great successfully and fully playable this genre is hard due to single mindlessness towards cod
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
I think the majority of hate towards Aliens: CM is not just down to how terrible the game is, but the appalling business strategies. The press release demo wasn't even a part of the game, and was in fact better than the game. And GearBox outsourced it to too many developers, and couldn't fulfil their contract.
Thomas 2 years ago
I'd seen some negative reviews of the game, but this one is particularly damning! Game over man.
shiny miller 2 years ago
it's a shame if it's right and shopto are normally spot on but would like to play this before saying no its rubbish im a massive aliens fan so probably will appreciate it more than someone who is not
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
Anyone using this 'its because it isnt cod' excuse needs to take a long look at themselves. his game isn't getting bad reviews due to it not being COD. Not even close.
DynamiteWhyte 2 years ago
i thought cod black ops 2 was not that great also , being way down of my list of games to play
Dark572Assassin 2 years ago
Agree with Kratos, black ops 2 is sitting on my shelf for a very long time and don't plan to play it anytime soon. May play it after a few months
THussain 2 years ago
I'm not saying COD is a great game. I don't even own a COD. But using it as an excuse to pander for bad reviews to other FPS games, is foolish. No one cared about COD when they were panning this game.
DynamiteWhyte 2 years ago
I completely agree with you. The bad reviews are down to this being a terrible game, full stop. The majority of the hate is down to the shady business practices.
Thomas 2 years ago
my reference to cod is when that comes out its instantly the best thing ever , even though i think its a over rated game thats a cash cow and with games like aliens no one gives it a slight chance at all , i am not saying its the best thing ever just if you are a aliens fan you will prob like it, can see this being argued for a while , but just ask your self how many of these people quick to bad mouth this game have entered the shop to compo hoping to win a copy , i think this is a case of pot calling the kettle black !!
Dark572Assassin 2 years ago
COD may be over-rated. Everyone gave Aliens all the time and day. It was getting alot of props on here before it came out, and other gaming sites without ever seeing anything proper in the game, and seeing as the game isn't the same game that was in gameplay footage. I like the aliens films, I even have time for the horrendous ones. People entering the competition, it doesn't really matter, as they'll be getting a game for free. Call it a voyeur thing, or call it a 'I can trade this in for something else' thing. It's not a case of potkettleblack, it's a case of getting free stuff.
DynamiteWhyte 2 years ago
i never have bad mouthed it, i agree with you kratos also i never trade in. sometimes i agree it does feel like some people would enter just to trade in which is unfair
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
Far as I'm concerned, people earn the games by commenting so if they want to trade them in, do as they like. Going against the spirit a bit but they've done enough to earn the game. I wouldn't do it, but then again, I wouldn't enter a competition for a game I don't want.
DynamiteWhyte 2 years ago
i really think this is a love or hate game gearbox need to be careful they are damageing there name because of this and duke. i love the mutiplayer the campaign not so much
knockton 2 years ago
im a big aliens fan so to hear all these things about the game i had hopes for is heartbreaking, forget £40, gearbox ain't even getting 40p from me.
J-D 2 years ago
It only cost me 2p :)
Gloria 2 years ago
you got ripped off
J-D 2 years ago
I'm going to wait for price drop, just one question is any of the game set on the planets surface and if so how do they explain no one dying from radiation poisoning considering there was a thermo nuclear reaction at the end of aliens and pretty much the compound the film was set in was vaporised
Boness 2 years ago
The reactor explosion at the end of the film was underground, therefore forcing the explosion upwards away from the surface. Not the best explanation, put I think it's scientifically sound.
Gloria 2 years ago
I think everybody needs to see this link. Summed it all up for me... https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6lGXDM3LGnk
LFC Bywater 2 years ago
Like Russell I will still pick this up down the line when its a tenner or something. I think a lot can be forgiven in a game when you like the universe its set in.
Datastatic 2 years ago
based on reviews alone i give it till april
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
Excellent review, reads like a real person wrote it, and not some boring strict reviewer, "Caused me to sigh in disappointment on many occasions" this really brings in the human aspect of the review, More reviews should talk about the game then half 1 or 2 lines on how the reviewer felt playing it
craigwp2703 2 years ago
What an excellent review Colin I pretty much agree with everything covered in that very refreshing to read a review that is not only accurate but completely fair
inspector 74 2 years ago
the reviews on here normally are they are independant therefore the best most reviews now are written not to upset ea or activision i just hope for nostaliga sake that i may enjoy it more than most due to my love for the movies
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
If you want to enjoy it you probably will, likewise if you want to pick holes in it then that's what you will do.
Gloria 2 years ago
im going to go into it and just enjoy it for being an aliens game, yes it possibly could have been better but o well, i have heard from lots of people that it can still be fun.
Rachael 2 years ago
I think reviews for this game are really showing how messed up review scores are as a system. Pretty much everywhere is slating it, calling it terrible, but it's still averaging scores of just above five, which means slightly above average, not terrible.
Gloria 2 years ago
I think it's more the case of they were expecting a dozen red roses and a trip to paris and all they've been given is a restraunt meal at a low class place. It's not paris, and it's not a dozen red roses, but it isn't getting toast without butter either.
DynamiteWhyte 2 years ago
I get what you're saying, but the game only is really let down in one department, the visuals, and that opens a whole other can of worms, it plays fine, the AI isn't the worst I've seen, it really doesn't deserve such scathing reviews, unless graphics have become the be all and end all, in which case I really do despair.
Gloria 2 years ago
Aliens game life-cycle: Aliens + Gearbox + eternal development time + delays + rumour + hype + anticipation + previews + gameplay trailers + advertising + release date + preorder + price + release day + meh! game = huge anti-climax / will pick-up sub-£20!
Barada 2 years ago
Lavindathar's avatar
Sorry to see yet another review giving this game an awful score. I love the Aliens franchise soooo much.

MAKE A GOOD GAME FOR ONCE!!!! (although I did like the recent AvP game!)
Lavindathar 2 years ago
would ea visceral not do it? would be a spin from dead space but at least it won't be slated
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
Only because EA would probably do a much better job. Where as if you're putting out crap, you expect crap scores.
DynamiteWhyte 2 years ago
Dead Space was the Alien movie in a sense (I've mentioned this someone else on the boards). Dead Space 3 might've been close to their version of Aliens, if they'd had the license? If I get to play Aliens, I'm sure they're be something I like from it.
Barada 2 years ago
Lavindathar's avatar
I guess it depends who owns the license to Aliens, which I presume is Gearbox, who then picks a publisher....so only Gearbox could create it.
Lavindathar 2 years ago
I believe Sega has the rights to the Aliens, AvP, and Predator game franchises. I also enjoyed the recent AvP game. I don't see why people didn't like it, but I can see why people do not like this.
Thomas 2 years ago
Gearbox (because of Borderlands) are somehow a gaming deity - take a closer look at Borderlands and even the enemy AI isn't spectacular, most of the time the bandits move towards you and back again - hardly a care for taking an inhuman amount of damage! I still like it as an adventure, though. ;)
Barada 2 years ago
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