Considered a true sequel by 20th Century Fox, Aliens Colonial Marines occurs just seventeen weeks after the tragic events at LV-426. As Winter, a search-and-rescue Colonial Marine, you are sent in with a new group of marines to investigate a distress signal sent by the USS Sulaco.
Fans of the original movie will appreciate Gearbox’s attention to detail as they painstakingly recreated the environments from the movie. The ionic Hadley’s Hope is also present. Even the milky remains of Bishop’s lower extremities lay in the docking bay after being ripped from his torso during the final encounter with the Alien Queen. As far as fan service is concerned, Aliens: Colonial Marines delivers.
As a game, Aliens: Colonial Marines is an average first-person shooter that tries really hard to recreate the suspense of the movies. If it weren’t for the buggy AI (Artificial Intelligence) and overpowered weapons, this might have been achievable. The occasional bug is certainly forgivable, but it’s disheartening when your marine teammates happen to get caught on walls or run off for no apparent reason when you’re fighting off Xenophobes who are twitching like epileptics and spawning out of nowhere.
One glitch that really seems to stand out is during your retreat to the spaceship Sephora. While fending off Xenophobes, Marine Keyes works diligently to open a locked door inside the landing bay. Once the door is opened, you and your team must run inside as the door closes behind you. Marine Keyes, for whatever reason, will occasionally get left behind as the door closes.
When this occurs, there is no way to open the second door that leads to the caterpillar walk that connects to the Sephora. As bad as it may sound, these glitches do not appear often. When these glitches are not interfering with the gameplay, your team will cover open doorways while you work on terminals or cut through closed doors. When Xenophobes attack, they will take a defensive position around the player and retaliate until the threat is eliminated.
The single-player campaign has the player rescuing marine Keyes from an alien incubation nest, cutting through doors with a welder, and fending off Xenophobes as you work your way to the USS Sulcao’s control room. And just when the Xenophobes seemed like enough, Weyland-Yutani Corporation soldiers show up to complicate things. Ironically, the AI (Artificial Intelligence) for the Weyland-Yutani soldiers seems to be more competent than the Xenophobes. They will take cover when attacked and know when to retreat when overwhelmed by gunfire.
The weapons, while numerous, are overpowered even in their basic state. As your marine levels in rank, you can upgrade your weapons by adding laser sights, larger ammo magazines and grenade launchers, among others. Weapons like the flamethrower have limited ammo and should be used sparingly. The marine issued plasma rifle, shotgun and handgun are constantly equipped. There is no reason to feel threatened by your adversaries since you are well armed from the start. In fact, you’re basically unstoppable if your aim is accurate.
But accuracy is sometimes trumpeted by the hit detection. You can empty an entire plasma rifle clip into a Xenophobe without inflicting much damage (if any at all). The infamous Power Loader also makes an appearance, but its appearance seems to exist only to appease fans since it’s used little throughout the game.
What’s confusing are the graphics and their low-res textures. Being as far as we are into the current console generation, blocky textures and mannequin-like character models shouldn’t appear so late in a console release, especially given the Playstation 3′s processing power. Luckily, the sound effects are fantastic and resemble everything heard from the movie. Even the voice acting is top-notch given the circumstances.
As a fan of the franchise, it pains me to be so critical of Aliens: Colonial Marines. There are moments when the game shows promise, but the reoccurring bugs really hamper the experience. If these issues could be resolved, Aliens: Colonial Marines would be a great first-person shooter. But as it stands, the only thing saving this title from a one star rating is its undeniable attention to fan service.
Platform: Playstation 3
Publisher: Sega of America
ESRB: M (Mature)
|Average graphics with low-res textures.|
|Iconic sound effects from the movies.|
|An above average shooter riddled with glitches.|
|Aliens: Colonial Marines could have been a better game with some polish.|