Let’s start off by getting one thing straight out of the way. Aliens Colonial Marines is a masterpiece in living up to a precedent. A precedent that’s haunted gamers for many years and with the way the gaming industry is in its assembly-line-franchise-milking-penny-pinching mode, may last for many more years – games based on killer movie franchises will often be a bag of garbage.
Sadly, that is also the case with Aliens Colonial Marines. Right from the time I saw the trailers on Steam, being a fan of the Aliens lore, I wanted this game and I wanted it bad. I saw the visuals in the trailer and my jaw was attracted to the floor. I played the game and my jaw stayed there – but for a totally different reason.
The moment you fire up this game, you know something isn’t right. Strange coincidence when one of the first sounds you hear is the motion tracker beep. Oh yeah – it’s a sign of the torture you’re about to endure.
The game plot and setting ties in closely with the plot of the movie “Aliens”. The game picks off seventeen weeks following where the movie ends and you play as Corporal Winter, followed through most of the game with Sergeant O’Neal and Private Bella. Now, visuals aside, this part was annoying in that I went through several Daikatana moments with these 2 bots. I often started at checkpoints with the sidekicks missing or stuck somewhere. AI bugs are abound in this game – ever seen an alien stuck between a wall and a table? You’ll see it here!
The visuals looked beautiful in the trailer – but sadly, the in-game implementation is all-too-generic and offers nothing fresh. The Alien models though – look fantastic and as real as they could – but again, they suffer from animation issues and the aforementioned bugs. Oh the irony is writing itself here!
Sounds are authentic though and are the one thing I actually did like about the game. Firing your pulse rifle sounds fantastic and the motion tracker will make your adrenaline surge – but there’s not enough right things here to get you actually immersed in the game – you’ll probably just find yourself moving from checkpoint to checkpoint just to get over with it.
Keyboard controls are alright and yeah I know they can be customized, but if it takes a game 7 years to develop, the least you can do in any development phase is get the basic controller settings right! Keys are awkwardly placed and the out-of-the-box configuration is more frustrating than trying to milk a fly.
Aliens Colonial Marines does have a multiplayer component to it, but I prefer not to dwell much on MP aspects as I like to play a game for its story and ability to pull me into it – something The Walking Dead did like no other.
Long story short, don’t waste your money on Aliens Colonial Marines. If you are a fan of the universe, then pick it up pre-owned or whatever or wait for a Steam sale (oh there’ll be one soon), but steer clear of this as much as you can. It’s like a Facehugger on your brain.