James Cameron was the mastermind that directed the second Aliens movie to star Sigourney Weaver. After over two and a half decades the movie has finally gotten a direct sequel to the events that unfolded on LV-426 in the form of an interactive video game. While the sound of the last two sentences might have sounded exactly the way you wanted it to just wait until you hear that good ol’pulse rifle in action. Locales from the movie are ripped straight out of the 80’s sci-fi flick. But don’t let all this fool you, the experience isn’t like the movie at all, in fact you might want to stay away from this facehugger.
Storyline | 4
Upon loading the campaign you are greeted by the famed Corporal Hicks from the Aliens movie. Naturally he is sending out a distress call, claiming the crew of the Sulaco is KIA thanks to everybody’s favorite Alien, the Xenomorphs. The colonial marines aboard the USS Sepohra respond to their comrade and are sent to investigate. However when ship arrives the marines find more than they were expecting.
The first mission has you looking for the flight recorder in order to find out what is going on with the USS Sulaco. During this mission you quickly realize the game lacks character development. Instead of really giving us key players at this point with some badass Colonial Marines and interesting character design. You come to find out that each marine is just unlikable as the next. Throughout the game the marines you fight side by side with never show character and are in fact generic soldiers that do nothing to engage the story or the player. At the end of the first mission one soldier goes as far as to blow himself up and almost kill every other marine around him. Leaving us with one burning question… WHY would he do that?
During the campaign you will encounter more of the Alien horde than those found in the movies. Including facehuggers, soldiers, and lurkers which are from the movies. In addition, some aliens are designed specifically for the game. These aliens keep the game fresh but not after having a foul taste in your mouth already. This is due to the fact that most of the game has you fighting humans rather than Aliens, which is rather disappointing for an ALIENS game.
Gameplay | 5
Gameplay for the single player campaign consists of 2 mission types. Defend yourself from a horde of Aliens, and run to point A to point B while shooting Aliens. Which could be fun but the level design is uninspired and half ass. Trying to navigate during shootouts and fit through corridors is a task especially when playing Co-Op. There was moments when instead of killing the enemies I wanted to kill my AI partner for getting in my way. Like a little brother that keeps nagging you or a girlfriend that follows you everywhere… GO AWAY ONEIL! When he isn’t in my way, he isn’t doing anything, the Aliens don’t even attack him. Why is he even in the game at all?
Aside from shooting Xeno’s the Weyland-Yutani corporation has an army of mindless mercenaries who feel uninspired and just as generic as the squad you are supposedly in. The game is called Aliens: Colonial Marines yet in no way does this feel like a Sci-fi military shooter nor does it make any attempt to give the Aliens a more interesting role. For a game that has been in development for 5 to 6 years you would expect an experience to be somewhat engaging and fun, but it’s not.
The gameplay feels bland with no real hype or escalation in form of action or suspense. Aside from 2 different scenes which introduce you to the Xenomorph, and a sewer level which changes the gameplay for more of a horror approach this is the highlight of Aliens: CM. In some cases, when engaging the Aliens you really can see the formula can work at times switching from your gun to your motion sensor. These scenes don’t come often enough in the game and for the most part the game needs more fresh ideas that never come.
The ride gets even more bumpy with some design choices that feel more like PlayStation game. Having to pick up ammo, health and armor is more of a chore than a game mechanic. This is due to the fact that you must press a button to pick up everything. Rather then just running over the item or holding down the button, YOU MUST ACTUALLY LOOK at the item to pick it up. When a bunch of Aliens and Soldiers are trying to gun me down, this gameplay mechanic doesn’t help, it just ruins the experience with an awkward button push.
It terms of Multiplayer the game stands on more than one leg. However the game suffers when playing as the Xenomorph as the controls can feel clunky at times and doesn’t offer that smooth experience gamers are so used. Not to mention the game only ships with 4 different competitive modes. Unlocking everything for both the Marines and the Xenomorphs can take less that a couple of days to do. In terms of replay value this leaves the game wanting more especially for multiplayer. All in all the multiplayer saves the gameplay from the horrendous single player campaign, with that said an aliens campaign would have been welcomed to give the game more content.
Graphics | 6
The graphics of the game are both the worst and best part about the game. The Audio is spot on and really makes you feel like you are in the Aliens universe. The geometry is all there as well and when the lighting takes over this game is can be so atmospheric that it makes your fingers tighten up. Yet when you come across pitiful explosions, AI running into walls, and Aliens that disappear. Well this game becomes a pile of Alien acidic Sh*t.
When starting the game to pick up where I had left off the game forgot my gun. No gun was in my characters hand allowing me to die instantly after hordes of generic mercenaries gunned me down. Muddied textures and glitches really bring this game back to reality. Animations are just as bad as the AI, each character moves in a similar fashion. The AI is the worst thing about it, when your sidekick is running into you while you shoot Xeno’s or the Weyland-Yutani baddies it really is a nightmare. When Aliens engage you during the game they FORGET to attack your sidekick Oneil and constantly attack you. Why is this character even there to begin with?
The Final Verdict | 5
If you can get past all the bugs and mundane gameplay then well Aliens can be a somewhat satisfying form of torture. The best part about the game is how it is an interactive form of Aliens. The game isn’t as bad as Duke Nukem Forever, just don’t expect a Call of Duty experience with big action set pieces. Characters are more bland than the textures you come across and the developers really missed out on a golden opportunity as far as writing the next chapter in the Aliens saga. If you must play this game, prepare yourself marine you’re in for one frustrating experience.