Fans of the Aliens franchise had a treat once; it was the notion of a good video game based on the colonial marines of the Aliens film.
The long and troubled development of the game was met with hope during every announcement, and fans clamored for a game that was so good it would make a hard case for Sgt. Apone to smile earnestly.
Unfortunately for those who own the game, this was not the case.
The final product of Aliens: Colonial Marines failed to live up to the expectations of not only fans of the films, but video game publications such as IGN, which claimed, “At its worst, it simply feels unfinished—which is a surprise given how long it’s been in development.”
This statement is proving to be true. Internet footage of a xenomorph (the scientific term of the “aliens”) stuck in a wall is making the rounds complete with goofy music.
Common complaints also touch on xenomorphs disappearing when killed instead of having full death animations.
The plot is average at best, with the camaraderie of your fellow marines making for an interesting “brothers and sisters in arms” type story. While searching the remains of the Sulaco (the ship from James Cameron’s Aliens film), the player is then ambushed by xenomorphs and mercenaries from the ominous Weyland Yutani company.
There are very few twists and surprises. The game’s storytelling lacks excitement.
The xenomorph ambushes are easily defendable and even Weyland Yutani mercenaries are nothing more than a minor annoyance. The biggest offenders of poor gameplay are the boss fights; one includes a disappointing power loader fight that feels less like Aliens and more like the clunky mechanics of a robot built from old lawn mower parts.
There is a big, redeeming quality of the game, thanks to Easter eggs on various aspects of the alien universe (including a nod to Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus). Throughout the game are chances to pick up weapons and dog tags from the crew of Aliens, and it’s a fun snippet to include items like “Hick’s shotgun.”
Fans of the movies will at least get a kick out of using the weapons of their favorite marines, but the nostalgia wears off once the player realizes that difference between Hick’s shotgun and a regular one are purely cosmetic.
The voice acting is, however, top notch. Witty banter and wartime orders come off as realistic and informative as the A.I. will alert you to incoming enemies. Marine companions Sgt. O’Neal and Private Bella have some endearing jarhead/relationship chit chat, and the voice acting of Lance Henriksen as the ever eerie android, Bishop.
The multiplayer aspect of the Colonial Marines is amusing, mostly when playing as the xenomorphs since they offer the coolest weapon of all: fear.
These aliens give players more control over terrain, speed and even variation of attacks. Adding all of these aspects together can make the marine team cower together in a corner.
Xenomorph players can choose to use simple slash attacks, spit acid or even lurk in the shadows for sneak attacks. Unfortunately, the marines have the same amount of choices in the campaign, so there isn’t much advantage for being a human player.
The overall presentation of the multiplayer is decent enough but still lacking compared to other first person shooters such as Halo or Call of Duty.
The best thing that can be said about the game is that it is actually pretty fun. The story and graphics may be weak, but gunning down swarms of xenomorphs can be fun and a nice way to switch off one’s brain.
Nothing says “fun” like shooting xenomorphs, seeing the acid blood splatter against another marine’s armor and hearing all of the familiar radar and gun sounds from Aliens. That might be worth playing the game in itself.
However, the game ultimately fails to live up to the six-plus years of development hype, much like Duke Nukem Forever. Yes, the game is kind of fun, but that aspect alone is not enough to be worth the $60 price tag.
Game over, man. Game over.