Aliens Colonial Marines
So here we are once again one of the most
beloved franchises around getting another go at gaming. I want to love
this game; I will have to settle for like it due to being a franchise
fan. Though some of the roughness in the game is rather disappointing
coming from Gearbox especially, itís just surprising.
Let me get a few things out of the way
here, what I like about the game. I do like that the experience is
squarely from a military style perspective. Not a disciplined kind of
military mind you, but the testosterone ego manic bad ass of the film
Aliens. Itís the Colonial Marines.
I can see that the game is trying to hit
that action packed experience and the frantic moments we all feel while
watching the film Aliens. Itís evident and it does have plenty of
frantic action going on. Which is cool, it does make it more of a
I also like the customization and the
unlockables.. While there are not a large amount of them, there are some
fun little add on and weapons attachments to upgrade your load out. I
was even amused by the weapon paint scheme customizations. Other iconic
equipment to make an appearance is the welding tool and of course the
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The sounds are awesome, and while the
surrounding can be a little too bright, I did find that adjusting my TV
settings to make the shadows deeper and darker made for a better
experience. The awesome locations are all there, the set up for the
story starts out like itís going to be one spectacular ride. Gearbox
obviously shows allot of love towards the franchise and James Cameronís
Graphically it just does not seem like itís
a game for the time, character models are just ok, and scenery and
machines and computers and the environment in general tend to just look
off somehow. More than once characters clipped half in and half out of
scenery and wall panels. After firing off a grenade from my under slung
grenade launcher, the Weyland-Yutani security soldier got blasted
through a wall, top half on one side, bottom half sticking through to
the other side.
While the graphics not too awful, they do
not match up to the spectacular footage shown so long ago as demo game
play footage. The lighting and effects are just off. In the original
demo there had been more dynamic lighting, and effects. I donít know
maybe the early demo was more of a concept demo and NOT game footage.
All I know is the early video of the game was beautiful and more
I like the sounds and some of the looks,
the iconic pulse rifle is here. Sound is another department that gets it
right, both music and sound effects. The pulse rifle alone is just so,
Co-op play is more or less the single
player game, though the fun is ramped up when youíre playing with others
against the hordes of Aliens. Or at least that would be the concept
here. Unfortunately, I just could not stay in a game long enough to test
the multiplayer out. Lost connection with host error messages and drops
back to the lobby had been frequent enough to give up the endeavor.
Perhaps itís just first day issues, who knows? I do know that I am on
deadline and have to get this to you, our fellow impulse gamer readers.
After two days of no success getting into a game we had to stop trying.
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The multiplayer aspects of the game are the
standard fare or at least thatís what the game offers.
Team Deathmatch games are played in "packs" of two games. This
essentially presents as two separate rounds, but the two games are
scored independently (the first game has no bearing on the second game).
Metagame rewards are awarded at the end of the pair of games. Itís all
out battle as the teams try to off each opposing team. This earns
points, and the team of course with the most points by time limit, is
In this mode, points are scored when marines reach and occupy a target
location for a set time limit. Xenomorphs donít score points here. They
are just there to stop the Marines. After the first round teams are
switched, with the new Marines trying to beat the score of the first
As the name implies, itís simpleÖMarines try to escape a map. The map is
linear, and the Xenomorph players of course try to take out the Marine
players. Whatever team escapes, or is closest to escaping after the two
rounds is the winner.
Itís just out and out survival. With the Marines trying to survive the
onslaught as long as they can, all the while the attacks are escalating
from the Xenomorphs.
All of it sounds great; I just canít say much about it since we have yet
to be able to get into a game to test it out, at this time we are
checking connections and will continue to report on this at a later
Oh Aliens: Colonial MarinesÖ.
What went wrong here? Now first let me say
it is not the worst game around, it has some roughness and is at least
playable. Even with the wacked out AI. Both human and Alien AI is just
plain stupid. When there are a few other Marines in single player
campaign mode with you, and all the Aliens seem to want to only come
after you, something is wrong here. Sure they make a run at the AI run
grunts, but after an initial attack they turn and ignore them and come
right after you.
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AI run Marines would constantly run in
front of my fire and that was just bloody annoying. Of course it does
not hurt them and you know How I feel about that?
Now letís talk about cause and effect and
consequence for actions. Being a Colonial Marine you would hope that
weapon barrel control was part of the training, you just donít step in
front of a squad mate sending rounds down range. Now, hereís what else I
did not like. It seems no matter what level of difficulty played at,
there is no friendly fire.
You can shoot at your fellow AI run Marines
and there is no damage, and also NO REACTION. I tested the game out in
every difficulty level including Ultimate Badass difficulty and there is
no damage to the AI Marines from your rounds, OR your grenades. I would
have enjoyed it more if there was some danger of hurting your team.
Having to watch out for your squad mates is what brings more of a
feeling of adventure to a game. I just come away feeling I never have to
worry about my squad, I only ever have to worry about me.
There is just no emotional investment here.
To touch on this further in regards to emotion, drama, suspenseÖ.there
is just no dramatic tension, no character build ups. You just get no
emotional attachment to any of the characters, just another throw away
character gets killed ho hum. Maybe itís how the script reads, or for
whatever reason, maybe the director made some weak choices.
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The voice acting is great, especially with
the likes of Lance Henriksen, and Michael Biehn back in for another romp
(Voice wise) in the Alien universe.
The game delivers on frantic action, but
without the solid frame work of characters, drama and tension it just
comes off as a generic shooter. There are moments when a new environment
shows the promise of some of the dramatics and tension that you so want
from the game, but it never fully materialize.
Even with the iconic motion tracker ticking
away and pinging on movement, the thrill is brief and watered down
somehow by the rushed feeling of the game. Moments like the escape from
a crippled ship and ahemÖsudden landing down on a planet where well
done, I really felt some excitement in this sequence, and there are
others sprinkled throughout the game.
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Hard core fans like meÖ will of course
soldier along with the game and hope for the best and hope that tweaks
to the game will make it better. It has some playing value, though you
really have to push yourself to those points of the game. I like the
gameÖitís just a hard sell really, a love hate kind of thing of a big
fan of the franchiseÖ.Nagging in the back of my brain is the thought
that in this game, no one can hear you scream, and there will be no
rescue ship sent.