Tuesday, December 4

Aliens Colonial Marines Review

I played on: PS3
I paid: £3 (CEX)
Available on: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Notes: The fact that I’ve finished this game twice makes me feel uncomfortable.

Aliens Colonial Marines biggest selling point leading up to its release in 2003 was its story. This was supposed to be some big plot that’s canon to the film. We were going to learn what happened between Aliens and Alien 3. As well as a brand new original story following the Colonial Marines cleaning up the mess left on LV-426. This was one of the first real times I got hyped for a game and boy was I disappointed. There is a real disconnect between what’s happening and how the characters react. During the first 5 minutes the connecting bridge between your ship and the ship from the film – the Sulaco, gets damaged while you’re crossing it. The glass is cracking and you’re told that it’s leaking atmosphere into space. Instead of being able to run to the other side like any human would do instead you’re forced to slowly walk to the other side while talking on your headset. The glass keeping you from being pulled into the vacuum of space to suffer a horrible painful death is cracking and yet your character acts calm. A few minutes later when you’re trying to return across that same bridge a marine dying from a chest-burster pulls the pin on a grenade for no reason. What was he hoping to do, take the rest of his squad with him as he dies? This game is filled with moments like these that make no sense and because of it any hopes of telling an interesting story just vanish. How can you follow any plot with characters acting this nonsensicality? You can’t, it’s impossible. Honestly, the level of writing on show here feels like it was written by a monkey in crayon.

The characters are nothing more than generic action men. This issue is so bad that during cutscenes I honestly had problems telling who was who. Even now after having finished this game twice I could not pick the character you play as out of a lineup. Everyone is a cardboard cut out of characters we have seen before in other, better, Alien films and games. Most of the Marines are just Corporal Hicks from Aliens. The one female marine doubles up as both Vasquez from Aliens and Tequila from the 2013 Aliens vs Predator game. We then have Bishop as, well, himself thanks to the fact that he’s a robot. This is beyond lazy character writing because with lazy writing you at least have to write, here the characters are just copied from other sources.

The only possible thing less solid than these characters are the graphics themselves. I mean this in a literal sense because it’s not rare to find characters or objects you can just walk into. You never feel like you’re really a part of this world because you can barely even touch it. Shooting at friendlies has no effect at all. The bullets just pass harmlessly through them. Both friendlies and enemies will do really odd things like walk backwards or just stand next to people they should be fighting. The Xenomorphs are no better with them having some of the stupidest animations you can imagine. They will run into walls, spin on the spot and all sorts of other madness. It’s very rare to see them using the environment to their advantage by crawling along the walls and ceiling. I want to point out that this game came out 3 years after Aliens vs Predator and only 1 year before Alien Isolation. Both of those games had decent to amazing AI, beautiful graphics with very few glitches and had the Xenomorphs using the environment well.

The only thing close to enjoyable here is that it’s kinda cool seeing the remains of the chaos that takes place during the Aliens film. I would be lying if I said I didn’t smile when seeing Bishops legs in the hanger of the Sulaco. Seeing the throne room from the crashed Space Jockey ship on LV-426 is also always something I enjoy. These moments, however, are just ruined by the horrible visual glitches, terrible characters and just general awfulness of the game. This is why I describe this virtual sightseeing that I normally love in games as only close to enjoyable. The rest of this horrid excuse of a game clings to things I love from the film and just makes them worse. Corporal Hicks somehow survives and makes an appearance but as all the marines are just copies of him he feels cheap and shallow. One of the most beloved characters from the film feels flat and emotionless just like every other drone around you.

The shooting is kinda passable but your bullets never feel like they are making contact so even that’s trash. Honestly, I want to find something positive about Aliens Colonial Marines but I can’t. Just when I think I’ve found something another part of this broken mess ruins it. Basically, I would rather make out with a Xenomorph than have to play this game again. Dear god avoid this mess. If you’re a fan of Aliens check out Aliens vs Predator (2010) or Aliens Infestation. Both are great to good games that capture some part of the film well. I want to leave with a message to Gearbox in relation to the Alien universe; “Stay away from her you bitch!”

Recommendation Rating: 1 out of 10

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