We’ve all been looking forward to Aliens: Colonial Marines. After all, it’s based on one of the best sci-fi series of all time, Ridley Scott’s Alien. But, does Sega make a game that lives up to high expectations, or should Aliens: Colonial Marines be lost in space?
The answer is a big fat no. There are so many things wrong with Aliens: Colonial Marines I almost don’t know where to begin. ALMOST. I’ll start with the graphics, because they are the most disappointing. For a video game based off a movie which won awards for its best visual effects and best dramatic presentation, Aliens: Colonial Marines is a major disappointment. The textures are extremely lackluster, and the game looks like it is stuck somewhere between the PlayStation 2 generation of consoles and the Playstation 3; the graphics are slightly better than PS2, but not nearly up to par for PS3. Even with all settings maxed out on a PC, the game looks cheaply made and is littered with square polygons and dull textures.
The gaming environments are lifeless, and are anything we haven’t seen numerous times (Doom 3, Dead Space). The game especially looks bad because its release date is just one week after the superior-in-every-way Dead Space 3, a sci-fi shooter along the same lines as Aliens: Colonial Marines. Nothing about A:CM’s environments are creative or original, and, unfortunately, your character’s surroundings are commonplace. I am usually a huge fan of flashlight gameplay, but even after adjusting my brightness slider all the way down, the game wasn’t dark enough to warrant using the flashlight. Dark environments are supposed to invoke terror, not boredom.
Gameplay is also below par, to say the least. While shooters have been done and done (and done again), the majority of great shooters bring something new to the table; a new element that somehow excites that player. Aliens: Colonial Marines does none of that. It literally plays like a PlayStation One shooter, which makes it clear that the Gearbox developers didn’t even play through their own game. If they had, they would know just how disappointing gameplay is. For one, hit markers are god awful. There was one point in the game where I had my iron sites clearly set right on the chest of my enemy, peppered some shots, and didn’t hit him once. I just shook my head, and went in for the melee gun bash kill, which is also a terrible animation. Secondly, there is nothing terrifying or dangerous about the Xenomorphs in the game, as the aliens generally just skitter towards you quickly and that’s about it; you’re not given a true reason to fear the aliens. Human enemies are also boring, as their is nothing intelligent about their AI.
Some players might enjoy the level up mechanics of the game, only if they’ve never played a video game ever in their life. Players earn ranks which allow them to unlock new equipment and attachments, but the options are scarce, and you quickly find yourself bored with the whole idea.
Sound design was probably the game’s strongest attribute, but even it had its soar spots. The soundtrack was good, but the gun sounds are unsatisfactory. Guns sound muffled and echoey, and not loud and poppy like they should. The only thing Sega got right with Aliens: Colonial Marines was the marketing, if you ignore the major backlash the game is going to get from players for duping them into buying such a crappy game. We’ve seen absolutely awesome trailers, exciting taglines, and the game had a general excitement about its release. Now, after playing the game, I am disappointed to the point of anger that the game did not even come close to living up to the expectations.
Multiplayer hardly even functions, and brings nothing new to the table. If you’ve played any online shooter, you’ve played Aliens: Colonial Marines’, as it is as basic as it gets. The co-op is cramped, as you and your teammates, along with the AI from the campaign, are forced to funnel through small hallways and linear gameplay. Rumors are floating around that Sega is actually releasing four different DLC packs for this game, which will probably include multiplayer maps and guns. But, my only response to this news, is simply “why?”.
For a game that has been 7 years in the making, it certainly feels like it was thrown together overnight just to capitalize on the Alien franchise. I’m actually offended that Sega and Gearbox would release such a poor iteration of the franchise and expect gamers to mindlessly give them their $59.99. I’m absolutely dumbfounded about how Gearbox, the makers of such awesome titles as Borderlands 2 and the Half-Life series, can develop and release this game without any remorse. The game has no spark nor polish, and somehow feels rushed, even after 7 years of development. As of right now, it is the standing champion gaming dud of the year.