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Aliens : Colonial Marines Review

Cart: Aliens Colonial Marines
Cab: Xbox 360 / PS3 / Wii U / PC
Coin: Gearbox

Aliens: Colonial Marines is a disappointment, but not nearly as big a disappointment as many will have you believe. The main issue has to be what this could have been, and the fact that a major development studio, with a big budget and several years to play with, couldn’t come up with something more inspiring or original. It’s a genuine shame.

It is also a let down as a game in the Aliens franchise, especially as this is supposed to be a direct sequel to James Cameron’s Aliens movie, with the opportunity to create a unique and interesting story clearly missed.

This is as good as it gets

This is about as good as it gets.

The game follows the fortunes of a second group of marines, the group that, in the movie, was going to take 17 weeks to arrive and relieve the first bunch? The fact that the first group of marines actually managed to kill nearly all the Aliens, who were then finished off by a large nuclear blast, a blast that also happened to wipe out the human colony, means that this is already committing various story based atrocities before it even begins. Another ‘story killer’ is where all these new Aliens actually come from. You only get one new Alien per human capture, yet there are thousands of the things in this game.

Presumably they have started facehugging each other.

The other thing that irks me with this ‘continuation’ is this: in the Aliens movie, the remaining four marines (after the initial encounter) are able to scythe through dozens and dozens of Aliens, with limited ammo, yet here squad after squad is lacerated by the pesky xenomorphs; an issue that is compounded by the ease by which you, as the player, are able to kill them.

Why the developer didn’t go for a tauter, more dangerous game instead of this senseless shooting gallery, is beyond me. This is a bog standard FPS game, with all the modern traits, but with added rough edges. Expecting a tense, frightening game? Look elsewhere, as for the majority of the game you will be facing security troops. Yes, in this Aliens game, you spend more time playing through poor Call of Duty-lite sections than battling the Alien threat. Seriously.

There are also problems of a more technical nature. The graphics are a weak point, with dodgy collision detection, characters that teleport through walls, many comical physics problems, a so-so frame rate and a general lack of polish. The A.I, for both allies and enemies, is shoddy. It feels quite rushed, which is strange for a game so long in gestation.

So, poor story, generic gameplay and technical issues. Not a good showing, but there are actually some positives here.

Back to back: if only the A.I was as helpful as this

Back to back: if only the A.I was as helpful as this

The game actually plays pretty well, at least when you are facing the Aliens. These parts can feel like a proper ‘bug hunt’, although there is a distinct lack of fear to be found. The guns feel quite meaty, the sound effects and fan references are spot on, and for players looking for a mindless FPS game, akin to Serious Sam, this may be for you. There are also some decent multiplayer modes to be found, which we will go in to properly in a separate feature in the next few days.

However, I would only ever truly recommend this if you found it heavily discounted, as this is not the Aliens game that we all wanted. It is not a total disaster by any stretch of the imagination, and it does provide fun in limited doses over the course of its six hour campaign, so it would be fair to describe this as an above-average shooter.

The hate currently being directed at the game really isn’t completely warranted, but is no doubt fuelled by the knowledge of what this could have been, and that will be its lasting legacy.

Check out all of our Aliens: Colonial Marines coverage at our Aliens: Colonial Marines Central

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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.

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  1. #deflated

    • @Luke Martin VA Yes, you are right to be: this should have been awesome 🙁

  2. What a massive waste of a great property. BTW does anyone remember this?: – seems like shenanigans were afoot at Gearbox!

    • @Ben Webster VA It literally looks nothing like that…unless the PC version is turbo charged or something

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