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Posted by on Mar 3, 2013

Review: Aliens: Colonial Marines

Review: Aliens: Colonial Marines

Title: Aliens: Colonial Marines
Platform: PC, PS3, Wii U, 360 (played on 360)
Developer: Gearbox Software (with Nerve, TimeGate, and Demiurge)
Publisher: Sega
TL;DR: Bland
Family Friendly?: Click here for more info

Notoriously riddled with bugs on release, Aliens: CM is currently winning the race for most hated game of this generation of consoles, but I thought there are enough people out there telling you how funny all the bugs are, so I decided to give you a flavour of the game now that it has been patched. It says a lot of a game when the biggest compliment you can give it is that it is “well patched”. Aside from a hefty amount of clipping most of the bugs have gone (except the 7ft black ones aha…ha..uhh…sorry). So now that the game’s been “fixed”, what’s it like?

Bland.

There, review done. Go home. I don’t know why anything in this game is happening. Why am I on a space-ship? Why are we now on a planet? Why, after finding something that seems a way off the alien infested planet do we return? Why are all cyborgs branded inherently evil yet apparently not that particular cyborg? Why, after identifying that there is a risk that one of your team-mates will shoot a man who you don’t want shot do you then allow him into the same room as that man? Why is the Queen easier to kill than blind exploding aliens? Why is Weyland being such a dick? To say this game has a bad plot is generous because that would imply it has a plot.

Oh wow, the AI are actually helping this time...

Oh wow, the AI are actually helping this time…

Game-play consists in shooting things repeatedly and the ubiquitous quick time event. How is the industry not done with QTEs yet?! That’s it, you just shoot things. Why? Hell if I know. The only break from shooting things is where you lose your guns. This bit’s kinda cool because the music is actually effective at building tension. You’re surrounded by aforementioned blind exploding aliens who will charge and explode if you make too much noise. Trouble is, they walk quicker than the speed you have to walk at to avoid making too much noise. So when they think they hear something they come over to investigate. You end up being a mother duck to them, leading them around. I often found myself trapped in a circle of them. Annoying much?

All the other attempts at horror and tension fall very flat. Aliens lose their scariness once you’ve shot forty in the face, and when you glimpse a soldier being mauled by one out of the corner of your eye it’s no big deal: a) I have no idea who they are, and b) I was fiddling with the camera at the time so it all felt a bit silly. In fact most of the game feels like a slightly silly alien romp: like “Carry On Face-hugging”.

Quality explosion animation...

Quality explosion animation…

Then there’s the final mission, it’s the epitome of the fustercluck that is the Aliens: CM difficulty curve. There’s literally no challenge. You just run around in a figure-of-8 shape a few times. This game doesn’t have a difficulty curve, it has a difficulty flat-line. At least you can be glad it’s over, it’s not that long a game but still manages to over-stay its welcome. The graphics are, in places, PS1 quality. Not even joking. The loading screens take a fair while, and the textures usually take about five seconds longer so you often walk into a blurry room which suddenly decides to change the lighting.

I guess the gun modification thing, despite making no sense at all and being completely out of place in a horror game, is pleasant. You rank up for some reason and spend rank points on making your guns better. You can usually choose between attachments which is…nice…I guess. It’s hard to have emotions about a game so bland, so even when you find gun modification pleasant you can’t decide if it’s because it’s actually useful, or because it means you can look at a menu for a bit instead of the appalling graphics.

Hmm...textures

Hmm…textures

So there you have it, it wasn’t just the horrendous bugs that made this game shite, it was crap under that awful veneer too. I know it’s trendy to hate on this game, and it’s not the worst thing ever, but it’s not even enjoyably bad: it’s a mild chore and utterly, utterly bland.

Not as bad as everyone says

  • Music can create tension at times
  • Solid bug-patching

Wait, no…pretty damn awful

  • Plot: What is happening?
  • Graphics: What is that supposed to be?
  • Gameplay: What’s a difficulty curve?


Family Focus

Nope, not for kids. PEGI 18+.

Dan Spicer

Dan does "What Dan Does", normally involving screwing over the premise of the game just to have fun. When he's not being obnoxious in video games he's doing the same when playing tabletop RPGs and Magic: The Gathering. He's currently studying philosophy in London, and trying to cook as many pancakes as humanly possible.

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