*** WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES, ALIENS, ALIEN 3 & HALO: REACH. ***
to celebrate having Labor Day off from work, I did what a lot of gamers
do with limited time off: I finished a video game. However, I didn't do
what a lot of gamers do with limited time off: I finished a video game
that was universally and unanimously described as the worst game of
2013. Yes, I finished Aliens: Colonial Marines. I considered it
practice/punishment for when the 4 original members play through it on
Ultimate Badass mode in the near future. Also, it's back on a lot of different Video game sites due to the Sega/Gearbox Marketing controversy. Of course, what I found was a
poorly written, graphically horrible, ridiculously difficult, glitch
ridden piece of trash... That I couldn't stop playing.
The story is like a 12 year old boy was asked to write an Alien story only seeing the movie Aliens once when he was 10. You
play as Winter, one of many generic Colonial Marines who look identical
due to the lack of unique character models. You're sent to the Sulaco
(You know, the ship that half of Bishop, Ripley, Newt and all burnt up
Hicks escaped in after the fight with the alien queen in Aliens?) to
find out what happened to a Platoon of Colonial Marines that they lost contact with. Once over there, you find a horribly rendered Marine named O'Neal, the lower half of Bishop, 4 jettisoned cryotubes, and a ship that's been turned into an alien hive in a period of months when an Alien Queen had been on the ship for roughly 20 minutes without an egg sack. But, what the hell, right? If a lone facehugger could have made it onto the ship to initiate Alien 3, why couldn't an entire hive spawn without a queen? The characters are extremely one note and stereotypical. O'Neal is romantically... I'm sorry, had a "Sex Thing" (his words, not mine) with the character Bella. When you find Bella, it's right after she tells you that the she woke up with a dead facehugger on the floor that had attacked her and that her throat hurts......... Have you ever bought a bucket of KFC and was then asked to care for it and empathize with it? Asked to become invested in it and to become it's friend? No. No you haven't. Why? Because it's FUCKING DEAD, JUST LIKE BELLA IS. Why would you become invested in a character you know is going to be dead in like 3 levels? I know what you're thinking: "But Charlie, you're well documented as saying you liked Reach the best out of all the Halo titles and you know all the rest of the spartans are dead by the time Halo: CE starts. Isn't it the same thing?" No. No it isn't. Why? Because story made you care about these characters. They were likeable, and although you knew they weren't going to make it, their deaths wee both heartbreaking and completely shocking in some instances. As soon as you encounter Bella, you know she's dead and the writing is so flat that by the time she buys it, you're like "Thank God! One less stupid AI who's going to step in front of me right as I fire a grenade that'll blow me all to hell, yet they still stand there." Hicks is there and they partly explain how he's there (he dies at the beginning of Alien 3) but the other half of the explanation is "a story for another time." Bull-Shit. Sadly, the horrendous writing is the least of the games problems.
Graphically, this game is a joke. Lights on wall panels look like decals on the walls. There were 3 computer screens on in a room and 2 of the smaller ones are clear as day, but the biggest one is a blurry low-res mess. The character model of Captain Cruz, your Grizzled Marine Captain who addresses his troops as "Chicks & Dicks" looks like a slightly thinner version of the main character, Cpl. Winter. Every cocooned Marine is the same character model (except for a certain character from the Aliens movie who you discover the final fate of). It really looks like a mid to late Xbox or PS2 game. Textures pop in more often than guest stars on the 1977 Bing Crosby Christmas Special. It's really ridiculous. The character models of Hicks & Bishop look like bad 80's action figures of Michael Biehn & Lance Henriksen: plastic and poorly rendered with a passing at best resemblance to the actual actors. Don't Believe me? See below:
|I can't tell who's the game character and who's the actor! HYPER-REALISM!!!!|
Glitches are another guest in this meandering variety show. I can't tell you the amount of Xenomorphs i killed just because they were either standing still in the middle of the room or stuck in the environment. Matter of fact, the first time you encounter a Xeno, it comes out of the wall and tackles you to the ground. You have to mash a button to get it off you but I can't tell you what I was preventing by doing so. Why? Because as soon as it pins you to the ground, YOU CLIP THROUGH THE FLOOR AND ALL YOU SEE IS THE BOTTOM OF THE FLOOR PANEL. Now I played this part on both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 and it was the same glitch on both systems, so y'know, consistency. Also there's that part of the trailer when you see the marine on an space bridge between 2 ships detonate a grenade over his head as the chestburster comes ripping through his armor. That happened on the 360 version. That didn't happen on the PS3. On the PS3, he lifts the grenade over his head, and nothing happens. no alien, just a dude committing suicide. The glitch that pissed me off the most was this: In one of the levels, there is an automated turret in a doorway that is lighting me up like a thanksgiving turkey. It's Bella, O'Neal & me on the business end of it and O'neal tells me that I need to get around it to turn it off so that they can get through. It's in a doorway. It's blocking any entrance into the room from that particular doorway. so I get around it. I walk up behind it. I am about to turn it off.... WHEN O'NEAL & BELLA WALK RIGHT PAST IT INTO THE ROOM AND STAND NEXT TO ME....... WHAT??????!!!!!!! Yep. No testers needed on THIS game! No Sir!
Then there's the multiplayer mode. 3 standard game modes and a few you have to get DLC to unlock. That's right: it's a multiplayer mode you have to buy. Not a patch. Not an update. Paid DLC to unlock horde mode. It's.... That's... not how DLC works. Anyway, it's balanced in the sense that you switch sides halfway through, so if you're completely beast as a marine, but totally suck as an alien, you're not going to totally dominate unless you practice as both factions. You can customize your loadouts, your appearance and your skills for both your Marine & Xeno and, to be honest, there is a fair amount of options to personalize your character to your specific play style. As a completely OP bonus to the Marines, all the legendary weapons you find (Hicks' shotgun, Hudson's pulse rifle, etc.) along with all the weapons you've unlocked and the modifications you've equipped are selectable for your arsenal loadouts in multiplayer. That's suppose to give the marines a fighting chance when playing against the xenomorphs... The savage, powerful, broken, impossible to control and easily killed "next evolutionary step" that can be taken out by a couple shots from a shotgun (which is a 2 shot kill weapon from 2 inches to 100 ft. away) or a poorly aimed melee attack. They're just awful to play as, whichever class you choose. It's fun for the first couple rounds, then degenerates into every other multiplayer mode you've ever played in any other game.
So this has been a showcase of the shitshow that is Alien: Colonial Marines. I haven't said one good thing about this game. The graphics, the glitches, the gameplay, everything about this game was complete mess. But what did I do as soon as I finished the campaign? I started a new game on a higher difficulty. I had played through it on easy and it was pretty unforgiving, and normal was even worse. But why? Why put myself through that again with even more aggravation? Why not just wait till I can play it with Craig, Luke & Trevor so I don't have to suffer alone? Why? Because underneath all the shit ands grime, it's an Aliens game. Because every room I went into on LV-426 was replicated so well that all of a sudden, I was 10 years old again watching Aliens for the first time, but this time I was in it. I was killing Xenomorphs with a pulse rifle that sounded just like it did in 1986. Xenos came out of the wall and up from the floor and from the damn ceiling. Some parts were genuinely intense and challenging in a fun way as opposed to the frustrating way most of the game contained. There is a sewer level where you encounter blind aliens that track you by sound, rush you and explode. It was awesome when you would attract one of them by mistake and have to stay perfectly still while this horribly deformed alien was inches from you and there was nothing you could do because you have no weapon at the time. It was really well done. When the game worked, it replicated the best parts of the movie exceptionally well. The fun and terrifying attacks from the Xenos spanned multiple rooms and rarely relented and as you switch to another gun unintentionally because you ran out of bullets you have that genuine "oh shit!" moment where you don't know of you're getting out of this. Those parts are worth replaying the game to experience.
So there it is. That's my review of Aliens: Colonial Marines. How do I feel about the game? It's sort of like my feelings about Star Wars 1-3. Everybody says how much they suck, but nobody realizes that we, as fans, got 3 more Star Wars movies. There's no denying that they're inferior in every way to the originals, but at its heart, it's Star Wars. That's how I see this game. It's horrible in almost every way, but when you look at it in its simplest form, it's the best part of Aliens and I'm okay with that. Would I recommend it when it was a full priced retail release? Hell no. Do I recommend it now that you can get it used at Gamestop for $10? Absolutely. No, really, it's a 6-10 hour game that you could power through in a sitting. It's cheap and if you look past the frustrating exterior, that kid in you who always wanted to yell out, "Marines! We Are Lea-ving!" while running frantically from a horde of Xenomorphs is going to have a good time.
In closing, I give Aliens: Colonial Marines 3 blips
on the motion tracker out of 5.