I think it’s obvious why I avoided Aliens: Colonial Marines. It’s not an excuse, though.
As readers who read my Never Played review of Assassin’s Creed: Unity may remember, I prefer to base my proclamation on a game being shit on actual experience, not just word of mouth. But the literary venom spewed towards this game was enough that I stayed away. Sometimes, trusted reviews scare you away, and rightfully so.
I decided to finally experience what they did. It wasn’t technically my choice, but I chose it anyway.
I regularly buy wholesale lots of games on eBay as a way to increase my game collection. I try not to buy lots where the price per game exceeds $5. That does tend to filter out great games and instead saddle me with inferior games. That’s fine by me; I’m working on a complete seventh-generation video game collection. I’ll take the chaff in the process.
I received Aliens: Colonial Marines for the PlayStation 3 in one of my most recent lots. I decided to suck it up and see what the fuss was all about.
Three hours later, I wanted to cry. Aliens: Colonial Marines just…hurts.
Chief among the reasons for the pain is the fact that this is supposed to be a canonical sequel to James Cameron’s masterful Aliens. Seventeen weeks after the events on the U.S.S. Sulaco, Weyland-Yutani sends a transport craft, the WYS Legato, to LV-426, where the Sulaco was located during the events of Aliens. The Legato’s mission is to intercept the Sulaco and learn the fates of Ripley, Hicks, and the rest of the crew.
Players assume the role of Corporal Christopher Winter, a Colonial Marine aboard the Legato. Once everything goes to Hell in a handbasket, you must guide through the Sulaco, as well as LV-426 itself, on order to find answers while trying to stay alive.
That back story I just typed up is the most interesting part of the game. After that setup, the game becomes an uninteresting FPS with AI companions gumming up the works.
The enemies fans of the series would want to face off against the most – the actual xenomorphs – are absolutely ridiculous. They have no AI to speak of; they simply run towards the player like mindless roaches. The advanced AI of the xenomorphs was highly touted in the time before the game’s release. Well, the xenomophs must’ve ODed on stupid pills right before release, because these things are dumber than a bag of door knobs. Your AI companions fare no better, occasionally impeding forward progress because of one enemy they don’t even fire on. Many times during my playthrough, I could be heard screaming at the top of my lungs, saying, “FUCK, O’NEIL, GET OUT THE WAY OR DIE SO I CAN PROGRESS!!!”
If those faults weren’t enough, the story tries to pull off a twist, having players kill human Weyland-Yutani mercs instead of, you know, ACTUAL ALIENS! So the game went to a poor rendition of an Aliens game to a poor rendition of Call of Duty! It’s not any better, tho. The game also tries to throw in a new wrinkle where a character that was assumed dead in Aliens turns up alive in Aliens: Colonial Marines. It’s a nonsensical reveal for hardcore fans, one that makes no sense.
When the game first came out, developer Gearbox Software faced a massive amount of backlash for false advertising. The game that was teased before the game’s release was nothing like the game that shipped. In the teasers shown, the xenomorphs were smarter and moved more intelligently. Even with that, though, I’m not sure the game would be any better. This game had a lot of shit writing, and smarter xenomorphs wouldn’t be able to counteract that.
I have read from several people that the multiplayer can be fun. However, apart from the fact that I usually avoid multiplayer, the servers are dead. Just my luck, the one mode everyone likes is a mode I would normally not play and which is dead anyway.
I can’t describe my disgust with Aliens: Colonial Marines any more than I already have. Everything about it is disappointing, save for one factoid. After this game bombed, publisher SEGA promised to better. The result of their trying, Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation was a much better game, feeling more like a true entry in the films’ canon than its predecessor. At least I can say that one good thing came out of Aliens: Colonial Marines.
I’m glad I set a $5-per-game limit on used video game lot purchases. Paying $5 for this game was a travesty, but paying a penny over that would’ve been criminal.