I’ve played all the Alien games over the years and to be honest they’ve never quite lived up to what they should be. Aliens was a good action movie right? So it should translate well into a good first-person shooter.
This time it’s Gearbox Software’s turn to try and make a AAA title and this one’s different as it doesn’t feature Predators thrown into the mix and is actually considered as an official part of the story canon set shortly after the events on LV-426 in the movie Aliens.
You play one of a team of marines sent to rescue Corporal Hicks and company from the USS Sulaco, and soon realise that no-one’s home apart a PMC hired by Weyland-Yutani who have got there before you. For one reason or another you then end up on LV-426 and explore Hadley’s Hope and other areas in an effort to escape and survive.
There’s a lot of fan service here. Lance Henriksen reprises his role as Bishop, you’ll find faithfully recreated areas on the Sulaco, there are legendary weapons to find and collect including Hudson’s Pulse Rifle and of course you get to explore infested corridors as your motion tracker pulses and beeps when Xenomorphs are about to jump on you. The sound effects and music really are authentic; it’s just a shame that the graphics are so inconsistent.
At times the world around you can look great as orange lights flicker indoors, or when you explore exterior locations but then things can be let down by shonky squad and alien animations, items and people spawning in front of you and low quality textures. Cut-scenes are also FMV which pull you out of the action and, at least on the Xbox 360, are cover in tearing. Technically, the game seems unfinished.
The action is actually okay though. You’ll be shooting Xenos with a variety of weapons you can also customise with XP you earn across any game mode and to mix things up, you’ll also be fighting the PMC soldiers which gives you more of a traditional shooter experience. Ammo can be scarce though at times which means sometimes you’ll be stuck using a pistol for long sections of the game as you hunt around for ammo.
It’s great that you can play the game in co-op as well as in single player and it’s just as, well as the campaign is very short and suddenly ends with everything up in the air. I was actually shocked when the credits rolled!
As an added bonus there’s also versus mode with Team Deathmatch, Extermination, Escape and Survivor modes with the latter modes being attack and defend scenarios as teams of up to 6 fight each other as marines take on Xenomorphs. As has always been the case, it’s actually not much fun being a Xeno as you’re killed easily and spend most of your time looking at a respawn screen.
If you’re a massive fan of James Cameron’s movie, you’ll actually get a bit of a kick out of Colonial Marines. If, however, you’re looking for a solid shooter with sci-fi themes, there are plenty of other places to look. The game feels unfinished and rushed which surprises me as it’s been in development for years. Aliens Colonial Marines gets an average 5 out of 10.