Friday, February 15, 2013

Aliens: Colonial Marines Review

When during the first 30 minutes of a game you come across a glitch that is so game breaking you literally have to wipe your hard drive of all related data concerning that game, you don't expect things to get much better. That is how my experience with Aliens: Colonial Marines started out. Less than 1/2 hour in and suddenly my character had no gun. It was not part of the dialogue area. It was not part of the mission where you can't fire. My character stood upright, hands out like he is holding a gun, and you saw nothing there. Not even starting a new game would fix it.

I'm not what you would call a huge fan of the Aliens saga. I enjoyed the movies, but that was as far as I went. To be quite honest I'm more of a Predator fan. But when a game claims to be a continuation of a beloved fan favorite from the 1980's it doesn't hurt to take a chance, right? Well, unfortunately my experience says otherwise.

This game is riddled with bugs, and I don't mean the Xenos. Having your character fall through a metal grating into a pure white loading room and then die doesn't scream polish. Nor does having half an alien corpse teleport across the room leaving the other half floating in midair. At one point where there were no aliens in the game, there was an alien half glitched through the wall trying to attack me. Its tail was flicking back and forth through a console. It wasn't even fully rendered in. With having 6 years of hype, this game was a severe disappointment. The settings look like they were snatched directly out of that 80's movie. The tech looked ridiculous and the visuals were horrible.


The dialogue really adds very little to an already dull story. The missions are somewhat ridiculous in nature, and it feels like the writing staff penned this over a weekend. The plot is barely interesting enough to even try to pay attention, and when you do, the lack of emotion in the character dialogue quickly turns you off to it again. The cutscenes aren't any better, showing faces like blank slates. There is no urgency in the tone of the voices, there are no darting eyes to show fear, no overwhelming bravado to hide quaking knees. For these characters it comes across as another day in the park, even as the phoned-in voice acting attempts to make it appear otherwise.

The AI are exceedingly annoying, both friendly and enemy. During some spots, the enemy AI refused to do anything. It wouldn't attack or run. It just stood there occasionally rotating. Friendly AI aren't any better, usually ending up blocking a crucial shot that results in your untimely death.

The only saving grace is the multiplayer. Where the campaign is a simple run (mostly walk) and gun exhibit, the multiplayer adds a bit of the real kind of excitement and adrenaline you want from an Alien game. Players controlling the Xenos adds some randomness to the encounters, turning your easy campaign experience into  a real deathmatch. Unfortunately the problem with the controls in the campaign follow it to the arena. Gunfire does not accurately represent where you are aiming, leading to a frustrating death or an unbelievable "how the hell did I manage that?" moment.

Ultimately what could have been a fantastic addition to the Aliens series fails to even be a mediocre one.

Pros:
  • Multiplayer adds a little bit of enjoyment
  • One stealth mission actually brings the feel of Aliens to the table
Cons:
  • Graphics are dated and unfinished
  • Mediocre story at the best of times
  • Voice acting is poor
  • Controls are badly implemented
  • Campaign is too easy even on harder difficulties
  • Boring gameplay
  • Multitude of visual glitches
Overall Score: 3.5/10

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