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Aliens: Colonial Marines review



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Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines


Our Score:



  • Authentic locations from the movie
  • All the classic Aliens weapons
  • Half-decent multiplayer options


  • Dated graphics
  • Mediocre FPS gameplay
  • Packed with bugs and glitches


Available on Xbox 360, PS3 (version tested), PC

After six long years in development, there were only two ways that Aliens: Colonial Marines could go. Either Gearbox was going to come up with the definitive Aliens game, or it was going to be a botch job of Duke Nukem Forever proportions. Sadly, it turns out to be the latter. You’d have to look hard to find an Aliens game that offers better fan service, but Colonial Marines is too dated, too glitchy and too deeply mediocre to give the franchise the game it deserves. While it’s not as messy as the Duke’s big comeback, it’s still a very disappointing effort.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: The Theme Park Tour

It’s not completely devoid of merit. For a start, it plays out as a straight sequel to Aliens, though one that comes after Alien3 in the overall franchise timeline. The USS Sulaco - the marine’s ship from the second film - has reappeared in orbit around the planet LV426, and you’re a marine attached to a new ship that’s been sent to investigate. The action begins on the Sulaco before moving down to the surface of LV426 and the xenormorph-ravaged colony of Hadley’s Hope, giving you plenty of scope to explore environments from the first two movies. Throw in numerous shout-outs to the films, a scattering of faniliar(ish) faces and all the iconic weapons and vehicles - even a boss battle that puts you in a loader - and you can’t say that Colonial Marines stints when it comes to Aliens goodies.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the sound. It’s all here, from the high-speed buzz of the pulse rifle to the signature tone of the smart gun, from the hiss of a lurking xenomorph to the urgent blip of the motion tracker. The production design also does a nice job of capturing the film’s industrial sci-fi aesthetic. Whatever Colonial Marines gets wrong, it has the Aliens look, sound and feel down pat.

Aliens: Colonial Marines - Outdated and outgunned

The big problem is that it has that look, sound and feel mixed up with an FPS that has arrived at least five years too late. This is as straight a corridor shooter as they come; one where you’re led from one area to the next by one or two of your fellow marines, and from alien encounter to alien encounter. It’s the kind of game where you’re constantly moving to the next door, waiting for someone to open it, or trying to catch up with your CPU-controlled buddies, who can usually be found waiting by a door for you to turn up. Even the most derivative Call of Duty clone has the sense to liven things up with the odd set-piece these days, but while Colonial Marines stretches the formula on a few occasions, it clings to it for the majority of the game.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Nor is the shooting all that satisfying. The aliens do all the right things - crawling along the ceilings, popping out from nowhere to attack - but don't they move in quite the right way and make a less convincing menace the more the game goes on. There are numerous sub-types with faster movement, more aggressive attacks or even ranged attacks, but these don’t add that dramatically to the challenge. And while the game finds space to also throw in Weyland Yutani private military forces, even these rarely go beyond the old pop in and out of cover routine. In fact, your human foes are even less interesting to fight than the alien ones.

Tony Blair

February 12, 2013, 6:38 pm

Such a shame when will it ever stop! Just money making that's all they care about.
bring back avp1/2 and job's a good'un


February 12, 2013, 8:23 pm

A real shame as it had so much potential. I wonder if PC and Xbox versions have the same QA issues or just PS3 - wouldn't be the first time...Paked with bugs and glitches" - Typos too? ^_^
A real shame as it had so much potential. I wonder if PC and Xbox versions have the same QA issues or just PS3 - wouldn't be the first time...


February 12, 2013, 8:24 pm

How do you trust a review where they cant even spell packed.

Mark Colit

February 13, 2013, 9:55 am

Firing off a grenade from the pulse rifle and the resulting sprite-like explosion took me back to 1990s, and Rebellion's classic AvP on the Atari Jaguar, running at 15 frames per second.


February 13, 2013, 2:14 pm

This is why you should wait for the review. This was in the must buy category, hoping of course it wouldn't be up there with Left 4 Dead or anything similar, but not any longer. Wouldn't spend 5 quid on it. It was always a bad sign when no reviews came out before the game was released.

And why release it in this state? The only reason is to fleece the customer out of their cash, I pity anyone who preordered. Puts me off buying anything from gearbox.


February 15, 2013, 12:45 pm

I don't pity any one preordering. It's their own stupidity to blame and preordering only benefits the publishers, not the consumers. Just stop preordering, stop.


February 18, 2013, 1:40 pm

True, I never pre-order, always wait for the review. The only thing I'd say in this case is that I do feel sorry for anyone pre-ordering off the demo and footage taken from that. There's at least one game site showing the difference between the demo and what was released and you'd swear it should've been the other way around. The demo looks class - great lighting and smoke effects. Looks like you are seeing the difference between different generations of consoles.

And seeing as it's topped charts following release, I can't see any publisher having a problem realeasing such a shoddy game with those sales. I hope those sales figures don't keep up.

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