Aliens: Colonial Marines - The Verdict

By Stuart Andrews

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

4

Aliens: Colonial Marines - Graphics and Glitches

Visually, Colonial Marines looks just as much a product of the past. It’s a very dark game - it’s Aliens after all - and the lighting engine is capable of some very nice effects, but the character models and some clunky animation give it an oddly dated look, and muddy textures and boxy environments don’t do much to help the cause. Animation is a consistent downfall. In some of the most theoretically suspenseful scenes, the aliens actually look kind of comical. Compare Colonial Marines to Halo 4 or Dead Space 3, and it’s hard to believe that this has come out on the same hardware in the same kind of timeframe.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Most embarrassingly, even after all this time in development the game is glitchy. On the PS3 version tested we’ve had aliens walk right through our protagonist, Weyland Yutani troops apparating out of nowhere and even allies suddenly beaming into view. The lip syncing in the cut-scenes is off by a fraction of a second, and there are amateur moments where your guys appear to be operating keypads without using their hands. You can shoot straight through your allies, and aliens appear to be able to move straight through them too. All in all, it seems amazing that a game in development for so long can come out feeling so unpolished.

In short the single-player campaign functions well enough as a tour of Aliens, albeit one with some very ropey dialogue, but that’s all it is. The real test of a licensed game is that you could imagine still wanting to play it without the license. If Colonial Marines didn’t have all the Aliens goodness, you wouldn’t even consider it.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: Colonial Marines - Multiplayer

At this point it would be nice to say that the multiplayer experience was the game’s salvation. Well, the good news is that, beyond the basic team deathmatch mode, it features three options that put the focus on the differing abilities of the aliens and marines, in scenarios that pay some respect to the fiction. Escape and Survivor are particularly good, the first having the xenomorphs hunting the marines while they try to flee through each section of the map, the second asking the marines to stay alive as long as possible while completing a series of objectives.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

On the marines side these are quite good fun, but on the aliens side, not so much. The marines have arms and armour on their side, while the aliens should have speed and the ability to run up walls and ceilings. Sadly, that kind of movement turns out to be problematic, often leaving you stuck on some weird bit of wall and at the mercy of the first grunt with a pulse rifle. The aliens’ melee attacks aren’t strong enough to hit the marines decisively, and the spitter alien’s ranged attack is inaccurate with a painful rate of fire. Whatever side you’re on, the overall feel is of a game that should still be early beta, not out on general release. This simply isn’t good enough.

Verdict

The epic wait for Aliens: Colonial Marines has only resulted in an epic disappointment. This is a dated shooter that could easily have appeared in the early years of the current console generation, with looks and gameplay to match. Aliens fans might enjoy revisiting familiar locations and using all those iconic Aliens weapons, but most will be horrified by the glitchy nature of the single-player campaign, and by multiplayer modes that never quite hit their potential. Thought Prometheus was a letdown? It’s got nothing on this.

Overall Score

4

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

Trelawney

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...

twofron

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.

Pg

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.

Duncan

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.

Pg

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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