Aliens: Colonial Marines Review

I had a commitment to attend to outside of the house. It wasn’t a long time, but as each minute ticked away all I could think of was getting home to finish Aliens: Colonial Marines. It had to be completed as soon as possible… that way I’d never have to play another minute of it again.

Bad, disappointing, dreadful. There are plenty of words that can describe the Aliens: Colonial Marines experience; none of them are good.

I started the game hoping for some solid action mixed with a little bit of horror. There was action, and I think some parts were supposed to be scary, but nothing about this game meets expectations. Animations are ugly, the environments are dull, and the Xenomorphs are about as frightening as Alf. I normally try to find some redeeming qualities in every game I play, but Aliens: Colonial Marines was devoid of anything worth praising.

Well, that’s not true, because people who do not enjoy any type of challenge will enjoy this. There were some sections where I literally ran through the stage from checkpoint to checkpoint without shooting my gun. Xenomorphs spawned from all around me, yet I ran right past them as if they didn’t see me. There were some sections where I had to fight, partly because the aliens were supposed to surprise me, but my motion tracker device takes ALL the suspense out of it by notifying me before the enemies jumped out. What the hell is the point of jump-out shock moments if the player is tipped off to them?!

The multiplayer isn’t terrible either, though there are no revolutionary features here. There’s drop-in/drop-out cooperative play for those who have three friends they don’t particularly like, and two competitive modes: standard deathmatch and “Escape.” Escape sees human soldiers trying to reach an evac helicopter while trying to survive a Xenomorph onslaught. There’s some fun to be had, especially in controlling the Xenomorphs themselves, but, like the rest of the game, the multiplayer leaves a lot to be desired.

People who like mindless collectibles might also enjoy slogging through Colonial Marines. There are audio logs of distressed folks dealing with Xenomorph attacks, dog tags of fallen soldiers, and “legendary weapons” of other characters in the Aliens universe. The weapons are cool, but the rest are meaningless outside of achievement- or trophy-hunting. Collectibles are well and good, but I prefer that they MEAN something to the overall experience instead of just being there.

Listening to the characters talk to each other isn’t much better. The following are a few lines I heard during my playthrough.

Shit’s blowing up and shit!

Focus, sluts! Keep on it!

*typical military jargon like “actual out” and “weapons hot,” and a lot of it*

The first line does describe what’s going on, at least. Things were indeed blowing up. The second quote is uttered when Winter, the player’s character, wants his two female companions to catch up. What a great reason to call them “sluts,” right?  No, not at all.

I will admit, there were two moments in particular when I actually felt tense. The first had me welding doors shut before a giant Xenomorph killed me as soon as he reached me. The second was the final boss battle, which can be completed without firing a single bullet. Other than that, Aliens: Colonial Marines felt like a slow, “please end the pain now” type of experience, which is saying something, considering the game is about five hours long. Five hours felt like eternity, and that’s never a good sign.

Anyone who loves the Aliens franchise and wants nothing but the best for it should steer as clear as possible from Colonial Marines. Don’t even pick up the box at the store. It’s one of the biggest disappointments of this young year, and it could wind up being one of the biggest letdowns of the 360/PS3 era. Stay away.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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