Should you return to LV-426?
Over the years there have been many games based on the Aliens franchise, the most famous of course being Aliens vs. Predator, but games with just the Xenomorphs themselves haven’t quite had the same success. I for one had faith in Colonial Marines when it was announced, a FPS made by Gearbox of Borderlands fame. What could possibly go wrong?
It turns out that a lot went wrong. There have been many conflicting statements from Gearbox and the other developers who worked on the game. Some claim that the final product is a result of only 9 months of work, while some claim that Gearbox did a Duke Nukem Forever type of deal where they finished what was already started, even if it was bad. The demo that hit PSN and Xbox Live also lead to a lot of confusion as it looked so promising and oddly, looked so much better than the final product.
The story takes place 17 days after the Aliens film; it features locations from the series like Hadley’s Hope and the USS Sulaco, which have been replicated well but the plot itself isn’t anything near as good as Cameron’s classic, it’s forgettable and just when it looks like something is going to happen, the credits roll. The gameplay isn’t terrible; it’s a fully functional FPS with the famous motion-trackers, but it just doesn’t know what it wants to be. The term “too many cooks” comes to mind when I play it.
The Xenomorphs aren’t scary; they are mindless idiots that will just run into your gunfire. You’ll fight humans as well, but they are pretty brainless too. The campaign is also incredibly short at around 5-6 hours and it does nothing to make you want to replay the game, you feel overpowered too as you can carry dozens of weapons at a time, almost like the old shooters of the 90’s.
You can play the game via 4 player co-op, which makes the game slightly more enjoyable…but it’s hardly worth it. The multiplayer has its highs and lows, the lows being the controls for the Xenomorphs and the balancing issues. There are nice Horde-type modes, but they’ve been done before and much better than this. Visually, the game is a mess. It looks like something from the PS2 era with dated textures, bad lip-syncing, average character models and framerate issues. The voice-acting isn’t that great, the only highlight being Lance Henriksen’s return as Bishop.
Maybe one day, the full truth of what happened to Colonial Marines will be revealed. But as it stands, it’s a complete waste of the license and we all know Gearbox can do so much better. I’m not sure who’s really to blame on this, but let’s leave it buried on LV 246…