Game Review: "Aliens: Colonial Marines"

Released as an interactive sequel to the film Aliens, the first-person shooter “Aliens: Colonial Marines” takes place during the events of Alien 3. Despite the franchise’s popularity and its many years in development, this game is a huge disappointment. Players become Cpl. Christopher Winter, a colonial marine, who is sent to the U.S.S. Sulaco to figure out what happened to those onboard. Throughout the adventure, Winter has to survive waves of xenomorphs – the iconic creatures from the film franchise – in addition to facehuggers and mercenaries, for poorly explained reasons.

It’s not as exciting as it sounds, especially when you’re the one doing the surviving instead of Sigourney Weaver. Besides the Easter eggs littered throughout the ship, this game offers very little to enjoy, especially for those who know how these aliens operate.

Being sent into a dark space station, alone, with a sensor that beeps when an enemy is above your head can certainly be nerve racking. The first encounter with the xenomorphs is equally tense. But once you reach that point, the fear quickly dissipates at the realization that there’s nothing new here.

Coming across fellow marines who have been impregnated by facehuggers isn’t scary because we know they’re going to die during chest-birth; it’s only a matter of when. Toward the middle of the five-hour campaign it becomes painfully obvious that the developers spent too much on cheap scares, which usually fail, and not enough on making this a genuine horror experience.

The massive waves of aliens pose no real threat after the first mission, either. At least, once you’ve mastered the same recycled first-person shooter mechanics used throughout the past decade. Even if you face 50 acid-filled, tail whipping aliens, their programming – which is fine with leading them straight into your bullets – doesn’t give them an equal footing.

“Aliens: Colonial Marines” features offline campaign co-op and online multiplayer matches, but even this was poorly executed. Its best aspect is the ability to do versus online where players are the aliens themselves. The controls feel clunky, though, and the mode can’t stand up to a number of older, similar games, like “Left 4 Dead 2,” because no matter what, the marines have the advantage.

The game, which could have been an excellent platform for a unique expansion to the infamous franchise, ends up ignoring its opportunity. Instead, only the die-hard fans will find enjoyment beyond the first 10 minutes and most players should instead look for thrills elsewhere.