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PLATFORM: XBox 360 (reviewed), PS3, , WiiU, PC
ESRB RATING: M
DEVELOPER: Gearbox Software/Nerve Software/Timegate Studios/Demiurge Studios
It was doomed from the start.
When you believe that the Marines in Aliens are the reason Aliens was great, you have failed. When you release a space marine shooter in 2013 based on the first space marine archetype, you have failed. When your only ideas stem from nostalgia and nothing else, you have failed. And oh sweet Jesus, Aliens: Colonial Marines is a failure.
These are more than the hallmarks of a bad game, and at this point, the stank off this game now doth offend the angels. The Alien vs Predator game Sega did a couple years back was a bad game, but one that at least had its moments, a few stray good ideas. No, Aliens: Colonial Marines is another thing, one that I didn’t expect till I got there. And that thing is a goddamned insult.
It’s typically not really fair to judge a game based on PR hype and interviews, especially when the game does bad enough all by itself, being full of lazy AI, unsatisfyingly linear FPS corridor design, PS2 graphics, piss-poor weapon physics, glitches from end to end, half the time spent shooting faceless armored grunts, NOT Xenomorphs, and generally unpleasant, unfocused, BORING gameplay. There’s not much to pick off the carcass in terms of being an experience. It’s just shit in that department. I can live with a game being shit. A shit game is something you can acknowledge the existence of, take a long verbal piss on, and go back to your bowl of Cheerios. When a game takes something classic and takes its slow time sidling up its shitty game horse, only to trample it to death and think it’s done the world any favors for existing, it deserves any and everything terrible to happen to it.
A lot of work was done to maintain authenticity for this game to tie it into the Aliens/Alien 3 mythos in a meaningful way, something that was touted as THE reason to trust that the game was in good hands. What we got was a game where Hadley’s Hope went through a nuclear blast 40 kilometers wide, and just ended up looking like Project X happened in there. We got a game where the developers got the chance to visit Ridley Scott during the making of Prometheus, and all they seemed to have gleamed from it is that the Weyland family is full o’ dickbags, something we knew already back in 1986. We got a game where (SPOILERS, I SUPPOSE) Hicks somehow woke up in cryosleep, remained on the Sulaco, substituted J. Random Corpsebody to go die in his place when the escape pod crashed on Fury 161. JUST so Hicks could live, and be in this game. ((END SPOILERS) This is what 6 years of development wrought. 6 years.
And by the by, there’s a good portion of you that have no business groaning about that last bit. Countless conversations have been had about Hicks being dead being the worst part of Alien 3. Any and all attempts to suggest that Hicks and Newt being dead are powerful ways to separate all hope from Ripley have been met with disappointed grumbling. Well, he’s alive. Enjoy, fanfiction.net.
Therein lies the ultimate irony of Colonial Marines, though. On paper, it is everything a large portion of fans have ever wanted out of this franchise: More guns. More balls-out military grandstanding. Oh, by the way, every once in a while, an acid-bleeding cockroach pops out. What the makers of Colonial Marines ultimately believe is that a lot of fans of this series have low standards, that handing us a down-to-the-last-inch accurate pulse rifle, snippets of Horner’s score, and some updated military lingo surrounding a paper thin same shit/different day Weyland-Yutani conspiracy equates instant greatness. Everybody wants to play as Hudson, Hicks, Vasquez, with Apone growling in their headsets, forgetting the crux of the film being about the ultimates in human badassery not standing a fucking chance.
Fuck that. This is why smart film fans know deep down Alien is the best film in the series. This is why there’s nothing to thematically pick at from Aliens at this point, meanwhile, thoughtful revisits have been smiling upon Alien 3 since the Quadrilogy workprint cut came out. This is ultimately why Alien Resurrection was always going to be a piece of shit, and no, Whedon’s original script doesn’t do THAT much to change that. This is why, despite generally negative reception, Prometheus was the talk of the summer. The Xenomorph Saga has always been a platform by which other human horrors can hang their hat. Even if this had been the game intended from the start, something akin to a Dead Space 3 situation–solid action gameplay, surrounding a big Nothing of a story–we’d still be faced with a game that took absolutely zero advantage of the freedom afforded. It’s this generation’s Path of Neo. It’s a fucking waste.
out of 5