There are few movie franchises as successful, entertaining, and enjoyable as Aliens. Gearbox Software recently put out two of the best games of the generation, Borderlands and Borderlands 2. So you would think that this would be a match made in heaven, and Aliens fans would get their first great game. Well you would be horribly, horribly wrong. At its best, Aliens is a passable game. At its worst, it’s a broken, buggy, ugly mess.
It all starts with presentation. It looks like the Xbox 360 launch titles Quake 4 or Condemned, though because those games actually put effort into their art, Aliens might actually look worse. The game is just an endless set of hallways, corridors, stairways, and hangars all in the dark with the occasional set of red lights. Shadows look awful, and textures look even worse. The characters in game get stuck on anything and everything, even when you are fighting marines or Xenomorphs (the aliens). Nothing like having a pack of aliens chase after you only to have the tension grind to a total stop when one of them gets stop on the ceiling or fence that it is climbing and starts to spaz out. The nicest thing I can say about the graphics is that some of the art stays true to the movies.
As for sound, it is mediocre. The music during fight scenes or more tense parts is pretty good, but the quality of the voice acting is terrible. Sound effects are mixed. When it comes to the aliens or human footsteps, the game does a great job, but the guns all sound like toys. When a bunch of machine guns are going off at the same time, it was extremely annoying. I had to take off my headphones before my brain was going to explode.
The last part of the presentation is the story, which at its best is forgettable. After the disappearance of Ripley and Carter Burke, your team is set in to investigate what happened. They find the Xenomorphs, turning an investigation mission into one of survival. Overall, it is pretty poor with no real surprising plot points and the bad voice acting never sucks you into the story at all. Quite honestly within a week of playing the game you will probably forgot most of the story.
Now the worst part of this train wreck of a game is the gameplay. The single player is a corridor shooter where Xenomorphs run straight at you and occasionally pop out of a monster closet from behind you. If you aren’t fighting them you are fighting marines. Occasionally the Xenomorph fights create tension when they sneak up on you, but most of the time it’s just you running backwards with a shotgun killing so many that you think they would stop after a point. Not only that but the Xenomorphs will, like I said earlier, get stuck on walls, ceilings, anything that resembles a fence. This is still better then fighting the Marines, who will either stand there and shoot while never moving, or sit behind a box and shoot while never moving. They all have assault rifles and fighting them is just boring. Not only that, if you don’t have an assault right getting through one of the massive hallways filled with them is near impossible. The single player is so broken that I couldn’t finish it, when I loaded up a save my gun was not there so I couldn’t shoot anymore.
Shortly after this I dived into the multiplayer which every mode is Aliens vs. Marines. Now this would be fine if the game was balanced. In almost any one on one fight the person on the marines will destroy the alien. I was on the marines team in team deathmatch and, on average, it took three aliens to kill me and took myself and two other aliens to kill a marine. This is the worst in the Left-4-Dead-style mode where the marines try and escape while aliens try and stop them. If a single marine can take out a team of three to four aliens, you can imagine what four trying to survive can do to a team of four aliens. It all is very unfair even if the aliens plan their attack and really surprise the marines. The shotgun just blows aliens away. I will say that the multiplayer is entertaining at times if you group with the right people and can coordinate you attacks or defenses.
If you are a fan of Aliens, you should feel insulted that Gearbox and Sega thought you would enjoy and/or buy this worthless grease fire of a game. If you are curious and want a good shooter, look elsewhere. Crysis 3 just came out, and we are less than a month away from Bioshock Infinite; you have far better options. Colonial Marines is awful and has very few redeemable qualities. It looks bad, sounds bad, isn’t fun, is incredibly glitchy, and the story is forgettable. Avoid this game at all costs.
Final Score: 3.0/10