You’d think creating a video game with a premise that follows the events of James Cameron’s seminal Aliens film would be a pretty exciting task and you’d also think that the team involved in creating such a game and taking on such a bold challenge wouldn’t dare put forward anything less than something spectacular.

Aliens Colonial Marines

Aliens Colonial Marines

Lets face it, since Aliens, there has not been one entry into the series that has satisfied everyone. While the follow-ups may have their supporters (we’re big fans of Alien 3 here), the video games have rarely ever been up to scratch.

In recent past, we’ve had several incarnations of Alien vs Predator, with some being successful and others not. And looking back further there were a few movie tie-in’s released when the films initially hit the market.

Aliens Colonial Marines however marks the first time a game has picked up where one of the films have left off and made a direct attempt to be part of that universe. In this case, it’s Aliens.

It’s an understandable choice – Aliens is the most popular in the series and with so much left behind after the events which kickstart Alien 3, the corridors and hangers of the Sulaco and the ruined environments of LV-426 are ripe for exploration.

Sadly, Aliens Colonial Marines buckles under it’s ambitions and the whole thing is a bitter pill to swallow.

The game itself is a generic shooter that forces the player to run around from place to place, opening doors, shooting xenomorphs and pressing buttons. Other than that, there is very little deviation and after several missions it all begins to get rather tiresome.

After the pressing the x button on my gamepad only to witness my character’s hands keying in some letters on a keyboard for the fifteenth time, I found myself longing for something else. Other games that have come before (and done a much better job at creating anything close to the atmosphere of Alien film), such as Dead Space would force the player to solve a puzzle, giving the proceedings not only a bit of variety but the impression that you were doing something against the clock, not just pressing a button.

In an effort to keep things mildly fresh, the story introduces armed human villains predictably from that nasty corporation Weyland-Yutani – since you know, having access to one of the most iconic monsters in cinema history is not enough to keep the mildest gamer entertained these days and everything needs to be like Call of Duty because it sells by the bucketload. And that’s what we’ve ended up with here, a generic shooter, aping Call of Duty but lacking any of the charm, challenge and enthusiasm.

While the proceedings have very little deviation it has to be said that the developers have made some effort to throw in the odd Easter egg for the eagle eyed gamer. Revisiting several of the environments in the films, you’ll see the damage caused by events in the film and scattered through out the game are weapons owned by the likes of Corporal Hicks and Private Vasquez.

With glitches and cut scenes that look almost like the could’ve been done for the last generation of consoles, this all pretty sloppy stuff and not good enough when you consider that the game has been in development for five years.

The sound does it’s job amicably and proves what an important part it all played initially in creating the complete Aliens canvas. There’s the gunfire from the marines pulse rifles and that tracking sensor is guaranteed to make the hairs on your neck stand on end when you first switch it on. Even the xenomorphs screams are pitch perfect, but since they are so bloody useless and stupid this effect is sadly wasted.

The game offers players several multiplayer modes such as the usual deathmatch mode and easily the best of these is Escape, a mode that pitches 4 against 4 where the marines have to get from point A to point B without the alien team hunting them down.

Overall, while Aliens Colonial Marines does it’s best to pander to fans of James Cameron’s film, it neglects to fulfil it’s ambitions as a solid first person shooter and is a shocking waste of the Aliens license. Granted, it’s interesting to walk around the environments that we’ve all come to know and love, but sadly Aliens Colonial Marines is marred by poor AI and dated visuals.

Verdict: 5 out of 10

The good:
Nice to explore environments
Good sound

The Bad:
Poor visuals
Stupid AI
Repetitive

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.