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Aliens: Colonial Marines Review (single player) ** NO SPOILERS **

post #1 of 17
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g'day

FIRSTLY: Spoiler free. i'm not going to mention much, if anything, about the story. if i feel i need to, i'll hide the text, so don't worry. this won't be a true in-depth review.

ok so im going to do a quick review of this game. quick because i havnt completed it yet, and i've only played the single player. firstly im a HUGE fan of the Aliens universe. it's fair to say it's my "thing". meaning everyone has their particular favourite, some people love Star Wars, Star Trek, Pokemon, Warcraft, whatever. since i was 10, Aliens has been my thing. so i'll admit i have been a bit biased towards anything Aliens or Predator related, seeing it through rainbow coloured glasses regardless of actual quality. but i promise i won't do that here.

as i said not havnt completed the game, actually not very far into it yet but i've seen a decent amount and experienced a fair few of the game mechanics so i feel i can give a reasonable enough review of the game so far. single player content only.

Graphics:
Visually, the game is not that impressive. the lighting and atmospheric conditions are there to give us a bit of nostalgia, but does it instill fear and hopelessness like you would expect in an Aliens universe? not for me. i personally blame the fact that you are playing on a big screen TV sitting about 3mtrs+ back with a surround sound system for this. the game has player immersion in mind, but the lack of sharp detail had me feeling like "i wish i was playing this on PC with high res, anti-aliasing, the monitor inches from my face and headphones on.

Thats not to say the game is ugly, its not. its just not very graphically inspiring. i will admit, there is a fair bit going on and perhaps they sacrificed texture quality for frame rate, something the game definitely has going for it. i didnt notice a single slow down or frame drop, appears to maintain a solid 60fps throughout. it plays very smoothly on Xbox. and to be honest, with this type of game, if you're spending your time looking at the decorations and admiring the lovely textures on the steel crates, you're doing it wrong. and you'll be dead soon (in-game) anyway smile.gif

I can't wait to play it on PC, if it's ported well I personally think it will have great success and look fantastic.

Controls:
The control layout is pretty standard up front (this button jumps, that button is action, this one shoots etc) Something I was worried about in the lead up to this game was the control fluidity and the way the game handled. having played AvP and its sequels on PC, and then experiencing the 2011 AvP, you can definitely notice the change in control style to the "console feel" ... the feeling that the movements, viewing and actions of the player weren't as fluent as they can be on PC, as if they were designed to be moved around with a joystick. hence "console port". personally I havn't felt that with this game. the controls are simple, very snappy for a console FPS. movement is very fluid and the player and game physics are suitable enough to give us a really good feel for the game and the player. another thing i think everyone was concerned about is the implementation of the motion tracker. essential in an Aliens game, the device is hand-held and will only appear while pressing the LB button. you cannot attack or fire while holding the tracker in front. HOWEVER, this does not detach from the game at all as you can still see in front of you, activate doors and pick up items, and during an attack or a frantic panic, you simply press fire and the player will lower the tracker and bring up his weapon, ditching the need to re-press LB to hide away the tracker. this eliminates a famous user fault in a lot of games, where the player panics, maybe double taps the hide button or presses the wrong button, causing the device, in this case the tracker, to drop then come back up, obstructing combat and causing death. that or the one we've all done, try to drop a map or tracker and quick switch to a weapon, only to pull a nade or rocket launcher and blow ourselves to bits rather than the enemy. the tracker is almost essential for survival in this game, yet it doesn't obstruct in any way or detach from the experience, it actually enhances it. i believe it has been implemented very well.

One thing I will mention though, this game is hectic. Some fight scenes are extremely frantic and heavy with enemies, from not just any direction, every direction. For me, not being a very seasoned console FPS gamer, i found it a bit too much sometimes with the slower aiming of a gamepad joystick vs mouse + keyboard. a lot of times, after a battle where i was nearly dead or spent too much ammo, i thought "pff, if i had a mouse and keyboard i could have done that with 1 clip" but then that's my personal reaction, as i'm a heavy PC FPS gamer. so yeah, bear this in mind when setting the difficulty level.

Gameplay:
The biggest part of the game, playing it. The idea of this game is clearly to provide an intense sequel to the movie "Aliens" and to let players feel like they really are re-entering this universe and experiencing what the characters went through during the LV426 colony incident, Hadley's Hope.

You start off in space, boarding the Sulaco. I think you get about 5 minutes of getting comfortable before crap hits the fan and it's on. the game is very action packed, i actually found myself cherishing quiet moments when you were waiting for a small scripted scene or something as simple as a marine cutting open a door, those few quiet seconds are vital to your mental stability. This, is what a game like this needs. You arn't on some safari trip overpowered and in control. you're the opposite. bear that in mind going in here, we, humans, are NOT at the top of the food chain here. not until we prove it anyway wink.gif without giving away anything, the game has a lot of claustrophobic corridor sequences, with enemies swarming from pretty much anywhere. the attacks do seem a bit scripted, i havn't tried it yet but im curious if you replayed the level, if the Aliens would attack from the same places at the same time every time. so i can't answer clarify that.

but don't get me wrong, no matter where you look or how alert you are, they will get the jump on you. and its pretty freaky when they do. something i learned, DON'T turn your back on anything or anywhere unless a friendly has it covered. and don't get too distracted with item pickups or whatever during a battle. this might seem like common sense but believe me, you will get distracted and desperate, thinking "crap i really need an ammo drop, i can see one i'll just run over there and grab it" ... No. don't just run and do that, you'll get jumped.

it is very story driven and very true to the Aliens cannon. the films that is. the story is told and unfolds fluently and does draw you in. a lot of games have a heap of talking and radio chatter and key narrative given out during a fight, or when the player is not concentrating and this detachs from the experience. you often miss important things without subtitles on. not the case here, the only radio chatter you will hear in battles is cries for help and friendly warnings. i've only just scratched the surface of the story here, but i have a really good feeling it's going to develop into something memorable.

the game is definitely aimed at allowing for a memorable co-op experience. the AI marines arn't stupid, and thankfully are immune to friendly fire. whether this is reflected in co-op with a mate, i'm not sure i havn't tried. but there are a lot of battle sequences where you really feel like "man, come on AI, i need some decent cover fire and protection, i wish my mate was playing right now!" i will credit the AI though, their "watch out!" callouts and general enemy spotting is pretty good, saved my arse a few times.

you work off a "level up" system in which you can complete level challenges and other tasks to earn XP, which is used to unlock weapons and attachments. this definitely adds some extra fun to the game, the attachments don't seem to make you a God either, as you can only attach one part per category at a time. for example if you want a red dot sight or scope, you can't attach a laser pointer. while imo laser pointers usually feel useless, in this game hip firing is used more often then sight aiming, so the laser would definitely help. theres also the chance to find "legendary weapons". no Borderlands players these arn't orange. they are the personal weapons of key characters from Aliens, such as Hick's shotgun or Garman's Pistol. these weapons are usually more powerful or better in some other way to your standard issue weapons, but you gotta find them. i havn't experimented enough with them to give a fair comparison versus the standard weapons i'm sorry, but hey if you're like me and you need to find and collect everything, it's worth it. as opposed to a lot of "find and collect" tasks in most new games, you can actually use these as soon as you find them. they don't just contribute a pretty picture to an archive of pictures that may get you an achievment or trophy.

Player/NPC interaction is something important in a modern game. i was glad your friendly NPCs don't get in the way, kill you with gunfire or nades or die from your own. i only played on Normal difficulty, which is really not that challenging. but i noticed that the Aliens, while they seem to swarm and come from anywhere, arn't too bright. especially when attacking friendly NPCs. often you will see an Alien charge down a friendly, or yourself, attack and sort of just stand there as if if dazed from a headbutt or something. i put this to the easier difficulty level, havn't tested it harder yet so can't say for sure it its an issue or genuine gameplay. if you're confused by my way of writing, what i'm really saying is on Normal at least, the game feels pretty easy. the Aliens arnt hard to kill, i know that they didn't have God-Health in the movies, they are supposed to die fairly easy when pumped full of bullets, but their attacks are not very vicious either. not yet anyway. if you played the original AvP Marine campaign, the first Colonial Marines FPS game after Alien: Trilogy, you'll notice straight away the change in difficulty and gameplay. in that bloody game if you missed or blinked twice you were dead, very unforgiving. not the case here in A: CM. but as i mentioned above, if you are very clumsy with the Xbox/PS3 controller or a gamepad in general, or your reflexes and eyes are not up to scratch, be mindful of how hard you make the game out of the box. while it hasn't been a serious challenge on Normal yet, there still isn't much room for repetitive error due to misfires, missed/wasted shots and chaotic movments and loss of direction.

Setting/Surroundings/Sound/Atmosphere
The gameworld itself is very true to Aliens. fans will immediately feel nostalgia at several of the environments and encounters. listen to the radio chatter and take in your surroundings. it adds some serious immersion to the game and adds insight into what is actually going on. the real answer to that is actually a mystery of the game though. if you're worried this is another simple corridor shooter, well it is, but not as simple and bland as they are becoming. they seem to have mixed up the need to hack/cut/open doors, so its not a monotenous task each time. Also not EVERY door requires a specific action, most can just be opened so you wont have constant pauses in gameplay. The biggest focus on this game, and the major aspect in capturing an Aliens environment, is the atmosphere.

This, they have excelled at imo. The game is pretty dark, its gloomy, the sounds and noises are scattered and constant, and very creepy. they (the devs) know that players will launch into the game, most having seen the movie Aliens and having some idea of what to expect. so they play on that. and to be honest, going in there thinking you're prepared for something, actually makes it worse because you're constantly on alert and every little creak and clatter and distant hiss has you on edge. the devs definitely know how to feed off this. you have your typical pipe or steam vent rupturing at the WORST times, causing half a clip to be spent before realising you look like a retard. at then just when you relax or get comfortable, your mood gets ruined. it creates a roller coaster of emotion as you play, i found myself not blinking for long segments before being blinded by burning and tears, and somehow the game noticing this and sending in the swarm, causing me to all of a sudden forget how to pause the game and losing half my health while im actually blinded and trying to blink and wipe my eyes. you have to love that in a game but.

i know what most of you are really wondering about this game - scary or jumpy. its the big one isn't it. fans of the AvP marine campaigns know what genuinely scary can mean. i've played a LOT of games and am a fan of horror especially. and to this day i still rate the original AvP Marine campaign as one of the scariest gaming experiences i've had. so this game.. look this is a tough call to make. it really is all in the eye of the beholder. for me, it made it half way. maybe my experience has given me extra courage and comfort in a game like this, where i went in ready for anything and took on everything. it definitely has its jumpy moments. you're on a derelict ship, the lighting has failed in most sectors and often flickers or offers no real support for the darkness. the enemy will often attack, crawl and scatter and hide or pounce from a completely different direction, totally throwing you off your game. the enemy knows how to attack and hide (not always though), so your tracker will beep that eariest of sounds, then stop. has the enemy vanished or retreated? (as if). i was frantically scanning walls, the ceiling, vents, anything. only to find the cheeky bugger had simply laid really low in a dark corner by a pillar and waited for me to turn my back. a quick melee hit or shotty to the face fixes this, but doesn't make up for the quick scare. and the sense of dread that follows. the enemy really can be any where at any time.

all up i felt they did really well to capture the atmosphere of the Sulaco and the incident that happened there, and new fans and old fans alike will definitely feel like they have been welcomed into the most unwelcome place in the universe.

this is further enhanced by the game sounds. music is reminiscent of the films, you can tell when you're in a battle and when it cools off from the music, however i did notice that music doesn't give anything away, something i was appreciative of. a lot of games have the music speed up, grow in volume or completely change during an impending attack, giving away the element of pure surprise and allowing the player a few vital seconds to prepare. this doesn't happen here. often you will see something before that tell-tale shrill orchestral chord of a sudden fright. i don't really know how to put that in words, but you know what i mean. that sudden string sgement that plays for a single beat when something scary happens really quick. play the game you'll see what i mean smile.gif the environment around you is clearly in disarray, you won't ever feel comfortable or like you are in control. there is always something sparking or malfunctioning or trying to kill you. you will often hear the Aliens telltale hiss and claws scattering, but not see them, which is unnerving.

the weapons so far a true to the film and the universe in general. your favourite pulse rifle is there in all its glory and sounds perfect. although dont expect a nice 99 bullet clip up front. looks like you have to level up to earn that. so far mine can hold 60 per clip. you can assign on your quick equip at any time a rifle, a shotgun, your nades and a pistol. on Normal at least, i can confirm your pistol has unlimited ammo. can't say if this is reflected in higher difficulties. i would hope so, while is does detach from the realism, this is still a game and if you were to run out of ammo completely, there is no way you could survive it. theres a fine line between what is real, and what is fun. gamers forget that sometimes so if this mechanic bothers you, seriously get over it. its a game. back on track, seems most of our fan favourites make their triumphant returns, the smart gun, flamethrower to name a couple. i've been reluctant to use the flamethrower in the close quarters, we all know "that guy" that burns all the friendlies when he uses it. but i have just entered a more open part of the environment so it may be useful yet. lastly you'll be happy to know, that yes you can carry all the weapons you unlock at any time. but as i said, you can only carry 4 quick weapons, assigned to the D-Pad arrows, at any time. changing weapons is done by presing 'Y' by default, and holding this allows you to re-assign weapon slots. i found out the hard way, this doesn't pause the gameplay so be smart about when you do it. and for god's sake RELOAD, RELOAD, RELOAD. trust me.

Conclusion
look i said this was going to be a pretty quick review, and it is pretty rough. i'm sure there's a lot of i've left out but i havn't played enough to fairly comment or even judge any more than i have yet. i promised i'd be unbiased regardless of my love for the Aliens universe and i hope i have. in all honesty, if i were reviewing this game for myself, i fricking love it and can't wait to play more, its bloody awesome for really is exactly what i was hoping for in an Aliens marine-only FPS. but i was trying to view it in perspective here, so I will conclude for now with this sum-up:

The game is honestly pretty good. No, it's not the best FPS i've ever played. Personally it's not really better than the AvP Marine campaigns, except of course AvP 2011, it walks all over that. it is definitely a fairly well polished FPS in terms of player movement and interaction and gameplay in general. the enemy physics could have been better, the graphics could have been better maybe on console anyway, but if that would sacrifce your framerate, then it honestly is fine the way it is. on Normal difficulty it is not that difficult at all, again that comes personal to each player though. the game is definitely fun. it's not as scary as i'd hoped it would be, but on a higher difficulty and in co-op, that would be a different story i believe. speaking of story, as i said it definitely has one going and so far has been delivered very well. its not too confusing, its not too deep yet, you're given only the information they want to give you, when they want to give it. you're only a marine remember.

They have definitely captured the atmosphere of Aliens, the intensity is there but will have a different effect on the individual gamer thats for sure. meaning well seasoned and experienced FPS players may not find it as scary or freaky or hard as others. upping the difficulty could change this though. that sounds like "der, common sense mate" but honestly i believe if you have to play a game at its absolute hardest to really get anything out of it, that's not a good thing. i hope the difficulty levels scale well.

but it's definitely Aliens, its definitely fun at least, and honestly, it's definitely worth playing. play it now or wait for a sale or whatever? that's totally your call. personally unless you are really struggling for money, i don't believe in this "wait for a sale" mentality. if you want something, why wait. part of being a gamer is sometimes taking a chance, taking a gamble. hell if you're really a BIT shaky on it, just dont use your network pass code until you've played a fair bit of the single player, will increase the resell value of it. it's not like there are many other blockbuster titles out right now unless you're like me and you have a huge back catalogue. and from what i've read, the multiplayer seems to be offering some really memorable moments and great gaming, so if you're a fan of that then definitely go for it. but i feel theres enough single player content to please those kinds of players too.

all up, 7.5 / 10.
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Dr. Gonzo
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post #2 of 17
nice review!

one more day!
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post #3 of 17
Point 1: Graphics on console for AvP were terrible. Day and night between console and PC, hopefully same here. Rest sounds good thumb.gif
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
haha man...wait til you guys get to the sewer part. its pretty early on. you'll know when you're there. its pretty damn freaky
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post #5 of 17

If you think this is better than AvP 2011's Marine campaign then this will easily be more than a 7.5 for me.

Regardless, I am getting this for free so it's a win/win anyway for me. :D

Any character customisation options for multiplayer?

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post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
yeah mate, personally i think its MUCH better than the marine campaign from AvP 2011. which was pretty good, but for me not as good as the original campaigns. so yeah, i thought maybe 7.5 was a little harsh, especially from me. but on console the graphics really arnt too good, they are good but not 10/10 good. and the enemy AI wasnt too bright and even a little clunky on Normal difficulty. i should have maybe given it an 8. the more i get into the story, the more impressed i am. my inital feeling that the story would take off really well seems pretty solid.

sorry havnt tried online yet, but i would think so. theres some minor customisation with weapons, like attachments and skins you can unlock. all i've seen so far. i'll be trying the online tomorrow then i'll report back, although you'll probably have it by then smile.gif
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post #7 of 17

I won't be getting it until Tuesday here, but it's for free so I cannot complain. :)

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post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Haha no I don't see how getting it for free would be bad at all wink.gif hope you enjoy it as much as I am
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post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtarmanrob View Post

Haha no I don't see how getting it for free would be bad at all wink.gif hope you enjoy it as much as I am

Have you finished the campaign yet? If so, roughly how many hours of play time did you get?
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XSPC RayStorm D5 RX360  Windows 10 Pro x64 LG 24GM77 Ducky Shine 3 Year of the Snake 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair HX850 Corsair 900D  Logitech G400  Razer Goliathus Speed  
AudioAudio
Sound Blaster Zx  Sennheiser HD 558 + Zm-Mic1 
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post #10 of 17
Sounds like I expected. Still will get it.
1440P Extreme.
(17 items)
 
Now the wifes PC.
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
I7 3930K @ 4.4ghz Asus Rampage IV Extreme 2011 EVGA GTX 980 Ti 6GB FTW EVGA GTX 980 Ti 6GB FTW 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
G,skill Ripjaw Z series 2400 32gb Samsung 840 Pro Seagate 3TB 7200 RPM  Western Digital mainstream 3TB  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 Pro LG Bluray Burner Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 Windows 10 x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Monoprice 27" 2560x1440 IPS LED Razer Black Widow Tournament Edition Corsair RM1000 CoolerMaster Storm Trooper 
Other
EVGA SLI Bridge 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel I7 870 @ 3.6 ghz ASUS P7P55D-E Pro EVGA 680 GTX 4gb EVGA 680 GTX 4gb 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveOS
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (4x 4GB) DDR3 Samsung 830 128 GB SSD, WD 2TB 7200 RPM LG Black 10X Blu-ray Burner Windows 7 64 bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Acer G24, 24" 1920x1200 Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Antec TruePower 750 COOLER MASTER Storm Scout 
MouseMouse Pad
Rat7 Razer eXactMat 
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1440P Extreme.
(17 items)
 
Now the wifes PC.
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
I7 3930K @ 4.4ghz Asus Rampage IV Extreme 2011 EVGA GTX 980 Ti 6GB FTW EVGA GTX 980 Ti 6GB FTW 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
G,skill Ripjaw Z series 2400 32gb Samsung 840 Pro Seagate 3TB 7200 RPM  Western Digital mainstream 3TB  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 Pro LG Bluray Burner Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 Windows 10 x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Monoprice 27" 2560x1440 IPS LED Razer Black Widow Tournament Edition Corsair RM1000 CoolerMaster Storm Trooper 
Other
EVGA SLI Bridge 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel I7 870 @ 3.6 ghz ASUS P7P55D-E Pro EVGA 680 GTX 4gb EVGA 680 GTX 4gb 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveOS
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (4x 4GB) DDR3 Samsung 830 128 GB SSD, WD 2TB 7200 RPM LG Black 10X Blu-ray Burner Windows 7 64 bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Acer G24, 24" 1920x1200 Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Antec TruePower 750 COOLER MASTER Storm Scout 
MouseMouse Pad
Rat7 Razer eXactMat 
  hide details  
Reply
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