Aliens: Colonial Marines review (part 1 of 3)

Here’s my review of Aliens: Colonial Marines. I posted this on Facebook in nine parts, and I thought it would be a good idea to archive it here for your convenience. Enjoy!

1 – Introduction:

The game press is having a field day with this one, and while I don’t necessarily agree with them, I’m a little sad. That’s because, honestly, the Alien franchise could use a bit of good press. First Prometheus, now this. To cut things short: Do I like it? Yeah, kinda, however with a big BUT. More important: Will YOU like it? That depends…if you forgive or can look past a LOT of things, yeah, you may like it. What helped me is that I come from an era of gaming where graphics and gameplay were a LOT less polished. Is that a thing to be brought in favor of the game? No, not at all.

2 – Gameplay:

At its core, ACM is a pretty standard first-person shooter. Most of the time, you – guess what – run around, shooting at things. Now, whether you have fun doing this depends on how much of an Aliens fan you are. I am a huge Aliens nut, of course, and I enjoyed the campaign. I perceived it to have a very good pacing, changing things regularily enough to avoid trying my patience. Therefore, there is no single level where, on a second playthrough, I would think: “No, not that one, please.” (which I think often, even playing superior games) Here’s the first of many BUTs: BUT if you are less enthusiatic about the franchise, running around with a Pulse Rifle feeling like a badass may very well fail to carry you over some less exciting passages. In worst case, the whole pacing will collapse, and you will get bored regularily because one thing can be said for sure: This game does nothing that hasn’t been done a great many times before, and better.

3 – Gameplay (cont’d):

There’s one more thing I want to adress as far as gameplay is concerned: ACM is a cinematic experience. It is NOT the survival horror game that seems appropriate for the Alien setting. The cinematic aspect goes to such extreme lengths that it borders on interactive movie territory. Don’t expect your AI comrades to die, whether by enemy attacks or friendly fire. They are, in fact, invincible. Sure, the movie WAS in large parts an action movie, but it also played on the vulnerability of the characters. Aliens Infestation showed that both angles can be reconciled in a video game – your marines COULD actually die, and Infestation did a great job in implementing it in both gameplay and story. Again, if you are an Aliens nut and what care about is being inside the movie, this might not bother you. But considering the potential, I can’t help but being disappointed. I play Amnesia: The Dark Descent right now and have just finished Dead Space 1, and both games practically scream out: “Make an Alien version of me!” I’m eager to see if the Creative Assembly game goes down that route.

About mfriebe

Creator & Writer of the ongoing Alien Encyclopedia project.
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