on February 13, 2013
Man it hurts to write this review. For over 6 years I have been waiting for this game and I had high hopes.
Even with my high hopes I was concerned. This is one of the strongest franchises today but as we have seen with the latest of Alien movies (Resurrection, Alien3, AVP) and games, it's one of the easiest to mess up.
Sadly folks this has happened again.
When I heard that Gearbox was making this game, my hopes rose a bit. Their Boarderlands games were pretty good all in all so how could they screw this up? Right?
As soon as you start playing Aliens: Colonial Marines you realize that every inch of the game screams how much Gearbox tried to make it everything it should be. They cared about the franchise and they wanted us to feel the same emotions that we felt from the Aliens movie. It has a million different pieces from the movies but fails to connect them properly.
Unfortunately they failed and they failed badly!
All that you cared about from the Aliens movie is hard to find in this game.
The emotion is gone.
The tension is gone.
The atmosphere is gone.
What a shame!
The game does have potential and that is seen in the game as quick glimpses but it never mounts to much. Sadly these rare moments are just that; RARE!
The Graphics are extremely dated and this brings this title down another notch. As one reviewer said already, it's like playing the first FEAR game which is insane really. While better than the consoles, the PC version still has low res. textures. Suffers from odd glitches and has some TERRIBLE A.I.
Speaking of the A.I. ...... What on earth? Why is it so bad? Your fellow marines in the game will behave in the most idiotic of ways. Sometimes standing completely still while the world goes to heck or they will shoot through each other while never actually killing anything. They will walk into walls, run around in circles.... It's bizarre! The xenomorphs also don't seem to care about anyone else other than you. Apparently they know you are the leader which makes this game feel that much more unrealistic.
By the way, the story makes no sense what-so-ever and the game will tell you that during the cutscenes. One Character will ask a question as to how this is possible and the other will say that it doesn't make sense and it basically doesn't matter. (0_o) Nothing is explained.
Overall this game can be completed in about 4 hours on the hard setting. Hard is recommended since normal is abnormally easy.
The Dialog is horrible. I promise you this; you won't care for any of the characters.
Ultimately my friends, if you are going to purchase this game you better forget about comparing it to the 1986 James Cameron movie. If you do that you will be so utterly disappointed you will probably be seeking a refund almost immediately. If you can look past the graphics, the odd A.I. and laggy multiplayer and play this game as a simple FPS with some Aliens lore mixed in; you might actually enjoy it. If you are going to get this game you better make sure to get it for the PC. The graphics for the PS3 and the 360 lack in a major way.
Animations are jerky.
Animations are messy.
Incomplete and ugly.
Co-Op seems tacked on. Very arcade-like in nature and overall it's ok.
There is a leveling system and it's not bad. You gain Xp and rank up and then can purchase upgrades. These upgrades are questionable...I don't remember a red dot on the battle rifle........
Also why can your character carry so many weapons all at the same time? You would think that it would make it very hard to go through doorways. Just a random thought.
Multiplayer is fun when it's not lagging. Humans against Aliens. Players take turns in being the enemy.
Sadly the Aliens aren't the easiest to control and the move slowly. Also the maps don't provide any good hiding places.
So for my review consider it a very disappointing game. It could have been more but it failed.
My Rig: Rig: Intel i7-2600k @3.40 GHz, with 16GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 580 GPU (SLI)
: ** UPDATE ** :
On 2013-03-19 Gearbox released a retooling of this game in the form of a HUGE patch. The long rumored patch for Aliens: Colonial Marines has finally dropped and it's finally available for PC. It includes patches introduced to the console version as well as texture improvements, an overhaul to the AI systems, difficulty adjustments, animation fixes, and a ton of other bug fixes that one would have expected a complete game to have. The patch is 3.5GB, compressed. That in itself is still big enough to be a game all its own, so Gearbox obviously did some major retooling to the game, which should enable it to have a completely different look and feel from before. If not, then they still have a ways to go.
Aliens: Colonial Marines was a pretty big festering blot on the image of Gearbox Software and it looks like the company is at least making some amends to one of the biggest controversies of the year. The headline feature of the patch is improved textures, with other "various visual improvements" promised. Additional fixes patch up audio bugs in cutscenes, players falling through the map, and a bug that caused players to occasionally spawn without a weapon.
The patch notes in full:
- Improved texture resolution.
- Various visual improvements.
- Added mouse smoothing to options menu.
- Fixed crashes tied to launch and motion tracker.
- Added additional safeguards to better protect save data.
- Resolved an issue where a player's level could sometimes appear incorrect when backing out of a party.
- Addressed several scenarios under which players could spawn without a weapon.
- Changes to better prevent audio from sometimes cutting out during end of mission cinematics.
- Fixed issue where Xeno death animation was not properly calculating momentum of the killing blow.
- Smart Gun animation now properly tracks targets.
- Addressed some instances where Xenos would display erratic animations.
- Increased light radius for player's shoulder lamp.
- Adjusted aim assist to better reflect player input.
- Addressed an issue that could sometimes cause co-op player revival to not work under certain circumstances.
- Addressed issues with players not spawning into a level properly.
- Fixed a marine player invincibility exploit.
- Resolved several instances where players could walk or fall outside of maps.
- Addressed an issue where Ripley's Flamethrower (bonus content) would sometimes fire continuously without player input.
- Fixed an issue that could cause localized text to sometimes display incorrectly.
- Addressed an issue where weapon ammunition was not always highlighted properly.
- General user interface improvements.
- Miscellaneous bug fixes.
- Tweaked enemy and friendly AI to be more aggressive and responsive.
- Modified campaign difficulty to account for improved AI responsiveness.
- Improved enemy collision detection regarding doors and Power Loader.
- Addressed some issues that could cause improper warping for co-op players.
- Various tweaks to address instances where NPC characters would not always properly navigate to objectives.
- Players will no longer bleed out immediately when downed in a Power Loader.
- Fixed issues that could cause clients to report inaccurate results and statistics.
- Addressed instances where a map would appear to "pop in" when loading into a new match.
- New Xeno appearance customization added.
- Multiplayer teams should now correctly auto-balance between rounds.
- Increased duration of Lurker Pounce Challenge "Cat-Like Reflexes" from 10 to 20 seconds.
- Fixed issue where certain multiplayer challenges would not unlock properly for all characters.
- Crusher pick-ups now correctly appear as highlighted for clients.
: ** MY THOUGHTS ** :
Patch installed, noticeable graphical improvements with better lighting, additional fogging / mist as well as a sort of 80's grain film effect added. Anti aliasing however seems to be off (lots of jagged textures now) so had to force it 'on' @ 16x via Nvidia Control Panel. Its a marked improvement to what the game looked like on release and definitely looks a lot closer to the demo that we all thought it was going to be.
Also the alien AI is remarkably better. The Xenos don't run straight at you like they used to do and attack with a lot more variety.
Since the price has dropped down to $32 I would recommend this now to the average shooter crowd. There have been improvements made and the game is closer to how it should have been but there are problems that will never be addressed; example: The Story is so messed up that there isn't any fixing it. If you are big on stories...miss this game! The story sucks and makes no sense what so ever! Only purchase this if you COMPLETELY understand what you are getting! I will update in the future with further updates.
: ** UPDATE 2 ** :
Continuing to inspect the game post-patch and there is a huge difference in AI and in difficulty. On a medium setting there is a real challenge now. This is much improved compared to pre-patch. I raised my review score of 2 stars to 3.
: ** UPDATE 3 ** :
Gearbox Software has released a new patch for the PC version of Aliens: Colonial Marines today (May 6th). This update adds support for tomorrow's MP DLC as well as several visuals enhancements. Below is the change log.
Added compatibility for "Reconnaissance Pack" multiplayer add-on.
Various visual improvements, including new screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO) functionality.
So far this is a good addition to the game. Adds a lot of graphic options and enhancements. I don't have the addon content so I can't comment on that. Ultimately it looks like GB is trying to get this game where it should have been from the beginning.
on February 13, 2013
Releasing this game at $59 / $49 price point should be a crime because:
1) Great graphics.... if it was 2003! I have games that are almost 10 years old that have better graphics
2) AI's are AWESOME ... sorry, i mean AWFUL! They seem stoned/confused half of the time, spinning in place or getting stuck.
3) Gameplay extremely linear... you get to play on the Sulaco and LV-426, but are confined to predetermined paths... should have been an open environment.
4) Most of the time, the Aliens don't sneak up on you.... they appear in front of you and rush at you open-armed.
5) LAME scripting.... conversations seemed forced as they try to simulate (and fail) ALIENS.
6) Inclusion of a usable powerloader should have been awesome, but the controls are horrible and you get ejected as soon as the intended fight finishes
7)NONE of the creepy ambience that made the Aliens movie so awesome is present.
8) I ordered this game 2 years ago, and THIS is what Gearbox delivers? This piece of garbage is on par with Duke Nukem: Forever (Duke actually had much superior graphics)
9) Just listing the previous 8 fails has depressed me.... i could go on and on, but my will to type (and live) have been drained by this piece of gos se!
The ONLY thing good about this game was that Lance Henriksen does a few lines for Bishop....
Do yourself a favor: pick this game up if you find it on the side of the road (It is probably my copy i threw out of a window in my rage). Do NOT pay for this horrible game (get Dead Space 3 instead... you can thank me later).
Thanks for making me feel violated, Randy Pitchford.
on February 13, 2013
I was really excited for this game, especially after watching a few of the videos that I will post in the comment section (Amazon doesn't allow linking to other sites in their reviews). I went so far as to pre-order the game on Steam and now wish I could get a refund.
The ONLY good thing about this game is that the whole thing can be beaten in under 5 hours (less if not for the bugs). According to Steam, I played this game for 7 hours so far and have had 4 crashes, as well as encountering literally countless bugs, the best of which was doors NOT OPENING, or getting STUCK in the environment - forcing me to reload multiple times... Yeah. No idea how this made it past quality assurance... Way to go Gearbox, way to go.
But honestly, the bugs aren't even the worst part. What makes this game so terribly boring is that it feels like an on rails light gun game, with terrible and uninteresting level design (there are some exceptions to this). Why an Aliens game has such limiting environments is beyond my understanding. Invisible walls and missing textures also serve to bring down the little immersion that some of the better designed areas bring to the table.
The enemy AI is absolute garbage and allows you to easily blast one Xeno after another as they calmly walk in front of your shotgun (or get glitched in the environment and just stand there). Getting hit in ACM by an alien is virtually impossible.
Eventually you also get to fight some humans, but nothing changes. You can still Rambo your way through everything using your trusty shotgun with what feels like unlimited ammunition and pinpoint precision.
Next up is the AI of your squad mates, and wow... It is not uncommon to see someone glitched in the environment or running around in circles during a firefight. You simply can't make stuff like this up!
All in all this game has the absolutely worst AI I have seen in recent releases, which is even more disappointing seeing as how Gearbox promised us "incredibly advanced AI".
Gameplay doesn't fare any better. At one point you are forced into a stealth level and a few Work Loader sequences. That's it. And they are all as bad as the rest of the game. There is NOTHING new or even marginally exciting in Aliens: Colonial Marines. In fact, it makes the disaster that was Duke Nukem Forever seem like a masterpiece. I also don't understand what happened to ACM's graphics and animations. A few of the older demo videos of "actual gameplay" that Gearbox was showing off look much better than the retail game does on my (almost) top of the line gaming machine. Even on the highest settings this game looks like Doom 3, which looked good when it came out years ago - but has not aged too well in the graphic department. For some reason ACM also animates much worse than D3 - the animations seem stiff and forced.
Even if I could forgive all of the above, the story is terrible (even more so considering that this is supposed to be the sequel to the films), complete with COUNTLESS plot holes, and "WTH" moments. Without giving anything away, dead characters are brought back to life with no explanation, and areas that have been nuked are now back in perfectly serviceable conditions (once again with no explanation).
I suggest that you stay away unless you can get the game for around $10, since in its current state that is all ACM is honestly worth.
I am currently working with Steam to try and get my money back due to all the false advertising Gearbox did before the game released (links in the comments section). Hopefully they will honor my request like they did with The War Z.
on September 29, 2013
I bought this game recently when steam had a sale and I wanted to give people another perspective on the game after the 4gb update was applied in May. I played this game when it first came out and like everyone was really let down by the glitches, graphics and gameplay. I just played the updated version and I must say Colonial Marines feels and looks much better. Whatever polishes they did to the graphics made a noticeably nice (not spectacular) difference and the gameplay feels much smoother than when I first played it. It felt much closer to home with the movie, Aliens. I would recommend that people have a heart of forgiveness and try it again. From a 2 out of ten I now rate Aliens at 5.5 - 6 out of ten. Not bad at all. Sound effects straight out of the movie and the characters/aliens themselves look better and move smarter than before. If you're an Aliens fan and enjoyed games like doom 3, you would definitely have some enjoyment playing this game.
on February 12, 2013
When you think Aliens, it brings you feelings of shadowy corridors while being chased by a horde of silent killers who pick one by one your companions, or being swarmed by silent waves of enemies while your ammo is running low.
These concepts have become so popular that they form the basis of almost all modern shooters and even survival games (like RE used to be...but that is for another discussion) but somehow its well used formula has missed the point completely on this new game. It has all the nostalgia tingling elements, like the spot on movie sound effects and epic music, but it somehow lacks soul.
For example, the titular Colonial marines have almost no personality; there is no character that stands up or even holds a candle to the characters of Aliens, hell they could be substituted for tough sounding red shirts from Star Trek for all intents and purposes; they are there to serve as cannon fodder and you will be hard pressed to remember any of them when the main campaign is done. Speaking of the main campaign the game is really brief, with some on rails scripted events but nothing as cinematic as the CoD series. The game basically goes from corridor shooter, where the Aliens mindlessly jump in front of you (even the monster closet scares of Doom 3 where better done almost 10 years ago) or try to swarm you in wide open corridors while you switch from 8 fully loaded weapons and coolly pick them off.
Is it fun? Yeah in a mindless sort of way but this game could have been so much more, they could have given you limited ammo and weapons to carry, so you would actually feel some tension as the Alien swarms attack, or made the corridor shooter scenes actually scary with the enemies popping out all over (once again Doom 3 does it better).
The graphics are fine, the gameplay is ok, the multiplayer is ok...you get the idea.
All in all it is a average game and you might have some fun with it, but the franchise deserves so much better, especially since the fact that developer Gearbox could have done so much better.
Edit: If the PC version is ok in the graphics and performance department the console versions get a 1 out of 5...it is a disgrace how the it looks on the XBox. And speaking of the graphocs after seeing a shot by shot comparison between the demo (as in work in progress of the game) from 2011 it looks WAY better with much better yse of lighting, particle effects such as fog, viewdistance and even the frikkin AI of the Aliens! I cannot believe it! A demo is supposed to be a work in progress looking to get better not worse...I dont know if they did that to acomodate the console version but I even feel more ripped off now! The game was mediocre but fine for a few good sessions, especially the multiplayer (supposedly the area where Gearbox had the most input) but this is even worse now. I blame Sega for not properly supervising the development of the game and Gearbox for getting such a hi profile project and seemingly outsourcing the heck out of it. Other than the TW series Sega wont be seeing my money again
on February 14, 2013
I pre-purchased on steam purely for the SHARP Stick otherwise I probably would have purchased it here. I am a huge fan of GearBox and of the Alien franchise. I watched all the demo videos, and followed the words of Randy Pitchford like a sweet siren's call. Now I see that the basket of warm delicious bread I thought I was getting is in fact a basket of cold door knobs and I've followed that voice to just get lost in the woods.
To get my rig specs out of the way, everything stock:
AMD A-8120 - Asus Sabertooth 990FX - 16 Gb Corsair DDR3 @ 1800 - Evga GTX 670 - 2 Intel 520 SSDs non raid OS on one, programs on the other - Windows 8 Pro 64 bit
I've played through most of the campaign single player and co-op only on the highest difficulty (Ultimate Badass). I can't speak to the other difficulties. This is where the bulk of criticism is due. When I heard that the IP was licensed from Fox and the game was supposed to be a canon direct sequel to the Aliens movie (my favorite by far) I about joy puked. What follows is why the game is such a disappointment.
The maps are fairly true to the movie environments and mostly everything is relatively pretty. Compared to notable releases in the past 6 months the graphics of A:CM are dated. However there is a glaring disconnect in the level of quality and detail in the demo that has been stripped bare for commercial release. You won't get the product in the screen shots or the old teaser videos because sadly that product no longer exists. Textures are good but models and animations are lacking. Get ready for lots of fog.
They were able to get all of the original Foley assets from Fox Studios and use them in the game and you can tell. The sound effects and musical score have the incredible quality that you'd expect. The dialogue on the other hand is a ceaseless train wreck. They aimed to reproduce that late 80's tough hombre machismo, and missed sorely. When you actually feel some of the tense moments coming on (more on that below) you are jarred right out of them like a slap to the face. The voice acting is mediocre and receives no help from the awful script which fails spectacularly at being in any way believable.
This is where things get confused. I want this game to be good so bad that I can't rely on myself to consistently make objective judgments on the feel. The campaign is utterly linear and strictly scripted. There are many places where the "AI" appears to have a melt down and leaves NPCs incapable of rendering aid or threat (whichever is intended). It is very easy to out pace your companions, and you will find they suddenly "pop" in front of you instead of trying to catch up the sane and non magical way. It is also possible to eliminate all of the threats in an area before your companions can "realise" it, and they take cover from a non-existent threat regardless only to be perplexed by the lack of said threat and spiral into what I assume is some kind of virtual existential crisis which you can only fix by plowing ahead in the map. It's not always such a hot mess, but when it is the distraction is too great to thoroughly enjoy it. There are moments when you get swarmed by enemies on all sides and it feels very intense. It's too bad they are few and far between.
For what this game is and has to offer, the multi-player is where it shines in my opinion. Even this aspect is not without its faults but at the end of the day this feature will keep me playing as long as there are others to get matched with. Both the versus game modes and campaign co-op prop this shambling mess up to the level of just being a let down.
- Frantic fast paced combat in a healthy mix of open and closed environments
- Combat is challenging and takes skill for both marines and xenomorphs to execute effectively
- Good teamwork is rewarded on both sides
- Marine weapons and xeno abilities feel balanced and the weapon / ability unlocks feel like earned rewards that aren't super over powering
- Lengthy match making
- Horrible built in voice chat. I can't express how truly awful it is with words. "e..t soh... soh... t. ek.. the sulaco was... ed.. s.. t" Someone with a microphone is speaking words but the game will never let me understand them all. Over a dozen different people in single and multi, it was all the same. Use mumble or vent or anything but what the game offers.
- Host driven multi-player. The first player in the lobby is the "host" and their internet connection determines the experience for the rest.
Decisions were made. It was a bad call. Maybe someone needs to be nailed right to the wall for this one. I am getting some entertainment from this title, but not what I expected. I am disappointed but that doesn't keep me from staying frosty.
on December 20, 2013
First thing first - This is a review for the PATCHED game
I just bought the game. I grew up loving Aliens (and specifically the second movie) and loved when I heard about this game.
I hated what I heard when it released though.
Then I read that the PC version was patched pretty well, and graphical improvements were made.
So I have always wanted to try it ever since.
I just grabbed it on sale for $2. Yeah, about the cost of a cup of coffee.
I have to say, it is what I expected. I won't say it is bad, but I won't say it is good. Mind you, I have just played the intro and not the full game, but the feel of the whole thing is there.
So here are some bullet points I think spell it all out:
Graphics aren't bad. They aren't stellar either, but it looks decent. Shadows could have been better to make the characters look more in the game than on the game, but overall it looks good enough to play and then some.
The sounds are pretty dead on. From the sound of the rifle to the squeal of the alien they really got that right.
The difficulty is moderate. I can say from pre-patch reading there was no difficulty. Now it seems standard. I am playing on normal and it was not a piece of cake, but not extremely difficult either.
The AI is improved from pre-patch (from videos I had seen) but it is still wonky. The Aliens almost exclusively attack you. They might attack another marine occasionally, but they rush you. Your marine buddies might shoot an alien occasionally, but they are pretty worthless.
At the end of the day, I can see this being sort of a boring game. I will probably change the difficulty setting down to easy, just so I can blow through the game and enjoy it for what it is, a simple shooter. I won't be expecting a story, good characters, or anything else. Another reviewer compared it to Doom. That is pretty accurate for the gameplay. Run and gun, not much thought for anything.
There is no way I could regret buying this for $2, but honestly $5 would be my limit.
If you are an Aliens fan (or just like shooters) then grab it when it is on a deal. If it is full price of $10 or more, pass on it.
on January 29, 2014
This game has a dark past, but the latest effort that repaired it, well, works for me. If I had paid full release price when it was introduced, and then suffered as it got handed off to several defunct companies, I would have been upset. Now, 2 years later, this is the game it should have been. This is the PC version I'm reviewing, I don't know how it is on the consoles.
I bought it during a five dollar blowout, and even at double that price, this game is fun and kinda creepy like the movie. The lighting and atmosphere is very close to the movies.
The sound is right, the visuals are right, the fact that there are challenges and ranking up and gun customizing in the campaign are all pretty cool. I don't have 2 copies to try co-op, but most reviews say that is when the fun really starts.
There are a few minutes of tunnel running, without resistance, now and then, but wasn't that also present in all the movies? If you know an alien is going to jump out every where you go, then there is no suspense. And it would take forever to get through a level. I still tend to close doors behind me, though, just in case.
If you are a fan of the movie, and you can get it at a good price, I say why not?
on February 17, 2013
I waited for this game for a while as I love the Aliens series, it has chunky controls and game play. The feature to play online against other people is absolutely horrific, not fun at all. I rarely buy video games anymore because you can usually finish the game in about 3 days, this game was only about 3 hours to finish. Wait a few months for it to be in the bargain bin at your local game store if you really want this game.
on February 12, 2013
I pre-purchased this game and I also bought the season pass of DLC from a different website. After playing this garbage and beating the game in about 4 1/2 hours on "hard" mode, I quickly requested and received a refund for my DLC, so all was not lost. But onto the "game", the AI is laughably bad, just check some of the youtube videos of the horrific AI. Even a video of the guy beating entire game without firing a single shot (except in a few cases where you have to use your gun to progress). The graphics look like the original F.E.A.R game. I actually loaded up my copy of F.E.A.R on steam after beating this game and they are pretty much the EXACT same as far as graphics go with everything maxed out on both games. The dialogue is cringe worthy, and goodluck on the last boss, I won't spoil anything, but it took me about 30 mins to kill the last boss ONLY because of the horrific AI and pathing. And lets not forget that there are no dedicated servers, so playing online will result in the host either being dropped or leaving, which in turn forces the game to end. This is a pile of garbage and this game is the SOLE reason I will never pre-order another game EVER again. If you are interested in this game, wait 1-2 months when this will be $5 - $10 in the bargain bin, where it belongs.