Gearbox were always under a lot of pressure to deliver a movie-like Aliens FPS experience. Once the game was released, Critics ‘tore it a new one’ and some gamers even took legal action against Sega. Yes, while Gearbox may have taken too much of a risk splitting the work between 4 developers, Gearbox is also responsible for one the biggest patch upgrades in gaming history.
These patches (some almost as big as the game itself) fixed poor textures, sound and Alien animation. The results moved the game closer to its original design roots and made Aliens: Colonial Marines well worth a play-through for fans of the 1986 sci-fi classic.
What the fully updated Aliens: Colonial Marines lacked in story, it made up with its depiction of LV-426. The infested and battle-torn colony is perfectly captured in amazing detail for both many internal and external locations.
Of course, the locations are not the only elements that need to accurately represent the movie. The Colonial Marine arsenal is incredibly important as this isn’t only another major aspect of the movie franchise, but what also makes-or-breaks an FPS.
We’re extremely happy to write that motion trackers, blow-torches, pulse rifles and smart guns all function, sound and play like their movie counterparts.
The motion tracker is spot-on with its retro-like display and suspenseful beep as enemies draw nearer to your vulnerable position. The blow-torch animations are great at capturing the sheer desperate attempt to both escape and confine this extra terrestrial nightmare!
The Smart Gun always fascinated us in the Aliens films, but even more so in games. Early games never really touched on the auto-targeting capabilities of the hip-mounted, long-ranged auto cannon. Later games added this functionality but it always begs the question – How can you design an auto-targeting weapon in an FPS without completely diluting the gameplay?
Once again, Aliens: Colonial Marines finds, delivers and fits a vital piece of the movie-license puzzle. You’ll only use the Smart Gun a couple of times during the game (it would be totally unbalanced otherwise) and when you do, the level design is perfect for range and suspenseful gameplay. Aliens can still surprise you but you won’t feel claustrophobic and unable to take advantage of the Smart Gun’s capabilities. It may hastily auto-target the xenomorphs…but they can find you just as fast!
It’s no secret, Aliens:CM has a lot of haters out there but many of these never played the game once it was fully updated. Yes, NPC animations could still be better and the story is a mangled and forgettable one, but if you’re a fan of the 2nd film, then you owe it to yourself to either buy it now (for an absolute steal!) or reinstall and give it another chance. You’ll be pleasantry surprised at just how much of an ‘absolute badass’ space marine, you’ll feel like.