Review: Aliens – Colonial Marines / Developer: Gearbox / Publisher: Sega / Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U / Release Date: Out Now
Gearbox Software have been under a lot of pressure these past few years as anticipation has been building for this game, but now they can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Boarding the Sulaco is only the beginning of this sci-fi scarefest. Pulse rifle in one hand, tracker in the other, it is up to you and your team of Marines to battle the Xenomorph threat. It’s true what they say - in space no one can hear you scream…
From the beginning, it's a fanboy's delight. Small things like holding the tracker up and hearing it click then ping when enemies are near. The circles on the screen getting closer and strange silhouettes stalking the shadows. It’s then you equip the pulse rifle, red ammo display on the side, finger on the trigger, only firing when necessary. The sound of the guns, the screams of the Xenomorphs – it all makes you believe you’re in the same world Ridley Scott and James Cameron brought to the screen.
Then there is the music. While it’s original in parts, the soundtrack has many nostalgic nods to the films. It reflects well what is happening in the moment, and there are many standout moments in this game. Like being left with no weapons and having to sneak amongst the bodies of Xenomorphs, and while some are dead there are few which are not. It is your wits you have to rely on as one wrong move will have you fall victim. It is these times when playing co-op has its advantages. The quality of the experience when playing this game is indeed due to the co-op campaign. Being able to communicate with your party as to what is happening helps a lot as strategies can be formulated. It is also sadistically satisfying listening to someone screaming in their headset as they are left alone to the mercy of the Aliens.
While the game doesn’t look as good as others of this generation, its authenticity and appreciation of the source material cannot be denied. Being able to control a power loader or seeing the aftermath of Hadley’s Hope’s destruction immerses the player even more in this game. The real highlight, though, is coming face to face with the Queen. The urge to say that line as you begin to battle her becomes all too hard to resist.
This game really is the complete package, with an engaging story and a generous multiplayer element complemented with many game types. Don’t let the minor glitches put you off, as Gearbox has shown they can take an iconic property and create an enjoyable experience.