Developer(s): Gearbox Software
Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Cloud Computing
Release Date: February 13, 2013
About six years ago, back when the current generation of consoles was coming out, there were more than a few games set in World War II. More were on the horizon, and it was getting old. A new setting was needed badly. In modern times, the same could be said about space marines. Halo, Gears of War, Bulletstorm, Warhamer 40,000: Space Marine...the list goes on. It’s easy to see why: an endless amount of possible stories and settings, mixed with the success of shooting games. Either way, space marines are nothing new. With this in mind, how does Aliens: Colonial Marines set itself apart?
One of the biggest draws of the game is the source material. James Cameron’s Aliens was a big hit, and still stands as one of the best science fiction films of all time. The fan base is large and loyal. To the consumer, that means playing through familiar settings and themes even if the game isn’t amazing. To the publisher, that means the game will sell regardless of quality. It’s a win-win situation for the lazy developer. Fortunately for both parties, Gearbox isn’t looking for a quick buck. Through interviews with various members of the team, it’s apparent that this is a passion project, not just a paycheck.
For fans of the film what does that mean? Players will have the ability to interact with iconic bits of the film, such as Ripley’s flamethrower, the power loader, and locations straight out of the film. Sound effects are lifted straight out of the films, such as the pulse rifle firing. One element that is sure to please diehard fans is production design. The series did so well due to having excellent set pieces that truly crafted a universe. Gearbox has gone through and reconstructed these in wonderful detail to keep the same environment in Colonial Marines. Details were not skimped on: the slimy look of the Xenomorphs and their habitats has not been left out and truly adds depth to the world.
There does exist a small number of people in the world that either have not seen Aliens or did not like the film. Not to fret, there is plenty in this game for them too. The firefights look intense, frightening, and, most of all, fun. Throughout the entirety of the single player campaign is four player drop-in and drop-out co-op. Playing Colonial Marines alone might be more terrifying and make for a better experience, but ripping Xenomorphs apart with three friends could never be dull. And with a campaign that John Mulkey, design director at Gearbox, has said will be over ten hours, the single player experience won’t leave players wanting.
One of the biggest selling points in modern shooters is multiplayer. It can completely make or break a game. Aliens: Colonial Marines is looking like it will have some intense online play. The game pits four marines against four aliens in various game modes. Of course there is the standard team deathmatch, but the main focus here are objective based modes. One somewhat recent announcement was escape mode. In this mode, the marines need to get from point A to point B. The aliens need to hunt them down. Gearbox is remaining silent on other game modes for now, but has always hinted at a majority of objective based games.
Aliens: Colonial Marines is going to be one of the first games released on the Wii U alongside with the Xbox 360 and PS3. Other multi-platform releases on the Wii U have been out for a while on the other systems. According to Gearbox, the Wii U version will be the best looking version, though no details were given. In terms of gameplay, the screen on the game pad will serve as the marines’ motion tracker. Presumably, there are other uses, but Sega, the publisher, has been keeping those uses a surprise.
Due out in February, Aliens: Colonial Marines is looking to appeal to fans of the film series and first person shooter junkies alike. Film buffs will appreciate the attention to detail, and shooting fans will enjoy the gameplay and differences between this and other shooting games. This is a space marine game for those of us sick of space marines.
Preview by Chris Lohr
Chris Lohr is a freelance writer currently in film school. If you’re looking for him to write for your website, manifesto, or Russian bride catalogue, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put today’s date as the subject line and include a picture of yourself. Must be DDD free and willing to host. All Articles by Chris.