With nerdgasm fueled glee that is. From the phenomenal development crew at Gearbox (Borderlands 1 & 2, Duke Nukem Forever, Brothers in Arms, and *ahem* Halo CE’s PC Port) comes Aliens: Colonial Marines. This claustrophobic co-op enhanced FPS title is coming on the heels of SEGA’s last foray into this series: Aliens VS Predator made by Rebellion Studios.
Although a decent enough game, AVP’s reboot at the hands of the original developers saw impressive success for a licensed multi-platform title – but still left a less than favorable after taste. It tried earnestly to keep up with the films ever choppy canon, but just didn’t quite make a lasting impression with me.
First it should be known, that I am a huge fan of the films and have seen them multiple times. In fact, I just finished watching the original three films in all of their Directors Cut glory, in anticipation of this game. Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford has demonstrated during developer walkthroughs of Colonial Marines that they are paying immense respect, and homage to James Camerons masterpiece: ALIENS. In fact, Colonial Marines is more or less a direct segue from that film into the events which transpire in the upcoming game.
You and your squad of jarheads are sent in to intercept a long missing Colonial Navy vessel: the USS Sulaco which is now mysteriously in standard orbit above LV-426. (the planet where the film Aliens took place.) From presentations of the game, your mission will take you from the derelict Sulaco, down to the surface of LV-426 to the Hadley’s Hope colony – and straight into the alien hives which according to Gearbox has been lovingly designed directly from the original movie set pieces with loving detail, and to other unknown locales as you fight swarms of Xenomorph baddies. So, it’s safe to say that fans of the film(s) can expect plenty of easter eggs and juicy morsels of fanboy treats.
What seems to set Colonial Marines apart from the AVP series (other than the absence of the Predator) is that this game is being designed as a tight quarters “claustrophobic” co-op experience where your teamwork and perseverance will prove even more useful than your firepower. And speaking of firepower, not only the level design is being drawn straight from the films. From pulse rifles, and Smart Guns to Flamethrowers and the ever iconic Mech-Suit Gearbox is setting you up with an authentic and amazing arsenal with which to conduct your online bug-hunt.
Colonial Marines also offers a heaping pile of multiplayer options which is sure to bolster alot of replay value. Reminiscent of Left 4 Dead’s co-op benchmark, this game pits you and your squad mates against a variety of different types of Alien. There appear to be charger inspired Xenos, as well as suicide acid-bombers, and other wonderful playmates awaiting us. And to add some nostalgic spice to the multiplayer landscape those who pre-order at Gamestop in Canada & the US get playable characters from the original film:
The multiplayer mode which has me the most excited is Escape Mode. In which 4 Marines face off against 4 Xenos in an all out fight for survival, and as the title says it one single mission objective: “Escape!” The human squad is made to run a rat maze of control/checkpoints being ever chased by their hungry opponents. Only coordinated teamwork, and a steady trigger finger can ensure good odds in this gametype.
Being ever the cynic, I can’t help but feel slightly concerned after the last Aliens release, but with Gearbox at the helm, and their blatant love and dedication to delivering a top notch and authentic experience, I can safely say that I am highly anticipating this game. Aliens Colonial Marines is set to hit store shelves on Tuesday February 12 in North America and Europe for Playstation 3, XBOX 360, PC and Wii U.