I may be optimistic to a fault. I’d been hearing for a while about how bad ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’ was, but I never completely believed any of it. I guess I figured the reports of its awfulness were exaggerated.
I was wrong. It’s freakin’ awful.
‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’ had a rocky development. Reading about it, it’s hard not to think about the current discussion among gamers and industry folk about ethics and corruption (I used the word “discussion,” but it’s little more than a hashtag on Twitter and a bunch of ugly arguing). False advertising, a lawsuit, alleged misconduct by a certain respected developer. Nasty stuff.
But I don’t care about any of that. I wanted to play as a Colonial Marine. That’s all.
Starting ‘Colonial Marines,’ I was treated to a cinematic featuring Michael Biehn as Cpl. Duane Hicks from the film ‘Aliens.’ It was downhill from there. You’re introduced to your character and the chicken-shit outfit (ha!) you belong to, then it’s right into battle. Collectively, the Marines of this game bear almost no resemblance to the Marines from that film upon which they were (supposedly) based. Which sucks, ‘cause that’s all I wanted, damn it.
I played the first fifteen minutes on the “soldier” difficulty level, which I figured was this game’s “normal.” After dying constantly in one spot (yes, that early in the game), I decided to start over on the lowest difficulty setting, “recruit.” This made little difference. One of the many problems with the combat in this game is that the aliens seem to seek you out and attack only you, ignoring other characters. Speaking of the other characters, they suck. All of them. All completely useless. Beyond that, there’s bad scripting, horrible checkpoints, terrible dialogue, and crappy music. Eventually, I had to stop.
It’s at this point I feel I should try to find a redeeming quality. Well, I probably would’ve needed to play it longer for that. As it is, I figure I’ll reclaim the space on my harddrive and forget this game ever happened. This is actually quite sad for me, for a few reasons. One, I love videogames, and I want to believe that even a bad game can be at least a little fun (I’m a starry-eyed videogame optimist). Two, I’d been dreaming of a game that let me live in the world of Aliens for a long time. The desolation of space, the sinister movements of the Weyland-Yutani corporation, the comradery of the Colonial Marines. I love it. There’s so much great subject matter to draw from for a proper Aliens game. Why can’t they get it right? They’d be freakin’ rich!
In a couple of weeks, ‘Alien: Isolation,’ comes out, and it looks promising. But ‘Colonial Marines’ looked promising before it came out, too. I’m taking a chance pre-ordering ‘Isolation,’ I think. Might be safer to wait for a good sale. But like I said: I’m an optimist.
Next week, ‘Duke Nukem Forever!’ Just kidding. Something else, 7pm-ish on Twitter.