RPS Got Their Hands On A:CM
Rock, Paper, Shotgun‘s Adam Smith got some time in with Aliens: Colonial Marines and just recently posted his detailed impressions. It is an interesting read with no really discouraging surprises.
Multiplayer should be fine, with more modes yet to be shown and a happy mix of AvP and Left 4 Dead working well already. The campaign is more problematic. The voicework and characterisation is actually impressive but the aliens themselves, which should be far more important than the marines, could be replaced by grizzly bears with suction pads on their paws. I haven’t seen enough yet to know if the locations have been captured all that well, although I felt as if I was being told I was on the set of Aliens rather than being convinced of it. I was never fully convinced by the xenomorphs though and surely they’re a bigger draw than the Sulaco?
Perhaps not. Colonial Marines may be fighting on too many fronts. Shooting down a stream of aliens I was struck by the fact that I’d done it a hundred times before and most of the time the games I was exercising my trigger finger in hadn’t had any license, let alone sanction to make a canonical entry in the franchise. The distinctive biological horror that the xenomorphs engendered is sapped when they become just another enemy and, as they flail between the reticules, their meaning and power swiftly dissipates. At the moment, I feel like this is a game about the marines. They have neat guns and sound anxious but hard as nails at the same time. I quite like them. Maybe it should be called ‘Colonial Marines (also aliens)’.
The reminder that this is a “canonical entry in the franchise” is exciting. I look forward to seeing how Gearbox ties the movies together by offering explanations for seeming inconsistencies. As for the gameplay, we have known for a while that this game would be more Cameron and less Ridley. Not having played it (nor attempted to create it) I can say that I do wish the game was more survival and horror, and less action. However, the focus on action will most certainly serve the MP modes better, and those are the ones I will undoubtedly spend the most time playing. Overall, my expectations for this are quite low. This makes it easier to be pleasantly surprised, and impossible to be heart-breakingly disappointed.