I had no idea what to expect when I walked up tot he Aliens: Colonial Marines booth. Here was this big bunker type building, Randy Pitchford, Gearbox Software‘s CEO was all smiles outside. Our developer who narrated our playthrough mentioned what a dream it was to work on this project.
It started out nicely; sure the visuals looked like a crisper Duke Nukem Forever, but there was a great sense of atmosphere involved. There was no HUD, you had to track enemy movement with a motion tracker. When said motion tracker was active, you couldn’t fire. The opening moments screamed classic Aliens, from the 20th Century Fox opening before the demo to the referencing to the fact that the game is, in fact, a true sequel to classic films.
But something happened when the gameplay began: it was simply…generic. Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty tense watching a xenomorph leap onto our hero, but after that moment, the demo consisted of shooting crawling aliens before they even got close to you. Maybe the game was played on the easiest difficulty, maybe the AI isn’t tweaked enough from the demo build we saw. But the single player, while it may have a story Aliens fans will love, one written by Battlestar Galactica writers Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, and especially if Ridley Scott is indeed involved somehow, the gameplay seems uninspired, at best.
Then something else happened: we tried the multiplayer. After an intense marines vs xenomorphs battle that left my heart pounding and hands shaking, I forget everything I hated about the singleplayer demo. If Gearbox Software can harness the potential here, nevermind finding a way to make enemy AI in the campaign act smarter with their plans of attacks, then console owners may be topping the Xbox Live and PSN most played charts with a newcomer.
There’s nothing special about the actual multiplayer, per say, as it is merely your standard run-of-the-mill deathmatch. But not knowing what dangers lie in the shadows as the enemy jumps from the ceiling and rips your skin apart while another digs his claws into the back of your buddy who was covering you can be pretty addicting. While we, sadly, only got to play the marines during out hands-on time, we can only imagine how much fun playing the aliens can be. Here’s to hoping that each session has both teams playing one side a piece to help prevent players from rage quitting if they’re not aliens.
While there’s no specific release date for Aliens: Colonial Marines, we do know that it is due out this fall for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and even Wii U. Until then, I can’t wait for more multiplayer details.