Review: Aliens: Colonial Marines is a bad movie reference
Aliens: Colonial Marines is a trainwreck. There’s no other way to describe it; the PC version is an outdated, buggy mess. The game makes a decent first impression, starting off with a bang as you board the now-abandoned U.S.S. Sulaco in search of survivors, but it doesn’t take long to realize that all you’re really doing is running from switch to switch, occasionally shooting an enemy or two. And trust me, there are a whole lot of switches.
Between those switches you're likely to run afoul of an inexcusably unrelenting mess of technical bugs, and if that isn't enough to deter you from plowing through waves of bland xenomorph enemies, the unreliable checkpoint system that forces you into a repetitive dance with the latter five or ten minutes of every fight certainly will be. Checkpoints feel more like a bullet point crossed off the developer to-do list rather than anything that's actually useful to the player. You’ll have plenty of time to groan over them while you're sent backwards in time over and over again until you can finally figure out how to play nice with the game’s broken and unbalanced rules.
Despite the rest of the game, the story can’t be that bad, right? Wrong. At no point does the story in Aliens: Colonial Marines feel connected to its namesake in any way, even when referencing direct events from the films. This game captures none of the tension or dread that permeates Cameron's Aliens, which is doubly disappointing in light of how fiercely the Aliens franchise was brandished as a marketing ploy prior to release.
There’s even a point where a character from the film appears, but it feels shallow and self-serving, a blatant reminder to the player that the stories are somehow connected. The game's finale doesn’t do the story any favors either, as it builds up to a "climactic" battle that essentially won by hitting a series of switches until a cutscene can take over. It's perfect, a terribly apropos ending to a game which boils down to a series of switch hunts.
This offense is only multiplied if you pay attention to the dialogue between characters, with lines like, “S**t’s blowing up and s**t” and, “We had a thing....a sex thing.” Frankly, it doesn’t get any better than that. The entire story is an attempt to get you to care about characters that just aren’t very likable from start to finish.
None of this can compare to the travesty that is the prerendered cutscenes. They're overly serious and fail to match the rest of the game tonally or visually;whereas the lion's share of Aliens: Colonial Marines looks as colorful as an alien colony can be, the cutscenes