The reviews have not been kind to Aliens: Colonial Marines, which garnered an average score of 45/100. I've been playing the campaign for several hours and it's been at least an 8/10 experience. I can't imagine what the game could possibly do from this point on to cause my score to dip below 5/10.
Others who reviewed the game wanted ACM to be a Dead Spacey, survival horror fright-fest. Once they realized that Gearbox had other ideas, they spent the rest of their time knocking the game. The most common gripe was the lack of challenge. False.
I picked the second to the easiest difficulty setting and I died more times in the first hour of ACM than I did in the first hour of other shooters like Gears of War or Halo, and it wasn't due to cheapness, either. It doesn't take much to get killed by the xenos in ACM, which some have stated aren't the intelligent predators they were in the films. Another lie.
In the movies, it wasn't so much the aliens being so smart as it were the victims being so cliched stupid. The only way to make the xenos seem any smarter in ACM would be to resort to cheapness and have them spawn behind you all the time. I commend Gearbox for not taking that route.
The human enemies you'll face aren't any dumber than the ones you're used to fighting in Call of Duty. They take cover, pop up and shoot, etc. The human enemies don't do anything irrationally stupid. They never take away from the experience. They're not the bullet sponges you'll see in Halo or Gears of War and they're dead before they can pretend to be smart and change cover locations.
Most reviews fail to mention how satisfying it is to fire your guns in ACM, which is a crucial aspect of any shooter. Every weapon packs a punch and the aiming feels just right whether you're looking down the sights or shooting from the hip. By the way, you get plenty of ammo. Another plus.
Graphically, ACM looks fine. Tons of footage have been available for months and nobody complained about the graphics then, and suddenly the reviewers act like they've never seen the game before. At worst, ACM's visuals are unremarkable but they do the trick.
All sci-fi shooters drew their inspiration from the Aliens films, but the reality is that Gearbox's options were limited because unlike those shooters, they didn't have the liberty to deviate from what the xenos are capable of doing. Gearbox couldn't simply arm the aliens with laser guns or give them special powers.
More importantly, Gearbox cannot make the players as stupid as the characters from the films. Instead they focused on the moment to moment enjoyment of blasting out these over-sized bugs. If you approach this game with a mentality of an exterminator rather than some weakling who jumps at the sight of his own shadow, you're guaranteed to have a great time.