Lots of publishers will go out of their way to obtain a major license to make a game on. Others will outsource to a different set of developers to make the game. An example of this was Resident Evil: Raccoon City, and that was a failure in almost every way. Sega obtained the license for the Aliens franchise and got a very good developer in Gearbox to develop the game. Unfortunately, Gearbox was told to focus on the Borderlands franchise and was constantly pulled away from the Aliens project to work on it. While not near the disaster that Operation Raccoon City was, Aliens Colonial Marines does disappoint.
Colonial Marines looks good on paper. The game utilizes the Unreal Engine and it runs extremely smoothly, but the models do seem a bit dated. You really can't complain about how well the game runs. The story involved was suppose to take place after Aliens 3, when a crew is sent back to recover wreckage from a down ship. While not completely familiar with the Aliens trilogy story, a friend of mine made a comment stating that Bishop had died previously, however is in this game. This is what happens when a game is in development for years and changes hands.
The game feels like it wants to be Doom 3. It honestly does a good job of setting an atmosphere and being eerie. You have different Xenomorphs that will pop out of nowhere and are hard to see because it's dark. You are given a flashlight, much like Doom 3, to be able to look around through dark areas. What I do like is the motion detector, as you try to rely on this as a second set of eyes. Besides Xenomorphs, there are other humans you have to deal with as part of the story. The result is a pretty dull experience. The A.I. is plain useless, however a few times the A.I. I was with did kill some enemies. The enemies in the game just aren't that scary, and it kind of ruins the experience. Two shots from a shotgun continuously will kill the enemies, and if you turn the difficulty up, the result isn't a tougher A.I., it's just more health reduction. To me, that's kind of a cheap way out. Adding to this are numerous bugs such as players getting stuck behind things, or running in place.
There are a ton of unlocks for this game that include multiplayer things as well. Points are used to unlock gun upgrades for the story mode as well. Strangely, the story doesn't tell you how to access the new guns once unlocked, I had to stumble upon it. You can create a load out for multiplayer games. Multiplayer features a co-op for story, as well as different death match and survival modes that look good on paper. Mostly involve is getting from point A to point B, or protecting eggs, or eliminating the Aliens. If you're a marine, if you die, that's it. It really helps to work as a team. The really cool thing is the ability to play as a Xenomorph, which has the ability to upgrade to new moves. Unfortunately, playing as the Xenomorph is frustrating. The idea is for the Aliens to be overwhelming, however, it is very hard to reach an opposing marine. There's suppose to be a fatality option, but with my experience of getting an opponent down and flashing red, pressing the button does nothing. There are also very linear paths to where your opponents can gear up and be ready for you. Very cool design in concept, but very poorly executed.
Maybe Gearbox can get it right for the Wii U release, but at that point will it matter? I believe, if given more time, this game could have been much better. The story is decent, but it's remarkably similar to Doom 3, including the overall single player experience. The idea of playing as different Xenomorphs in a multiplayer game is excellent, but its execution needs to be reconsidered.
Graphics: 7 - Running on the Unreal engine, the game runs smooth. The models in-game look pretty good, but seems a bit dated. The Xenomorphs models look well.
Sound: 8 - A very fitting score during gameplay. The sound effects are there, but you get really sick of hearing the same exact gun sound over and over again. Voice acting is pretty well-done.
Gameplay: 4 - Great ideas on paper that are poorly executed. The game controls strange at times. Poor A.I., lame enemy encounters, and a dull and redundant single player experience bring this game down.
Replay: 7 - There is plenty to unlock in this game, and multiplayer would be the main reason to keep coming back. The types of games there are are fun, but can be frustrating at times.
Overall: 6.5 - Given more time and focus, this could be a good title. The dull single player experience mixed with bad A.I. really hurt the game. The multiplayer can be great, however the way the game feels as a Xenomorph takes away from the balance online.