Back in 1992, at the age of three, I was disappointed with Alien 3. I don’t know, I guess at that age I just expected another tension-filled action flick but got a slow moving film and Sigourney Weaver with a shaved head. 20 years later, thanks to Gearbox Software who brought us Borderlands and Brothers in Arms, I might just get the sequel I was hoping for.
The game takes place 17 weeks after the events of the James Cameron film and puts players in the role of Col. Christopher Winter aboard the Sephora, ship of the United States Colonial marines Corps as they respond to the distress signal sent out by Corporal Hicks in the Aliens film.
After wading through everything I could dig up on Gearbox’s upcoming title, I’m starting to feel as though somebody may have finally got it right and I might just get the game I’ve been waiting for. After the atrocity that was the Aliens vs. Predator series, Aliens: Colonial marines look promising but it’s difficult to make an accurate assumption without hands-on testing.
Relive the nightmare of the original film
In-game tension appears to be rife, players don’t know where to look half the time and even from watching the many videos found over the interwebs, I already feel immersed in the classic experience that is and always should have been everything Alien. Gearbox has managed to accurately re-create several areas from the film that hardcore fans will appreciate – Flickering lights of a ruined command centre, raging storms outside and the rhythmic beeping of motion trackers fill the air of LV-426, the colonised planet which served as the focal point of the movie.
There is nothing in the science fiction genre quite like a Xenomorph, a race of aggressive, sneaky, acid-for-blood beings who aren’t keen on humans very much, and Gearbox have managed to nail the feel of them and the famous sci-fi series perfectly.
In a interview at E3, Gearbox did offer a little more on the in-game dynamics, particularly with the movement and tactics of the Xenomorphs.
“Just like the film, when the aliens are trying to test the defences against the sentry guns. [sic] They stopped going because they knew they would die. So if you're just sitting there shooting through a door, they going to try to spawn someplace [sic] else. So it makes [combat] more dynamic, because depending on where you're fighting, there's dozens of places that they could be coming from. You change the world as you fight through it,” said Colonial Marines senior producer, Brian Burleson.
Customisation is a also a big focus in Colonial Marines, with a variety of attachments, sights and skins which are expected with most FPS games these days. There’s also an upgrade system that carries over between the campaign and multiplayer that will entice players to push for all those potential unlocks.
Gearbox captures the experience fans have so sorely missed
With Aliens: Colonial Marines expected in February 2013 I won’t have to wait long to quench my thirst and you won’t have to wait long for a hands-on review. In the meantime here are a few reasons why fans like me should be excited:
1. Made by Gearbox
Although I passionately love major franchises like Alien, I tend to not hold my breath if the developer in question is not known for good games. So when I heard Gearbox was the developer, I let out a sigh of relief.
2. Classic Sci-fi horror
The most famous of taglines owe a great deal to the cinematic experience of a Xenomorph attack, and the monsters themselves are a good reason for the enduring success of the Aliens franchise, even beyond some very poor films. These creatures are one of the few definitions of horror: they feel at home in darkness, with their bodies making them very difficult to see unless you have a flashlight.
3. A true Sequel
Excluding the fact (for now) that this an actual expansion to Aliens, it gives the writers of the game a chance to explain plot holes that were left unanswered in Aliens and Alien 3.
4. Relive the original
As much as I am looking forward to the game’s expansive story and the chance to annihilate Xenomorphs with the smart gun, the thought of re-awaking old emotions I felt when watching Aliens for first time makes it my most anticipated title thus far.
5. The future of Aliens
Ultimately how they approach the sequel is irrelevant at this stage, but with their foot in the door I’m excited to see where Gearbox takes the franchise.