by David “Aussie Dave” Lobato, Reporter, and Jayden Leggett, Assistant Editor
One of the highlights of our trip was getting the chance to play a couple of multiplayer matches of the upcoming Aliens: Colonial Marines. Quite simply, it blew our collective minds! Whilst eagerly waiting in line for out turn, we had plenty of time to soak up the mesmerizing visuals. The graphics were fluid and crisp, with lots of blue hues in outdoor environments and grey, metallic interiors that were very reminiscent of the movies. Spectacular lighting effects had amazing depth and clarity and reminded us greatly of those from Mass Effect 3. One particularly amazing highlight we witnessed during one of the multiplayer games in progress was through the eyes of a marine, where the large shadow of an enemy player’s xenomorph quickly darted across an exposed corridor below, causing the player to panic and spray Pulse Rifle rounds all about, further giving players the feeling that they truly were playing as a part of the Aliens universe.
Finally, it was our turn to play. We were really keen to try out the game as part of the alien’s team, but ended up scoring a turn as the marines, which frankly still turned out to be insanely fun. Upon first dropping into the map, our squad stayed very close to each other, nervously looking around and watching each other’s backs for any signs of incoming xenos (again perfectly recreating the atmosphere of the movie franchise). Pressing the left bumper brings up the iconic motion tracker, complete with that fan-favorite “blip” sound effect, warning you of approaching enemies. Unlike tracking enemy human characters in titles like Call Of Duty, as a marine your alien enemies could truly be anywhere: underneath your platform, running straight towards your or even lurking in the shadows above. In fact Jayden quite often fell prey to an attack from an alien that was directly above him, due to it’s perfect concealment in the shadows, and only realizing this fact from viewing the motion tracker and then noticing his enemy’s tail dangling down above him mere milliseconds before his brutal death.
The deaths are also something that deserve some recognition, as a lot of work went into making even dying an enjoyable spectacle. Dying xenos thrash about on the ground in their final death-throes, splashing green acid blood about as they pass, while the marines get torn apart like the frail bags of flesh and meat that they are, often quite literally losing their heads in the process.
Initially we felt that being a marine meant that we would constantly be the aliens’ bitches, but as it turns out each team has its own strengths and weaknesses, thus the game play is very balanced, provided you play to your species’ strengths. Obviously the aliens don’t really have ranged attacks, but this fact is made up for with their great agility, their ability to crawl and lurk across any surface and of course their brutal strength when they do close-in for the kill. Of course playing as a marine means you have access to all sorts of kick-assery in the forms of different weapons such as flame throwers, smart guns and of course the iconic pulse rifle (my personal favorite). When you manage to slay a few oncoming aliens in a row and protect your teammates in the process, you can’t help but feel like an ultimate bad ass!
Unfortunately for our team, one of the enemy players had figured out how to evolve into what I believe is known as a “bulldozer” xenomorph: an over-sized alien with a wide, solid skull. Getting rammed by one of these guys instantly spells “game over man, game over!”, but as Dave cunningly managed to sprint around the side of one of these bad boys he was able to take it out with a swift grenade to it’s weak hindquarters, due to its slow turning circle.
Our brief time with Aliens: Colonial Marines was incredibly enjoyable, and Jayden and Dave both felt that this was their favorite game to play from the entire expo. We could easily go on about all of the other awesome aspects of this game, like the way that dying as a marine gives a camera view reminiscent of the movies automated sentry turrets, or how fluid and proficient the control design is, or how we can’t wait to get this game, strap in some headphones and form a squad as we lose ourselves in its amazing atmosphere. But for now, all we can say is keep an eye on your local release date for this baby (or pre-order it as Dave did and then eagerly await February to arrive), and prepare to lose many, many hours of your time in the multiplayer alone. Because like the victim of a face-hugger’s embrace, we were both infected by the awesomeness of this game, and all Aliens fans should be excited as well.
Stay frosty marines!!!
Bringing you a true sequel to James Cameron’s classic Aliens, get tooled up with classic Marine weapons including pulse rifles, motion trackers and flamethrowers.