Aliens Colonial Marines preview
13th Apr 2012 | 14:50
Aliens Colonial Marines multiplayer - we go hands-on
The intro paragraph Aliens: Colonial Marines is all about teamwork. Much like co-op shooter heavyweights such as Left 4 Dead and Borderlands, Gearbox’s new sci-fi horror title forces players to work together through by tapping into basic survival instincts. It’s very simple, really: if you don’t work together, you’re dead meat.
Aliens Colonial Marines: Gameplay
Well, you’re dead meat if you’re playing the titular soldiers anyway. We can’t report on how much teamwork factors into successfully playing the game’s Alien characters as, at our recent hands-on with the game in Dallas, we were only allowed to control the human Marines. The Aliens were piloted exclusively by Gearbox’s development team.
We can tell you, however, that playing the Aliens looks like a lot of fun. The creatures made famous in the films directed by James Cameron and Ridley Scott are agile, lethal critters. They can leap huge distances, see the heat-outlines of their quarries through walls and scuttle nimbly along any surface, be it horizontal or vertical.
This gives them the ability to attack the Marines from pretty much any direction at great speed. The results of this are always very messy.
This means that, as a Marine, you spend a lot of time frantically turning your gun in every direction, lest one of these slavering beasties emerges from the darkness and rips you in half. It also dictates the overall strategy of the poor sods controlling the Marines.
Aliens Colonial Marines: Multiplayer
It takes very little time to realise that unless they stick together, the Marines will lose. So in short order, we found ourselves as part of a posse heading towards the most well-lit parts of the multiplayer map, cramming ourselves into confined spaces and trying to turn entry-points to our position into grisly bottlenecks.
Aliens Colonial Marines: Weapons
To aid us in our efforts, we were given access to the film franchise’s iconic weapons and equipment. One of the more precious items in the game is the motion sensor which allows the Marine players to see how close the Aliens are to them.
As far as the weapons go, there’s the pulse rifle, which acts like a machine gun, the assault rifle, that offers more accurate firing, but in shorter bursts, and there’s even Hicks’s shotgun, which is great for close encounters.
In the deathmatch we played in, there was also a massive smartgun – a heavy rapid-firing canon that does most of the aiming for you – available for the souls brave enough to venture into the darkened map.
Aliens Colonial Marines: Maps
The one map that Gearbox allowed us to play on was an interesting reconstruction of the wrecked base Hadley’s Hope from the movie Aliens. The environment worked well as a shooter map – plenty of catwalks, corridors, and vents for the Aliens to move through, and all of it centred around a couple of cargo bays.
The lighting added to the atmosphere significantly, with most walkways being shrouded in shadow, and pockets of bright light offering beacons of hope for survival. It looked and felt every bit as if we had been plunged into the terrifying world presented in James Cameron’s movie.
Aliens Colonial Marines: Verdict
In terms of putting its best foot forward, Gearbox did a sterling job with its multiplayer demo. The game plays brilliantly, looks suitably creepy and the experience of controlling the Marines ramps up the tension to white-knuckled levels. If the story mode lives up to the standard of the online segment, Aliens: Colonial Marines could well be one of the best games released all year. We can’t wait.
Aliens Colonial Marines availability: Autumn 2012
Aliens Colonial Marines price: TBC