Aliens: Colonial Marines – Review
Follow Genre: Shooter
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: Sega
Platform: PC, PS3, 360, Wii U

Aliens: Colonial Marines – Review

Site Score
Good: Canon to the franchise.
Bad: Dated graphics, bugs and a lack of anything that made Alien the cult hit it was.
User Score
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.4/10 (5 votes cast)


Every once in a while even I get caught by a hype. Yes, even though I’m an actual professional game critic, I can still squeal like a little kid whenever a game or franchise promises to be the next messiah.

In other words: Aliens: Colonial Marines looked pretty damn awesome during previews.

The game that was actually released? Not so much.


Aliens: Colonial Marines is supposed to be canon for the franchise, taking place somewhere between Aliens and part of the events transpiring in Alien 3. You play as Corporal Christopher Winter, a Colonial Marine send to investigate the sudden appearance of the -spaceship- Sulaco. A search that soon turns into a rescue operation and eventually ends up as a testament to the age-old survival-of-the-fittest-rule.

Part of Colonial Marines’ promise is to flesh out the background story of the franchise, to present loyal fans with more information on what went on behind the scenes of Alien 3.

But as the saying goes; promises are meant to be broken, and eventually no questions are really answered.



Visually Aliens: Colonial Marines is a very different beast than the one we saw in the many trailers and preview footages. Gone are the gritty atmosphere and the faithful adaptation of the original Alien’s look and feel.

Let’s disregard the PC version for a minute and focus on the console versions. Both on PS3 and Xbox 360 this game just looks awful. Poor quality textures and shoddy lighting take away any sense of drama this game might have had.

And it gets even worse. Guns and other objects disappear at random, only to pop back a bit later. Screen tearing is a common problem and we’re absolutely positive that whatever technique for lip-syncing was used, must hail from the early 2000’s. There’s just no way a mouth is supposed to move like that.


Fans of the Alien-movies will no doubt recognise most of the sound effects. Welding doors gets accompanied by the sound of relief, Aliens hiss and squeal the way they’ve been hissing and squealing over the past thirty-four years and pulse rifles still produce the most annoying sound ever to plague the earth.



Aliens: Colonial Marines is loaded with clichés. Granted most of them were invented by the original movies –the one-man-army, fellow marines who outright laugh at the dire situation- but by now they’ve been used -better- in practically every modern shooter imaginable.

No matter, you’d think, there’re still Aliens, vicious, intelligent hunters that will tear you apart the moment you let your thoughts slip.

Wrong, the iconic Aliens have been reduced to cannon fodder who will most likely only kill you because they somehow fell through the floor and still managed to hit you through a thick layer of hard, cold steel.

Bugs –not the kind you were expecting- infest this game and turn it into a frustrating 6 hour-hell.

But worst of all is the complete lack of any sense of fear or self-preservation. I already mentioned the Aliens being nothing more than easy targets for your Pulse Rifle, but it’s worse than that. Picking off Xenomorphs is just plain easy. They don’t show any sign of intelligence, they just run up to you, waiting to be shot down by your rifle or -way overpowered- shotgun.


It seems impossible, but there are actually too many Aliens in this game. Especially near the early parts of the game. Take the very beginning for instance. You arrive on the Sulaco without any knowledge of what’s happening. Your men are killed one by one by an unseen enemy and blood -and the mangled lower half of Bishop’s android-body– lies gruesomely smeared across the hull.

Sound cues turn you from a battle-hardened marine into a paranoid lunatic gazing around at faintest hint of movement.

This is what Alien is supposed to be, an experience centered around the vulnerability of squishy men and women trying to survive against a superior race. Soon all that gets abandoned and what we get is a generic shooter that happens to have hundreds Xenomorphs in it.

It is worth mentioning that part of the multiplayer-experience, namely Escape. Escape is a mode that has a team of marines running for their lives, heading for the extraction point as soon as humanly possible, all the while closing and welding doors shut to escape certain doom.



Long-time Alien enthusiasts will no doubt want to pick up Colonial Marines. If only because the game gets treated as a proper part of the franchise. At the same time they should be warned. Warned that everything that made the movies the blockbusters they are today, has been disregarded and replaced by shoddy animations and Aliens that never resemble the calculated hunters they’re supposed to be.

No fear, no terror, no fun.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.4/10 (5 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)
Aliens: Colonial Marines - Review, 8.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

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