Wot I Think – Aliens: Colonial Marines Single Player

By John Walker on February 12th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

Of course you remember Aliens, right? Who could forget Danny Glover kicking ass on the Discovery One, Sarah Hamilton shouting, “That’s how they git you. They’re under the goddamned ground!” Ah, the memories. John’s spent the day ploughing through Aliens: Colonial Marines, so he can tell you wot he thinks:

As you’ve probably already heard, Aliens: Colonial Marines is terrible. Properly terrible. The sort of terrible where you see that it was apparently made by Gearbox, and decide that SEGA may have just forgotten that it wasn’t really. Making a game featuring Aliens has somehow eluded developers since around 2000, which always seems strange – the film was basically the ingredients of a game. But like trying to make an advert for sofas, it seems impossible for anyone to create anything that doesn’t make you cringe into a little ball. But wow, Colonial Marines has taken that to the next level.

Not only is it a truly dreadful addition to the Aliens canon, and only ever even trying to be a very mediocre shooter, but it’s somehow taken six years to develop a game that feels not only a decade old, but utterly falling to pieces. The textures often look like they’re from the original Unreal, character models are archaic, and animations are generally laugh-out-loud terribad. It glitches, it’s packed with bugs, it has the terrible checkpointing you’re already expecting, the weapons feel like they’re made of clingfilm, and on and on and on. And perhaps most ridiculously of all, you spend far more of your time shooting at moronic man enemies than you do at the swarms of aliens. It consistently delivers a series of wonders, whether technical idiocy or outrageously awful writing, so I want to convey that experience to you via the notes I took when alt-tabbing out of the game. Here they are in chronological order, along with some captured video of favourite moments.

  • Wow. This is a game that feels it’s okay to have someone say “You’re not in Kansas any more,” without a glimmer of irony.
  • You’re allowed to open doors in the first couple of minutes, even torch them open if they’re stuck. But fortunately an NPC comes along pretty much straight away and takes over the playing of the game for you. Reach a door before him, hit E, and he’ll walk through you to open it first.
  • You have your scanner of course. Solid blips for Xenos, hollow for allies. Except, well, it can’t scan enemies until they’ve magically spawned into existence, can it? So scanning a room before entering it provides no useful information, since they won’t be triggered into reality until you cross that threshold. And thus can jump from the ceiling onto your head, where you’re already on 1 slot of health because there aren’t any medpacks since the last checkpoint seven miles back, so they instantly kill you. THAT’S FUN.
  • “LOOK UP! LOOK UP!” shrieks O’Neal, just after I’ve killed everything in the room.
  • Aliens run toward exploding barrels rather than you, but then, they’re somehow invincible to the explosion if they’re not already stood in it when you fire. Fire first and even though there’s a good two second delay, the bang won’t hurt them at all. They know the safest place is by that exploding barrel, the cunning beasts.
  • There’s one good line in all the dialogue. A ladyvoice pilot says, “Be advised that Winter made me scratch my favourite ship, sir.” Which is then instantly ruined when a manvoice shouts, “It’s your only ship!” Yeah, because that’s where the joke was there.
  • While the PC version doesn’t feature many of the reported faults of the console release (there are no issues with framerates and tearing on the Mother Machine), there’s no attempt to make use of greater computation power (GCP). So bodies inelegantly pop out of existence seconds after falling to the ground. Edges are barely anti-aliased. And wow, everything overlaps. It’s like the land of the non-corporeal.
  • Of course, it’s the little details that make the real differences. I love, for instance, that I can pick up seven helmets in a row to improve my armour. If only it were a third-person game.
  • This writing just gets better and better. “Raiders 6-5 will wait for you, but goddammit don’t make us wait for you.” Someone not only wrote that down, but an actor willingly said it out loud.
  • “One hostile remaining!” booms a marine as we’re surrounded by six or seven aliens. I’ve a feeling I should probably stop listening to their advice.
  • There’s a sequence that’s clearly meant to elicit the sense of fear that Amnesia offers. You’re in a chamber of alien husks, but some of them are still alive. Their vision is based on sound, so if they come near you, you must stand perfectly still. Tense, right? Well, no, because it’s absolutely impossible to be scared of the alien’s ludicrous mincing dance-walk. It’s like a horribly operated marionette, making the whole sequence completely laughable.
  • That the checkpoints are bad can’t be a surprise to anyone. I’m fairly sure the Council Of Terrible Games would have fined them heavily if they’d put them after long, tedious corridors, or immediately after a boring battle.
  • One boss fight went a little wrong when the game shut some giant metal doors with the boss on the other side of them. The infinite waves of regular aliens didn’t put up much of a fight for the Power Loader, but it got a bit boring after the first 29 months.
  • Talking of the Power Loader, it’s almost impressive how they’ve managed to reduce it down to something as fun as stabbing yourself in the back of your hand with a knitting needle. There’s no weight to it, there’s no sense of strength, or power. And it’s tiny! Imagine if they’d tried to capture that awesome sense of sheer danger you get when Ripley climbs in.
  • I have heard the words “We don’t leave marines behind,” about 37 times in this game.
  • My whole approach to the game has changed quite dramatically with one realisation. You don’t really have to fight stuff – so long as you can run to the next checkpoint, it’s all cleared up for you anyway. It becomes about speed running at that point, and you know what – that’s a tiny bit more fun than playing properly. Which makes it elevated to Not Any Fun Whatsoever.
  • Your teammates teleport in front of you a lot. And it’s not just if they’re caught up behind – they can be stood next to you, you open a door, run through, and they’re already waiting the other side. In a game that’s so desperately trying to scare me, it’s sad that their sudden appearance is the only thing that ever made me jump.
  • What does this mean? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? “You make one fucking sound, and it’s your brains they’ll find in the garbage tomorrow morning.” The marine has his gun to a doctor’s head when he says this. Was his plan to shoot him, then sweep up his brains and pop them in the bin? And why would people be looking in the garbage in the morning? Who looks through the rubbish in the morning?
  • Although saying that, this is a man who responds to, “Jesus, where have you guys been? What happened to Bella?” with, “That’s a negative captain.”
  • A videogame death is always a little more galling when you got shot through the giant wall of rock.
  • At a certain point during development someone said, “Look, the NPC AI isn’t getting fixed, is it? They just stand in front of the player all the time. We need to do something.” “I know!” piped up a bright spark. “What if we just make it so you can shoot straight through them.” And another day finished early.
  • Now enemies have started teleporting into locked rooms, and I think that’s a bit off.
  • So although it’s certainly a worthy criticism that this so-called Aliens game spends far more time being a manshoot than an alienshoot, it really is at its least-worst when you’re shooting other soldiers. The alien combat is so teeth-pullingly infuriating, their leaps improbable, their death animations identical to their slightly wounded animations, and their colouring almost always the same as the dreary corridors you’re shooting in. At least the thousands of enemy soldiers have the good grace to wear white.
  • Oh good grief. I’m nearing the end now, and it’s found a new level of stupid. I have to disconnect three fuel lines, each of which requires a lengthy sequence with control taken from me, while the swarms of aliens continue to attack. The two other NPCs do nothing to defend me, so each time I’m killed before it gives me back the controls.
  • I mentioned the teleporting NPCs. Again, I really want to stress that they do this seemingly because they can’t be bothered to walk three metres through a doorway. But here’s the craziest thing – as they appear there’s a little tingle of blue electricity, as if it’s a design feature, as if they’ve got the technology to do it. While we’re all stranded on a planet, surrounded by humans and aliens who want to kill us.
  • Oh God, why won’t it end?
  • Wow. Just wow. It had the gall, the bum-squenching temerity, to finish on an open ending. This colossal waste of everyone’s time doesn’t even wrap up its dribbling story. Because we’re all just on tenterhooks for the sequel, right?

The saddest thing to report is that Aliens: Colonial Marine doesn’t even achieve that “so bad you just have to see it” place. The innumerous bugs only frustrate, rather than offering the surprising jazz-style joy of a Soldner. (“Soldner”.) And it’s not even the “If you found a copy in a charity shop you’d have to experience it” level of awful that something like the Starshop Troopers game offered. Although as I was playing, that was the game that came to mind most frequently. (Weirdly, the defunct team who made Starship Troopers, Strangelite, now mostly work for Rebellion, who made the execrable Rogue Warrior and Aliens Vs. Predator for Sega in 2010. Small world.) It occupies that worst of gaming spaces – just a very badly put together game that’s infuriatingly tedious to play. It’s pretty telling that it’s when you’re just shooting men in corridors that it’s its most passable – you slump into the muscle memory of it all and pass the time. It’s every time an alien comes on screen that you know unfair deaths, dreary, repetitive combat, and broken code is coming to the front.

It’ll be fascinating to learn what went wrong in spending half a decade making this game, once enough time has passed that everyone will speak. Until then, there’s nothing of interest at all within, especially for those with a great passion for the Aliens franchise. Yes, this is now official canon, but no, you don’t want to know it.

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319 Comments »

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  1. x1501 says:

    Any thoughts on the exploding chest issue?

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      That final pic needs editing so its winking at us?

    • abuzor says:

      Ah, sexism in video games…. Topic of the year!

    • mr.ioes says:

      I don’t get what’s so wrong or funny with the dialog presented in the article and your post. Maybe it’s because english isn’t my native language, but even after watching a let’s play for 20 minutes — I don’t see anything bad with the dialog. If it makes no sense to me (““Raiders 6-5 will wait for you, but goddammit don’t make us wait for you.”) I just ignore it and move on …

      Gamespot mentioned this one to be terrible “Woke up gagging on a creature like a spider, but wrapped around my face. It’s dead, sir.” I first heard that line in a let’s play and even after reading the gamespot review, I still don’t get what’s so bad about this line.

      Also, wouldn’t it be more true to the movie to say “stomache” instead of “chest”? Maybe they changed it in the game though, didn’t look.

      • iucounu says:

        “Woke up gagging on a creature like a spider, but wrapped around my face. It’s dead, sir.”

        Yeah, that’s unbelievably terrible. Put yourself in the shoes of a man who woke up ‘gagging on a creature like a spider, but wrapped around my face’, and then try to imagine yourself saying that line. You woke up with a slimy hellbeast’s ovipositor thrust into your oesophagus, a dead thing which you dragged, retching, *out* of yourself, oozing, ropy – and you convey this shatteringly terrifying experience as ‘I was gagging on a creature like a spider wrapped around my face. It’s dead, sir.” Or put yourself in the shoes of an actor who has to say that. “It’s dead, sir’, you say, into the microphone in your little booth, and then you have to pause, wincing, as the great thudding plot point thunks into the lifeless swamp of narrative that dialogue implies.

      • PleasingFungus says:

        “I don’t get what’s so wrong or funny with the dialog presented in the article and your post. Maybe it’s because english isn’t my native language”

        Why did you feel the need to continue your comment after this?

        • Eukatheude says:

          Excuse me?
          Off the top of my head, Joseph Conrad was born in Poland and only started studying english in his twenties. What are you trying to imply?

      • flib says:

        OK, so let’s break those examples bit-by-bit. (What language is your first language? If it’s French, I can try to give you an idea of similarly nonsensical lines).

        “Raiders 6-5 will wait for you, but goddammit don’t make us wait for you.”
        -This one is just bad in that it’s generic tough-talk that is trying to be much smarter than it is. It’s not witty, it’s not cool, it says nothing that “Raiders 6-5 will wait for you, but [please hurry/we’re taking casualties/we can’t wait forever]” wouldn’t achieve. Because it tries to be ‘tough’, without actually thinking about what that would entail, so the result is a total failure: it comes off as laughable instead of cool.

        “Woke up gagging on a creature like a spider, but wrapped around my face. It’s dead, sir.”
        -Oh god, everything about this sentence is a failure.
        -Anyone who could imagine swallowing a spider (because to gag on it, it needs to have gotten into your mouth to begin with) is imagining a small, probably non-poisonous spider, whatever is the most common type where they are. It would be gross, sure, but it’s not exactly a life-threatening event.
        -Nevermind that you can’t really gag on spider because if it’s big, you’d be able to shut your mouth, and if it’s small, you’d panic and vomit or swallow it. Again, the analogy fails.
        -Spiders are not known to try to replicate using live humans. They’ll crawl on you but are otherwise disinterested unless they think you’re a threat. They don’t attack you, and certainly don’t attack you with anything more severe than a bite.
        -Really, you had a biological probe inserted into your esophagus, and only woke up then? Not when it was humping your face, not when it began to block off your nose and mouth so you couldn’t breathe, just when it was inserting a huge phallus into your esophagus.
        -“but wrapped around my face.” OK, then if it’s like a spider, how are you gagging on it while it’s wrapped around your face? Spiders can be one of two things if they’re around your face: on your face or in your mouth. Like, this makes no sense. Analogy fails, AGAIN.
        -“It’s dead, sir.” Might have been OK if it was delivered in a terrified voice, but nope. Completely flat delivery, from everything I heard. If you woke up to an alien blocking your vision, your breathing, and trying to use you as a receptacle, and you killed it, would you be calm and collected?

      • fil5000 says:

        Further to the other comments, “ignore it and move on” is not a valid approach for someone reviewing a game to take.

    • nimzy says:

      The real headscratcher is that she constantly asked to be shot before said chest bursting happened. Then her boyfriend just stands by watching paitently while the shock scene of indescribable agony (helpfully called out ahead of time by a “press B to skip” prompt with no explanation on what you’re skipping) happens. Then, while the chestburster just sits there doing nothing, he casually shoots its head off with the bullet she made everyone promise to shoot her with.

  2. phelix says:

    So, a 7 out of 10?

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      Jon did say that you can alt-tab. That’s got to be worth something.

    • abandonhope says:

      Nuked from orbit. So yeah, a 7 sounds about right.

    • Rhuhuhuhu says:

      Heé Captain Gamespot! Keep in mind that you don’t have to burn a game just because it’s not your cup of tea. This game is definitely an 9 and if you are unable to realise that, then that is solemnly your error and you and your mum should feel guilty.

      But in all honesty, was anybody expecting anything good?

      All I could advice, is to get Natural Selection II

      • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

        The worst thing about the game is that people will compare the dismal gameplay of this to the brilliance of NS2.

      • Baines says:

        GameSpot gave it a 4.5

        EGM gave it a 9, causing both gamers and other reviewers to question just what was going on at EGM. But then people noticed it was the same EGM reviewer who gave Halo 4 a 7, knocking that game for issues like “ignoring obvious enhancements like big-ticket sequences and proper iron-sights mechanics in favor of their age-old addiction to slow, methodical combat in unnecessarily large environments.”

  3. Ravenholme says:

    Such a shame that this is a terrible trainwreck. But it is.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Yup, I’ve been a fan of Aliens games for a long time, I think this one will finally stop me buying them ever again.

      I mean, seriously, I finished the game today and I quite honestly can’t remember most of it.

  4. Bhazor says:

    I’d much prefer an Alien game.
    I’d Imagine it as Miasmata aboard a claustrophobic submarine like space trawler.

    • LionsPhil says:

      There was that one in Sunday Papers I meant to try firing up an an open-source speccy emulator.

      • Britpunk says:

        WOS has it and you can play it via their in-browser speccy emu – World of Spectrum Archive

        edit – should mention the browser emu uses Java for those who may dislike such things. They have the .tap and .tzx too.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Saying that, The Thing game from a while ago would probably make a better Aliens game than this.

      • Kefren says:

        The Thing was excellent (if still flawed). I completed it many times. The Speccy Alien game is good too.

        • WhatKateDoes says:

          I loved “The Thing” – or at least most of it – it got a bit bland towards the end, but it had a tonne of atmosphere, certainly in the beginning during the more “open-air” sequences. I actually played the game back in the day with those fancy “E-dimensional” 3D specs – you know, back before 3D was “cool” – and it was stunning. Wandering around a deserted wrecked building with the lights flickering, the snow falling outside the windows (and in 3D it *really* looked like it was) and then nearly falling off my chair as something darted past the window outside.. now THAT was an atmospheric game.

          I’m bitterly disappointed that A:CM has proved to be a dismal failure – I still held out hope for it just for the sheer nostalgic element of seeing famous landmarks from the movie and a possible “trousers of time” plot branch.. but that was overuled by what I was seeing in terms of terrible, lazy graphics, bugs (not the huntable type), and dialogue from a Ferrero Roché advert.

          Returned the game unopened. :*(

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      felisc says:

      I’m pretty sure around 6 monthes ago there was a post about a game referred to as “amnesia in space”. There was a trailer… but eeer the name of the game, hum… forgot.

  5. Brun says:

    Ah, a good old-fashioned John Walker lambast of a bad game, in the vein of the MW3 and Dragon Age 2 WITs. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to sit through one of these and not be lectured on how tenuously sexist and/or racist it is, and how I am a very bad person for not being as outraged as (apparently) the Entire Rest of the Internet and All Its Friends are about it. Glad to see we’re getting back to the good old days.

    I haven’t quite finsihed – will keep adding until I do.

    Perhaps I spoke too soon.

    • jalf says:

      Ok, I have to ask, but are you just as unpleasant in real life?

      I mean, good grief, someone on the internet dares to have an opinion that perhaps people should be at least somewhat respectful towards other people and you feel so butthurt about it that you have to bring it up completely out of context just to point out how butthurt it made you feel?

      If that’s what you’re really like, then I’m kind of glad I don’t know you.

      • Brun says:

        Lighten up. I’m poking a bit of fun, as John has acquired a reputation (deserved or otherwise) of being somewhat “political” in his writings recently. It was not meant to be unpleasant.

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          Aerothorn says:

          I’ll take you at your word, but the fact is it IS unpleasant. This subject has dominated comment threads, and instead of talking about the game in question you drag it into here, as if it hasn’t been covered enough and you had something to add. You don’t have to be a John Walker fanboy to find it very tiresome.

        • John Walker says:

          It seemed to me like you were trying to be pretty unpleasant.

        • DXN says:

          Yeah, it’s starting to get pretty stale, now.

        • Major Disaster says:

          I enjoyed reading the WIT – it was focused on the gameplay and not the “fluff” (albeit possibly important fluff) around the outside.

          So I sort of understand what was meant.

      • vasek45 says:

        Wut. The guy’s been joking about the recent never-ever-ending talks on how games are violent and sexist and how we should think about it and maybe try to change things. And I don’t even see him mentioning someone’s particular opinion, lol.

        • lionheart says:

          I actually got so tired of the left wing politics for 12 year olds lectures inserted into every second article on this site that I stopped reading it, despite it being by far the best games coverage on the internet. The “IF YOU DONT AGREE WITH MY EVER SO PROGRESSIVE VIEWS YOU’RE AN EVIL FASCIST” tone that was in turn built on by the sycophantic right-on commenters just became more and more pervasive, and the venom pointed at any dissenters more and more nasty

          In the hope that perhaps the lectures had subsided and Walker had just gone back to making the occasional snarky comment about conservative politicians, I read this one article, chosen at random, and what do you know it’s still going on.

          Obviously it’s Mr. Walker’s site and he can do with it what he wants, but it’s bad form to use a platform that was built on straightforward good games coverage to start pushing a political agenda. Similar to the Hollywood stars who build careers making movies where they shoot people in the face, only to leverage their celebrity in the service of some lame gun control advocacy group.

          Cue “if you don’t like it, don’t read it” comments from those who have completely missed the point.

          • iucounu says:

            Bye!

          • DiamondDog says:

            Sorry I think I missed your point. All I could hear in my head was the sound of a balloon deflating.

          • qrter says:

            So you do acknowledge that Walker is part owner of the site, and so he can pretty much push as much politics in his writing as he wants to, and then you try to counter that by stating “it’s bad form”, which makes it sound like an objective point of criticism. Except that “bad form” is entirely subjective, and generally tends to mean “it’s just not how I’d like it to be”.

          • Vorphalack says:

            Hey, ”bad form” is almost as important as the law in England. To dismiss our cultural foibles so brusquely just isn’t done!

          • 22raoulduke says:

            “Progressive” being snarkily re-defined as a negative? Fuck politics.

            John and RPS keep up the biting comment and progressive debate ;-)

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            Jubaal says:

            I’m a bit confused as to what you posted Lionheart as I can’t see how your post is linked to this article or can be linked back to any comments in this article that I can find. Unless I’m missing something, which is certainly possible!

            You seem rather angry that sometimes a political opinion is expressed or a social comments is made by the writers or commentators that does not fit your belief. This holistic view of gaming is one of the areas which sets it apart from other sites and why a lot of people come here. Therefore as the key writers own the site I don’t see this changing any time soon. Therefore people are going to understandably suggest you look elsewhere for your gaming news if the style here doesn’t suit you.

            In your post you also intimate that there is some kind of one-sided harassment from the “right-on commenters”. In all truth venomous posts have been written by people from a range of different viewpoints, not just the side you appear to be opposed to. The comments section here used to be a much more positive place to visit but sadly the number of aggressive, offensive, rude and bigoted comment posts has been increasing in recent times. Unfortunately your kind of post helps fan these flames. My advice to all commenters is if you don’t agree with something and you want to post about it, then put forward your views politely, honestly and constructively. If you can’t do this then best not to post at all.

            I appreciate your post is certainly not the rudest or most offensive I have seen here by a long margin, but it is a magnet for those kind of posts. Your post may not be the bomb, but it is lighting the fuse.

          • Lanfranc says:

            Using a news platform to push personal political agendas is a long-standing and honourable tradition in the British publishing industry. Just look at more or less every major newspaper in the nation.

          • Brun says:

            Using a news platform to push personal political agendas is a long-standing and honourable tradition in the British international publishing industry.

            Fixed that for you. Because let’s be honest, this is far from a uniquely British phenomenon.

          • jalf says:

            So, what I heard you say is “if you don’t change your ways, a lot of annoying and ignorant fools are going to stop commenting”.

            I’m not sure I see the problem…?

          • deadly.by.design says:

            I see what you’re saying and yes, it can get annoying.

            On the other hand, it’s a UK-based site and we know how John can sometimes be. So, I try not to act surprised at things that seem odd to me.

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            DeVadder says:

            ‘Using a news platform to push personal political agendas is a long-standing and honourable tradition in the British publishing industry. Just look at more or less every major newspaper in the nation.’

            Calling RPS a new platform, comparing it to major newspapers and requesting proper journalistic behaviour. You sir, made my day.
            This is a site where people post their opinions on computer games. It does not pretend to be impartial or high journalism.The very article you commented on is called ‘Wot i think’. Emphasis on the ‘I’ here. And the think, maybe.
            If you people insist on game coverage without opinion (or your opinion on how sexism is not an issue), good luck. Noone is gonna stop you.
            I, and apparently i am not alone, share some of the authors opinions and enjoy seeing them expressed.
            And if there are opinions i do not agree with, i can stand to be exposed to them without getting angry.

          • wodin says:

            I agree to a point. It’s not annoying enough to stop me coming here..but sometimes it gets abit too much..Also it’s not just John, infact it’s another writer I feel is far worse for the high moral ground overly critical attitude.

        • lijenstina says:

          In the distant future, people will explain the difference between left and right ideologies as the millenniums old question of is it flushing an “average AAA game” (which by then will be a widely accepted synonym for a turd) more efficient if the water in the bowl goes clockwise or anticlockwise.

      • jackass00 says:

        It was his opinion about John’s opinion. What is wrong about this?

      • heldelance says:

        Did I just see the body armour of Bella with a chestburster? Jesus, these guys (Gearbox) were going on and on about the female soldier “Bella”. There was also a lot of annoyance at their design for a female soldier, she looked more at home with a ballet troupe (is that the right grouping?) than with a bunch of marines. People wanted “Vasquez” instead of a Victoria’s Secret model.

        Anyway, thanks for the review John, I’ll still load up the game when I get it just to see how it plays for me though honestly, from your review, it seems to be another Duke Nukem Forever.

        It’s funny how bad Gearbox’s games are (those other than Borderlands 1 and 2, those were tits!)

        I shelled out the big bucks for the collector’s edition, at least I’ll have a Power Loader figurine right?

        • pepper says:

          So.. What am I looking at for Gearbox BD1/2 then? How many tits would you rate that compared to this game? Maybe a flock of em? In the winter? Great tits or blue tits? One of those is extremely violent, even attacking its own. So stay away from tits!

        • Farcelet says:

          Out of curiosity – what IS it that made you buy this game? The collector’s edition, at that?

        • Eclipse says:

          Duke Nukem Forever was a good game, with funny one liners and very varied levels. Even the DLC was very good. This is not.

          • Exuro says:

            I agree with you. Using Duke Nukem forever as an example of a bad game is ridiculous. Duke Nukem forever was a perfectly solid game that felt like a tribute to the days of Quake and Half Life (and dare I say, Duke Nukem 3D) in the vein of Serious Sam and was certainly better than a fairly terrible game like Rage, a game that heralded consistent 7/10 reviews.

            Any negativity surrounding Duke Nukem Forever was not so much because it was a horrible game as it was that people had such high expectations surrounding it and had built it up so much in their heads after 12 (thirteen? I forget) years of development that anything short of perfection meant it was absolutely terrible.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I think it’s fair to say that the only thing good coming from this game is the overwhelming hilarity of the trashing it’s getting.

      • Runty McTall says:

        Agreed – this review has had me properly in stitches at my desk (alas, working late). So at least some value was extracted from what sounds like a properly rubbish game.

        One comment though – the top and bottom pics combined are a bit spoilerish? I mean, should anyone actually intend to play the game after this.

        edit – um, also the text.

        • John Walker says:

          The top pic is from the beginning of the game. The bottom one is so heavily flagged that it’s a surprise to no one. I didn’t include the one genuine spoiler.

          • Runty McTall says:

            Yup, sure it’s totally fair enough – just the top pic shows that character’s armour allowing you to identify them at the bottom is why I mentioned it.

            Thanks for responding though – really enjoyed reading WYT.

          • Runty McTall says:

            Guh, also now slightly tempted to play the game to find out what the plot twist is :)

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            Nogo says:

            Weyland lied. Space marines died. (Is my guess.)

          • Runty McTall says:

            From reading around (most of the reviews of this game are hilarious – there’s even one or two “straight” reviews that give it high scores which are themselves very amusing for how out of step they are with what everyone else is saying and also the fact that this very game is usually advertised all around the glowing review) it seems likely John was referring to a rather lame piece of discontinuity with the movie which, ugh, really kills any residual curiosity I had to play it.

            Sounds like a rubbish, rubbish twist but fair play to Mr Walker for leaving it out.

          • Baines says:

            Unfortunately, if it is what I assume you are referring to, the “one genuine spoiler” is itself a negative point against the game. Or at least part of a negative point, due to both it happening and how it is just brushed off.

          • Pippy says:

            Games Workshop show up and execute everyone for unauthorised Space Marining.

    • abuzor says:

      Uh uh… but x1501 did it better in the first comment. :)

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      The only thing that’s tiresome about John Walker’s moral diligence is the resulting slurry of passive-aggressive snark from commentors who think it makes them look clever to mock. Just fuck off, all of you. You make my head hurt.

      Edit: Sorry, I almost never post negative comments, but this recent spate of “haha, aren’t you going to call it sexist, Walker?” comments really gets my goat. Stupid of me to get sweary though.

      • N1kolas says:

        Your head hurts because it is empty. No cure, I’m afraid.

      • DonJefe says:

        Lighten up! Jesus. I generally like the RPS community because its one of the few internet fora where people dont call each other names all the time. Cant we just respectfully disagree like adults?

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

          Edit: Ugh, I just realised that this comment more than qualifies as “passive-agressive snark”. I’ll go back to posting stupid jokes and comments about how much I like Okami now.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            Relax. Everyone has their off-days. To keep it on-topic: in the case of Gearbox, that’s probably quite a lot of ‘em. ;o)

            (Everyone or everybody?I keep confusing the two)

    • Grape Flavor says:

      Look, I find the politics on RPS pretty tiresome, but this is just plain stupid to bring that issue up for no reason in this comment thread. Let’s leave as many articles relatively free of drama as we can, hmm?

    • Premium User Badge

      Nogo says:

      Are you aware that some people are actually very interested in the portrayal of their gender when deciding what videographic entertainment to purchase?

  6. Nim says:

    Sometimes… sometimes the correct course of action is to just cancel. Was really looking forward to a four-player game based on the Alien-franchise too.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      They did cancel. Unfortunately it was the game that actually sounded promising that got cancelled.

        • Premium User Badge

          Sunjumper says:

          To think that they canceled an almost finished RPG to keep working on this disaster?

          I’d love to meet the people who make these decisions only to find out in what kind of world they live.

          • roxahris says:

            Do remember that this was in a time where Obsidian was known for releasing really buggy games that failed to deliver. Like, we’re talking before Alpha Protocol here. Whereas Gearbox had made, I dunno, the Brothers in Arms games, Borderlands, and a bunch of well-received ports and expansion packs.
            It’s a wonder they managed to screw it up so badly.

  7. Tomac says:

    So… GOTY then?

  8. pagad says:

    Ah, well. We’ll always have the 1999 and 2001 Aliens vs. Predator games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Arathain says:

      Steady on, sir.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Do…do numbers go that low?!

    • lijenstina says:

      You Sir, are wrong. Under the new International Convention on Arbitrary Scores in Game Reviews and Unified Tariffs of Bribes with Game Related Mugs, Almost Chocolate Bars or Something With Sugar in it and Free PS3 Deals and Other Similar Items Including Indirect Payments Through Advertisements – 8/10 is what 6/10 was before it became the 8/10 under the new system – not to be confounded with the new 10/10 which is somewhere between the old 6/10 and 8/10 . The old 9/10 and 10/10 are now officially out of rotation and punishable under the Geneva Conventions Prohibiting Torture of Slightly Above Average Games With Excessive Sarcasm and Vitriol.

  9. Premium User Badge

    All is Well says:

    If I didn’t know any better I’d say Gearbox was intent on alienating all their fans.

  10. MOKKA says:

    I really want to know what happened during the development of that game.

    • Rawrian says:

      I suspect there was a bit of a mess with 2 or more developers involved, which might explain a lot.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    So Sega cancelled Obsidian’s almost-done game so they could finish this up instead.

    Life is confusing.

  12. SuperNashwanPower says:

    We all love it when a game gets a pasting though really

  13. Alexander says:

    SEGA should respond with: “The game was solid, but the focus on combat authenticity did not resonate with consumers. Critics were polarized and gave the game scores which were, frankly, lower than it deserved.”

    • TheMick says:

      Lol +1

    • Premium User Badge

      slerbal says:

      Excellent, sir, excellent :)

      +1

    • Werthead says:

      “No excuses, we completely screwed over the game here. To apologise to gamers everywhere we have purchased the HOMEWORLD licence and directed Relic to immediately make a new game in that series. Also, everyone who purchased COLONIAL MARINES will get a free cupcake.”

  14. Premium User Badge

    DarkLiberator says:

    I’m just astonished how bland and generic it is. It had 5 years of development and the end result is that all of it is just utterly bad. Nothing new or redeeming about this at all.

  15. ResonanceCascade says:

    Anyone who didn’t see this one coming a mile away should blame only themselves.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      And also, people from Stoke

    • jalf says:

      I blame the pope. I mean, do you seriously think it’s a coincidence that he resigned just now, when the game is released? He knew about this, and he did nothing about it! The bastard!

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        What a party poper.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          Mitre been better if someone had at least tried to papal over the cracks. Just think of all the in-vestments gone to waste. Perhaps some modders will altar it for us.

      • Premium User Badge

        Stellar Duck says:

        I guess he was one of the few able to holy see how bad this game would be.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      When you’re negative about almost everything, you’re bound to end up right some of the time. But there’s plenty of games where the RPS crowd moaned and snarked in every article and the game turned out to be quite exceptional, like Far Cry 3.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        Well, yeah, there’s moaning about most games on here, but I feel like with this one and Hitman, it was perfectly justified and wound up being correct.

        I will take full blame for being wrong about Far Cry 3 though. Did not see that one coming.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      To be fair, there was a very different gameplay preview back in 2011 that made it look pretty good.

  16. Flameberge says:

    “It consistently delivers a series of wonders”
    Cannot wait for that to be quoted out of context.

    • Skhalt says:

      It will probably be on the box of the Game of the Year edition.
      “It consistently delivers a series of wonders” – Rock, Paper, Shotgun

  17. colw00t says:

    Since nobody gives a shit about this game, the “twist ending” that I’ve seen unspoiled in reviews is that Hicks shows up or something, right? None of the reviews come out and say it, but it apparently breaks the series chronology, and I see Michael Biehn in the credits.

    I mean, I see Bishop there in that first screenshot, but Bishop is also an android so for all I know there are ten thousand dudes who look just like him.

    Hadley’s Hope came through a 40 megaton blast a lot better than even DC did in Fallout 3, apparently.

    • Askeladd says:

      Well, at this point it’s useless thinking about this. They fucked it up like I suspected.

      Oh, and by the way: I don’t think anyone of those genius writers knew the scale of a 40 megaton blast. Those structures would have been ripped to shreds.

      • colw00t says:

        I would describe the effect as “vaporization,” but yeah. Or they forgot that it happened at all, which seems in line with the competence level we are dealing with.

    • Premium User Badge

      DrScuttles says:

      SPOILERS OF A SHITE GAME THAT NOBODY SHOULD PLAY
      Yeah, that’s a different Bishop. Why do the marines have another Bishop? Is it common practice to have a Bishop? Then why is Hicks so surprised to see a bunch of marines with a Bishop? The game is set a few months after Alien 3. Hicks was woken up by Weyland Yutani and taken back to LV426. Fuck knows who that mangled chunk of meat in the Alien 3 cryopod is meant to be in his stead.

      • colw00t says:

        Well, they do say that it’s standard practice to have an android, and I guess the Bishop model is popular. He certainly was reliable and talented, in his quiet creepy way.

        The Hicks thing is just idiotic. Apparently one of the NPCs LITERALLY handwaves about how Hicks is present in this game.

        • Premium User Badge

          DrScuttles says:

          But they had a clear opportunity to emphasise that with Hicks recognising a generic Bishop model rather than assuming the one from Aliens being alive and in one piece again… But then again this game has some really crap writing.

          Oh and yeah, “That’s a longer story.” So bloody well tell it, whichever of the 10 studios contributing to the game made this part!

  18. JimTheDog says:

    Awww. Dammit. I was hoping this one would be fun. :(

  19. Meat Circus says:

    Does Colonial Marines have the possibility of becoming a cult classic-variety terrible game?
    Or is it the wrong sort of terrible?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I believe it’s the “even in the bargain bin? skip it!” terrible quality all over.

    • Bhazor says:

      To be a cult classic it has to be terrible in interesting ways like Pathologic’s Kafkaesque universe or Boiling Point’s impossible ambitions with inevitable bugs.

      Aliens Colonial Marines is just terrible.

      • President Weasel says:

        Yeah, this game appears to have had eminently achievable ambitions which it completely failed to achieve. Aim for the stars and miss, fine. Attempt to leap a tall building in a single bound and make a mark fairly high up the side? At least you had a good try.
        To set the bar as low as “make a competent corridor shooter” and somehow still fail to clear it though? That’s shameful. These are professional developers (or at least, they get paid to develop games).
        Someone at the publisher has seen this, played it, and made the decision to release it – although if this is it after several unexpected delays, you can kind of understand why, as there will be a big chunk of sunk cost in it, and the feeling that the damn thing will never be any good after this long so they might as well shit it out into the world and make some of the money back.

    • pepper says:

      Looking for a new Daikatana eh?

  20. pupsikaso says:

    Looks like a classic case of management screwing up yet again. But who gets fired? Yep. Devs.

  21. mckertis says:

    ” The textures often look like they’re from the original Unreal, character models are archaic, and animations are generally laugh-out-loud terribad.”

    Original Unreal, huh ? …alright, i’ll let that obvious bullshit slide. Now let’s compare these graphics to something modern, popular, critically acclaimed, something like…Minecraft. How does it fare compared to that ?

    • Brun says:

      Minecraft. How does it fare compared to that?

      Minecraft’s graphics and textures are appropriate both technologically and aesthetically (blocky textures go with a blocky game). Besides, you can mod the textures in Minecraft if they’re that important to you.

    • unsane says:

      I can’t let bullshit slide though, graphics here are on par with the norm.

      10 years ago. And from the animations I’ve seen…. 15 years.

      Minecraft are, as mentioned, appropriate. And can be modded to look quite spectacular.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Oh splendid point OP, you sir are a true scholar and we are gifted indeed to have someone like you with the bloody chutzpah to stand up anonymously to the man and say it.

      For me, the zenith of graphical fidelity was reached with chuckie egg. I have no idea why we wasted any time further developing electronic verisimilitude. What next? Goggles you wear that simulate actually being in the room? Pah. What rot.

      Have a gold star.

    • x1501 says:

      Well, Minecraft kinda has those “fully customizable 4 billion square kilometers of the world” and “full built-in support for hundreds of user-created ultra-HD texture packs” things working in its favor. What’s A:CM’s excuse?

      • Beelzebud says:

        Did they change something major, because the last time I played around with HD texture packs you had to jump through about 100 hoops to get them to load properly.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          Yes. IIRC Notch added in game support years ago. It’s in the main menu with a multiple selection option. Just download. Granted you might have to pop it in the right folder. But not too much trouble once it’s downloaded.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Would you care to explain the difference between apples and oranges as well?

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      You mean the game that was mostly developed by one person looks worse than a game developed by a professional team over 6 years? You don’t say!

    • Rawrian says:

      There’s also such a thing as consistency, which is, quite often, more important than texture quality.

      • Farcelet says:

        I do wish more developers read this comment. Art design has been all over the place this past decade, with some exceptions.

    • utzel says:

      Although there were the S3TC textures for Unreal and Unreal Tournament, combined with detail textures shaming some of the textures in so called “next gen” games…
      Sorry, I’ll go and hide in my hole again.

  22. tenochtitlan says:

    After the obvious fiasco resulting from Duke Nukem, one might have thought they would have been smart enough to not release this…thing. Maybe now someone who has heard Econ 101 in college steps up and explains how sunk costs work.

    • Askeladd says:

      No, they’ll do fine. Pre-orders are gonna pay the bills. It won’t beat Skyrim, but enough poor souls purchased this … bad game.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        Can’t understand why. Everything about this suggested it was awful, far in advance of the release. I guess people bought it based only on the licence.

        • Baines says:

          There were hints of it being awful, but it looked like it might at least be a mediocre dudebro alien shooter.

          Sega/Gearbox had a review embargo in place so that no one who had played the game would even hint at its quality or issues before release day. By that point, the Steam pre-orders had been processed, copies had been shipped to stores, and people were picking up their store copies. Any wisps of discontent were filed away as normal pre-release complaints. Every “big” game has people complaining a bit before release, after all.

          Sadly, Sega/Gearbox got what they planned. They turned a bad game into some measure of a money maker on good will, hype, and enforced silence.

      • Askeladd says:

        Well, regarding to what I said: I’m not too sure anymore. Steam shows 13k~ peak players on Aliens. It’s hard to tell sales figures from that, but it seems a bit low. I can’t estimate the sucks balls factor this game provides to customers, which results in immediate Alt-F4 usage.

  23. Premium User Badge

    PeopleLikeFrank says:

    From the PC Gamer review: “Gearbox evidently have a tremendous love for the films, but it’s the kind of love that suffocates.”

    Knew this would be terrible as soon as they said it was set on LV-426. If you claim that you’re big fans, you should know to give the original work some space. I didn’t expect quite so unfinished a mess, right up until I remembered this is Gearbox we’re talking about.

    • qrter says:

      From Ben Kuchera’s review over at The PA Report:

      “I once attended a preview of the game with Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, and he stood in front of the screen and quoted Aliens the entire time. You get an achievement in the game for looking at a doll’s head, because Newt had a doll’s head in Aliens. You win the Game Over, Man! achievement for finishing the game.

      The tone deaf adoration of the source material is only the beginning of the game’s problems. “

      (the whole review)

      That’s insane. I’m a huuuuge Alien fan (much more the first film than the sequel, but still) and I would’ve never made the dollhead connection.

      • LionsPhil says:

        He was doing this all through some of the early footage. RPSers commented on it at the time.

        • Premium User Badge

          Lars Westergren says:

          Must be satisfying to get to do a “TOLD YOU SO” a year and a half after. Seems you and other RPS oldtimers like Man Raised by Puffins and DrGonzo were right.

        • RakeShark says:

          I was prophetic!

      • Premium User Badge

        PeopleLikeFrank says:

        @qrter Heh, that was almost better than the RPS one. “If the game were finished, it would be an artistic failure. If the game were fun, it would be a technical failure. At least the game is short…

        Well, suffice to say, this is the final blow to my (already low) opinion of Pitchford. The incredible lack of judgement here, Duke Nukem Forever, the terribad-looking Inglorious Basterds… thing, and the dull Borderlands (admit I’m in the minority on that one). Yeah.

        • Premium User Badge

          Malibu Stacey says:

          I haven’t played Borderlands 1 past the first map area as it just bored me. Literally no incentive to progress to the second map having done the missions & dungeons in the first one.

          The vehicles were fun though.

  24. waaaaaaaals says:

    Monolith were probably the only developer that were able to make a really good Aliens FPS, namely AVP2.

    • Premium User Badge

      strangeloup says:

      It’s a shame that AvP2 doesn’t seem to be available digitally. I remember the expansion for it, Primal Hunt I think, being really good as well. Still got the discs -somewhere- I think.

      I went and bought AvP 2000 on Steam to compensate a bit though. Especially as it was all of three quid.

    • buzzmong says:

      *cough*
      Apart from Rebellion in 1999 who made an absolute awesome game with AVP (aka AvP Classic 2000 as it’s called on Steam).

  25. thecaptain says:

    I wonder if there’s any hope of a mod to fix the single player. Like, say, removing all friendly NPC’s, dialogue, and story, and making the aliens proper scary.

    I really thought AvP 1999 was going the right direction when the aliens spawned at the “top” of levels, and hunted you through ventilation ducts that spanned the map, so you never quite knew when they’d pop out of a vent behind you, eviscerate you in a split second, and make you restart the level. Why have our bugshoot designs, 14 years later, regressed to monster closets and enemies that spawn just around corners when you approach?

    • colw00t says:

      It seems to me that if you were determined to make an Alien FPS, the way to do it would be to play a solitary scout or returning prospector or something. You only have the weapons and ammo you bring with you. The game has no drops of military-style ammunition. You get your M41A, full load, and say four spare magazines. That’s it, for the whole game. There are very few aliens but LOTS of small FEAR-style jump scares that give you opportunities to shoot at things that are not in fact aliens. That would be pretty cool, although it would probably get wearisome after a while. Keep it shortish and it would be very effective, if you do it right.

      • Grayvern says:

        This is specifically an Aliens game not an Alien game, so it’s a horror themed action game like the film is a horror themed action film.

        So It needs to succeed as an action game and a horror game simultaneously which as AVP2 proves can be done without any overly conceptual shenanigans.

        • colw00t says:

          There’s only, what, three shootouts in the whole of Aliens, and limited supplies are a major factor in the plot, though.

    • Baines says:

      Years back, FPS developers came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth the time to make stuff like enemy AI, because the average player would just assume the AI was cheating. No need to make an enemy soldier that could flank a player, not when you could just spawn an enemy behind the player out of sight.

      And the average player would play through your game once, so it didn’t matter if the illusion fell apart on multiple playthroughs and variations for replayability was a waste of time.

      • Farcelet says:

        Remember Half-life 2’s combine? Recall having as much trouble beating ‘em as Half-Life 1’s marines?

        All way through the sequel (and on hardest difficulty) I was absolutely certain that the combine AI was worse in every possible way. Then I created a test map – put eight rebels against eight combine troopers on a small, cover laden area.

        I was goddamn baffled.

        Throwing grenades from behind cover – at where they ASSUMED the target was (occasionally missing completely, as one might without line of sight) – attacking diagonally and flanking, rarely going for a frontal assault, using corners to present the smallest possible target, circling to maintain line of sight on their opponent WHILE remaining partly concealed, etc.

        It was the first and last time I’d seen AI pull these moves, just always wished they had been accurate / tough enough to present a real challenge for the player. Great AI put to little use.

        • Premium User Badge

          Malibu Stacey says:

          The major problem with Combine AI in HL2 is the same as most games. Your character (Freeman in this instance) is an overpowered wrecking ball of mass destruction and unfortunately most gamers are idiots.
          This is why I very rarely if ever play games on ‘normal’ difficulty. Although sometimes that comes back to bite you when you progress far enough into the game e.g. Far Cry.

          • Farcelet says:

            If I recall Farcry’s soldiers were pretty damn effective – very much like Half-Life 1’s marines. And you’re right, the issue IS the fact that most customers are expecting an easy ride.

            Half-Life 2’s combine couldn’t aim for shit, died in a couple of hits and often made tactical decisions that were terrible. Ones that could’ve been avoided with the AI that they’d created, ones that Half-Life 1’s marines never did – like running around a corner they knew you were ambushing them from. They’d dislodge you with a grenade and shower you with bullets the moment you got out.

            They opted for a lesser challenge despite being ABLE to create a greater one.

  26. qrter says:

    Here’s a blogpost by a Harmonix designer from about 8 months ago, on the subject of how developers keep managing to cock up making a good Aliens game:

    http://outsideyourheaven.blogspot.nl/2012/06/is-it-that-hard-to-make-decent-aliens.html

    He makes the excellent point that these games make the mistake of focusing on the marines, when it’s the marines that fall to pieces in the film, and it’s the civilian (Ripley) that has to save their behinds.

    • Tei says:

      Thats a great blogpost, thanks!.

    • Grygus says:

      That’s an interesting read, but I think his reading of the Marines is flawed. They do horribly overestimate themselves and underestimate the aliens… but Ripley is dead if not for them. They don’t fall apart; they sacrifice themselves. That’s not the same thing. I think the movie’s point was that jingoism is stupid, not that civilians > military. He is right that this whole aspect is completely missing from games, though. I also agree with his calling “progress” in an Aliens game counter-productive to creating the proper atmosphere.

  27. TheIronSky says:

    All they have to do was make System Shock 2 or Dead Space with an Alien skin. How hard is that to do?! Apparently it’s very hard, and making bad design choices over and over again without playtesting the final product is surely the path to success.

    “People would surely rather play a basic first person shooter game than a horror game with survival mechanics, right?” – Says the guy who hasn’t seen the sales figures for Dead Space.

    And it’s not like they even needed to match the brilliance of the design in games like System Shock 2 – it could have been completely generic and uninteresting – they just needed to establish some actual working tools for the player to use. Why is that so hard these days? Surely somebody must care about the Alien IP (although after Prometheus, it seems that not even Mr. Scott can’t find it within himself to give a haply crap about the series).

    • Hoaxfish says:

      That does seem to be the main take-away… people want a good Aliens game, they know this one is bad, but it’s sparked a hankering for a good one.

      Dead Space (at least 1, maybe 2… not sure if 3 would count), System Shock 2, Space Hulk, obviously earlier Alien games come up as suggestions. Games which have taken their inspiration from the films, but not in name, are doing a better job of this than Gearbox… and Gearbox has a number of years to research those games and take it right back home.

      • TheIronSky says:

        Must’ve been the same bunch of guys who made Duke Nukem Forever.

        …Which begs the question: are these the same people that made Borderlands 2? And if so, how could they make something so incredibly good and follow it up with something so abysmally bad? If not, why don’t they take some of the folks from that talented Borderlands Dev team and transfer them over to the team that worked on this (and DNF [if they’re not already the same people])?

  28. mehteh says:

    I didnt expect much coming from a console focus company, but its a shame the story, tension, and level design suffered as well. I had no idea it had co-op until today and as if the lack of tension wasnt enough they ruin it even more with co-op.

    • Moraven says:

      Focusing on consoles has nothing to do with making a good or bad game.

      • phelix says:

        Sometimes it does. Hardware and control devices’ limations, not to mention their target audience, can very well be quality dampers.

  29. Mario Figueiredo says:

    And SEGA is the company that got Relic.

    As for Gearbox… I’m dumbfounded. I mean, it’s not that BL1 isn’t today still a parody of unsolved stupid bugs that should have been solved ages ago. But there was gameplay to it. There was obviously a game there. One enjoyed by quite a large number of people also for its original concept. But this… I can’t understand what the hell happened.

    • Delixe says:

      I don’t see how this could be considered Sega’s fault. They have been pretty good with Creative Assembly and Sports Interactive, in fact if you listen to those guys Sega is a very hands-off publisher. Sega have given this game more than enough time in the oven and certainly pushed it very hard with advertising. It’s just a shame the cook was rubbish.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        SEGA is the publisher. It’s their ultimate decision to publish this crap. Now, I haven’t seen the game credits, but it’s my guess it includes producers and product managers from SEGA, meaning it also managed and monitored the development of the game.

        Meanwhile Gearbox is the developer. So they are responsible for having made this crap. In no way I’m going to ignore that. But don’t think SEGA isn’t accountable too for this utter mess. Something I haven’t see in quite a few years. Metacritic (I know, I know) currently scores it as one of the lowest in history for a triple-A at 45/100 for the PC.

        This is obviously a project that should have been canceled. And that’s SEGA responsibility. I honestly never thought that in 2013 we would still see a game being developed like this.

        • DiamondDog says:

          So why is this bad for Relic? They make a terrible game and Sega don’t cancel it?

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            I didn’t make my point across yet?

            If your publisher happens to not mind publishing any crap that falls on its hands and it happens to also be the one producing and managing the product, that doesn’t spell any good. What do you say to your project manager when you come up with an unfinished work and he tells you “it’s ok, ship it”? You then try to explain it’s not ok, but he tells you there’s no more time, ship it.

            Meanwhile I’m still trying to find out about the game credits; whose in charge of production. According to IMDb this was not SEGA, but Gearbox in fact. SEGA only took publishing obligations. If that’s the case (I’m unsure how much trust I can put on IMDb concerning a video game) my point is completely mute. Otherwise, exonerating SEGA from this mess is not an option.

          • DiamondDog says:

            Well, you continue with that strange thought process and I’ll continue to trust a publisher that has done fine with two of the PCs biggest franchises.

            No, I’m putting this one squarely on Gearbox.

          • Bhazor says:

            They gave them six fucking years. How much longer did you want Sega to give them?

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            For pete’s sake! You cancel the damn project!

            Otherwise you are releasing to the market an inferior product at the price of a top product, complete with all the market shebang that is effectively misleading customers who don’t happen to follow your favorite flavor of gaming journalism or go read the goddam Guardian.

            I find it utterly baffling the double standards here. If this was an EA or ubisoft game you would be all over them for their incompetence and misleading product. It’s SEGA… “oh, did do good things, it’s ok”.

            Over and out!

          • Baines says:

            Sega’s been willing to cancel, deny, or delay console titles.

            Sega decided it wasn’t in their interest to publish Bayonetta 2. The game is getting made only because Nintendo stepped in to fund it as a Wii U title.

            Sega decided to delay the US release of Max Anarchy a year, and then release it as a budget title. While people were angry when the delay was first announced, the game arguably isn’t a $60 title, and the delay did include its price being cut.

            Sega decided to not publish High Voltage Software’s The Grinder, though they had been the primary publisher of HVS’s Wii-era games. (HVS continued to work on the game at least for a while, and tried making a multiplatform overhead shooter spin-off, and continued to shop around for a publisher, but it never found one that offered terms HVS was willing to accept. I’m honestly not sure HVS is still around. And sadly, with their library, they wouldn’t be sorely missed.)

            Thinking of it, Sega canned the Obsidian Alien’s RPG, and that was supposedly nearly complete when it was cancelled.

        • Premium User Badge

          Morangie says:

          After six years in development do you really think any major publisher would just shelve a game with this IP? The Aliens name alone will sell some copies and from the perspective of the accounting department, better to release a crap game and make some of your money back than lose it all.

          Gearbox are the ones I don’t understand here. If its true that another developer did the majority of the work, thats two crap games made by other people they’ve put their name on. Must be a hell of a bonus payment from the publishers to cover the reputational damage.

        • jalf says:

          But what would anyone have gained by them cancelling the game? If they’d cancelled it a couple of years ago, it might have saved them money, but why do you or I care about that?. And regardless of when they’d cancelled, they might have avoid it tainting their name to some degree (but again, that’s hardly a big deal. Sega’s brand name is much, much bigger than this. They publish a lot of good games for various platforms, and one bad game isn’t going to turn away customers).

          Fans and customers? How would they have been better off with a cancelled game than with a bad one?

          I can see how it might have been good business sense for Sega to cancel it, sure. But I’m having a hard time seeing how it is their duty or “responsibility” towards anyone else to do so.

          I mean, there’s no law against making bad games, is there? And I’m not sure I see how a bad game is worse than no game.

          • Grygus says:

            A bad game is worse than no game because a bad game can cost you future sales.

    • geoffreyk says:

      With the Half-Life expansions, the original Brothers-in-Arms, and Borderlands, Gearbox had established a place in my mind as “yay!” With the abysmal outcome of DNF, and now this, they’re eroding the goodwill I have for them.

      Even with Borderlands 2, I’ve enjoyed it, but it did not sufficiently improve/expand upon Borderlands 1. If their next game is Borderlands 3, I may be done with them altogether.

  30. Totally heterosexual says:

    Well at least the buzz around disasters like this is pretty fun to follow.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Critical condemnation is the modern beheading. We all love a good leer.

  31. Hoaxfish says:

    So, what happened to the E3 demo that was supposedly a lot better than this, but doesn’t even show up in the full game?

    • Delixe says:

      That’s what the season pass is for. DLC Incoming!

    • Moraven says:

      Polygon has some nice screenshot comparisons of the game being demoed in 2012 to what the game looks like in 2013…The “demo” in 2012 looked a lot better.

  32. Premium User Badge

    Cardinal says:

    “Building better worlds”

  33. L3TUC3 says:

    So the Aliens vs. Predator game from 2010 is not worth of note somehow? You get to play as the Alien. It wasn’t all that bad looking either and got the tension right at points when you’re playing as the marine.

    Not so much when you’re the predator ofcourse, it was more about figuring out the best way to rip people’s spinal cords out. Which was pretty fun. Does this game feature any of it?

    • Premium User Badge

      strangeloup says:

      The 2010 one wasn’t as good as the earlier ones, but it was certainly not terrible, especially as it seems to have been on special a zillion times for not much money. The marine bit of that seems way ahead of what this game is doing.

      Tempted to reinstall it, actually, but the article about Obsidian maybe making a new New Vegas makes me want to reinstall that and/or FO3. And my connection isn’t very fast.

  34. caddyB says:

    Gearbox is totally trying to get bankrupt.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      They certainly lost a lot of credibility because of this. Duke Nukem Forever, well, they were stuck with finishing something someone else had messed up so it’s somewhat possible to write that off as ‘not quite Gearbox’. But this, well, this is entirely on them. And it’s going to hurt. Even if most gamers don’t, publishers will keep this in mind.

      • Brun says:

        Duke Nukem Forever, well, they were stuck with finishing something someone else had messed up so it’s somewhat possible to write that off as ‘not quite Gearbox’. But this, well, this is entirely on them.

        Go back and read the other articles from yesterday. There are strong indications that this was yet another project that someone else had messed up.

      • phelix says:

        But wasn’t this project also shared between two developers? There’s a saying about two captains on one ship that is quite appropriate here, I believe.

  35. Premium User Badge

    wyrmsine says:

    The reviews were really puzzling, as I got to try it at Rezzed, and it was lots of fun. But apparently, according to this tweet from Jim Sterling (Destructoid), the event demo was a complete fabrication. Which just leaves me even more confused.

  36. aldo_14 says:

    From what I can tell, the Alien walk animation was captured from a toddler with a nappy full of poo.

    Sadly, it doesn’t inspire quite the same level of dread.

  37. GernauMorat says:

    So, it is massive wank. This seems pretty well established: what shall we make of the grauniad review?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2013/feb/12/alien-colonial-marines-game-review?INTCMP=SRCH

    • President Weasel says:

      4 stars, when the rest of the internet says it’s “WHAT A SHAME” territory. What is the point of the Guardian games section?

      • Revolving Ocelot says:

        What a rotten way to review.

      • Cooper says:

        Keith Stuart’s a damned good writer. He does most of the games section for The Guardian. It’s by far some of the best games writing and analysis in any newspaper in the UK.

        That review was not written by Keith…

  38. mr.ioes says:

    Great read, definitely!
    Also, those aliens were just checking out your 7 helmets, don’t blame it on bad AI.

  39. President Weasel says:

    “”Of course you remember Aliens, right? Who could forget Danny Glover kicking ass on the Discovery One, Sarah Hamilton shouting, “That’s how they git you. They’re under the goddamned ground!” ”

    I would watch that film. I would watch the hell out of it.

  40. DiamondDog says:

    But but… Randy loves the films. It’s got the loader in it! And the gun noises!

    The Sulaco… guys…

    Oh.

  41. pakoito says:

    >A ladyvoice pilot says

    That’s Ashley Burch, from Hey Ash Watcha Playin’. She’s also a racist teenager in Borderlands 2.

    • President Weasel says:

      Her character is totally awesome in Borderlands, and not racist.

  42. Beelzebud says:

    Gearbox is quickly earning the reputation of being the go-to studio when you want to push out half-finished crap that someone else couldn’t finish.

  43. DickSocrates says:

    In ten years’ time, Randy Pitchford will still claim this is a brilliant game as a large section of his brain appears to be missing.

  44. Kefren says:

    I’m sure the game is proper poo, but one point John made about the scanner seems inaccurate – in the films it is always a _motion_ scanner. When the aliens don’t move, it picks up nothing even if they’re right in front of you (hence the first big battle in Aliens). So if you scan a room with it then you won’t detect the aliens if they’re still. Only when they start moving and attack. Obviously that would _look_ like spawning, but it needn’t be.

    • Spacewalk says:

      That’s how it should work but the game.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      It would be more engaging in gameplay if it gave hints at how many enemies or what area they would come from. In all the other games (AFAIK) they had the detector go off when enemies started to get closer.

      This game, from what I’ve heard, spawns them on top of you. Hence it’s pointlessness. The scanner is for detecting them through the dark, behind the walls and in the vents. This game spawns them at the wall, out of the vent and they run at you before you could search out the dark.

  45. Spacewalk says:

    Should the teleporting marines be classified as Watsons?

  46. bigjig says:

    I’m surprised people thought this was going to be good frankly. Gearbox haven’t exactly got the best track record in the world.

  47. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Currently top seller on Steam.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Steam’s bestseller list is my go-to when I feel the need to confirm the fact that the majority of gamers are nothing but uninformed consumer-sheep.

      • colw00t says:

        Number 1 is kind of a useless term, though. It doesn’t tell you how many they are selling. Nothing much else got released in the last couple of days, and nothing major is on sale, so it’s going to get a bump just from being a heavily promoted major release.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          isn’t it bad enough that the game this bad (and take another example: The WarZ) sells this much? Regardless of how many copies were sold there were at least enough copies sold to hit number one at any point in time.

      • phelix says:

        Those ~1k recommendations on the store page make me shudder and wish for a different world.

  48. zeroskill says:

    And other then apparently a turd it’s also no.1 top selling game on Steam. The magic of marketing. I wonder why people still buy into this sort of thing.

    Well i’m going to grab my popcorn because I see a storm rising. An unpleasantly smelling storm.

  49. SuperNashwanPower says:

    The irony of the above-mispelled “canon” is that everyone associated with this will almost certainly be fired.
    Grammar Nazi Pun Guy