Hands on with Aliens: Colonial Marines, on PS3 February 12th

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Hands on with Aliens: Colonial Marines, on PS3 February 12th

Imagine that an all-knowing time traveller landed in 1986 in order to whisper the mysteries of 2013 to the startled mid-80s masses. Flying cars, powerful cell phones… a videogame sequel to Aliens? Now, 27 years after the theatrical release of James Cameron’s blockbuster, Gearbox Software is making the dream come true on PS3 February 12th.

I Left my Heart on LV-426

Aliens: Colonial Marines is the sequel to Aliens that we always wanted but never got. You are a Colonial Marine sent to LV-426 to find out what happened to Ellen Ripley. If you’ve seen Aliens, you know that things with Ripley didn’t turn out so well, and you, with no idea what to expect, will find yourself entering hell, somewhere far, far away from planet Earth.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

“It was an itch that we had, ever since we saw the first and second movie. That itch has never been scratched; there’s a different history that we always felt that needed to be told, that involves Colonial Marines. Once Cameron introduced them to the Alien universe, there was no going back. I want the story to get bigger, the fantasy to be a Colonial Marine, of having all that gear….We wanted to make a sequel to the Aliens story, and do it in a videogame form, authentic and legitimate.”

— Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox

I tried out the Campaign Mode for a while, and spied all of the many details that one would expect from an Aliens video game, from the fonts on the HUD to the chattering of the pulse rifle to the ghostly chirp of the motion tracker. The motion tracker is actually a very important part of Colonial Marines — press L1 and you can see the direction in which the xenomorphs can be found. You have to be careful, though: When holding the Motion Tracker you cannot use your weapon. This creates a delicious sense of tension, since when you have three xenos mere feet away from you, the few seconds it takes to draw your weapon will seem like an eternity.

I was only able to play one sequence where I secured an area, placed movement sensors all around the scene, and met up with “artificial person” Bishop (played by Lance Henriksen, thankfully) Then, the xenos arrived. They came in waves and spew acid when shot. You will quickly realize that acid and enclosed spaces make for a dangerous combo, so you’ll want to keep moving while you shoot.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

While playing you’ll uncover plenty of references from the movie, from audio logs and dog tags from fallen soldiers (I found Vazquez’s) to weapons such as Ripley’s Rifle, complete with the duct-taped flamethrower add-on. You’ll find more weapons, including pistols and shotguns, from other important characters, and as you advance you gain experience that you can trade for weapon upgrades and customize the weapons according to your taste.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

“In the Aliens film, you have this thing called the pulse rifle. It’s pretty cool, it has an ammo counter and an iconic sound, but it’s kinda stuck in the 80s. The marines tend to favor weapons that can help them survive in any planet, they’re very basic. On the other hand the Weyland Yutani guys have all the money in the universe and can do whatever they want, so their weapons have a more science fiction nature.”

— Brian Burleson, Sr. Producer at Gearbox

Fight as a Team, Die as a Team

When I tried the multiplayer mode in Aliens: Colonial Marines, I wasn’t sure what to expect. There are two factions, the Marines and the Xenos. The Marines are not complicated and their play style should feel familiar to FPS fans. Your boots will be on solid ground, you’ll choose from various weapons and upgrades, then shoot anything that moves.

The xenos are more interesting and are very different from anything you may be accustomed to. There are three different types: Soldiers, Spitters, and Lurkers, each with their own completely different characteristics. The xenos can see through objects and climb walls, but at the same time their defenses are weak. The Soldiers are excellent at hand-to-hand combat, and you can knock off the head of a marine with one solid whack. The Spitters use acid to attack from a distance (tip: do this from a roof), and the Lurkers can powerfully jump towards their enemies and attack without mercy.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

It is not easy to be a xeno. You will die a lot, but with a little practice you’ll see that it’s fun and strategically interesting as well. You will literally hunt down your marine foes, hiding and then taking advantage of your opportunity to attack. It pays to move only when necessary, given the marines’ use of motion trackers.

“The multiplayer is natural because the marines can attack from a distance while the xenos are melee-range and sneaky. Xenos need to think about the environment, and have lot more options. I personally prefer xenos.”

— Brian Burleson, Sr. Producer at Gearbox

The Escape mode may have been my favorite hands-on experience. This is a team game in which marine players have only one life and very little time for reviving each other. Xenos, of course, can resurrect an infinite number of times and need only eliminate the marines while their prey attempt to conquer a variety of objectives, such as advancing or defending a point.

Aliens: Colonial Marines lands February 12th on PS3, bringing a breath of fresh air to the Aliens universe. Have any questions about my time with the game? Let me know in the comments!

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2 Author Replies

  • Nice + First Comment. Come it out for PS4? later.

  • I was fairly stoked when I heard about this. BUT, must admit, without Move compatibility I’m much less interested. :(

  • I’m trying to get into the Aliens games franchise, I think this game is the way to go

  • Lorenzo, I have a question… How is the acting from the characters in single player? From some of the trailers it seems cheesy. Been waiting for this game for years, so excited but so afraid it will be a mediocre game.

  • It’s a bug hunt.

    In all seriousness I’m still iffy on this game. I’m a little uncomfortable with any dialog that refers to the Xenomorphs as Xenos. None of the movies do this, especially the inspiring material so it feels out of place when I hear it in the trailers.

    Dialog aside, the scenes seem to brightly lit compared to what I remember of the Aliens movie. I can likely fix this on my end or through settings in the game itself, but it just seems to bright. There have been a few low resolution shadow shots to boot.

    I like Gearbox’s work, but I’m very iffy that this game is going to live up to that childhood dream in 1986 of being able to play as a Colonial Marine and take down “one of those things” that could take down Ripley’s crew in less than 24 hours. I look forward to giving the game a shot, but I need some sort of in game footage and a demo at this point. As of right now Dead Space 3 is stealing your thunder.

  • @Lorenzo Grajales

    Are you releasing A:CM also on PSN Store as Day 1 digital ?

    Please answer.


  • What’s the controller layout ?, you mentioned (L1) brings up the tracker

    • It was the basic layout, the tracker is a great adition, feels so right, playing as a Xeno is very different, since there are different classes in multiplayer.

  • 1. How does this compare to other similar games in the Aliens Universe? Better, worse, incomparable?

    2. Does Hudson say “Game over man! GAME OVER!” when you die in SP?

  • @ Lorenzo was it better than you expected? What impression did it leave you with?

    • It was very fun! specially the Escape Mode, playing as a marine is scary, because you have all this Xenos coming after you, but Playing as a Xeno requires a lot of patience and once you get some experience, you are a killing machine. literally.

  • 40 hours into Ni no Kuni, hope I can wrap that up before the 12th.

    Just paid off my pre-order. I had to change it from the Collector’s Edition to the standard edition. It was either that or, not taking the wife out on Valentine’s Day. Hmmm, seems I love my wife more than a Power Loader vs. Alien statue….. She should be flattered.

  • Speaking of controller layout and controls…. How is the wall/ceiling walking handled with the xeno. Hold button, walk around, let go of button, fall back to the floor?

  • lol…My first Game Informer featured this game on the cover.
    …That was March 2008.

  • @ Lorenzo gracias for the feedback,fun is what matters,sounds good

  • Looks good. Looking forward to it. I’ll be checking the reviews first though.

  • Does the campaign have co-op or can you only team up on MP?

  • Have you asked or have they mentioned whether this game would be available in the Playstation Store as a digital download?

  • Explain again how Hadley’s Hope survived a 40 megaton explosive blast?

  • Can’t wait for this game!! Aliens is one of my all time favorite movies!

  • Will the game be coming out on PSN also?

  • @wantsumcandy – The game is 4-player Co-Op. Something I am very much looking forward to!

  • @Sponge-worthy – Because, if it didn’t.. All the levels and mutliplayer maps would be an empty crater.

  • Surprise surprise, another generic PAAGG (Play As A Gun Game) pewpew shooter, that’s like all the other mediocre current gen sucky shooters. Can’t ever have enough of those stale shooters that are ruining the video game industry with their shallow bare bones “gameplay”. These “games” aren’t any better than Angry Birds or smart phone games.

    The Playstation and Playstation 2 are much much better consoles than the PS3, since they actually have variety and much better video games. The PlayStation should be renamed “ShooterStation”, because where the hell are all the turn based JRPGs?

    I don’t want anymore of your crappy shooters. The industry is flooded and plagued with generic shallow bare bones shooters.


    If not then I will go Nintendo forever and never again buy Sony anything.

  • Hey is Aliens:Colonial Marines coming out in digital format? please please!!!!! put it on the ps network!!!!!

  • @22, neuropunk: You’re on the wrong game platform if you want turn-based jrpg’s. Handhelds/portables are that a way. This game looks anything but a generic run of the mill shooters you’re bashing as they’re all alike. It’s universe has lore, atmosphere & one of the best species as an antagonist to ever be conceived based on a decades old franchise to which it’s looking to stay true. I haven’t played CoD since MW1 but Far Cry 3 & Spec Ops were great. You’ve boxed yourself into a bubble, limited your own enjoyment while missing out on great games and resorted to whining on public blogs about games which flourished on a previous generation. I’m not gonna waste any more time on you so don’t expect a response.

  • @24 I love the Alien franchise, but the video game industry is overflowing with crappy PAAGGs.

    The PlayStation & PlayStation 2 had plenty of turn based JRPGs, and I bought a PlayStation 3 years ago because I expected Sony not to abandon good games. I don’t want turn based JRPGs on handhelds.

    FOR THE MILLIONTH FREAKING TIME, I WANT TURN BASED JRPGS ON HOME CONSOLES, YOU KNOW, THE SUBGENRE THAT PUT THE PLAYSTATION BRAND ON THE MAP IN THE FIRST PLACE WITH FINAL FANTASY 7 AND OTHER TURN BASED JRPGS!!!!!!!!!! Lost Odyssey is still the best most traditional JRPG of the gen. The PS3 doesn’t even have 1 proper traditional JRPG like Xenogears, Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy 7-10 style game.

    And no, FPS (PAAGGs) are not great, PAAGGs suck. Only exceptions are Metroid Prime & Half-Life series since they’re not like all the other FPS stale crap.

    Also, if Alien Coloniel Marines doesn’t look like a generic run of the mill PAAGG, then how come it does???

  • Neuro, how is it sony’s fault that there are not a bunch of jrpg releases? You keep blaming the ps3. If you want to blame anyone for the lack of chrono triggers and final fantasy’s blame square, they keep pumping out final fantasy games that are not like the ones everyone loves ( snes ps1 and ps2 era). Go play ni no kuni, that should keep you busy for 70 hours.

  • I have the collectors edition on per-order, but with no MOVE confirmation I am seriously thinking about a refund.

  • @neuropunk – PAAGG? Have you seen the quick, acid spitting, swarming xenos pointing a gun at anyone? Personally, I agree with you about more JRPGs on home consoles but, calling this game a generic, play as a gun game is just wrong.

    I have to agree with SliK6SiK, though. You’ll probably want to grab a portable system. Many of the classics you loved are playable on the Vita, the best version of Persona 4 you can play is on it, and grab a 3DS while you’re at it. They get a lot of great JRPGs.

  • I don’t want turn based games on portable systems. I want turn based JRPGs on home consoles, where they have always been.

    Also, the modern JRPGs on portable systems still don’t live up to FF7-10, Xenogears, etc.

    Oh and Aragost, it is Sony’s fault because they keep pumping out failures like Failzone, and Resistance and killed off their Socom franchise. They keep making crap like LBPKarting, Twisted Metal, Star Hawk, PSASBR, and that crap just doesn’t sell. And just because you release a PAAGG doesn’t mean that people are going to buy it, like those sheople buy those crap games, Clone of Duty.

    Anyhow, Aliens Colonial Marines, you play as a gun, and you pewpew things, so how is it not like all the other modern gen generic PAAGGs?

  • Neuropunk

    Stop with the trolling and whinning already. You comments fail. You are complaining about having too many shooters ans not enough variety then go on to complain that it Sony’s fault because they make games liketwisted metal, lbpkarting, starhawk, and pasbr, non of which are shooters. Pretty much contradict yourself. Not to mention you do this during a time when Ni No Kuni, pretty much one of the best jrps to come around in years, just release. Go by the games, play it, and quit whining. Otherwise go buy a WiiU , and quit whinning.

  • Actually, you stop your trolling.

    Apparently logic is not your strong suit. He asked why I blame Sony for no good JRPGs on their system, and I merely responded with that list of crappy failure games. Oh and Starhawk is a shooter.

    Oh, I see Glob of Bore is your avatar. Well, know what? All those games suck and they’re all the exact same game. Kratos is a one dimensional character and the douchiest character ever made. The story in all the God of Bore games are the same, the puzzles are all the same, the games just never change. They stay the same, like Clone of Duty does.

    So, you are the troll for supporting the destruction of video games with awful games like GoW.

    Oh and troll, you DO KNOW that Ninokuni is NOT traditional turn based, right? Oh wait, what the hell would you know about JRPGs? You probably weren’t born yet when they still made proper JRPGs.

    I have been waiting for 6+ years with the PS3 for proper JRPGs to be released on the system, like FF7-FF10 and Xenogears style. So, I have every right to be upset at Sony, and I will not be buying their CrapStation / ShooterStation 4.

  • I originally bought a PS3 back in 2007 for spectacular turn based JRPGs.

    Sony, you have trolled me. Troll me once, shame on you. Troll me twice, shame on me.
    I will never be buying any Sony products ever again.

  • @neuropunk
    Just wanted to no one is going to take you seriously with an attitude like that.

    One thing in particular stands out…
    “Oh wait, what the hell would you know about JRPGs? You probably weren’t born yet when they still made proper JRPGs.”

    It’s comments like this make me wonder if you are just here to be rude.
    No one cares about your high and mighty gamer pride.

  • (Jeez, this blog sure could use an edit button.
    *Just wanted you to know* should have been that first line. Yikes.)

  • I don’t get it. Didn’t the LV-426 colony exploded into pieces in a glorious nuclear blast? What are these marines visiting?

  • A couple people have questioned the fact that enough of LV-426 remained to even visit… It’s a sequel, a story, not a historical documentary.

    When Pam pulled back the shower curtain to find Bobby Ewing alive after an entire year of story lines, did everyone freak out? Well, yeah.. actually, they did. But, just go with it and have some fun.

    Talk about not being old enough to remember something…… Oy vey!

  • Can’t wait, this is gonna be the best day gift lol, r we gonna get a demo n is avp gonna b put in the psn store?

  • Will it be released on PSN as a full game download?

  • Anybody that’s 30+ years old that’s an Aliens nerd, with gaming Microphone that would like to play this game together when it comes out?

    PSN: npng80

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