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Aliens: Colonial Marines Preview

/ Aug 24th, 2012 No Comments

You might be running the wrong direction...

It’s hard now to believe that in 1979, Alien was rated R and considered an extremely gory horror film sure to scare theater goers out of their wits. By the time my father allowed me to watch it in our living room one night when I was much younger, the chestburster didn’t scare me but rather finally allowed me to understand one of the jokes in Spaceballs. I recall commenting that I couldn’t believe this was a scary movie at one time.

Get that door open!

Get that door open!

“All of the people in your generation must have been pussies.” And truly, in this day and age, it takes a whole lot more to get our blood flowing, put our nerves on edge, and make us cry out as we do all can to keep from jumping behind our couches and clutching at our remotes or gamepads as our only weapon against our deepest, darkest fears. But even so, that fantastic and iconic film turned me on to Sigourney Weaver.

This was a Weaver before she was painted blue and given a tail, before she was just a meager delivery ship piloted by Leela. This Weaver was a woman who smashed gender roles. She fought with guns. She killed aliens. She, put frankly, blew shit up. Aliens: Colonial Marines promises to be a true sequel to James Cameron’s (and, in my opinion, Sigourney Weaver’s) holy classic.

Continuing the story in the form of a sci-fi first-person shooter rather than a less engaging medium like film, Colonial Marines will cast players in the role of a United States colonial marine. Marine Corporal Winter, specifically, is sent to investigate the U.S.S. Sulaco in search of Ellen Ripley, Corporal Hicks and the rest of the marines who went missing. This means that this installment takes place shortly after the events of Alien 3.

Independent developer Gearbox, the people behind Borderlands and Brothers in Arms, has brought together an all-star team to work on this title. Much of the plot of Colonial Marines was penned by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle of Battlestar Galactica fame, which means it is sure to have a flare for the dramatic. Designer Syd Mead, who previously worked on Aliens and Blade Runner, is contributing his artistic talents by designing parts of the Sulaco that did not appear in the film.

They blend in with the dark all too well.

They blend in with the dark all too well.

From what has been announced, Aliens: Colonial Marines seems to be more of an Alien tribute in the style of Borderlands than anything else, which may not be a bad thing. It promises to be totally immersive with the feel of the original movie hinted by the announcement of no HUD and a reawakening of old faces. Returning to the stage will be such fearsome xenomorphs as the facehugger, chestburster, drone, warrior, queen and runner as well as many more.

At the same time, Gearbox has applied it’s Borderlands brand of first-person shooter with some interesting additions. Colonial Marines will feature an extensive upgrade system fueled by experience points that can be earned by killing enemies and completing objectives. Players will largely be able to customize the experience to their own liking and play how they want. This is a far cry from the stereotypical first-person shooter where players are simply thrown a character and things to shoot at.

The game will also feature Borderlands’ premier multiplayer system, bringing back the much loved feature allowing the campaign to be played by either yourself or up to four players with no break in gameplay. Unfortunately, like Borderlands, calling on your friends for help may not be so advantageous as the enemies also level up in proportion to your manpower.

Competitive multiplayer will also be featured, allowing players to go head to head in multiple game types including 6-vs-6 deathmatch and objective styles. Only two objective game types have been announced as of right now: Gauntlet Run and Last Stand. Gauntlet Run is likely to be a fight from point A to B while Last Stand is more of a King of the Hill-style competition with players fighting to defend a point.

You might be running the wrong direction...

You might be running the wrong direction…

Aliens: Colonial Marines is available for pre-order on Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U from Gamestop. With your pre-order you can get quite a few bonuses such as four playable movie characters in multiplayer, Ripley’s flamethrower and bonus customizations for marines. However, pre-ordering the Collector’s Edition gets you much more with a USCM dossier, a powerloader figure, a xeno hive, the USCM academy firing range, a phase plasma rifle, sonic electric ball breakers (not those balls, gentlemen), and everything that comes with the standard edition.

Aliens: Colonial Marines debuts on February 12. However, don’t hold your breath as the game has already been delayed numerous times and while this is hopefully the final date, one can never be sure. When it is released though, fans like myself will be hoping for perhaps, maybe, pretty please, a guest appearance of Sigourney Weaver as Ripley? Maybe? Probably not.

Miranda L Visser

Miranda L Visser

Gaming since she dug an NES out of a dumpster down the street from her home as a child, Miranda L Visser contributes to Gaming Illustrated while working on her M.A. in Norway. She dearly misses steak and being able to walk down the street to buy cheap games.
Miranda L Visser
Miranda L Visser

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