Every now and again I get a game that I find difficult to review. Now I’m not talking about the time I reviewed that Xbox 360 Lips karaoke game, I’m talking about game the I find so annoying I just want to spout venom all over it.
Well, I had one recently. It’s taken me a month to review Aliens: Colonial Marines. Why? Because I initially found the game so horrible I wasn’t able write a proper review, only a whiny rant.
You see, basically, Sega and Gearbox have managed to screw up what should have been a game right up there with the likes of Killzone 3 and the possible even Halo. Instead of that level of greatness we have a game that, despite six years in development, looks god-awful and plays as just a slightly above average FPS.
From the moment the intro credits started up the game look less of a Hollywood blockbuster and more like one of those cheap direct-to-video sequels; like the ones knocked out for Universal Soldier and Starship Troopers. Capable, but still cheap-looking.
And that is exactly what we have with Aliens: Colonial Marines. One must question why a studio like Gearbox Software would release such an unfinished product on it’s fans. These are the guys that made the Borderland games! I know there has been a rather public airing of the game’s dirty laundry with contract coders TimeGate having the blame passed to them. My money is on a bit of legal maneuvering by Sega to kick Gearbox up the arse and get them deliver the long overdue game. What we’ve ended up with is effectively Aliens: Colonial Marines– Contractually Obligated Edition.
And it shows.
I can’t tell you how many times I put the game down. The visual and glitches made me want to do nothing more that just write nasty things. Incoherent nasty things that were no good for a review. Things like:
It would be easy for me to give Colonial Marines a poor score just because of how much the game turning out this way has pissed me off. The game isn’t rubbish, it’s a competent shooter in its own right, but it is a lousy use of a movie franchise that should’ve easily made for a great game. Instead of greatness we have something decidedly average. The effort spent on nods to the fans is wasted and those very same fans are likely to be just as insulted with the lack of respect shown by the developers; both to the franchise and the fans of the movies.
The level of arrogance shown by Gearbox and Sega in releasing such a poor effort after an eon in development beggars belief. I only hope that this is just a blip in their otherwise impeccable track record and not the shape of things to come.
The irony of it all is that in stepping back for a moment I managed to see the diamond in the rough and in the end I had a pretty good time with the game. Once I got over the poor visuals and the glitches, Aliens: Colonial Marines revealed itself to be a pretty competent game very much in keeping with the Aliens movie. It’s all there, the sets, the hardware the music and the feel. It’s probably the closest anyone has got to capturing the Aliens franchise in a video game.
I still only gave the game 7/10 in my review for Shane the Gamer, here, but that was a lot more than some other reviewers; who obviously couldn’t find it in itself to get over how disappointing the game is.
Another review that I’m a bit behind with is Crysis 3. I’m playing it on the Xbox 360 as I’ve still not sorted out a Direct x 11 card for my PC. So far, I’m enjoying it a fair bit more that I did the second one. It seems with each installment the team at Crytek manages to improve the the franchise that little bit more. The overgrown post-apocalyptic New York setting redefines the term urban jungle with deer bounding across the densely vegetated ruins of the city.
I am still getting to see what the CryEngine 3 looks like on the PC via City Interactive’s Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2. The previous game, which I stumbled on in last years Steam sale, was powered by the Chrome 4 engine, a very capable game engine that first blew me away in the 2003 game, Chrome. Updated versions of the engine subsequently powered the like of the Call of Juarez games and Dead Island. I can understand the move to CryEngine 3 as the engines ability to render lush vegetation is second to none and snipers love a decent bit of cover. I’ll update you on Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 later.
I’m still playing SimCity, which is slowly being bought back up to speed by EA following the games catastrophic launch. The game is still not 100% enabled, but nevertheless I’m enjoying it. Whether or not I find it better than SimCity 4, I’ll keep to myself until I’ve finished my review. On the horizon I’m hopefully getting a copy of God of War: Ascension and Gear of War: Judgement to take a look it. I’ll keep you posted.