COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Aliens: Colonial Marines PS3 Review

Updated: 02/13/2013 8:31 AM KSTP.com By: Hannah Anderson

I know that a lot of people are fans of the “Alien” movie series and I am one of them. I have seen all of them and have played just about every game that has been made throughout the years. 

Some of the movies and video games were okay and some of them were awesome.

I must say that Sega and Gear Software’s “Aliens: Colonial Marines” is awesome and one of the best games that I have played in the “Alien” series. When I received my review copy for the PS3 the other day I was so excited, because I have seen many trailers, video clips and articles about the game on the web and now I got the chance to finally play it.

“Aliens: Colonial Marines” is a first person shooter that takes you on an exciting and thrilling adventure in space. Your adrenaline will be pumping as you explore many dark and dimly lit corridors while you are try to survive multiple attacks by “The Xenomorphs (aliens).” The game is creepy and gives you an eerie feeling as you play through the stages.

Your character is a United States Colonial Marine named Corporal Christopher Winter. You learn about an abandoned space ship called “the U.S.S. Sulaco” that was discovered hovering around a planet called “LV-426.”

It is now your mission is to go to onboard the U.S.S. Sulaco and to try and figure out what happened to the crew and why they abandoned the ship. It does not take long for you and your teammates to find out what happened.  Now it’s your turn to try and survive what the soldiers on the U.S.S. Sulaco could not do, a deadly attack by one of the most dangerous and deadliest species of alien yet, “The Xenomorphs.”

I really like the story and thought that it was pretty interesting. There is so much action, suspense and you never know where the aliens are going to come out next. There are also many different types of Xenomorphs that are featured in the game. I was so interested in the story that I pretty much played the game until the end nonstop. I know that most people that buy “Aliens” will feel the same way.

There are so many things that I really liked about “Aliens: Colonial Marines” that I don’t know where to begin.

I will start with the controls. I thought that they were really easy to learn and there are menus that pop up that will tell you what button you need to push to do something. In “Aliens” there are many different things that you can and need to interact with.

For example if you want to pick up a weapon, health or open a door, you just go by it and press the square button. You will know if you can interact with something because it will be blue and when you walk up to it words appear on the screen that will say something like “push square to open door.” I thought that this was helpful and I think most players will also.

There a bunch of different weapons that you can get while you are playing and more weapons will unlock once you have reached a certain rank. You can get pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, pulse guns, flamethrowers, and grenades, just to name a few.

There are some doors that you are not able to open, so you have to use a welding tool to cut open the door and you can also use it to seal a door. This takes time and you have to hold the button down. The bad thing is that you are vulnerable while you are doing this, so you have to make sure there are no aliens around.

One nice feature about your weapons is that you can quickly switch to different ones, by pushing the triangle button. A menu will also pop up if you hold the button down and you can select a new weapon. I really liked this and thought that it was a great feature to have, because when you are in a heated battle and you run out of ammo, you can than switch to a fully loaded weapon without stopping.

You also have a motion tracking device that you can pull out and see if there are any aliens around or you can see the locations of soldiers. When you are close to an alien it beeps and the closer you get to it, the louder and faster it beeps.

There are items that you can find such as health, armor, and ammo. Once nice thing about your health bar, is that it is divided into three sections. If you take damage you can regenerate your health if you are not hit again for a short period of time. I thought that was very helpful.

As you kill aliens, you gain experience points and eventually your rank goes up. You can also gain experience points by doing different challenges in each level. You can see what the challenges are before you start the level and also if you pause the game.

Once your rank goes up new weapons will be available for you to use, plus you can also upgrade the weapons you have.  You can equip better scopes or bigger ammo clips.

Scattered through the levels are dog tags, audio logs and legendary weapons. They are hidden and are very challenging to find. If you find them your experience will go up. You can see how many of each item you need to find in every level by pushing the select button. I really liked this feature a lot and I think it gives players a great reason to go back and play the levels over again.

There are some amazing different game features that you can play in “Aliens: Colonial Marines.” 

There is the main “Campaign” mode which is the main game and you play through the story. One really cool feature with this is that you can drop-in or drop-out of someone else’s game. Other players from around the world can do the same in your game thanks to online. I thought that this was amazing because you can help out other players get through some of the more difficult parts of the game.

There is also an extremely fun and awesome multiplayer mode that has four different games that you can compete against other players from around the world in.  The four games are “Team Deathmatch,” “Extermination,” “Escape,” and “Survivor.” They are all very fun and I could play them for hours.

In each of the four games you are divided into two teams, “The Marines” and “The Xenomorphs.”    The most amazing thing is that you can actually play as the aliens, which is really cool. You play two rounds in each game. The first round you play as either the Marines or the Xenomorphs, then when it’s over you play the second round as the other team.

The team with the most points at the end of the two rounds wins. As you play you gain experience points and they can be used to upgrade your Marine or alien. You also gain ranks as you play by gaining the experience and the higher the rank, the more upgrades you can unlock for your soldier or alien.  

You can also upgrade the features of your soldier or alien, by going into another menu. You can change logos on their uniforms or their facial features and you can unlock the different features by doing certain things in each multiplayer game. You will know when you unlock something new, because a little icon will appear by the different selections in the menu. 

All of the multiplayer games are unique and have a fun theme. The first one is “Team Deathmatch.”  You are divided into two teams and you have to try and defeat as many other players on the opposite team as you can. The team with the most points wins the game. 

The second game is called “Extermination.”  In this game, if you are the Marines, you have to try and plant bombs in certain areas where there are a ton of Xenomorph eggs.  If you are the Xenomorphs then you have to try and stop the Marines from planting bombs.

The third game is called “Escape.” If you are the Marines you have to try and escape a certain area within a certain time limit. The Xenomorphs have to try and stop you. If you escape you win or if you stop the Marines from escaping you win. 

The fourth and last multiplayer game is called “Survivor.” You only get one life and you have to try and survive as long as you can. The team that survives the longest wins the game.

One of the coolest things I think about being the aliens in the multiplayer games is that you have a special heat vision where you can see where the Marines are located through walls. You can also climb on walls and ceilings and go through small air vents to surprise the other players.

I really enjoyed Sega and Gearbox Software’s “Aliens: Colonial Marines” a lot. The game was a lot of fun and I thought it was one of the best first person shooter games. I guess it’s because I love the theme of the game and I thought it was really fun to play. How can you not like a game based on a great movie and plus you get to be the aliens for once. The controls are really easy to learn and the multiplayer games are very addicting to play.

I know that people are really going to find “Aliens: Colonial Marines” very fun and it may keep them up at night.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.