We didn’t like Aliens: Colonial Marines. We didn’t like it at all. Behind the scenes, words like “festering boil on the ass of gaming” may have even been bandied about. That might seem a bit harsh, but after seeing your character drop out of the world and cause the game to go berserk as it tried to figure out how to kill you with derpy aliens, even as your AI teammates ran in circles after possibly having been broken by the horror of seeing their squaddie stand half in/half-out of solid metal, you tend to take an negative impression with you.
Patches in games are becoming the norm. You expect them at some point, and when you see your friend jump online to join you in a game, then they suddenly are booted off only to return a few minutes later, you know that they were forced to download the digital Band-Aid. Usually these patches are fairly innocuous and relatively small. There are exceptions, but a console patch tends to be around 4MB on average, often less. PCs, however, tend to be a bit bigger, generally because there is more that can be done. A lot more. 4GB worth of more.
Massive PC patches aren’t all that uncommon, but this one, which to be fair is actually closer to 3.5GB, will change the entire look and feel of Aliens: Colonial Marines. It won’t do anything to the story or level design, but it will make everything look better and the AI enemies shouldn’t run past you as if they tried to stop but couldn’t hit the breaks in time.
Basically the patch for the game is just slightly smaller than the game itself. Feel free to throw that in the face of the few people out there that still defend Aliens: Colonial Marines and think critics are being unfair.
The making of Aliens: Colonial Marines has turned into something of a cautionary tale when it comes to game development. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier has a great rundown of where things went wrong, but the end result was just a technically broken game. To its credit, Gearbox has been working overtime to
stop the bleeding fix bugs, issuing patch after patch, and while it probably can’t make this a good game it can at least try to make it a not-as-horrible game.
The full list of things the patch fixes on each system can be found on Gearbox’s site, things like “Addressed issues with players not spawning into a level properly” and “Smart Gun animation now properly tracks targets.” So basically it fixes the game not working. The Xbox 360 and PS3 list of patches is equally hilarious/heartbreaking, although the size of the patch is much smaller. Below is the full list of PC fixes. Read it and despair.
• Improved texture resolution.
• Various visual improvements.
• Added mouse smoothing to options menu.
• Fixed crashes tied to launch and motion tracker.
• Added additional safeguards to better protect save data.
• Resolved an issue where a player’s level could sometimes appear incorrect when backing out of a party.
• Addressed several scenarios under which players could spawn without a weapon.
• Changes to better prevent audio from sometimes cutting out during end of mission cinematics.
• Fixed issue where Xeno death animation was not properly calculating momentum of the killing blow.
• Smart Gun animation now properly tracks targets.
• Addressed some instances where Xenos would display erratic animations.
• Increased light radius for player’s shoulder lamp.
• Adjusted aim assist to better reflect player input.
• Addressed an issue that could sometimes cause co-op player revival to not work under certain circumstances.
• Addressed issues with players not spawning into a level properly.
• Fixed a marine player invincibility exploit.
• Resolved several instances where players could walk or fall outside of maps.
• Addressed an issue where Ripley’s Flamethrower (bonus content) would sometimes fire continuously without player input.
• Fixed an issue that could cause localized text to sometimes display incorrectly.
• Addressed an issue where weapon ammunition was not always highlighted properly.
• General user interface improvements.
• Miscellaneous bug fixes.
• General user interface improvements.
• Various performance improvements.
• Fixed issue where a door may not function properly if a Xeno was killed while opening it.
• Addressed issue where players could become stuck in a close encounter after killing a Lurker that had pounced them.
• Fixed collision issue where bullets would not pass through certain open doorways.
• Fixed an issue related to clients incorrectly interrupting Xeno melee encounters.
• Addressed an issue where doors would sometimes not open properly.
• Addressed an exploit where players could melee while throwing a grenade or placing a claymore.
• Fixed some collision detection issues that could result from a close encounter.
• Prevented campaign pop-ups from appearing outside of campaign.
• Tweaked enemy and friendly AI to be more aggressive and responsive.
• Modified campaign difficulty to account for improved AI responsiveness.
• Improved enemy collision detection regarding doors and Power Loader.
• Addressed some issues that could cause improper warping for co-op players.
• Various tweaks to address instances where NPC characters would not always properly navigate to objectives.
• Players will no longer bleed out immediately when downed in a Power Loader.
• Fixed an issue that could prevent NPCs from getting on the elevator in the Sulaco.
• NPCs no longer attempt to open doors while being welded.
• Fixed issue where Raven could sometimes pass through welded door.
• Implementing a message to warn players that campaign progress will be overwritten if they try to start an offline campaign game from within the co-op campaign UI.
• Adjusted the distance between players before they’re warped to the location of furthest player in co-op.
• Fixed issue where torch would sometimes appear incorrectly to co-op clients.
• Fixed issue where difficulty could sometimes become stuck incorrectly after switching modes.
• Fixed issue where co-op player would not recover properly after being saved from a close encounter.
• Fixed issue where Russian players could not drop into a co-op match in some missions.
• Updated late-game close encounter moment to disable player input, which could cause them to become stuck.
• Fixed issues that could cause clients to report inaccurate results and statistics.
• Addressed instances where a map would appear to “pop in” when loading into a new match.
• New Xeno appearance customization added.
• Multiplayer teams should now correctly auto-balance between rounds.
• Increased duration of Lurker Pounce Challenge “Cat-Like Reflexes” from 10 to 20 seconds.
• Fixed issue where certain multiplayer challenges would not unlock properly for all characters.
• Crusher pick-ups now correctly appear as highlighted for clients.
• Resolved issue where campaign Motion Tracker could incorrectly in multiplayer loadouts.
• Fixed issue where clients would sometimes be invisible after spawning in No Hope in Hadleys.
• Multiplayer teams are now randomized (parties excluded) if percentage difference in scores is greater than 15%
• ‘Switch Teams’ option removed from the Pause menu.
• Corrected issue where server and client could get out-of-sync when switching out of a power-up while firing.
• Fixed issue where controller would vibrate during the scores screen if Rage ability was active upon match end.
• Fixed issue where Cloak ability would not conceal the Lurker when walking or jogging.
• Corrected bug where clients appeared to spawn outside of world before match start.
• Removed placeholder text from appearing on scoreboard in certain situations.
• Improved camera transition when Xeno enters a vent.
• Fixed issue where Xenomorph HUD could sometimes appear in the wrong color.
• Fixed issue with Spitter acid sometimes preventing players from deploying a Sentry Turret for a short while.
• Spitter’s “Acid Spray” now originates from the mouth.
• Escape: Fixed issue where Xenos could spawn in unplayable space.
• Escape: Fixed issue where Xeno players could lose functionality if warped to next area while in a vent.
• Escape: Addressed issues where players would spawn with no weapon if they were the last Marine to die in Escape.
• Escape: Fixed issue where Cat-Like Reflexes ability would not properly complete in an Escape match.
• Escape: Improved timing and placement of warp locations in Emergency Evac map.