E3 2011 first look: Aliens Colonial Marines

e3 2011 first look aliens colonial marines

The guys at Gearbox Software have made a business out of finishing games for other studios, working on several big series like Half-Life and Brothers in Arms. They also deserve credit for actually finishing Duke Nukem Forever. Duke will hit shelves shortly (July 10), but in the meantime, Gearbox is showing off Aliens: Colonial Marines, another game that’s been in development for many years. We visited the Sega booth to check out the game, which was live demoed by the dev team, but not available to play on the show floor.

This is Gearbox’s attempt to bring Ridley Scott and James Cameron’s epic Aliens franchise to life as a first-person shooter. The game takes place after the events of Alien 3 as a search and rescue team of Colonial Marines attempt to search through the U.S.S. Sulaco to find Ellen Ripley, Corporal Dwayne Hicks, and everyone else who’s gone missing. The story may sound routine, but it’s good fodder for a lot of nasty alien encounters and two Battlestar Galactica scribes, Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, have signed on to pen the script.

The section of the game we saw took place on a planet (I think LV-426) where the team inspects the remnants of a base and then gets assaulted by a whole bunch of aliens eventually ending in encounters with a tricerotops-like alien and a queen. Unfortunately, my first impressions are rather mixed. At times, the action was truly frantic and creepy, but never did I get the sense of dread and suspense that accompanied the best of the Alien movies. Still, I am hopeful.

aliens-colonial-marines-e3-2011

My issue is with the intensity of its cutscenes and alien encounters. The level begins with the marines exploring the surface and seeing blips on the radar coming closer, but when we actually see the aliens begin to appear and do things like grab a marine and pull him through a vent, it happens too slowly and without impact. The marines themselves seem to lack the dread needed. They say things, but their facial animation is not up to par with some games coming out, though, to be fair, few game studios have facial animation down. This, combined with a general lack of enthusiasm from the game made me wonder exactly what makes the Aliens franchise so interesting. When you are mowing down 20 or 30 aliens at a time, are they really that scary?

Conversely, some of the rain and outdoor effects were nice and once we got toward the end of the demo aliens began crawling up the ceilings and walls from crevices I didn’t even realize were crevices. This was chilling and quite amazing to watch, especially with the high resolution and quite accurate design of the creatures. At one point, the power for the facility is cut and red emergency lights go on, which amped up the fear and suspense a bit as well

I should note that this was an early look at the game, which won’t be hitting shelves until Spring 2012 (Xbox, PS3, PC, and Wii U, said the developers in our closed door session). Hopefully the finished game will be less of a slaughter and more of an intelligent, suspenseful thriller. If you watch one of the decent Alien movies, about half of the time is spent building suspense and fear. Gearbox needs to find that fear.

Gaming

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Gaming

If we get a Nintendo 64 Classic, it needs to have these games

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.
Movies & TV

Epic sci-fi novels you should read before they become blockbuster films

You can get ahead of the next crop of science-fiction movies coming out of Hollywood by picking up the books that inspired them. We compiled a list of books you can add to your reading list now to get a glimpse of the future.
Gaming

It's dangerous to go alone! Have fun with friends in our favorite co-op games

Video games don't always have to be so brutal, dog-eat-dog experiences! Here are some of our all-time favorite co-op games across a range of different platforms, genres, and difficulties.
Gaming

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.
Product Review

'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe' is 2D platforming wizardry

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the latest Wii U game to come back from the dead on Switch. And wow, it’s much better than we remembered.
Gaming

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.
Gaming

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.
Gaming

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.
Gaming

Latest ‘Fortnite’ update channels Halo with a scoped revolver

The latest update for Fortnite, update 7.20, is now available, and it brings a new Scoped Revolver weapon to the game alongside the returning Glider item and a limited-time Snipers-only mode.
Gaming

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ will make Blackout mode free to play this week

Treyarch and Activision are offering Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode as a free trial download for a limited time. The mode will be available from January 17 through January 24.