Aliens: Colonial Marines – Hands-On Preview

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A brief but brilliant taste of what Gearbox have done with the Aliens license.

Everyone knows that terrifying things hide in the shadows, that the gloom at the periphery of your vision hides every denizen of your worst nightmares.

That distinction between light and shade, between the safety of multiple pairs of eyes searching the black and the lone wolf with his measly field of vision, lies at the very heart of the Aliens: Colonial Marines multiplayer demo I recently experience at the Rezzed games expo.

More than that though, the light and the dark act as primers for the player – here’s the best place for you to launch your attack from, or here’s the room that you and the rest of your team need to defend.

From the marine’s point of view, this is team-based multiplayer at its most stringent. A single alien can take down an entire squad without breaking a sweat, and anyone fool hardy enough to strike out in their own is in for a swift, gory death.

The level we played was a cracked and stricken base of some sort, all twisted metal walkways and unspeakable things oozing through the ceiling. It immediately felt like part of the dank and unpleasant Aliens universe, fitting in perfectly with the down trodden cosmos that Ripley and her cohorts inhabited in the original movies.

This is a human structure that has been overrun by a more powerful, dangerous force, a fact that’s made terrifying clear by the appearance of the first alien.

I take a wrong turn somewhere and get separated from the other players, and within a flash a black shape is on me. There’s a blast of rapid fire machine gun, but that’s all I can do, and it’s entirely in vain. Two beats and my throat has been ripped out, a shower of red blood splattering across the monitor. The end is swift, but it teaches its lesson well: stick together if you want to survive.

There are different classes to choose, with rattling machine guns, meaty shotguns, motion scanners, and a plethora of other equipment choices. All of it pales in comparison to the familiar, hideously lithe shapes that slip from floor to ceiling, dart through pools of yellow light before laying in wait, ready to make a snack of any unsuspecting grunt that stumbles past.

Screaming gunfire greets the appearance of anything shifting in the gloom, the flashes as the bullets escape the barrel lighting the creatures in staccato bursts. We’re losing badly, being picked off too easily, and then we find a place to hole up. Two or three entrances, well lit, a staging post for a thrilling last stand.

They keep coming, but we’re organised now, eyes attuned to the light. It makes for a breath taking, organically generated set piece, as we fight back against concentrated waves of player-controlled xenomorphs.

And then it’s done. And it’s a brief but brilliant taste of what Gearbox have done with the license. The violence is pitched perfectly, the rhythm of the combat attuned to the different beats of the two distinct races. There’s no chance to play as the aliens, but there is an overwhelming feeling that this is a game that finally does the source material justice.

Worth the wait? In the immortal words of Aliens' Newt: 'Affirmative.' Even if the development time has stretched on like a malfunctioned bout of cryosleep.

For: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U
Developer: Gearbox
Publisher: Sega
When? 12 February 2013

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Design Apprentice

    £6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: .Net / SQL Developer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee