Finally Aliens: Colonial Marines is on the horizon. It’s taken longer than I’d care to think about to develop, and it’s been pushed back and delayed countless times, finally though February 12th will see you and me enjoying everything it has to offer. After getting some hands on time with the multiplayer aspect of the game, it’s safe to say that Gearbox Software have created something truly fantastic, something befitting of the Aliens name, and something that was completely worth delaying countless times.
Whilst making the single-player game tense and scary really isn’t too hard to imagine, its tough to think exactly how Gearbox could create a multiplayer mode that embodies the same terror and tension but they have managed to do it – and have made it look easy in the process.
Taking up stools and screens with fellow players, we all stepped into the shoes of a team of US Colonial Marines and then were promptly dropped into a team deathmatch mode against a rival team of Xenomorph attackers. Our opponents were controlled by a team of Sega representatives who had been kicking ass all day – and weren’t distracted by the man in a Xeno suit wondering around behind us all. Needless to say we all got trounced on our first go.
This however was no fault of the game, we just didn’t realise how important the word ‘team’ was in team deathmatch. For the first time in a long time, Aliens: Colonial Marines actually made me fall in love with a multiplayer mode – so much so I returned to play the game over and over again. Xenos will pounce from the shadows, drop from the ceiling, rise from the ground and stalk you in the dark before they tear you apart; your only hope to go up against these foes is to work together.
Playing as the marines it’s important to cover each other’s blind sports and scan every corner in hope that you’ll spot a Xeno before it’s too late. When eyes alone aren’t enough you can whip out that iconic motion tracker and raise the tension a couple of notches with that dull beeping noise that gets under your skin. Using the motion tracker comes at the expense of being able to fire your weapon, meaning you’re even more at the whim of your teammates, you definitely don’t want to be using it whilst alone as the time it takes to switch between gun and tracker is just long enough for an alien to devour you.
While I didn’t get a chance to play as a Xeno – due to it being only available to Sega representatives – I got a chance to chat and observe the features of the opposing side, and to keep things balanced Xenomorphs must also work in teams to overcome the Marines as a lone Xeno is incredibly vulnerable. Xenos also have one hit kill finisher moves, but to discourage overuse a lengthy animation precedes it, so you have to be sure you’re safe enough to surprise attack your opponent with it. For all those who played the incredibly confusing Alien campaign in Aliens Versus Predator will be pleased to know that Xenomorphs actually play from a third-person perspective, meaning no confusion as to which way is down.
Aliens: Colonial Marines should already be on your list of must own games, heck it was etched onto mine a thousand times over. Now though, after playing the incredible multiplayer mode this is now written in stone and diamonds and literally anything that’s completely indestructible. Its ability to bring together a group of complete strangers and ensure they care for their teammates wellbeing is just fantastic. This may well be the best sci-fi game you’ve ever played.