E3 2012

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    Aliens: Colonial Marines E3 Preview

    9 June 2012 | Written by David B.

    With the recent hype surrounding Ridley Scott's newly released 'Prometheus', playing the latest iteration of an Aliens themed video game only helped to amplify the mystique and awe of such a profound sci-fi series. Boasting excellent graphics with industry standard controls, Aliens Colonial Marines is shaping up to be a solid addition to an already storied (and crowded), franchise.

    Sega's five minute E3 demo consisted entirely of a multiplayer (six Marines versus many waves of xenomorphs) twitchapalooza located on what appeared to be Planet LV-426. Though still in pre-Alpha the graphics seem remarkably competent and will probably push the aging Xbox 360 to the edges of its capacity.



    From the get go, no veteran of any online first person shooter will find the initial lobby and layout anything of a mystery. Choose a weapons class and a team from a standard interface and you're ready. Controls, as mentioned, previously are about 90% identical to the default layout found in 'Call of Duty' and 'Battlefield.' Players were given two weapon slots, primary, secondary as well as the ability to use the heart beat monitor, complete of course with that nerve racking, sonar sounding bleep.

    Although we suspect an alien monitor would come in handy during the single player campaign, we never found ourselves unattended by screeching xenomorphs for more than a few seconds and therefore had little trouble-locating enemies. In terms of usable weapons, the M41A Pulse rifle is true to form if not a tad bit underpowered, while the smart rifle shoots in controlled bursts and provides increased stopping power over the Pulse Rifle. Rounding out the list, our shotgun was unsurprisingly devastating at close range, not so much at long, and the model 1911 .45 caliber side arm packs a fairly robust punch. Unfortunately we were never able to locate a flamethrower.



    Gameplay is frenetic. One could compare the synapse over-clocking to a hyperactive Crysis 2 multiplayer session with even more stuff to shoot. 100 rounds of pulse rifle ammo goes by in a flash and "aiming" turns out to be more of a spray and pray backpedalling acidic bloodbath. Given the xenomorph's almost unfair agility, sensitivity settings on many players' controllers will probably be reset to 10 after their third or fourth decapitation.

    For some this probably won't be a bother, however for those used to lower sensitivity sniper settings may find themselves spinning around like a frantic top. Aliens CM is unforgiving to those players used to pursuing the role of lone wolf sniper. Pretty much if you go rogue you get dead. A sole marine hop-scotching around the map will make an easy post-workout snack for even the laziest xenomorph. Whether by design or just by the nature of the environment, teamwork becomes a must and working with a highly integrated squad will increase your life expectancy substantially.



    As far as surprises go, nothing stood out as a remarkable anomaly. You had your standard kill streaks at three and five (the highest we achieved), one of which was labeled the "badass" kill streak if memory serves. Hit counts are the exact same as CoD and BF. Every time one of your rounds finds its mark, you get the comforting and helpful light up hashes. Gruesome death cut-scenes add humor and flair whenever you fall victim to a noteworthy impaling or decapitation.

    As a current work in progress, Aliens CM is a refreshing change of pace from the constant stream of modern military shooters. While not necessarily straying from the mechanics that have made those shooters a success, Aliens Colonial Marines transports the player into one of the most compelling sci-fi worlds we've enjoyed for the last four decades.