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Let's Play Aliens: Colonial Marines

your evil twinyour evil twin Registered User regular
edited September 2013 in Games and Technology
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VIDEOS

Mission 01: Distress
ACM01.jpg

Mission 02: Battle for Sulaco
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Mission 03: Sulaco Falls
[img]http://lpix.org/t/1434376/Sulaco Falls image.jpg[/img]


I love Aliens. And I love Opposing Force, the Half-Life expansion pack that was essentially Aliens set in the Black Mesa Research Facility.

Guess what? Gearbox Software have made an Aliens game. 20th Century Fox considers the game's storyline to be a true canon sequel to Aliens, and it's going to explain various mysteries surrounding the events of Aliens and Alien 3. Of course, every true Aliens fan needs to get the Collector's Edition...

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Click here for the full 2000x1534 image


A statue of a Marine in a Power Loader wrestling with a Xenomorph! A replica USCM patch to wear! A Plasma Rifle! A Pulse Rifle with a flamethrower strapped to it! Yessssss. Take my money!

This is going to be the best thing ever.


Aliens: Colonial Marines had amazing preview videos and screenshots a year before release, loads of hype and a big marketing campaign. What we eventually ended up with was a buggy mess that looked dated on PC and outright horrible on consoles. Patches fixed most bugs and improved the AI, and a couple of months after release the PC version got a huge 5 gigabyte patch that completely overhauled the graphics. (Of course there's no 5 gigabyte patch for console gamers, so their version still looks terrible.)

The gameplay is essentially Left 4 Dead crossed with Call of Duty. That's not necessarily a bad thing; in fact it is perfectly possible to have a good amount of fun in this game, but it is a far cry from the tense and challenging marine campaigns of the old Alien vs Predator games. (Even the disappointing 2010 AvP game did a better job of delivering an authentic Colonial Marine experience.)

My previous Let's Plays have been "underrated" games, such as Wolfenstein 2009, TimeShift, and Inversion. Those games didn't get much hype, were overlooked or panned by reviewers, and didn't sell well, but I found them surprisingly enjoyable and thought that they were worthy of more attention. Aliens: Colonial Marines is not that sort of game.

Still, for an Aliens fan, there's some entertaining fan service, and revisiting the locations from the movie is cool. There's some fun to be had here. Just keep your expectations low. Reeeaalllly low.

I am playing the game on the hardest difficulty setting, Ultimate Badass, as on lesser settings the aliens are literally no threat whatsoever. On the normal "Soldier" difficulty Xenomorphs die from one or two bullets, and if they do succeed in reaching you their claws and teeth barely hurt, and you can simply punch them to death. On Ultimate Badass the enemies are actually dangerous, and as a result, you will see me die a few times, but that's what you should expect if you go up against an army of alien killing machines.

I played and recorded the first two missions a couple of months ago, before the huge 5GB patch, which means you'll get to see the game's original graphics and AI. The rest of the game will be with the patch. (I shall also do another video of the first mission to highlight the improvements in graphics and AI.)


Mission 01: Distress
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your evil twin on
DrakeElvenshae

Posts

  • GrimthwackerGrimthwacker Registered User regular
    Oh, dear. This is gonna be a slaughter. I enjoyed your Wolfenstein LP (I had no idea Raven cut so much stuff out), so watching this get picked apart should be enjoyable.

  • GrimthwackerGrimthwacker Registered User regular
    Y'know, the more I watch of this, the more I'm reminded of Doom 3 - made with good intentions but woefully missing the point of what made the original material so great. Sporadic encounters with enemies through dark "atmospheric" corridors and the occasional fast-paced large scale fight, with the only difficulty coming from cheap shots by enemies you can barely react to (at least on the higher difficulty levels).

    Shame, really; it at least looks like it's trying to play it close to the source.

  • your evil twinyour evil twin Registered User regular
    Hah, yeah I see where you're coming from there. Doom 3 seemed to be based more on Half-Life and System Shock 2 than on Doom 1 or Doom 2, I guess because they were convinced that gamers expectations had "moved on" from the sort of gameplay that was in the older Doom games.

    Similarly, for A:CM it seems like someone decided that for the game to be succesful it had to meet certain modern gaming conventions, and the gameplay was designed around that instead of what was seen in the movie franchise. They thought the way to have the game be "scary" was to give it an atmosphere and environments similar to Doom 3, and make the fights against monsters be like Left 4 Dead, and to also include human opponents and have those fights be like Call of Duty.

    In the old AvP game from 1998, Rebellion didn't take the easy route and imitate established FPS gameplay conventions of the time, instead they based the gameplay and the behaviour of the enemies on creating an experience faithful to the Alien movies. AvP 98 isn't like any other game, before or since, and while the graphics are dated the gameplay still holds up well today. If instead Rebellion had gone the safe route and just made a standard FPS using the Aliens license, the result would have been Duke Nukem 3D or Quake, but with monsters that look like xenomorphs.

    The sad thing about Aliens: Colonial Marines is that Gearbox didn't actually need to be very original, they just had to imitate old AvP (for a good creepy atmosphere and faithful xenomorph behaviour) and cross it with their own game Opposing Force (for the squad experience). Instead they decided to imitate a bunch of other games that were far less appropriate.

    Grimthwacker
  • DrakeDrake Edgelord Trash Below the ecliptic plane.Registered User regular
    This should be pretty interesting to check out. I had my suspicions about the quality of this game from the first demos I saw of it. While I don't know if it ever deserved the absolute scorching it got at large I was never sure of Gearboxes ability to deliver on the kind of shooter that the AvP franchise has been known for. I know that technically this game has no connection to the shared AvP universe and is supposed to be a canon story but the AvP games have really done a good job of nailing down the Colonial Marine vs Xenomorph combat, and have left certain expectations of what a game like this should be doing.

  • OrogogusOrogogus San DiegoRegistered User regular
    Doom 3 seemed to be based more on Half-Life and System Shock 2 than on Doom 1 or Doom 2, I guess because they were convinced that gamers expectations had "moved on" from the sort of gameplay that was in the older Doom games.

    Is this an incorrect assumption? I do feel "blue key / red key / yellow key -> elevator, level over" gameplay is pretty dated.

  • GrimthwackerGrimthwacker Registered User regular
    Orogogus wrote: »
    Doom 3 seemed to be based more on Half-Life and System Shock 2 than on Doom 1 or Doom 2, I guess because they were convinced that gamers expectations had "moved on" from the sort of gameplay that was in the older Doom games.

    Is this an incorrect assumption? I do feel "blue key / red key / yellow key -> elevator, level over" gameplay is pretty dated.
    You'd be surprised how many people still love the old FPS formulas - see the still thriving Doom modding/mapmaking community and the new Rise of the Triad. Sometimes speed and simplicity are just better; games like Doom 3 and this one drag on because of the design hangups.

  • DrakeDrake Edgelord Trash Below the ecliptic plane.Registered User regular
    I have been absolutely craving old style shooters lately. I can not get enough of them. Sure I still love my Arma and Dishonored and all that too. But if you really want to make me happy give me hordes of enemies, chainguns, shotties and rocket launcers in big levels. Extra points if the levels emphasize connectivity and options for different orders of attack on the level. Doom and Doom II are still amazing for that style of gameplay.

    Grimthwacker
  • your evil twinyour evil twin Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    Heh, seems we're all talking about Doom more than about Aliens: Colonial Marines! I don't mind though, since there's only been one video so far and there's not much to say about it other than "urrrgh."
    Orogogus wrote: »
    Is this an incorrect assumption? I do feel "blue key / red key / yellow key -> elevator, level over" gameplay is pretty dated.

    Oh sure, coloured keycards ARE dated and I'm glad to see the back of them. (Exploring a maze, being ambushed my monsters and finding secrets is fun... but finding the exit you can't open yet is frustrating.)

    No I was was referring to the fact that Doom 1 and 2 were about shooting monsters and searching for secrets, but for Doom 3 they felt that gamers needed a deeper "story-driven" experience so they decided to imitate Half-Life, and replaced keycards with audio logs from System Shock 2. That could have been a recipe for success, but id software didn't do a good job of imitating those games. It failed at being Doom because it lacked the old skool gameplay, it failed at being Half-Life because it didn't have smart enemies and the entire facility consisted of dark metal corridors, and it failed at being System Shock 2 because there wasn't a fascinating backstory or interesting characters for the audio logs to reveal.

    An example of System Shock 2 audio logs
    An example of Doom 3 audio logs

    This is what Doom is supposed to be about:


    That's original doom with a mod that adds some special effects. The only thing that is dated is the old sprite graphics, the gameplay is still great. Imagine that remade with a modern 3D engine, that's what Doom 3 should have been.

    your evil twin on
  • DrakeDrake Edgelord Trash Below the ecliptic plane.Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    Yeah, some of us (like Grim and I, amongst quite a few others) are Doom fanatics. Give us half a chance and we will ramble on about the game foreverrrrrrr. Brutal Doom is one of my favorite Doom mods too. You gotta admit, it's a little more than some special effects. ;)

    Anyway enough with the Doom I guess (for this thread anyway hah), I'm enjoying the LP. I usually don't watch these things because if I'm interested in a game I usually plan to play it at some point. This I'm not sure I'll get around to, but from what I've seen so far of the game it's not the absolute crapfest I was expecting. It's not exactly inspired but what I'm seeing doesn't make it one of the worst games of all time. So far it seems like something I could enjoy playing coop on a decently hard setting.

    Drake on
  • RubycatRubycat Registered User regular
    Watching this has just sorta made me a bit sad they still haven't released AVP2 on steam like AVP Gold was (obviously it has to be due to who owns avp2 -sierra?-, I bought the new AVP when it came out but can't really remember anything about it.

    steam_sig.png
    PSN: Rubycat3 / NintentdoID: Rubycat
  • GrimthwackerGrimthwacker Registered User regular
    I peeked ahead at the second video on your Youtube channel, and you are one vindictive bastard. Not to spoil anything, but it involves fire. Lots of it.

    Also, Jim Sterling did a playthrough of the new DLC episode. Spoilers for anybody who didn't play/follow the game obviously.

  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    The sad thing about Aliens: Colonial Marines is that Gearbox didn't actually need to be very original, they just had to imitate old AvP (for a good creepy atmosphere and faithful xenomorph behaviour) and cross it with their own game Opposing Force (for the squad experience). Instead they decided to imitate a bunch of other games that were far less appropriate.

    I rather doubt that many of the people who worked on Opposing Force are still there, it was like 15 years ago

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  • your evil twinyour evil twin Registered User regular
    Oh sure, I'd only expect Randy Pitchford and a couple of other guys to have worked on Opposing Force. But I'd expect Pitchford and the rest of Gearbox to be familiar with their own roots and pass successes. In an interview Pitchford said that he'd been ripping off Aliens ever since he got into the games business. The only things he could have been talking about were Opposing Force, and the WW2 Brothers in Arms games. (I guess for the camaraderie between the soldiers.) Even if 95% of the staff are different, you think they'd be able to do a good job of imitating their own previous games, better than badly imitating Left 4 Dead and Modern Warfare.
    Rubycat wrote: »
    Watching this has just sorta made me a bit sad they still haven't released AVP2 on steam like AVP Gold was (obviously it has to be due to who owns avp2 -sierra?-, I bought the new AVP when it came out but can't really remember anything about it.

    The recent AvP game (2010) isn't great, but the xenomorphs themselves are done well, they've got decent AI and behaviour etc. Rebellion had the right idea, their heart was clearly in the right place, but they simply didn't make it that well. While Gearbox/TimeGate/whoever had the wrong idea, and they didn't make that well either.
    Drake wrote: »
    Yeah, some of us (like Grim and I, amongst quite a few others) are Doom fanatics. Give us half a chance and we will ramble on about the game foreverrrrrrr. Brutal Doom is one of my favorite Doom mods too. You gotta admit, it's a little more than some special effects. ;)

    It plays exactly the same as I remember Doom to be, and I refuse to play actual original Doom as that would spoil my rose-tinted memories!
    Drake wrote: »
    Anyway enough with the Doom I guess (for this thread anyway hah), I'm enjoying the LP. I usually don't watch these things because if I'm interested in a game I usually plan to play it at some point. This I'm not sure I'll get around to, but from what I've seen so far of the game it's not the absolute crapfest I was expecting. It's not exactly inspired but what I'm seeing doesn't make it one of the worst games of all time. So far it seems like something I could enjoy playing coop on a decently hard setting.

    You're right, the people that say it is the "worst game ever!"are obviously overreacting. It's just distinctly average, it's like one of those movie tie-in games that are rushed out to to come out the same time as a film hits the cinemas. Except this is a game based on a movie that is decades old, and Gearbox were supposedly working on it for years. (There are old screenshots of a PS2 version!) They hyped it up as being the authentic Aliens experience that Aliens-fans had been waiting for, but the end result was inferior to all the AvP games. In fact even the old Doom-clone Alien Trilogy game for PS1 did a better job of capturing the tense atmosphere of Aliens.
    I peeked ahead at the second video on your Youtube channel, and you are one vindictive bastard. Not to spoil anything, but it involves fire. Lots of it.

    Hehe. And yep, here it is for everyone:

    Mission 02: Battle for Sulaco
    ACM02.jpg

    Someone decided that we didn't really want an Aliens game. We wanted Medal of Duty: Future Warfighter Ops.

  • AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    At least pre-patch the human AI kind of sort of actually worked most of the time.

    So they were a pleasant change of pace from the Xenos, who were all rather disinterested.

    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
  • your evil twinyour evil twin Registered User regular
    Yeah, the gameplay against the soldiers was competent enough. It was just a shame that all Gearbox/Timegate could figure how to make was a typical Modern Military Shooter and when it came to the Aliens themselves - supposed to be the focus of the game, guys! - they seemed to be at a bit of a loss as to how to handle them.

  • your evil twinyour evil twin Registered User regular
    Mission 03: Sulaco Falls
    [img]http://lpix.org/1434376/Sulaco Falls image.jpg[/img]

    Astonishingly, things start to look up! We get a chapter that's half decent, an enormous 5GB patch enhances the graphics... and the game encourages us to use a flamethrower.

    Of course, things aren't looking up for our protagonists. For them, things just keep getting worse.

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