Aliens: Colonial Marines launched earlier this week, and early reviews are... well... not good. Despite the early promise the game showed when we previewed it at PAX a few years ago—a few of the cool things going for it included storyboarding with Ridley Scott himself and the power of creating a true, canon sequel to Aliens—something clearly went horribly wrong somewhere along the six year development curve. So, what happened?
For those asking what went wrong with the game, the answer according to most appears to be “pretty much everything.” The Official XBOX Magazine cites “a derivative story campaign” flush with “dated graphics, poor or nonexistent lip-synching, and repetitive environments.” Gamespot is even more ruthless, calling the game “a disappointing exercise in bland corridor shooting, dragged down by laughable dialogue and cooperative play that makes the game worse than when you adventure on your own” and “unremarkable in every conceivable way: it’s far too easy, generally devoid of tension, and lacking in the variety it so desperately needed.” IGN concurs, labeling the game “a disappointingly mundane, run ‘n’ gun first-person shooter that fails to captivate once the initial rush of nostalgia has worn off” and noting that “it simply feels unfinished.”
Indeed, these are the most common complaints amongst reviews at launch: a shocking lack of polish so obvious that the game feels like a beta release rather than a final version, and a bland, repetitive single-player campaign. What is perplexing is that at least one of these issues is a symptom of a game being rushed or not having enough development time. Well, that’s not the case for Colonial Marines, as development was spread over six years. Even worse for its developer, Gearbox Software, is the fact that outside of the Borderlands series, their latest offerings in Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines have suffered similar problems after extensive development cycles. Although in the case of DNF, most of the lengthy dev cycle cannot be blamed on Gearbox, their association with the game is damaging enough. While reviewers note that there are moments in Colonial Marines that show it was developed by developers with a true passion for the series, it sounds as though, by and large, gamers will have to wait a little longer for the next game that does the Aliens universe justice.
In other gaming news this week, the creators of Journey plan their next project, Skyrim DLCs finally hit the PS3, a new Batman Arkham game is on the way, and Diablo III finally gets PvP.
- How will thatgamecompany live up to the expectations set up by their smash hit of 2012, Journey? Short answer: they won’t try to, according to creator Jenova Chen.
- A Scottish Harry Knowles-lookalike provides a hilarious and NSFW (he’s Scottish, after all) review of Farcry 3.
- Long-suffering PS3 gamers who have been waiting (not so) patiently for Skyrim DLCs to arrive on their consoles finally received some good news: Skyrim’s 1.8 patch for PS3 was released this week, and it not only fixes a few existing bugs, but also ensures compatibility with the upcoming DLCs. Dragonborn releases Feb 12, followed by Hearthfire on Feb 19 and Dawnguard on Feb 26.
- Speaking of Dragonborn, if you want a dwarven robot pet of your very own in Skyrim (and honestly, who doesn’t?) check out IGN’s walkthrough of the Dragonborn DLC’s Kagrumez Trials quest.
- Joystiq takes a look back at a 90s classic—one that helped define gaming’s horror genre. Phantasmagoria masterfully interwove a dark, engrossing storyline (courtesy of 90s gaming storytelling superstar Roberta Williams) with a horrific atmosphere and grisly scenes of gore, resulting in a gaming masterpiece. Oh, and also a freakin’ awesome end-credits song. If reading the piece leaves you hankerin’ for some nostalgia gaming, GOG.com has you covered.
- Time Warner is reporting that a new Batman Arkham game is on the way, scheduled for release later this year.
- Finally, in what may fall under the “too little, too late” category, Blizzard has followed through on their promise to bring PvP to Diablo III. If anyone has tried it out yet, please let us know so we can decide if it’s worth our dusting off our copies.