PAX East 2012: Hands-on with Aliens: Colonial Marines

April 29, 2012

As we sat down for the Aliens: Colonial Marines presentation, the writer of the game told us something surprising. He talked about how the game is considered canon, and what a daunting task it was to write a part of such an iconic series. I don’t think he’s seen the last five or six Alien films.

Luckily, Aliens: Colonial Marines takes more from the good Alien films than the later, worse ones. Overall, it’s very Cameron-y Aliens, but with some scarier, more atmospheric Scott Alien tone throne in. There were genuine moments of fright just watching someone play this game.

The player was investigating a ship that’s been overrun with xenomorphs. Just like in the films they are big, but quick so he had to use a motion detector to find them, which also plays into the multiplayer. Everyone in the room jumped as the blank screen suddenly had a blip that rocketed toward him then disappeared again only to whip around a corner and lash at him with its enormous tail.

But there will be plenty of Aliens-esque action amid the dread-filled quiet parts. While traveling across a space bridge between two docked ships, the bridge decompressed and exploded forcing the marine to climb up it or be sucked into space. Then there’s the multiplayer.

After the demo, we got to sit down and play a round of the multiplayer with the dudes from Gearbox. I don’t know if you’ve ever played a game with the dudes who made it, but it’s not as fun. Especially when they’re playing a 9-foot-tall alien hellbeast. One team plays as marines, and the other gets to spit acid and eviscerate humans with their giant scorpion tail. The marines have more advanced weapons like explosives and heavy machine guns, but the aliens get a giant scorpion tail. Which they use to tear marines in twain with what seems like a way-too-easy-to-use finishing move. But getting killed by a xeno is way cooler than a racist 14-year-old.