What We Played #92: Aliens: Colonial Marines, Antichamber, Crackdown

What We Played

I’ve not been playing much lately and I’m kind of surprised that I don’t miss it. I feel weary, for want of a better word, of gaming and just can’t pin down why it is. Maybe it’ll pass. Maybe. It has before…

For all that I’ve actually played two games this week for the first time in a while. There was the usual bout of Mass Effect 3 online. Then for something completely different that isn’t about a small squad of sci-fi soldiers facing an unrelenting enemy bent on the consumption of the human race to further their own survival and evolution I’ve been playing Aliens: Colonial Marines.


I’m only about half way through the campaign so far and while the technical points raised in reviews, muddy graphics, dodgy clipping and frame rate are all there, they really don’t matter. Playing the campaign in co-op with a fellow Aliens fan is an absolute blast.

Whether it’s the simple joy of blowing xenomorphs into clouds of green mist with a pulse rifle, finding the empty sentry guns at the end of that corridor, discovering Vasquez’s dog tags or the, perhaps misplaced, joy when your fellow marine goes down in the grip of a facehugger or gets pinned to the floor by an alien that’s just dropped out of a ceiling vent. It’s just damn good fun!

No, it’s not like being in the film, but let’s face it trying to play a proper Aliens game would be no fun at all. It would be maybe ten minutes of blind panic running down barely lit corridors firing at shadows before either being shredded or stuck to a wall for a couple of days before giving birth. Remember how many of the film’s marines made it home?

Aliens just wouldn’t work as a game no matter how much we all think it would. The aliens themselves aren’t the cannon fodder, the marines are breeding stock and never stood a chance. As long as a game casts you as a marine you shouldn’t be able to win. But it’s time I stopped flogging that dead horse, it’s got a date with a frozen ready meal.

Jeff stopped for a moment to examine a grainy texture on the wall...

Peter’s played the anti-euclidean Antichamber and after that for him to describe playing Proteus as “very weird” you do have to wonder if he’s yet reached the ultraviolet end of that particular spectrum. He says that he’s yet to discover a purpose to Proteus and it’s “just an oddly coloured, pixelated island to explore”. Perhaps he’ll find more given time?

Crackdown is still keeping Aran entertained. When it’s not irritating him anyway:

I was enjoying it until I had to face the Shai Gen leader. Made it to the top of his tower and was met with him on a unreachable ledge and respawning enemies, which is one of my gaming pet peeves.

Every time I got close to the boss waves of enemies would just appear undoing my hard work as the boss’ health regenerated. What’s worse is when you die instead of saving progress up to where you are the game will basically reset the tower, making you fight your way up it again. So I gave up and went orb gathering which is significantly more fun.

Dan is continuing to play through DmC and making slow progress as he “can only seem to play the game for half an hour at a time before getting a blinding headache”. When he needs a break from that he’s turned to a bit of PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale on his PS Vita. “Despite initially being down on the game, I have found myself really enjoying it.”

[videoyoutube]Still attempting the odd, mostly unsuccessful, dalliance with DOTA 2 this time Jim tried having another go after watching some guides and commentaries. While he still remains unconvinced by the game he says that he can at least “finally appreciate why so many are invested in such a complex gaming experience”.

Despite, or perhaps because of, being a “huge fan” of the original, Dead Space 2 failed to impress. “I found myself liking Isaac Clarke more when he was a mute, his new-found voice in Dead Space 2 only highlighting how shallow the game’s script really is.”

He says that the sequel “offers little in the way of memorable story beats or set pieces” and has left him unsure of what the third, more action oriented, game may have to offer.

He’s also finally broken the seal on his copy of Hunted: The Demon’s Forge having picked it up shortly after launch. “It’s an OK game”, he offers, “ and the genre-combining premise is a good one, but it lacks both the character and diversity of its contemporaries”.

And what of Alex?

This week I played through Aliens: Colonial Marines over a couple of nights for the review. After all the fuss and moaning (and ridiculous scores) I’m tempted to go through it again on Ultimate Bad Ass mode – no HUD and much tougher enemies.

Yeah, the AI will still suck and some of the levels are terrible, but there’s at least 20% of the game that’s as close to Aliens as we’ve had for ages, and I can just dip in and out of the good stuff now everything’s unlocked.

Apart from that? Very little. Metal Gear is still sat here wrapped and I’ve tried a few new iPhone games, but little of note. I guess I’m just looking forward to next Wednesday when hopefully this wavering passion for current gen can make way for the new shiny stuff we’ll be getting later in the year. Unless Sony’s thing is just a pink Vita, in which case I’ll probably give up for good.

And staying north of the border, if you happen to be up in Scotland and spot a house with all its lights blazing despite the unsociable hour, you may have just found Blair’s residence as he’s a little cautious of the dark following his time with with Slender: The Arrival. He also gives a big thumbs up to the “brilliant” Wreck-It Ralph. I assume the lights in the cinema weren’t down too low.

What’s your post-gaming emotional state been this week?  Scared?  Disappointed?



  1. Started playing a bit of Sleeping dogs. Seems good but those bloody motorbikes are awful to drive.

    Also did some F1 Race Stars. Liking it a lot which is a good, but have a problem. I have the trial downloaded but can’t seem to find the unlock (free on plus) to change it to the full game.

    Anyone with ideas?

    • Sleeping Dogs is fantastic. I really love Hong Kong action films and SD really is like one big, interactive mash up of all of the great Hong Kong action movies. The game just oozes class in my opinion, such a brilliant game world.

  2. Obviously Greg ignored my email: *cut and paste*

    I’ve been playing Need For Speed: Most Wanted on Vita. It may not be the best looking version of the game but it is heaps of fun and should be an essential purchase for Vita owners. One of the reasons why I have been playing it so much is because I also bought a nifty little charging cradle for my Vita and, by the way of Wake Up Club , have been using the Vita as an alarm clock. This means my Vita is always charged in the morning but also means NFS:MW is just an arm length away at bed time and quite a few hours have been spent racing about on the multiplayer when I should be sleeping.

    I have also been playing DanceStar Party and Zumba on account of being a fat bastard. Zumba is ridiculously energetic even on the beginner levels but I’ve pretty much nailed the ‘expert’ routine of Nicole Shcwerzingeringerdingalingadingdong’s ‘Don’t Hold You Breath’.

    I’ve also had a quick fiddle on the PC multiplayer of Aliens : What A Waste Of A License and I’ve just got back from playing Remember Me and Resident Evil Revolver (or whatever it is, the HD version of the DS thing) at Capcom HQ.

    • Anything you can tell us about Remember Me? It looks ace.

      • Yes, please tell us something about Remember Me. I’m very much looking forward to that game.

      • Yes. Lots. Should be something on the site very shortly.

      • I hope it’s as good as it looked from the teaser and screenshots instead of being a let down. *giggles*

  3. This week for me has been about Dead Space 3 and Aliens Colonial Marines.

    Starting with DS3, despite being very samey towards the end (chapter 14 onwards basically), I still had a blast playing through it and found it another great entry to the series.
    Co-op works well, though I was a little disappointed to see the “co-op only” missions were basically the same as the SP missions – I was hoping for Portal2-esqe puzzling, moving objects using Kinesis for your buddy, etc, but instead it equated to nothing more than rooms of enemies and a few story segments. Oh well.

    As for Aliens, I have to say I love it at the moment. Sure, the visuals are dated (not bad, just not what we’ve come to expect in 2012-2013) and it’s a bit buggy, but the actual game is very fun to play, especially if you are an Aliens fan. Everything from the cheesy dialogue and gun sounds to the environment designs feels authentic, which is exactly what I was hoping for.
    I’m playing through the campaign on Ultimate Badass at the moment and its offering a stiff challenge, though I must admit I’ve found myself playing the multiplayer the most.
    Playing as the Aliens feels odd at first but, once you get used to them, they can be quite devastating, particularly the Spitter. Playing as the Marines however is awesome, especially when you pull up your motion tracker and can see 5 red blips heading towards you from every angle. Tension! :D

  4. Played the first 2 hours of Dead Space 1 yesterday. It does a better job at creating a really tense atmosphere than the second. However, I don’t like the fact Isaac is mute. When you’re trying to convey emotion with the Nicole situation and have a mute character it’s never going to work for me. Everything’s a little clunky as well. Still I really like that there’s more focus on creating an atmosphere than just action.

    I’ve also played a little of the sequel. I was ravaged by a few stalkers on zealot and thought I’d leave it there until I finish the first.

    F1 2012 has had it’s fair share too. Enjoying the split screen.

    Hopefully getting Aliens early next month. Not really fussed by reviews. Just want a way to keep reliving the Alien franchise :)

    • I’ve also brought back Hunted to uni with me. have to agree that it’s an OK game :P

    • Having played the 2nd game, i agree with Issac being mute in the first game. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t use body language to help show what he is feeling, apart from screaming.

  5. Mainly DiRT Showdown online (grinding) still, although I’ve earned about 90,000 Fans in the last week or so, which isn’t bad. I think I’m on about 180,000 Fans in 240 races/events. I hope to finish the MP by the end of the month and then rush through the SP to get the plat.

    I’ve also gone back to MW2 (ahead of Tuesday’s TSA meet)….got a Nuke which was nice, haven’t lost my touch! Still far more enjoyable than MW3, Blops1 and Blops2. It actually has decent hit-detection which makes a huge difference, and no problems with lag compensation. Maps are also better imo.

    I also played The Cave demo which I thought was great, and will purchase the full game at some point.

    Played a bit of Escape Plan on Vita, still finding 3-staring the DLC bloody frustrating.

    Going to start Dead Space 3 co-op tonight with MJB!

  6. Been playing sleeping dogs, love this game. A bit of NiNo Kuni haven’t really played much of it it got boring. Might open up borderlands 2 today.

    Rocket birds on the vita, it’s a gem.

  7. I’m about half way through Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (got the Tom Clancy double pack for xmas).
    It stands up pretty well for a 6 year old game. And on that subject… it seems most peoples impressions of Aliens: Colonial Marines is it’s an enjoyable game and the more I read (disregarding review scores) the more I think I might actually pick it up – wait for the price to drop obviously.

  8. Played through and completed Legend (story) mode of Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2.
    Downloaded the Dragonborn dlc for Skyrim and after 10 minutes or so re-acquainting myself with the controls I’m hooked all over again.

  9. A whole bunch of Ni No Kuni for me again. still loving it. Apart from that Ive been doing a bit of Showdown grinding with Youles and a little spot of MW2 online.

  10. 27 hours into Ni No Kuni and I’m still loving it. I always try to finish all side quests before I move on to the next area and so far it’s a lot of fun, especially once you get access to easy ways of travel.

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