Aliens: Colonial Marines multiplayer preview

Gearbox Software’s Aliens: Colonial Marines is based on the film Aliens, in which the Colonial Marines face off against the now iconic Xenomorph alien species on the satellite LV-426.

The preview mode available was team Deathmatch and sees a group of marines go up against a group of Xenomorphs in a battle for survival. Both teams come with very different abilities, and because of this, very different play styles are required to win depending on your team.

As we sat down to begin playing as the marines, a Sega staff member ominously told us to stick together if we want to survive, as, “any stragglers WILL die.” He wasn’t kidding.

There is a genuine sense of terror when traversing the map against the alien threat, and not really knowing when you are about to be pounced on can actually mean losing your head when playing. The lack of a HUD in the game further inspires fear as you feel like you’re on your own. Thankfully, all marine classes come with a motion sensor that can be whipped out at the push of a button, however when using the motion sensor you can’t fire your gun. Teamwork is without a doubt the key to survival when playing as the marines.

We were unsuccessful against the Xenomorphs in my time as a marine on the game, but I’d put this down to the awkwardness of not knowing my teammates and then being expected to work together as one flawless unit. It’s easy to see that the marines will be a formidable force when working together properly and using the awesome arsenal that they have available.

There were three weapons to choose from in the preview: an assault rifle, burst fire rifle and shotgun, and each of these were equipped with an under-barrel grenade launcher too. After playing a round of the game I managed to unlock an under-barrel flamethrower attachment, and despite being unable to test it, it’s clear that customisation options will allow for further variation in matches. All of the weapons were devastating when used correctly, but none more so than the shotgun which was especially useful due to the short range in which aliens have to be in to kill you.

Standing too close to fallen aliens can also be a problem however, due to the acidic blood which coats you when they die. I died a couple of times when playing due to the corrosive liquid, and unlike most similar effects in games, simply running away from the area did not cause the acid to immediately disappear from my body.

Playing as the Xenomorph is an entirely different experience to the marines. As well as being able to see in the dark, Xenomorphs can climb onto walls and sneak through small holes such as ventilation shafts to attack their prey.

There are two alien classes: a soldier and a lurker. The lurker comes with less health than the soldier, but compensates for this with better speed and jumping abilities. The Xenomorphs can only attack from melee range with their claws and tails, but the rapid speed in which they move and the stealth that they utilize make them a terrifying force to be reckoned with. At no point in my game time did I feel that anything was unbalanced.

Both factions in the game can also utilize special pickups on the map for a more powerful offensive option. In the case of the aliens, the pickup will cause you to turn into a much larger and more powerful creature.

I came away from Aliens: Colonial Marines with a smile on my face and a hunger for more. The game captures the horror elements of the Alien series perfectly in the form of a first person shooter, and it’s definitely worth checking out for both FPS and Alien-specific fans alike.

Aliens: Colonial Marines is released onto the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC and Wii U on February 12th, 2013.

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