Aliens: Colonial Marines Features

2013's Aliens: Colonial Marines is one of the most memorable gaming disappointments we've ever seen. After witnessing a gorgeous, atmospheric engine showcase back in 2011, fans of the series were hungrily awaiting a true sequel to the iconic 1986 film. But then, in February 2013, Aliens Colonial Marines came out and the horror of its truth became reality. Gearbox's first-person shooter was an infestation worthy of being nuked from orbit. The AI was broken, the gunplay was unreliable, and the "perfect organism" - the Aliens themselves - couldn't even run at the player properly.

FeatureAn hour with Randy Pitchford

"We need a laptop. We can't do this."

Randy Pitchford is showing me an email he received a day ago on his phone. In it someone asks the Gearbox Software boss whether Aliens: Colonial Marines, which came out in February 2013 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, will be remastered for PlayStation 4 or released as part of the PlayStation Plus subscription service.

FeatureSometimes I wish more games were just a vertical slice

Always leave them wanting more, not less.

Sega is cutting cheques for consumers who felt Aliens: Colonial Marines was wildly different to the marketing videos used to promote it, but while that particular battle is over, the war of words between the publisher and Gearbox Software, which developed the game, certainly isn't. This week brings fresh squabbling to light. The respective parties presumably wish they could just dust off and nuke the whole sorry episode from orbit.

Aliens: Colonial Marines preview: the Aliens game you've been waiting for?

FeatureAliens: Colonial Marines preview: the Aliens game you've been waiting for?

Gearbox's spiritual sequel offers a faithful return, but that may not be enough.

Were you ever lucky enough to run through the blue-lit corridors of the Trocadero's Alien War? Based in the bowels of Shaftesbury Avenue's ever-devolving entertainment complex, it was a staged tour of terror that set up shop in London for three short years, and it was pantomime of the highest order.

Film props were imaginatively placed around a little steel warren patrolled by over-eager marines and a lanky chap in an alien suit, a ghost house set in the tatty remains of a movie set. The rough edges were rounded out by its brilliant sense of theatre, though, and it's a sense of theatre that Gearbox's Aliens: Colonial Marine could do well to learn from.

Things start off promisingly. You're in the boots of colonial marine Corporal Christopher Winter - though really you're occupying the fantasies you've had ever since you first watched James Cameron's gung-ho addition to the Aliens saga - exploring the remnants of Ripley, Hicks and company's heroic stand on LV-426.

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There's something refreshing about a sci-fi first person shooter which doesn't have to be coy about its influences and disguise the fact it's stealing from one of action cinema's finest offerings.