Overkill: The anti-hype and hate for Aliens: Colonial Marines

by Leigh Harris Featured 20 Comments 19 Votes 3789 Views 18/02/2013 Back to Articles

This weekend, I played Aliens: Colonial Marines to completion. Not because I was particularly enjoying the game, but because the furore around it has been palpable, and I wanted to be able to have an informed opinion on the matter (I’m a prick like that).

What we’re seeing is an overblown negative reaction based on journalists' disappointment.

There was a weighty promise made by Randy Pitchford of Gearbox Software back in 2011 accompanied by some impressive visuals and a final product which didn’t nearly live up to the game people had in their heads.

Now, I’ve complained before that we gamers are an entitled lot, whinging and complaining at all points possible that even the very best of games out there suck. Sometimes we’re spoiled little shits. Other times, we have a point.

Get the Adobe Flash Player to see this video.

I was at the E3 2011 presentation hearing Pitchford deliver his speech on why Aliens was in-f**king-credible and his game would be just as good – a direct sequel, in fact, to the second film. Nice.

Footage of that demo, after E3 and after PAX that year, made its way online. In the explosion of hate being directed at A:CM Jim Sterling posted on The Escapist that same footage with his own commentary, pointing out specifically which things were simply not in the final game.

It's fine to criticise it for its actual and many faults, but this isn't the second coming of Hitler. I feel emotions have stunted objectivity in this case. Even if it isn't a good game.

There were many things.

In fact, almost all of the demo features events which didn’t happen. Problem is, that in itself doesn’t constitute false advertising. Early demos of games (as Sterling suggests) are often purpose made for building hype at E3. Often, those demo levels later turn out not to have a role in the game and must be drastically changed or scrapped entirely.

This isn’t because publishers and developers want to pull the wool over your eyes, it’s simply the reality of development.

You could argue, of course, that producing CG footage which looks like gameplay (I’m looking at you, Sony) is such a ploy, but if what you’re showing is in-game, everything ought to be taken as ‘not representative of final product.’

In this instance, the quality of the lip synching, movement and AI of the aliens, sound effects and weight of the weapons and one particularly impressive animation of a xeno tackling a powerloader weren’t specific events that just happened to be omitted; they were examples of typical gameplay quality.

So either they made the conscious choice to downgrade the quality of all in-game animations, sound effects and more (for some magical unknown reason) or what was shown wasn’t actually as in-game as people were being led to believe.

People are angry about this, but some of the anti-hype has gotten carried away.

If you listen to the horrific reviews, however, you get a horrific tale of a Cthulhu-esque monster eating your babies while causing a fourth crusade in which specifically orphans are the targets of mass genocide.

Aliens “proceeds to take a long hot piss all over the established series chronology,” says Eurogamer.

It’s a “shameful, at times broken, and consistently woeful waste of potential,” says Xbox360 Achievements.

Or how about trying this one on for size from Games.on.net?

“Aliens: Colonial Marines is an embarrassment that should not have been released. The exact machinations that transpired to half bake this foetid blob of a shooter will no doubt be the focus of many feature articles in the months to come.”

Perhaps the grand mack-daddy of quotes, though, comes from Australian site Dusty Cartridge, which says: “If you place no value on your government’s system of currency, I’d still recommend straight up destroying it over buying this game.”

If you believe some Twitter folk, the Aliens in this game don’t even walk on walls or the ceiling. Things which are factually provably incorrect (the Aliens very much do crawl across all surfaces) are fine to assert (and get away with) because hating on the game is given leeway to go as far as it likes.

Bottom line – journalists everywhere are pissed off. They’re pissed off because they were told this was going to be THE Aliens game of our time, they’re pissed off because reviews didn’t go live to correct the positive previews until the game was on sale (later in Australia, given the street date break), and they’re pissed off because they feel lied to that a Gearbox title wasn’t quite as developed by Gearbox as they’d been led to believe (whether or not it’s true, that’s the perception).

In short, led by Mr Sterling, the journalistic community feels like they’ve been duped into thinking the game was going to be balls-out incredible. I previewed  the game myself, and I too was pretty positive on it. The game isn’t as good as the rather more polished sections we were shown. Most of the game is flat. It’s a flat game. It’s worthy of mediocre scores because it doesn’t really do much to innovate and it’s just pretty damn generic.

But it’s much more fun, as was pointed out to me yesterday in this clip from Ratatouille, to write horribly negative reviews than to write ‘meh’ ones. MUCH more fun.

So I’ll say this. It’s rather boring, cookie-cutter stuff, and has some serious problems with its animation, AI, the graphics are incredibly rigid and stuff at best and there’s a lot of this game which is just filler.

It’s fine to criticise it for its actual and many faults, but this isn’t the second coming of Hitler. I feel emotions have stunted objectivity in this case. Even if it isn’t a good game.

By Leigh Harris

Link to us http://PS3.mmgn.com/Articles/the-anti-hype-and-hate-for-aliens-coloni
Vote for this article Log in with Facebook

More Info on Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: Colonial Marines Aliens: Colonial Marines Aliens: Colonial Marines Aliens: Colonial Marines Aliens: Colonial Marines Aliens: Colonial Marines Aliens: Colonial Marines

Overkill: The anti-hype and hate for Aliens: Colonial Marines Comments

Leave a comment Log in with Facebook
Yeah I gotta agree with you Ben, Good write up.

Edit sorry Leigh :-)

Marshal976 said: Yeah I gotta agree with you Ben, Good write up.



Leigh* :P
Good piece indeed though, nice to see some rational objectivity rather than the typical ranting and whinging we see so much these days.
Overblown negative reaction my ass. Like some of what your covering here but ultimately disagree I've covered why in that thread I created.

Gearbox= No good, lying assholes who have no one to blame but themselves. They made idiots of journalists and idiots of their fans for me they can go screw themselves.

Will I buy another Gearbox title? HELL NO!!

(Unless they redeem themselves by either offering a massive patch reversing all whats wrong or at least upping the standards to what was shown or refunds)

Jason=Me
Gearbox=Sleeping Bag :P
Overkill: The anti-hype and hate for Aliens: Colonial Marines

@Makra
It's not whinging damn you, I hate that you can't be annoyed and show it without being told your whinging.
The thing is though, you're angry at them for 'lying', but they only did what every other business does with their products: hyping up their products up to promote sales. They only made subjective comments as far as I know, such as: 'Aliens: CM will be just as good as the movie Aliens'. That is typical marketing fluff, no different from what every other smart company in the world does. If you're not used to heavy doses of bias from companies by now I'm not sure how you don't rage at every company for every single product you ever buy.
It's 6am here in the UK so I'm off to bed but its not like that! I'll argue my point later...
Maybe they will get it right on the Wii U as this console really needs something to go right for it
I couldn't care less since I didn't have any want nor need to play A:CM.

Its a nice big "Cool Story Bro" when i she complaints about A:CM.

gammaray13 said: Maybe they will get it right on the Wii U as this console really needs something to go right for it


Sorry but No. mynintendonews.com/...
I still bought this game thinking the scathing reviews couldn't possibly be completely truthful... but they were.
Horrible story, Broken and atrocious gameplay (The shooting and hit detection on the enemy soldiers is pathetic), stupid AI, pathetically laughable graphics and glitches alongside bland and generic levels make this game deserve the hate. Even the cut scenes are terrible.

We were promised an atmospheric, tense and tactical horror shooter. We were given a short, generic and woefully unfinished, arcade shooting speed run. :(

OllyEbbz said: Overblown negative reaction my ass. Like some of what your covering here but ultimately disagree I've covered why in that thread I created.
Gearbox= No good, lying assholes who have no one to blame but themselves. They made idiots of journalists and idiots of their fans for me they can go screw themselves.
Will I buy another Gearbox title? HELL NO!!
(Unless they redeem themselves by either offering a massive patch reversing all whats wrong or at least upping the standards to what was shown or refunds)
Jason=Me
Gearbox=Sleeping Bag
@Makra
It's not whinging damn you, I hate that you can't be annoyed and show it without being told your whinging.


This is not a personal attack at all, but from what I have seen the last couple of days is that you have taken this on a very personal level, which is fine.I love people with absolute passion for something. But is it really worth all the effort you are putting in, it isnt the first time a franchise has been taken and absolutely stuffed. It really fells like you are one of the only people I have noticed that feel like it affects your life personally, when really at the end of the day, it is just a video game. Like i said this isnt a personal attack, just an observation.
This is the type of reaction something like this needs though.
Let them know that this IS NOT ACCEPTABLE, especially for a title that is retailing for 100 bucks. People are paying that much money, to play an unfinished product.

Yes, it's overly negative, but that's the point. The industry is falling apart. This is why.
I'd be pissed if I loved playing a demo or saw that demo and was super excited only to buy it and it was completely different

M@ndyz said: I'd be pissed if I loved playing a demo or saw that demo and was super excited only to buy it and it was completely different


plus one that you feel cheated
I haven't played it, but I am personally bewildered by the backlash. It can't be THAT bad, can it? I enjoyed Aliens vs Predator from earlier this gen. I thought it was a solid shooter with fun multiplayer for fans of either license. What I'm hearing is that multiplayer is OK with this: if Aliens vs Predator were released now, would it have received the same critical backlash? Maybe? I don't know. But I am shocked by the backlash with this.

Mealtime said:



Love and passion my friend, check @duvalmagic on twitter (Randy Pitchford) people are pissed as am I.
I might get nowhere, we might get nowhere but should we accept the lies and the BS and be treated in such a manner? do we deserve this BS? HELL NO!!!
I suppose my point isn't so much that there wasn't deception involved, but that people are more ready and willing to believe negative things about the game.

Sure, TimeGate boasted about creating a large chunk of the game, but Sega and Gearbox have said they didn't. I think people are siding with TimeGate's version of the story more quickly because it fits with their existing negativity towards those responsible.
People are siding with the TimeGate story because it wouldn't be the first time Gearbox lied to us would it just watch all the trailers, hype and interviews with the press from various members of Gearbox including Randy himself. We know Gearbox are capable of making better games so frankly I can't see it being too far from the truth. Gearbox not addressing its fans on the matter is making it worse.

But hell Gearbox are 100% responsible. They signed on to make this game and outsourced it probably funding their Borderlands franchise while they were at it. Cheek of it though is that Randy had the audacity to use his seemingly honest and cool nature to draw in the fans promising that we were gonna see something awesome only knowing behind closed doors this was all a big lie. He has robbed thousands of their hard earned cash off the back of the trust he gained from his enthusiasm and so on. He reckons on his twitter he hates being called a liar. I lolled.

OllyEbbz said: Cheek of it though is that Randy had the audacity to use his seemingly honest and cool nature to draw in the fans promising that we were gonna see something awesome only knowing behind closed doors this was all a big lie. He has robbed thousands of their hard earned cash off the back of the trust he gained from his enthusiasm and so on.



Was it worth it? Surely this is the end of anyone ever listening to Randy. He'll become the new Patcher at this rate.
OllyEbbz makes valid points. For a game that's supposed to be five or six years in development, and comes out as a shamble, is entirely the fault of Gearbox or Gearbox/TimeGate.

Post a comment

Leave a comment Log in with Facebook
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Aliens: Colonial MarinesAliens: Colonial Marines Video
  • Aliens: Colonial MarinesAliens: Colonial Marines Video
  • Aliens: Colonial MarinesAliens: Colonial Marines Video

Recently Read

Featured PS3 Content

Your most wanted game of November?

Your most wanted game of November?

29/10/2014 Polls 17 26
Senior citizens play Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Tano 7 hours News 0 3
A Little Big Win

A Little Big Win

Leasha 1 day Articles 15 16
YouTubers warned over unclear paid promotions

YouTubers warned over unclear paid promotions

Gryllis 1 day News 2 8
These Call of Duty series stats will blow your mind
Tano 1 day News 1 5
PlayStation Plus December free games revealed

PlayStation Plus December free games revealed

Gryllis 1 day News 4 5
Ubisoft has killed the season pass, you shouldn

Ubisoft has killed the season pass, you shouldn't buy them

Gryllis 1 day Articles 3 7
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham review

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham review

Tano 1 day Reviews 0 1
Watch: LEGO Batman 3 launches Beyond Gotham

Watch: LEGO Batman 3 launches Beyond Gotham

Gryllis 2 days News 0 4

Community Content

A Little Big Win

A Little Big Win

Leasha 1 day Articles 15 16
Awesome Gaming Stuff Of Tomorrow, Today! Vol. 3

Awesome Gaming Stuff Of Tomorrow, Today! Vol. 3

02/09/2014 Blog 11 0

MMGN Updates

Status
Updating..
Username

Neverlate, Paulie86 commented on A Little Big Win - My Experience With LittleBigPlanet 3

Neverlate 17 mins ago
Username

punk, barters81, zurczner commented on Star Citizen going from strength to strength

punk 2 hours ago
Username

renagadez, djrussell commented on Sony pulls sexual innuendo Vita Remote Play ad, because the Internet got angry

renagadez 5 hours ago
Username

zurczner, Jayden27, Gryllis commented on You're addicted to Pokémon - Nintendo's formula has us hooked

zurczner 7 hours ago
Username

Leasha, Tyrus commented on A Little Big Win - My Experience With LittleBigPlanet 3

Leasha 7 hours ago
Username

commented on Transformers: Age of Extinction Blu-ray Giveaway!

Gryllis 13 hours ago
Username

commented on YouTubers warned over unclear paid promotions

maxiboy 13 hours ago
Username

commented on PlayStation Plus December free games revealed

punk 17 hours ago