At MCM this past Sunday I got my hands on ‘Aliens : Colonial Marines’ multi-player.
This is where I now explain my experience with it.
To be clear, I only got to have 1 round of a team death-match. Also note that I didn’t get to play as an alien, but merely watched the guys of Sega play as Xenomorphs. With that disclaimer out the way…
The first impression I got from the multi-player was that it’s heavily focused on team-work. As with similar games, like Left 4 Dead, a succesful team will make full use of the different classes of character and work together to get the job done. To be honest, I only saw two different types of alien on show, a classic stealthy, wall-crawling alien and another that was rhino-esque and used as a killer battering-ram. Will there be more than these two classes in the final build? I’d hope so, but who knows.
With the aliens it seems that the focus is on rapid movement, hiding in ducts and climbing on walls. The main way to win as an alien team is to draw out one of the marines from their group and kill them. This is made slightly easier with ‘alien-vision’, which allows you to see in the dark, through walls and picks up on the marine’s radar pulses.
Naturally, the aliens only have melee attacks and will sometimes trigger a death animation. Picking up marines and jamming ‘second-mouths’ into faces is second nature and looks lots of fun.
I have to say the movement of the aliens, as viewed from a 3rd person perspective at points, looked a little floaty. I suppose this is to be expected when you’re using a creature that can defy gravity with its wall-clinging abilities, though I hope this is rectified by release.
The marines are controlled as you’d expect. Played an FPS in the last 10 years? Then you’ve got a good idea of what’s going on here.
As with other games of this genre, there’s plenty of weapon loadouts to select from including pulse-rifles, flame-throwers and shotguns. As you play, you gain experience which unlocks new weapons. These weapons feel powerful and are capable of putting down your average xenomorph in a second. The kick from the weapons makes shooting aliens a real challenge without being frustrating. Hectic without being messy. There’s also the radar that picks up any movement. This is a great feature as it’s not as easy as just ‘seeing’ where the enemy are. For starters, only enemies that are moving appear on the radar and secondly, having your radar raised up means your weapon is lowered. That beeping noise just ramps up the tension as well.
I don’t often notice sound in a game but, my word, the sound in this game is superb. All of the sound effects you know from the films are present and this is an extremely welcome detail.
As you may have already gathered, this mode is going to be all about team-work. As an alien, running into a group of marines means instant death. As a marine, if you don’t stick with your team, your face will be eaten. This makes me excited for the game as long as I can get a good group of people together with microphones. Playing without any communication and with idiot randoms will surely lead to frustration not seen since Left 4 Dead.
One possible issue – it looked like the aliens were a little too strong. Often just getting near one meant you were dead and the alien rhino thing could wipe out a group in a second whilst taking grenades to the face. To be fair, they were being played by people from Sega, so maybe they were just really good at it.
All in all, I’m seriously looking forward to it and hope that the single player contains the excitement and pandemonium of the multi-player.