Why Aliens Games Never Live Up to Expectations
Tom Mc Shea looks at why the Aliens franchise has never translated well to video games.
The Thing (2002) did a great job with the whole fear aspect. It made you rely on your AI comrades, because you had certain roles to fill like medic and engineer. And if you wanted to make progress, you had to keep them alive. Also you had to keep them calm, if they saw something that freaked them out, they would literally kill themselves. So you had to do little things like trade ammo with them, give them a sedative, or prove that you weren't The Thing. Also you never knew when one of your team mates was going to be The Thing, or when they would transform. And it was truly random. You could play through the same part again, and one of your team mates might not change. It kept things dynamic and challenging.
I have been a big Alien franchise fan since 1982ish when I first saw Alien and I remember the Alien Demon game that was on the Commodore Vic 20 (not an Alien license but a carbon copy of the film plot, the actual Alien game was shite), 8 bit graphics and dodgy sound but DAMN it was scary (for a 9 year old).
Alien Trilogy was a good but not brilliant game but gave you the Alien experience in 3d for the first time which made up for some of the games failings.
Alien Resurrection was mediocre at best but it was scary as hell on hard mode (I have 4 bullets in my pistol and there are 2 aliens coming at me!!! I'm going to die).
Alien 3 on the NES was awesome (even though Ripley had a pulse rifle, grenade launcher and flame thrower and it was a platform game).
One day, I'm sure, we will get a really good Alien game but A:CM is not it. Hell I would have bought it if it was Republic Commando/Aliens instead of this brainless run'n'gun pap.
I don't hold with the "make it like Dead Space" notion. DS to me was a Quake/Gears of War boring walk around fest where things would jump out of walls and shout BOO! I would be disappointed if they made the next Aliens like Dead Space. The next Alien game needs to be as scary as Alien Demon was, ground breaking like Alien Trilogy, hard like Alien Resurrection and fun to play like Alien 3 or I will go and cry in the corner.
You know, if the Alien games are made from Capcom, that made successful and a few unsuccessful Resident Evil games, of course no doubt with the right minds and developers, the franchise might succeed. it's unfortunate they chose Gearbox Software that doesn't have the time to create the Alien game in their vision. The only redemption through all this is their love for Aliens movies and that's it really. Also look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_3 for the other reason as there's similarities of having too many ideas from too many studios.
to be fair i don't think this game was ever meant to be anything other than a action game.
it is what it is. too bad gearbox screwed it up though. btw the avp
arcade game was awesome. and you guys gets TONS of cool points for
bringing up infestation. but as soon as i saw previews of this game i always thought it was gonna be a action game not survivor horror. =/
to be fair i don't think this game was ever meant to be anything other than a action game. it is what it is. too bad gearbox screwed it up though. btw the avp arcade game was awesome. and you guys gets TONS of cool points for bringing up infestation.
There are some things within this video that are valid. There will always be someone who will be disappointed in the gameplay/story/atmosphere what have you. I pre-ordered this paid it off with my meager wages and excepted to see the atmosphere that sold me on the game in the videos I saw before the release. What you have to realize is a lot of people are going in to this game half cocked expecting their memories and love of the movies come to life. Alien Colonial Marine did not quite get there . The AVP Xbox game was charming but in all a weak experience out side of a few parts on the marine level. I did manage to enjoy the marine plot that they had rolling in that one. The plot and feel of the AVP games made earlier for PC manage to capture a lot of the atmosphere and crunch that you get in the cannon. You won't really ever meet the expectations of everybody when you are attempting to take a crack at making a game with a cannon that has been evolving since the May 25th, 1979. It is a difficult thing to capture. I was hoping for that to show itself in the release when I purchased the game. You know I'll be one to say that the graphical/ai problems are certainly there and while are moderately insulting for the price of the game that I purchased it wasn't really what put the game off. It is the fast paced horde mode / call of duty style game play for the campaign, as well as the plot. For me plot and mechanics are of paramount importance. The problem with having this loosely put together action you lose the genius of the alien material. You can change your load out mid game, with this mechanic you are never in crunch time where your choices matter, You can customize your weapons sure is a nice feature, However your choices are so stark and limited it shouldn't have been a feature save for the online play. Not only this the choices are breath taking to behold, reflex sites, laser dot, silencer? These where taken from somebodies attempt to mimic COD. I get no imagination here, this is 21st Century equipment, Aliens you go to hyper sleep, you can traverse to other solar systems even terraform planets, but hey your accuracy will increase if you get that new reflex site. Anyway, the main point here as that the game play does nothing for the game, in fact it harms the game more.
The plot is the other problem we have here with the game and that is just to much. Conceptual it is a nice charming nod to the plot in-between Aliens and Alien 3. Interesting take. Distress call from Sulaco intercepted by the Sephora. Interesting and the plot points that you have are neat which if you are interested in finding out more it may hook you into finishing the game. However exceedingly poor execution, it doesn't really flow at all. The opening is not that dissimilar to that of Halo the first game, bringing you right into the game guns blazing. No build up, no apex, just announcements after chryo sleep and blam on the beaches of Normandy knee deep in acid xenomorph goo. Where's the tension? Where is the anticipation? It is there just so short and poorly thought out you don't realize what happened. The parts inbetween are what can get you hooked on the game it does have a decent tactical feel in the atmosphere when following your comrades, on the Sulaco. After that, there are arbitrarily short objectives and conjecture between the characters that it diminishes the entire experience. Put up those motion sensors, crap one is malfunctioning, better go a fix it, Oh No! Mosters! Get that turret ! Better take that smart gun you'll long for it again because its the first smart gun that has ever been close to correct. I could go on. On a side note, Explain where guys with guns come in, I understand the plot why they do but, on the Sulaco it feels completely random with no build up or anything.
Anyway the online play is good and probably the most fun you will get out of the single player is the subject your friends to it. The horde and mediocre controls will make for a fairly fun experience. Escape is an excellent mode.
All in all If the developers actually wanted to make an alien game and make it work for a single player campaign, They would have to actual be fans of survivor horror games. This game I have to agree with a lot that's being said in the articles about the development, feels completely and utterly rushed and major problems with single-player more then likely comes from too many developers hands in the game.
You can find enjoyment from this game as an Alien fan I was able to enjoy the time I played it, I just did not enjoy it for $100+ dollars. I feel that I spent 90% of that on the statue and UNMC patch.
First post on Gamespot btw :)
Dead Space creators would make an awesome alien game. Awesome graphics, true survival-horror, atmospheric music.
New aliens games don't really have the horror element. If you have a ton of marines with you and massive amounts of ammo.....what's to fear? Being low on ammo matters, because it forces you to make decisions and to be wise on when to fight and when to run. This is basically non-existent to what I'm seeing. Think old school RE here.
What the f... is he saying?? Never? First AvP Marine campaign was just perfect in terms of tension - I had to take a break every so often not to go insane from the stress... Doom 3 gave me similar experience.
Granted, both games gave you the lone wolf experience. Adding AI team mates makes creating an emotional tension a bigger challange, but still A:CM did everything wrong in this department...
It would make the game more interesting if weapons had some limitation . Like Mechwarriour that has weapon heat and some ballistic weapons that jam with sustained use .There should also be an AI dynamic in that the aliens pause and draw back ,find another way around .
funny how most aliens game suck but the avp games are great and they really capure the aliens atphmesphere
I'm happy to disagree with most of you, I've beat the game 3 times. I enjoyed the atmosphere and story details. Aliens movie isn't Dead space and for me has the same feel as the Aliens movie.
I only wish the story was longer, I also understand the reason for the NPC's no kill. With all the friendly fire it would have made for a very frustrating game. The Aliens were all over the place and it too easy to accidentally kill NPC's.
My final thoughts? Resident Evil is a good inspiration. Also Borderlands and Brothers in Arms series. And maybe the awful Duke Nukem Forever. So anyway, Aliens would work better if you're hunted than a hunter. Scare may be replaced by action by it will come back full circle.
The best thing Gearbox/Timegate could have done was to look at the Marines part from Aliens Vs Predator 2, and look, at least, at the alien AI from Crysis 2, and go from there
Here's a thought, I don't know about the rest of you people out there but it seems to me the aliens are the heroes and the marines the enemy. I love aliens, thats why i go see the movies. Its them I go to see not the ones fighting them. Same goes with Predator. Focus the gameplay on the aliens, with a skill tree after so many kills that upgrades the alien. More punishing kill cams, more speed ect... Build a hive, bring people back to upgrade the hive and have more alien soldiers. Use telepathic commands to send your species to certain points for an ambush or all out attack. And focus on killer controls, allowing you to move and interact with everything with ease. How come this hasn't been thought up yet?
I agree with most things he said, just dont make another pinocchio game [3d person game]!
there are other way's to create a good game.
Foxglove1313 hits the nail on the head. It was about subcontracting and poor management. The video is a load of crap, AVP2 was awesome.
Well if Sega and Gearbox Software needs anymore inspiration, they should look at Resident Evil games to turn the Alien game franchise back around. And not as stupid as House of the Dead Overkill in just shoot zombies ... er mutants left, right and centre. Of course there's no time for sex. No offence.
Umm, Tom, howabout you look at ALIENS if you want some ideas for great characters from movies. Seriously?
The real problem is that there aren't any actual fans who love the movies making the games. Here's Gearbox blowing it by shoveling the game off on a subcontractor and then never checking in. Anyone who gave a damn about the movie, the game, or their own reputation wouldn't do that. The industry is out of control if this is how top developers are running their house.
There isn't a single person invested in this game, it's just another job. These aren't inspired artists, these are programmers putting in their time. So this is just a wank all the way around. This isn't how you make a good game, regardless of the IP.
Well easier said then done, cause we are built this way. You can spot a glitch within seconds but when you the one who is making the stuffs, you will definitely ignore a lot.
Alien Trilogy and Alien Resurrection scared the crap out of me on PS1. You're not overpowered in multiplayer...he failed to mention that. Any game is less scary on amateur and more scary on very hard difficulty especially horror games which is why I don't play dead space on normal or easy.
Why you sayy this because is just gamespot opinion,what about all people who like the aliens games and play it for fun and not for challange?
No matter how many times you place your order and patiently wait for a masterful ALIENS game. You always get the same rehash. The only difference this time is that their is no excuse for the poorly game. And people are waking up to the obvious poor quality graphics, no new concept and the feeling of dehavu is stronger than ever. It hurts to have paid such a high price of your hard earned money ON TRASH!!! Rehash away SEGA. The public is on to you. Commentators, Please stop selling your soul to the devil.
Is it any real surprise why games like this fail? If it isn't a good psychological thriller like the silent hills it just isn't worth it. Most game veterans aren't 12 years old any more. Getting scared in video games is pretty much in the past. We should just work on amazing game play from this point on.
Some good Aliens games:
AVP 1&2 (PC)
Alien Trilogy (PS/SS)
Alien 3 (Genesis , Gameboy, Arcade)
That's to name a few.
I ,played the Aliens vs Predator on the pc . The real problem with the game is it is so buggy. When you go into the first cave you get get to the part where you have to open the door. The alien creatures come at you so fast and if you don't shoot fast enough the you get a black screen and the game freezes. I think possibly that is due to the fact that the game is only playable through steam. And threre hasn't been an update to the software.
While I agree with with the points he is making, I'm afraid that's not really the reason. The game itself is just garbage..
Great comment Tom. I very much agree with the idea of making an Alien game where you care what happens to your character or those around it.
One thing I did not like about the video itself was that it sounded 'improvised' at times. Like if you were thinking things as you were saying them, rather than a well thought essay. I know I am being picky here, but it just detracts from whatever you're saying.
@johnnyauau everyone from capcom left thats why capcom games suck, every single hit game they had like resident evil and mega man etc. the main brain in those games left. thats why re6 was such a huge joke there milking games now. theyll prob be bankrupt in the next few years
@hikaru1020 - Correct, and AvP Gold and AvP 2 on the PC are pretty awesome too. And ALIEN on the Commodore 64 was a lot of fun for the time. But that's about it.
@scamarot I liked the Alien campaign in Alien vs Predator, but I wouldn't say they are heroes and that the marines are the enemies. The military complex behind them maybe but not the marines themselves.
@MelodicMizery Ok but the exception I take is Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition, Dead Rising Chop Til You Drop and Monster Hunter Tri. I'm not really one note and I appreciate games uniqueness and fearless take on making games as exciting as possible.
@Ducati996R Did you even read what I wrote inbred?