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Critics pour acid on Aliens: Colonial Marines

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Aliens: Colonial Marines (Credit: Sega)

In space, no one can hear you scream…unless you’re screaming obscenities about the new Aliens video game. We’re hearing that loud and clear.

Critics are eviscerating Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox's long-anticipated game/sequel to 20th Century Fox's film franchise, making the horrors the game's xenomorphs inflict seem paltry by comparison.

Released on Tuesday, the game is set between the events of James Cameron’s highly-regarded “Aliens” and the somewhat less highly-regarded “Aliens 3.” Gearbox has billed it as a “direct sequel” and has spoken at length about how it’s the project the studio – and fans of the venerable sci-fi franchise – have been waiting for.

But averaging a mere 45 on Metacritic (the Xbox 360 version is ‘enjoying’ a slightly higher 50), it’s about as much fun as having a xenomorph burst through your chest. While everyone seems happy to be in the Aliens universe, critics are lambasting the game's repetitive nature and lack of thrills.

"In the films, the creatures are unrelenting and terrifyingly fast. Here, they’re a nuisance," says Game Informer in a dismal 4/10 review. "The facehuggers … are silly pests who seem as though they’re just going through the motions. At one point, I yanked one off me and flung it onto a crate, where the still-living creature lost all interest in me. Apparently I hurt its feelings."

IGN concurs, doling out a 4.5/10 while saying the game "presents a fairly convincing facade but its thrills are forced and entirely superficial. You don’t ever feel like you’re actually in danger. … It feels indistinguishable from almost every shooter you’ve played in the past twenty years."

GameSpot is perhaps the most damning in its views of the game, though, calling Colonial Marines "a shallow bit of science-fiction fluff with cheap production values and an indifferent attitude. It's forgettable enough to deem unnecessary, which is a grievous sin for a game in a universe brimming with so much potential." They give it a 4.5/10 as well.

(Also, there's this amazing GIF from the game, which is quickly making the rounds online.)

A few reviewers seem to enjoy the horror show. EGM awards it a 9/10, praising its co-operative gameplay and story, while The Guardian gives it a respectable 4/5 , in part because Gearbox "absolutely nailed the look and feel of the James Cameron film." Those are certainly outliers, however.

While the reviews might make some fans worry about Gearbox, which hit a homerun last year with the critically and commercially successful Borderlands 2, there is cause for hope. It turns out that while Gearbox's name is on the box, the developer likely didn't do a lot of actual work on the game.

A former staffer who launched the chorus of hate for the game back in May of last year says Gearbox outsourced the game to the lesser-known TimeGate Studios, which is best known for the Section 8 games. That's a relief for Gearbox loyalists, but little consolation for fans of the Aliens franchise.

Maybe Hudson had it right when he said: "That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over!"

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