CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I can only believe that "Aliens: Colonial Marines" is the video game equivalent of the cursed videotape from "The Ring," and if you don't pass it on to someone within a week, you'll die. Otherwise, I see no reason why this game was sent for review. I am utterly convinced that someone had to find a victim to pass the curse onto, so he or she could be free.
There are a lot of words that come to mind when I think of this game, but unfortunately, none of them can be printed. The game is crap. Don't rent it, don't buy it, and if someone gives this game to you as a gift, it's perfectly acceptable to take that as an insult.
A canonical sequel to "Aliens 3," the game puts you in the shoes of Christopher Winter as he's sent on a search-and-rescue mission on the USS Sulaco, which is in orbit around the moon LV-426. The game sends players throughout familiar locations like the Sulaco and the colony of Hadley's Hope. There's a lot of fan service with the story that I'm sure "Aliens" franchise fans will enjoy.
That being said, you are much better off reading the Wikipedia article on the game than you are playing it. It's a terrible first-person corridor shooter, in which you go from point A to point B while being attacked by spurts of enemies. Lather, rinse, repeat. Yawn.
The AI is terrible for the enemies. I'm not that familiar with the franchise, but aren't Xenomorphs supposed to stalk their prey? Because in the game, they literally just attack in waves, running at you like recently decapitated chickens.
It's also terrible for your companions; to say they couldn't hit the bright side of a barn is an understatement. They're incompetent, they never shoot at the six enemies that always seem to be after you, and they end up being utterly pointless.
No matter what difficulty you're playing, you go down in about two hits. I suppose that's supposed to make the game feel very tense, like the movies. It doesn't. It makes the game feel extremely unfair. But hey, it probably would make the game feel tense if your AI companions could actually, you know, function like proper AI.
Everything about the game feels dated; you can tell it's been in development for more than half a decade. The ground is littered with ammo and health boxes, there's no cover system to speak of, and the textures -- goodness, the textures! I will be the first to tell you how annoying graphic snobs are in the gaming community, but these textures are so low-resolution they have to be mentioned.
The game also has a multiplayer component, which is fun for about half an hour. You only want to play as the Xenomorphs. When you do, the game switches to third person (a decision I suspect was made after everyone complained how terrible it was to control a Xenomoprh in first person in 2010's "Aliens vs. Predator").
There are different classes of Xenomorphs, and like the Marines, they can be customized if you're masochistic enough to want to bother with gaining experience points to level up and unlock new skins.
This game is just inexcusable. I literally cannot think of a single thing about it that would cause me to recommend it to someone. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to find a victim to pawn this curse onto.
"Aliens: Colonial Marines" is rated for blood and gore, intense violence and strong language. It's available for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 for $59.99.