I've played a fair few games that have been given a critical panning over the years and I often find that they only really suffer from being distinctly average. Few of them could be described as truly poor or unplayable, but I have to say that `Aliens: Colonial Marines' takes a stab at just this. The universe of `Aliens' is an extremely rich one; it blends all out action with scares and great world building. How on LV-426 could you mess things up?
Lacking ambition is one way and this can be said of Gearbox with this game. They have made the brilliant `Borderlands' games, but they are also prone to stuff like `Duke Nukem Forever'. `Colonial Marines' most obvious flaw is its blandness. You are dropped off on planet LV-426 and asked to explore the Alien invested buildings. Graphically, things look pretty poor with brown being the colour of the day. Even Gearbox could not totally mess up the gameplay; the pinging motion detectors are excellent and ramp up the tension. That is until you start despatching aliens left, right and centre. They become as scary as a room full of kitten (deadly kittens?)
The aliens are totally undermined by awful Artificial Intelligence. The xenomorphs should glide across the walls and ceiling, using their hive mind to catch their prey. In some cases the `Colonial Marines' aliens walk right into you. One particularly poor level has you hiding from blind Aliens - so bad, it is almost funny. The game may have been saved if there had been some sort of innovation somewhere, but there is not. The guns feel a little light in the hand and the levels are repetitive and dull. If it were not for the tense motion detector sections the game would be a complete bust. Fans of the `Aliens' films will be angered by how their franchise has been treated, fans of games will be angry about how their pastime has been treated.