So my week of Halo is over. It was fun, but I was ready to move on. And in the midst of last week's Halomania, a little game came out that I wanted to play so badly then, but resisted for the sake of my dedication to the Week of Halo. And it's not that I necessarily wanted to play the game because I was excited for it, but rather to see what the hoopla was all about that sent the Internet - literally, the entire Internet - into a negativity firestorm.
Aliens: Colonial Mariners was released, and because of embargoes, no one could talk about it until the morning of the release. Usually, more often than not, when embargoes are pushed all the way to the date of the release, it seems as if publishers have something to hide about the game that they don't want reviewers to harp on, thus effecting sales of the game.
Granted, this isn't always the case, as sometimes they just enjoy being secretive. I'm pretty sure Nintendo embargoed Skyward Sword up until pretty close to the release date, and most sites ended up giving that game a perfect score, if not pretty close.
Other games, however, are fundamentally flawed for whatever reason, and the publisher knows this, so they slap super-late embargoes on the game to keep the negativity beforehand to a minimum. This doesn't mean they are maliciously deceiving consumers, or hiding a bad product, but rather protecting something that isn't perfect from being picked apart by the vultures of the industry before the general public has a chance to experience it for themselves. They do have this right, you know. They don't have to send out early copies of any game, but they choose to for the extra publicity it gets the game. And while having your game reviewed is the cheapest form of advertisement for a company, it's not always the best.
This might have been the case for Aliens: Colonial Marines.
So a little back history for the game. This game has been in development for almost seven years, and while it was a collaboration from SEGA and Gearbox, several other teams got their hands on it during the development cycle. It is a game created to be a prequel to the beloved Alien franchise, which immediately won the hearts of Aliens fanboys the world over.
With the expectations of being a Gearbox game, plus having the dynamic storyline of the Aliens franchise behind it, many people were quick to claim this game had not shot of failing. As we should all know by now, the higher the expectations, the longer the fall is when you jump for the bar and it slips out of your fingers. So when the reviews starting coming in, the floodgates opened up and the negativity poured in. Reviewers PILED on this game, sometimes overly harshly for seemingly just shock value. The scores were ridiculously low, and it was clear from that first moment that this game would have no chance of even mildly succeeding thanks to the reviewers.
When I think of games that got scores as low as this, I think of fundamentally broken games, ones that you can't finish because of flaws or sheer boredom, and games that have no business being released. So I had to play this game to see for myself if it could possibly be that bad, or the internet just overacted.
I finished up my Week of Halo and jumped into Aliens, and finished it today thanks to a roughly six hour campaign (if you skip the cut scenes). By the end of it, I can't say I hated the game. I didn't LOVE the game, but I didn't hate it as much as everyone else seemed to. It was a fun little game, and I went in to it with the mindset of it being a Sci-Fi FPS with elements from a series I was familiar with, but was not a fanboy of. It is a serviceable shooter, for sure.
Complaints were of glitches and bad AI, none of which I experienced, so I can't comment on that. There were complaints of the game looking bad and not living up to the promotional screen shots released a while ago, and I have to agree with that. The game uses lighting effects to cover up some very basic and standard graphical and texture problems in the game. If the game was a PS2 game, it would be the best looking PS2 on the market. But because it's a new-gen game, it doesn't quite live up to the potential. Especially bad are the cut scenes, which is the FIRST thing developers should ensure look good. These flaws are highlighted by the fact that I was just playing Halo 4, one of the most beautiful games I've ever seen.
The game isn't perfect, and misses the mark on a few occasions, but I think the huge problem people had were the expectations they had not only for the game, but the franchise it was inspired by and the studio it came from. If you strip away your preconceived notions of what this game should be, then you can have fun playing this game. And for your trophy/achievement whores out there, it is a gold mine. Just one play through, without even trying for any, netted me TONS of trophies, which was an added bonus for sure.
Long story short, my dear readers, is this: Don't believe everything you read on the internet, and don't let other people tell you which games you should and should not like. Try them out and make up your own mind if you have any interest in a game, don't let others make up your mind before you. Redbox and Gamefly are fantastic alternatives to buying a game outright that you may be cautious of. And lastly, if you like a game that everyone else doesn't ... WHO CARES! Stand up and turn your opinions into noyse, don't be silenced by the general conscientious.
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Games played for project : 365