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Aliens: Colonial Marines 2011 E3 Preview

Aliens: Colonial Marines Screenshot - 844421

Gearbox showcased gameplay footage of Aliens: Colonial Marines, which they referred as the "true sequel to Aliens". The first impression I got from it was that these guys were dedicated to creating a story and game that stayed true to the science fiction classic.

The attention to detail in the game is most noticeable. Gearbox took no short cuts in their design, putting a high level of detail into each level, from dents in the wall to recreations of famous areas seen in the movie. Aliens: Colonial Marines uses an all-new, in-house, custom-built rendering engine featuring dynamic real-time lighting and shadowing. This is one of the coolest features, as it really helps create an eerie feeling that is similar to the movie. The lack of a true HUD definitely benefits the game--you can really take in the environment of the game.

In the game, you will face a variety of aliens, including a newly introduced alien species known as the Crusher. The Crusher's head is impenetrable to bullets and lunges towards the player. You will also face classic aliens seen in the movie, like the traditional "warrior" alien. At times, you will be required to control a particular location using tactical positioning and turrets to fend off attacks. Several different types of aliens will appear and attack differently, but ultimately the game seems like it is scripted chaos. The game leads you down a linear path, but along the way aliens will pop out of the ceiling, sometimes snatching up your fellow marines. As you progress through the level, you will see AI marines fighting back, but it looks like their outcome will always be the same. Gearbox definitely does do a good job of creating the feeling of being in a chaotic firefight with aliens coming out of the ceilings, walls, and floors, but knowing the game's progression is scripted may hinder the immersion.

Aliens: Colonial Marines will be playable for up to 4 players, using a dynamic drop in/drop out system. You can play by yourself or with others seamlessly as the game is not affected by players coming in and out of the game. Set to launch in spring 2012 for Xbox 360, PC, and Playstation 3, Gearbox announced that they have plans to release the game for the newly announced Nintendo's Wii U. In fact, they stated they already have the game running on the Wii U's platform. Can you imagine the bleeping radar on the Wii U's new controller screen?

Overall, the first impression of Aliens: Colonial Marines is a good one. The graphics, lighting, brief story synopsis, and action sequences are reminiscent to what is seen in the original movie. So if you're a fan of the film, it looks like this game won't disappoint.

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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