Alien: An Isolated Incident?

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So, it’s been a long time since something has peaked the interest of that which is both Cynical and Cyclical, but here is one thing that has finally broken the monotony: Alien Isolation. This is a game terrifying, heart racing, infuriating, brilliant, beautiful, sinister and completely aware of and faithful to its source material. Although it is possible that the series previous bag of entrails Aliens: Colonial Marines was such an extraordinary let down, my belief in Sega was so low, that I was always going to prefer this game, it’s safe to say that I actually love it.

First up the gripes (I like griping):

Why are Androids evil? And do they dream of Electric Sheep? The androids have to be evil because Ash. It feels a little force fed. The inhuman androids are not the Wayland Corp human replicant type that we’ve seen before however, but a little more plastic, like someone just skipped out on spending a few extra quid to make them human – a theme of Seegsons lack of investment in the station and indeed its ultimate downfall.

You play as Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen Ripley, of Alien/s/3 fame. It’s a little feeble. If her addition is a little “by the numbers” we do get rather attached to Amanda or at least attached enough to want to avoid seeing her brains not being splattered by an eight foot, drooling, acid blooded, banana headed killing machine. So this point is forgiveable.

Sometimes, the AI lets itself down a little. The Alien itself is great. It’s an ever present danger and oft appears when you’d least want it to – try running from deranged Androids only to get plucked through an air vent by the waiting, hungry Xenomorph for more details. But some of the human and android AI’s are a little bit, well, dumb as a bucket of soup. If you hide in a closet long enough you can watch enemies walk around a pre-programmed circuit, if they are not staring straight at you they often don’t notice you stalking across a room or banging a closet door shut. Example: When a guard is more intent on staring a beautifully rendered dust mote falling from the ceiling than a door which just opened unexpectedly behind him, whilst an Alien stalks about station, it does take you out of the game a little.

Enough moaning. Alien Isolation is incredible!

Environment: The environment feels at once familiar and hostile – like an Old Folks home. The walls, the pipes, the enclosed spaces, the controls, the computers, even the deck plates, lockers, storage rooms, the sphincter/iris ventilation shafts, all put you right back into the universe of the original film.

Atmosphere: Rather like it’s celluloid based forbearer, Alien Isolation is a cramped, claustrophobic, intense, nerve wracking experience. You move (slowly) from one crouch point to another as the banging pipes above your head threaten to drop an Alien on top of you. Every corner is approached with apprehension, every door or vent that opens leaves a palpable relief when IT isn’t in there waiting for you. The lighting and sound effects and the rising and fading of beautifully timed music all add up to create a wonderfully immersive experience.

Gameplay: This is a survival horror in every sense. You have to survive by wits and cunning, you don’t have a weapon with unlimited rounds to blast your foes away, you have to be smarter than that. You work your way through the game by hiding, baiting traps, waiting and only ever striking directly at the most pressing need. That said, this is not boring, rather it’s an intense battle of will to stay alive, to avoid the grasping talons of the beast itself, or the gun shots of frightened survivors or even the brutal Seegson Ash wannabes. Fighting is not your friend. Amanda is not inhumanly strong, she doesn’t even run fast. She is very human, a bit slow, a bit loud and not a great shot – although that last may have been more my slow fingers than Amanda’s slow aiming time. You spent a lot of time watching the motion tracker bleeping as things that you don’t want to play with hover around you, sucking in your breath as something decides to take a close up peek at the cupboard you’re hiding in. Patience and force of will to survive are your allies.

Story: The story is solid enough. You are on a mostly abandoned space station, Rapture in space almost for those Bioshock fans out there. A few survivors scurry this way and that, usually stopping just long enough to try to kill you if they are that way inclined, which most are. The individual objective changes as the game progresses, but the essence is: trapped on space station, have to leave space station – it’s basically the premise of Alien, but with the first hour cut out. I won’t go into plot spoilers of course, but you are there initially hunting down the recently unearthed flight recorder of the starship Nostomo. You arrive at the space station Sevastapol and it is quickly apparent that all is not as it should be. As you move around the Station you pick up the – almost mandatory – audio logs of those dead and gone, which fill in a wonderfully rich history of the downfall of Sevastapol and Seegson, whilst giving you some nods to the nefarious Wayland Yutani of course.

Conclusion:

Solid game, superb gameplay, great effects and atmosphere. Much love, blood, sweat and tears has clearly gone into this and by God, it almost makes up for the pulsating mass of bile and intestinal scrapings in video game form that was Colonial Marines…okay, I may have gone too far. Nothing can undo that game. But this one is a darned fine try. It’s lightning in a bottle to be honest though and I hope that Sega don’t try too hard to push the franchise in this direction by creating a “series” of these. The next attempt will surely be a poor impersonator of this work of graphical and technical art – though surely preferable to the shooty-shooty mess that they keep making every time they put the ‘S’ on the end of the word Alien. A couple of issues, but overall, the best game that I have played in a handful of years. Fully recommended.

81 out of 82 stars. Enjoy.

Cynical E3 Rundown

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I like to think that this blog has been more about opinion, both justified and unjustified, than about facts. So with that in mind, lets talk a little about the big news breaking out from E3:

Obviously, Microsoft and Sony are the big two, but I will spare a thought to Nintendo here too, because I’m not so biased that…who am I kidding? Nintendo’s line up is an embarrassing collage of yesterdays games with a new number at the end/title. We have more Mario, more Mario Kart, another Sonic, more Donkey Kong, and more Zelda and blah and blah. At the moment I’m fairly sure that if you put a list of Gamecube games and Wii U games side by side and took the console names off of each one, only an adamant Nintendo enthusiast would find one distinguishable from the other.

I can’t see the Wii U lasting out with the current strategy. The hardware is difficult and clunky and the game range incredibly poor. They boast the biggest range of exclusives of all the Next Gen consoles, but that is because they keep wheeling out the “classics” – the only IP they own.

So, bye Nintendo, get something new and we’ll talk, but in the meantime us Gamer’s move on to the war between Sony sporting the PS4 and Microsoft with the unfortunately titled Xbone, I mean XBox One.

And this is where it all gets weird. E3 this year will be fought, not on a battleground littered with new gaming IP and old titles rehashed with new “more immersive” textures – probably for the best seeing the line ups – but on a battleground of consumer consciousness.

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Well, I’m referring to the way in which consumers (eg: me and the two of you) perceive what individual companies are trying to do to us. 

Microsoft pissed everyone off, when they did a pre-E3 conference where they went about telling everyone why they should replace their computers and media centres with a new Xbox One, but seemed to forget that it was supposed to be a games console. They also made a hash of explaining how reselling your games would work too, infuriating people who saw this as a blatant attack on your wallets/parents wallets depending on age range. Then they said, Xbone will have to check in every day to Microsoft’s servers or it will stop you from playing even offline games. Oh and Kinect is basically always watching you like Big Brother! (That last sentence should be followed with the sound of maniacal Microsoft laughter and a consumer-y gasp for full impact. And as a side note to this side note, not taken too seriously)

So, what did Sony do? They made a funny advert about how you trade games by passing them to your friends in a very traditional manner and then shouted about how the PS4 wouldn’t commit suicide if you never ever plugged an ethernet cable into it. Nor would it watch and study your every movement and listen to your every word just in case you were working for Goldstein (read 1984 for clarification)

But fundamentally, does it matter? So, you have to have an internet connection for Xbox, everyone has one anyway right? Well, not everyone it turns out does. And even some people who do, don’t particularly want their games consoles continuous downloading/streaming new adverts at them when they are trying to find the tiny, almost hidden section of the dashboard reserved for the “Play Game” option.

Lets strip away some conspiracy and actually try to understand what Kinect is truly for shall we? Do Microsoft want to stalk you? Yes. Is it for the purpose of data gathering? Yes. But why? Simple, same as it is with every site you look at on the internet, advertising. They want to know what you want so that they can be the ones selling it to you. Easy. Not evil per se, but greedy for sure.

Do Sony want to spy on you and sell you stuff? Yes. Were they so blunt about it? No. Did they manage to lower the shipping price of the PS4 by not shipping with a camera? Yes. This was wise on all fronts. Sony and Microsoft both know that most people will attach their machines to the internet and both will take advantage of the situation to push this or that service upon their customers. Sony, have made themselves look the good guy by undercutting the £429 Xbox by £80 whilst at the same time, shipping less hardware and not forcing certain “services” upon the consumer. It comes back to choice. Do you want a camera device, yes or no? You can have one for PS4, but you must have one for Xbox.

So, Sony good guys, Microsoft bad guys? Don’t be insane. They are both the bad guys, just one is showing themselves up a little more at the moment. anyone who disagrees needs only look at Sony’s botched launch of the PS3 to see that not so long ago, the boot was on the other foot. But, Microsoft have struck a blow to themselves by making “rules” where rules didn’t exist before and they might learn to their great cost, that telling people what they can and can’t do with their games and gaming habits, could be a deciding factor in who wins the war of the next generation.

So, with all this political intrigue out of the way lets talk some about the games: More of the same, meets more PSN/Live Arcade Indie games. Titan Fall and Destiny look amazing – but are out on 360 and PS3, so you don’t need to buy next gen for these. And, that’s about it.

In conclusion, the next generation is just that, more of same, but in a younger wrapper. Happy E3 everybody!

Quote of the week:

“If you have zero (internet) access, (Xbox 360) is an offline device.” – Don Mattrick, President of Being an Asshole at Microsoft, in what we assume is an excerpt from his new book “Still the Evil Empire After All”

Doctor Who: Cold War Review

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I can’t help but feel that the producers of Doctor Who are just aiming to make me eat my words. Of last weeks episode I had some rather unkind things to say about Doctor Who in its current tenure, but ‘The Cold War’ stomped all over its episodic predecessor and brought back something I have been waiting for:

This episode felt like more of a proper Doctor Who episode, with a tangible danger, some great dialogue and acting and a good story. We even had a couple of nice back references – a running theme because of the 50th Year – with the entire story being centered on the “base under seige” model, so popular with Who in the sixties.

Mark Gatiss did a great job to balance this story with some great elements coming into play. we had Cold War distrust, the threat of nuclear annihilation and an enemy whose motivations were clear – wipe out captors and aggressors, destroy the Earth.

The reintroduction of the Ice Warriors was handled really well and set up a nice precursor for future encounters as the Martian ship shows up at the end to take their man back. This opens up a can of worms. Obviously we already knew that there had been life on Mars, even newer fans like myself were introduced to the concept with the fantastic Waters of Mars episodes and hopefully now we can see some more Martian encounters later in the series.

Most importantly to me was that there were no big “I’m the Doctor” power speeches. Instead the Doctor almost took a back step to allow the development of Clara’s character a little and we learned something more about how she handles danger and death – a constant faced by all who travel in the Blue Box.

If we get more episodes like this going forward, I will gladly eat my previous negativity. This Episode had a great dark tone, with interesting characters and plot developments in and of itself, without relying heavily on an over-arcing story.

The only true criticism is that perhaps some of the Russian characters were a little too “Writing Conflict A-Z”. We had the over aggressive first officer and a man who should never have been allowed on a submarine in the shape of the Western pop music loving Professor. But that being said, this was a very well written piece and this criticism is a trifle on an otherwise flawless piece.

Keep it up Who writers. The bar is high for a reason.

Walking Bad Doctor Dead Breaking Who…TV Catchup

‘Tis a rare and special occurrence, the day that this blog sees a post about the new fangled device that they call the “Television box.” But as I have recently abused my brain with a good dose of the stuff here one is:

For the sake of remaining a good person, I will attempt to avoid spoilers…I said attempt!

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Lets start with AMC’s The Walking Dead. I have resisted this show purely on the “Bored of Zombies now!” basis for over two years. Lets face it the popular entertainment market is saturated with the blood of  Zombie victims splattering the walls of movies, video games and now TV.

But after countless nagging from friends, well acquaintances  well…people I cornered and forced to speak with me, I finally relented and tried a bit. Weirdly I wasn’t disappointed – at least not prior to Season 3’s not quite cliff hanger ending – so that was a nice change.

The show is well written with normal characters in an extraordinary setting, acting appropriately for their differing personalities. There are some likable characters and some truly despicable characters – talking about you Carl (actually pronounced “Coral”) – and the writers mostly manage to keep the excesses to a reasonable level, given the circumstances of course.

The show also attempts to tackle many of the wider concerns that actually matter in this feeble Zommer-free version of Earth. There is a little trace of dictatorship on both sides of the later episodes, social issues, friendships, betrayal, coping methods in tragic circumstances and a fair old slice of Zombie killing (the latter is very important for surviving the tie in Video Games).

So, if you haven’t sampled it, give it a go, it might surprise you like it did me.

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Another show my ears have received a constant pounding about the awesomeness of is Breaking Bad. Well, maybe my cynicism is washing away, but I would have to recommend this one too.

The whole thing centres around a man who, having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, decides to put his knowledge of chemicals to use by making awesome grade Crystal Meth, in order to provide for his family after his death.

Another great show actually, with again really well written characters and a real knack for exploring the subtleties between family life and criminal escapades. Although I can only speak for the first season in this case, Breaking Bad has thus far gotten better and better with each episode.

The story is well constructed and believable, if again, extraordinary, but the lead character of Walt evokes both sympathy and awe for the trials that he is enduring whilst going through chemotherapy and simultaneous starting to set himself up in the drug trade and not being afraid to turn a few heads while he does.

Great show thus far, highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t already!

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And finally, I am going to talk about one of my favourite tele-based-vision based programmes…Doctor Who. I don’t want to be one of those people that says “Come back Russell T Davis” or “God, this show has gone downhill in the last two years.”

But, he should and it has.

Momentary flashes of brilliance aside, I can’t help but feel that series 6 of the new Doctor Who wasn’t quite up to scratch and neither has all but two (ish) episodes of series 7 – and no I don’t mean the pointless sacrifice of the worlds most boring couple – that blew chunks.

I was very enthused with the re-introduction of Clara in an interesting new adventure that seemed to start a new ark of interesting Doctor.

This ark came crashing down in the last episode though. The most boring drawn out Who episode ever/so far this year. A whole Episode of a child singing! Argh! Who’s idea was that? The resolution of the singing was possibly even worse – basically the Doctor attempts to moan an evil planet to death!

Yes, that’s right, the doctor did his “I’ve seen everything and my head is like a dirty laundry basket filled with the soiled pants of history so fear me” speech and all was almost better. Then Clara polished the whole thing off with “the most important leaf in human history!” God dammit!

Ah, there’s that cynicism. but of…oh…cynicism melting…melting….

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This picture is still “stain my underwear exciting no matter what my brain thinks of this and the previous series!

Bioshock Infinite Review

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First things first, I love Bioshock. It is literally my favourite game in the world and you know what, I even love Bioshock 2! So there. Sure it was a blatant rehash that offered nothing new at all and the last level was a bit of a letdown, but so obsessed with the characters and scenery and every little detail of Rapture am I, that everything you’d call a flaw in the game meant nothing to me. Just give me a Plasmid in one hand and machine gun in the other and I’ll kill Splicers all day long regardless.

Bioshock Infinite is a completely different beast to its namesake on the surface. It is a sort of polar opposite in both physical environment and narrative.  Instead of deep dark sea, we have wide open sky and sunshine, instead of a singular tyrannical oppressive Capitalist ruling by fear, we have tyrannical oppressive, racist, patriotic/religious quasi-Communist Government headed by a man with a Jesus complex.

Many things in Infinite are very similar though once you ignore the sunny paintwork. Enemy types can be easily identified, with instant access to both “Lead head” and “Thuggish” Splicer enemy types, “Vigors” replace the traditional “Plasmids” (think Nigel West Dickens* replacing Science) Your first gun is the traditional pistol followed by a quickly obtained machine gun and the wrench is replaced by the multi-purpose Skyhook which is great for battering enemies to death in gruesome detail.

The fact that the first ten minutes or so of the game are a play on concepts within the original Bioshock is telling. We start at sea, go to a light house (not the Ryan light house but still the visual simile is not incidental) and when we finally ascend to the cloud city, the first part of the level is spent splashing through a water filled Church. Anywhere else I might call this a homage rather than a calculated attempt to create a visual sense of oneness between the two games, but this is Bioshock apparently so we need these connections to feel that.

There are many references to the original Bioshock dotted throughout the game, including the vending machines being voiced the same way. But over all it is the feel of the interiors that create the most genuine recognition. The visual style is very similar and you get the impression that if you were to walk through Rapture a year before the violence, things would have been visually beautiful in the same way as they are in Columbia.

It becomes clear very quickly that things are awry and the game has a reminiscent sinister tone without being visually dark for the most part. Many of the spaces are filled with things to creep you out but this game won’t induce any nightmares. Whether it’s the open skies or the fact that you’re fighting normal people and not monsters who were once people, very little in the game will make you fearful or even jumpy. Enemies have a tendency to just run at you shooting, or shoot you from a ledge as you whiz by on a Skyrail and not really for working to terrify by disappearing and re-emerging through new dark holes. This game does less to tackle you psychologically than it’s predecessors and as a result, isn’t scary or creepy in the same way. There is something lacking in the fact that nobody has suffered depravity and misery in the same way in Columbia that they had to in Rapture. Still different game, different feel. This game seems to aim to be a good fun adventure game with a Bioshock-esque theme attached.

The game play is of course very reminiscent of Bioshock, we have an objective – get to the girl and murder anyone who tries to murder us. We get given weapons progressively as usual and Plasmids, sorry I mean Vigors are doled out with perhaps the only surprise being that Electro Bolt isn’t the first one we get. We fight the lead head, the thugs and Houdini style splic…sorry, people and eventually get to Elizabeth the Lamb of Columbia.

So, I have been wondering about this concept. Obviously the lamb is significant as a religious symbol, but wasn’t this already used in a similar context with Elanor in Bioshock 2? The main difference being that Elanor was to be the recipient of all knowledge or something and this girl, Elizabeth can tear holes in the fabric of the universe – which creates an awesome game mechanic which we will explore later.

Actually, we’ll ignore that last train of thought and explore the new one now. Elizabeth can pull elements into the world through tears in the fabric of space time (don’t worry the Doctor** will find a way to fix it before it becomes a problem) Examples of these elements are medical supplies, or gun turrets that fight for you. In some scenarios you can swap and change as you need to, which element Elizabeth pulls through. So, if you need meds, pull the meds, if you need protection, pull the turret.

As for the girl herself, similarly to Bioshock 2, she can look after herself. You don’t need to protect her and she can fight back to some level too, which is great if your least favourite component of the original game was the Little Sister escort duty, where the little swines die while harvesting and make you have to repeat a section whilst simultaneously depleting your ammo and EVE supply. Speaking of which, Elizabeth also throws you occasional scavenged ammo, coins and health packs, which usually land when you need them the most. This gives a great sense of teamwork a makes Elizabeth a vital asset rather than irritation, which was a very wise addition to what initially looked like one long escort filled nightmare.

The biggest addition to the game play in terms of new mechanics is of course the Skyrails. While I hesitate to offer any criticism to this, I will, but in a moment. The Skyrail is an awesome mode of transport and makes for great on-rails shooter action, making the whole thing feel like an incredibly fast arcade game. It’s brilliant fun and with the superb graphics you can pinpoint enemies quite nicely to ensure they don’t get the better of you. And who doesn’t like roller coasters? Well, I don’t, I get vertigo, but that’s not the point here. It’s fun, proper, actual fun, which is a rare thing in a shooter nowadays. So, where is the criticism? Okay, it’s just a small thing, but the skyrails are just a means of getting to the next thing. There is no sense of freedom, you can’t explore anything, your path gets blocked once the game decides it’s time to get off. Stupid thing to complain about really, but I choose the words cynical and cyclical rather than contentment and compassionate for this blogs title deliberately, so don’t try to make out that you’ve been misled.

Overall I would say that this game deserves massive plaudits for being something new and something old at the same time. While I don’t necessarily think that they needed to use the Bioshock name to sell this thing and it doesn’t really give anything extra to the series, I do think that this is a great stand alone title. The characters and story are good – if a little, been there before – and some of the voice acting is fantastic. The additional elements of game play are strong, well thought out and complementary to the existing ones. Level design is good and the game flows well. The graphics are excellent (even at low settings on the PC) as are the sound track and incidental sound effects. My only real disdain is for that stupid bird! Birds aren’t scary…except in the film the Birds where all the birds go mad. Or when a seagull attacks you for your chips. Okay, some birds are scary, but that Song bird, no, not feeling it. Otherwise I can’t criticize this game in any meaningful way other than to say “I miss the Big Daddies!” Which is blatantly just whining…

4.5 Stars for you Bioshock Infinite. If you haven’t played it already, give it a go. After all, “There’s nothing quite like a fist full of lightning…” Oh, now I miss Atlas. Dammit.

*Nigel West Dickens is a Snake Oil Salesman from the blissfully awesome Red Dead Redemption in case the reference got away from you.

**Doctor Who obviously. Unless being a parallel world, he can’t get here because of the Time Vortex thing…never mind. I’m sure he’s got it in hand.

Movie 43 Micro Review

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The following will be more ‘Tweet’ than Review.

Intellectually abhorrent, this movie is one and half hours of painfully unfunny, irredeemable, child humour. Movie 43 is, to be generous, a flatulent excrement smear on the face of film and how they convinced the plethora of acting talent involved to participate is a mystery even the Scooby Doo movies would find too appalling to investigate.

Whilst enduring this torrid ruin of a movie I felt a sort of empty disinterest…by this point, a mere ten minutes later, I have risen back into my normal level of hopeless depression and feel much, much better for it.

Thank you Movie 43, I have finally watched something more mind melting than anything the Scary Movie franchise has ever thrown at me. What a treat!

Aliens: Colonial Marines – Trying To Be Nice…Well, Fair

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It has been a while to be sure, but one has not been idle, no indeed. Actually, I have been idle, at least my brain has. I shall largely blame this atrophy on the recent video game I have been trying to absorb myself with…namely Aliens Colon Marines…because it’s sh…

Let me start again…be nice…

Aliens: Colonial Marines was a game was doomed from day one, because you simply cannot get an Aliens game right. Ever! Can’t be done. Why? Because Aliens (the movie) was all about pacing and timing and drip feeding frenzied action one piece at a time between long establishing sequences. This created a thing movie makers like to call tension and made a point of showing us that the situation was out of any possible control – a survival story if you will.

Shooter games don’t do tension anymore. Whether people don’t understand the concept now, or just don’t have it catered for, we don’t have patience that we used to. A movie over 95 minutes now seems long and boring and a campaign in a shooter game is always ten hours at best of frenetic shoot shoot shoot and more shoot action.

This seems fine, until you focus a story on the Alien franchise, which pre 1997 focused heavily on waiting rather than out and out slaughter. This game like most of its predecessors gets straight to the point and you face your first Alien very early.

There is a fatigue involved based solely on the fact that from the first minute you fight wave after wave of Aliens. It loses all sense of fear and excitement as you blast Aliens into acidic mulch with great ease. Older games such as Aliens vs Predator for the PC had more sense of pacing and when that tracker started to bleep it was difficult not to turn and run but even then, once it dived into the action, the waves of drooling banana headed beasts didn’t stop.

The setup for ACM is only to be expected however in a modern take on the game. We can’t have a slow build up anymore, with one Alien proving tricky to kill. Instead many Aliens, easier to kill = more fun, fewer Aliens, harder to kill = more boring. Slowly pacing a game like this wouldn’t suit anyone and wouldn’t make a good game either, hence the previous statement that you can’t make a good Aliens game.

The fact that none of the idea’s presented in the game were good ones is  incidental to my point. Just because you can’t make a good Aliens game now, doesn’t excuse this one its trespasses. From random Wayland Yutani forces shooting you instead of escaping an exploding vessel full of Aliens, unkillable boss style Aliens with ridiculous horns and pokey bit chasing you around threatening an unfriendly bottom tickling, going back to a post nuclear LV426 – so what if I hung out by the “Hadleys Hope” sign giggling like a moron – and having every android be Bishop just because people will recognize Lance Henriksens voice, this whole thing was a mess.

Random pick ups across the game world made no real sense, collecting the dog tags of marines we never saw in the movie and never cared about makes no sense. We get a quick pre-cursor use of a power loader right near the beginning, which instantly gives you the understanding that you’ll be seeing that one again later – there’s only one way to fight a big mama Alien after all. We get a pulse rifle straight away, which leaves you thinking about what weapons we will see that are better rather than making the weapon itself seem like the awesome death spewer from the movie – because the only effect the grenade launcher has is if you point the barrel at the ground and blow yourself up to make the action more threatening and less plastic and dull.

The worst thing about the game was pacing. It throws you in and keeps blowing stuff up in the back ground to keep your interest. This is the kind of colourful noise that causes my focus to wonder, because there is no real feeling of plight in it, most of the time, if you don’t run when you’re told to run, nothing happens, the sirens just blare on for a little longer than they would have if you had run straight away – this takes the insistence out of a blown arilock somewhat.

The characters are boring and I don’t care if they all die of gonorrhea – something that is more likely to occur than a death by an Alien. These are just stereotypical “ooh rah!” marines with no personalities. We don’t care about their plights and the fact that woman one got an Alien in her, but still manages to run around jumping all over the place and shooting stuff to death, doesn’t make us care at all.

Back referencing was of course essential to the games success, with constant reminders that Ripley and co were here there and everywhere, for example finding the motion tracker guns or “Casey’s” head in the sewer. But they even managed to screw that up, with the game opening with a makes-no-sense cut scene of a post Alien acid Hicks, talking to the camera, apparently very little worse for wear and the previously mentioned “Bishop” for no apparent reason other than recognition.

Mix all of this with mediocre graphics, glitches like you wouldn’t believe and the worst AI from both foes and friends alike and you’ve got a shoddy mixture for a shoddy game. I know there are excuses behind the scenes that Gearbox sublet the whole thing to a sweat shop in China, but that doesn’t make up for the duping that the public has received once again. This game was sold as the “true sequel to Aliens” and looking at the state of it while comparing it to the movie sequels, it could actually be a true sequel I guess, it sucks enough balls.

So yet again I find myself crawling back into my “I wonder if they’ll ever make a sequel to Aliens” bubble of ignorance, put my fingers in my ears and pretend I never heard the words Alien 3, Resurrection, versus Predator or bloody Colonial Marines! Alone I sit happy in my bubble dreaming of crazy 80’s hair and a film that for some reason changed my life…

For perspective on this madman and his over zealous worshiping of 1986’s Aliens, check out this article he wrote for Whatculture! Maybe there is a point on there which explains why this passage is written in third person, he wonders.