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Close encounters

The scenery clipping is far from the only bug too. As sentry turrets materialise out of thin air, enemy grunts rush blindly past you - presumably because you’ve reached a point in the mission without tagging their trigger point - and pressurised containers explode without damaging anything within their vicinity.

And though such issues may be fixed via patches, that won’t cure Colonial Marines’ most unforgivable flaw: that the xenomorphs here have been cursed with staccato movement, the very opposite of the sinuous, fluid flexibility that was so terrifying in the movies. Perhaps the most damning criticism to be made is that even the ‘greasy’ Alien: Resurrection xenos looked better than this collection of cardboard cut-outs.

Aliens Colonial Marines

Ultimate killing machine? Not in this game

The rest of the game looks much as if it has walked out of the PS2 era too, a problem compounded by bland environments and identikit bad guys. No wonder the preview events showcased the PC version which, while still less than stunning, is at least slightly better looking.

I’m not suggesting that Gearbox went into this to make anything but a good game, but six years of indecision, a constantly shifting release dates and seemingly a loss of direction has unfortunately turned the product into something to lament. After all, in a similar way to how we’re now stuck with Prometheus as the “definite” precursor to Alien, we’re now stuck with this as the gaming’s official sequel to Aliens.

Game Score 2

Dead Space 3: a story of assumed identity

Following hot on the heels of Aliens: Colonial Marines was Dead Space 3, a game which most had long suspected was set to take Visceral Game’s claustrophobic horror in a new direction.

Dead Space 3

Oh eye

Sure enough, that’s was exactly what we got, with long-suffering engineer Isaac Clarke being once more lured into battle against the corrupted necromorphs. His affair with the mysterious Marker – which set loose his tormentors in the first place – coming to some kind of conclusion in the process.

It offers co-op mode for a first time, as well as human enemies equipped with guns and even locates the action within more open environments, Clarke taking a trip to a snow-covered planet during large sections of the game. These foreign concepts twisting and transforming Dead Space 3 into something resembling Uncharted with zombie aliens, a marked departure from the atmospheric survival horror of before.

For that change, the game was attacked rather ferociously by the gaming press. While I can see why some criticism was due, there comes a point when you must judge what’s on the disc - not what you hoped was on the disc. After all, we don’t lambast Aliens for not being similar in concept to Alien do we?

Dead Space 3

Light him up

With that in mind I’d like to put it on record that I had a good time with Dead Space 3. Not quite as good a time as I had with its predecessors admittedly, but by upping the tempo while preserving the series’ seamless design, Visceral have pulled off an action horror which walks all over the likes of Resident Evil 6.

The only downsides are a reliance on unoriginal boss fights and puzzle sections to which the solution is to find three keys for three slots – a gameplay mechanic that the industry really needs to start moving away from if you ask this grizzled gamer.

Game Score 3.5

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