Aliens: Colonial Marines Hands-on Preview from E3 2012 -- Xeno Slaying on OriginBy Adam Rosenberg - Posted Jun 06, 2012
Sega decided to kick the doors wide open for Aliens: Colonial Marines at E3 2012. Instead of sequestering select members of the media behind closed doors for private looks at the game, the Gearbox Software team instead faced off in multiplayer against showgoers, much like the recent hands-on reveal press event in Dallas, Texas.
Gearbox once again filled out the Xenomorph team while showgoers took the controls for the Colonial Marines. New at E3 is the outdoor map, Origin, and a new class loadout equipped with the game's auto-shotgun. The reload time for the new weapon is longer than that of the standard shotgun, but the rate of fire is kicked up considerably. Shotguns remain one of the most useful killing tools for taking out the Xenos, though Origin serves as a straightforward demonstration of the value in taking on more of a ranged role in Aliens: Colonial Marines.
The outdoor map is set on the starlit surface of a planet. All manner of industrial tools, shipping containers, and prefab buildings are scattered about, along with a handful of caves to take refuge in. Origin is a much more open map than the previously revealed environment, offering longer sightlines and fewer nooks and crannies for the Xenos to pop out of.
If anything, Origin more favors the Xeno speed advantage over anything else. The alien critters can jump extremely high and far, and so it's not uncommon on a map like this one to suddenly be confronted with an enemy that seemingly materialized out of nowhere. The Colonial Marines team seemed to do best when clustered together out in the map's open central area, with all angles covered and the close range-only Xenos kept at bay.
It's also worth noting that Colonial Marines seems to have come a long way since its first public hands-on demonstration in March. Visually, the lighting seems all that much sharper. A map like Origin highlights it well too, with lots of spotlights casting long shadows in different directions. The controls also just feel tighter and more responsive. Gearbox undoubtedly made the right choice in pushing the release back to February 12, 2013, but things certainly seem to be coming along nicely.
The footprint that Aliens: Colonial Marines is leaving at E3 2012 is an unquestionably light one, but that is probably to be expected what with the recent delay. We'll continue to hope that the next glimpse peers more deeply into the story, but the online game continues to look like a fan-serving ride, mixing familiar sights, sounds, and action with that trademark Gearbox style.