Sunday, March 3, 2013

Not as bad as I hoped

I had to play Colonial Marines.

As someone who intentionally plays bad games this was a title that could not be passed up. Here's the problem: it isn't that bad. Colonial Marines has the same problems as other low to mid range shooters: texture pop in, stilted animations, bad writing, boring/repetitive level design. But it also has a few reasonably interesting moments along with fan service so thick it is a little embarrassing. The game itself is not the problem. The expectations are.

To steal from Dr. Phil: when you expect one thing and get something else you become upset, even if what you got wasn't really that bad. Just using the name 'Alien' sets the game up for failure. The geek community has an unhealthy affection for the franchise, one that should have been cured by the travesty that was Prometheus. Alien was a great horror movie. Aliens was a great sci-fi movie. Since then? To be polite, not so much. It seems people still care enough to be offended when an Alien property gets it wrong even though that is all it has done since 1986.

The second level of expectation comes from the developer. Not Sega, they just fronted (and stand to loose) the money for the license. I am talking about Gearbox. I loved both Borderlands games. Hell, almost everyone loved them. When Sega came to Gearbox with the the project they kicked it around for a while like the hot potato it was, eventually passing it off to someone else so they could work on Borderlands 2. Can't blame them. Who doesn't want to go with the sure thing?

Colonial Marines would have been a disappointment even if it had been a good shooter because it could not have possibly been good enough. It wasn't good. It wasn't even average, but it is far from the worst shooter I have ever played. That dubious honer belongs to Turning Point and I doubt it will ever be taken away. I am overly forgiving of shooters because I really do enjoy shooting things and I have no loyalty to chest bursters and face huggers. It was just another game to me, one that will be forgotten quickly. I suppose this is the greater insult. Colonial Marines isn't even bad enough to be remembered.

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