Out This Week

Impire

The Little Guys

This week’s new releases are full of pluck.

By Steve Heisler • February 12, 2013

Out This Week is a roundup of new games that are out this week. These listings don’t constitute an endorsement or a review of any sort. We also don’t pretend that this is an exhaustive list. If there’s a game on the horizon that interests you, share it in the comments.

Aliens: Colonial Marines
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360—February 12

It’s incredible to think that of all the life forms out there in the infinitely expanding universe, the unlucky crew from the Alien movie franchise found the ones with two sets of teeth that want to kill them. What about that other planet, where the aliens are just sentient Draw Something machines? Wouldn’t that have been a hell of a lot more fun, hanging with those aliens? Although I guess they wouldn’t be able to guess that you’re drawing a traffic light. They don’t understand Earth references. Oh, well. A man can dream. In the meantime, this first person-shooter allows you to take out some of those dentistry nightmares with exclusive guns from the movie, like the “flamethrower.”

Impire
PC—February 14

Don’t count out the little guy. Muggsy Bogues played in the NBA for 14 seasons as its shortest player ever: 5’3”. Hell, when he joined the league, he was on the same team as Manute Bol, who was 7’7”. And you know what he did? He led four teams as a point guard and even racked up an impressive 39 blocked shots over his career. You know who else is 5’ 3”? My mom. You know how many shots she’s blocked? 38. Muggsy is a champion. The imp from Impire is the Muggsy Bogues of games. Sure, he’s short, but he is capable of leading an army of undead warriors through hell to destroy true evil (the Detroit Pistons, basically).

Sela The Space Pirate
iPhone/iPad—February 15

In a far-off galaxy, Sela pilots a ship that’s pint-sized compared to the hordes of foreign vessels trying to take her down. She only has her wits, a whole bunch of lasers, dozens of bombs, and power-ups out the wazoo. A true David vs. Goliath tale.

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  • Fluka

    Wow, the reviews of Alien: Colonial Marines have been really terrible (and fun to read!).

    If nothing else, the game has given the world this hilariously half-hearted animated gif.

    • lokimotive

      Aww

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      I was JUST about to post that. I hope that their direction for the mo-cap actor was to “mince about.”

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

        Oh my heavens! And there’s little wisps of smoke coming out of the tubes on its back! “Toot! Toot! Here come the choo-choo train!”

      • Fluka

        I saw it more as “Old dude, shuffling to the bathroom while muttering to himself.”

      • George_Liquor

        Gall durn smoochers. Get off my lawn!

      • Halloween_Jack

        I mentally superimpose the xenomorph muttering to itself, “Bread, eggs, vanilla extract… bread, eggs, vanilla extract…” over and over. 

    • valondar

       This just isn’t outer space horror’s week, is it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dan-Whitehead/789605656 Dan Whitehead

       To be fair to this awful, awful game, the alien in that gif only responds to movement so it’s SUPPOSED to shuffle past you at that point, because it can’t “see” you.

      Doesn’t explain why it looks like it pooped its pants, but there are far more egregious examples of the game’s AI actually being terrible:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk3aruZIZyo

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JBsimDxMRw

      • Fluka

        Pff, context!  We don’t need no stinking context!

        This may be a terrible game, but at least it’s producing a treasure trove of hilarious youtube videos.

    • Bad Horse

      http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-02-12-aliens-colonial-marines-review

      “ It’s hard not to think of Duke Nukem Forever, that other long-delayed FPS that fell into Gearbox’s hands, and the comparison isn’t favourable.”

      Ouch. I mean, fucking ouch.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        So Gearbox is a shitty company that makes shitty games, yeah? The only thing i can recall them putting out that people liked was Borderlands and that half life expansion. But even then, I thought Borderlands was crazy boring. They also seem to have a sexism/stupid problem somewhere in there, between all of Duke Nukem Forever, that “girlfriend mode” Borderlands kerfuffle, and more recently the aggressively-moronic totally-missing-the-point-of-what-made-Alien-awesome trailer for this game. 

        • Vervack

           They also did the PC version of the first Halo game. Just wanted to throw that in there.

        • ComradePig

           Gearbox actually has a pretty strong reputation as a developer, but their recent business decisions perplex the hell out of me.

          They’re best known now of course for Borderlands 1 and 2, but they also developed the excellent Brothers in Arms series of tactical WW2 games as well as the well-received Half-Life add on Opposing Force and Halo as cited above.

          There must be good money or something in slapping together roughly finished versions of long-delayed projects like DKF and Colonial Marines in order to just get them out the door for the publisher at long last.

          Outside of that or just wanting consistent work on the side, I can’t fathom why else a company which has displayed an above-average development ability would sully their reputation by voluntarily releasing other developer’s dated wrecks like those listed above.

          The Duke Nukem and Aliens franchises are of course intensely highly attractive in terms of their potential for future projects, but it seems like Gearbox would be served in the long term both critically and commercially by scrapping the existing elements of these games and starting anew rather than releasing unpolished, unsatisfying products with their name on it.

        • Halloween_Jack

          My guess is that whoever was responsible for buying the IP for DNF and A:CM wasn’t talking to the guys who actually make video games at Gearbox and didn’t understand what “90% completed” really means. 

    • Haymz_Jetfield

      It really captures all the scenes from the movies and comics where the xenomorphs are shown cheerfully puttering about the kitchen and garage on a lazy Sunday.

    • exant

      How did the Alien IP fall to such lows? Aliens vs. Predator 2 was really fun and experimental and captured the spirit of the movies without directly referencing any location from them. The multiplayer was balls-out absurd, but managed to balance all three races relatively well. The variety contained in the game was commendable. 

      Also, as a vehicle for first-person chestburster wish fulfillment, AvP2 succeeded on all fronts.

      • signsofrain

        I love the muffled screams in that sequence. Nothin’ like chompin’ through a rib cage to set the mood at the beginning of a game.

      • KidvanDanzig

        Sega’s software division was in steep decline for a long time, to the point where I think aside from Sonic and Aliens (and maybe another one?) the company was effectively ceasing development of all its properties. It’s hard to say if Colonial Marines is so bad because Gearbox sucks, or because Sega either didn’t have the money to properly fund it or wasn’t willing to cough it up. Probably both! But QA is traditionally the domain of publishers.

        What really blows is that they canceled Obsidian’s “Crucible” Aliens RPG, which, from what little was released in terms of concept art and engine renderings, looked really interesting. It might have been a failure but it definitely would’ve been a much more interesting failure than Colonial Marines turned out to be.

    • Effigy_Power

      The moment someone told me you can’t play an alien, the air was out.
      The gaming world hardly needed another vehicle to play “the most badass military outfit in the galaxy”… and that’s a quote.
      Also, considering every “badass” military outfit tangling with the Xenomorphs has thus far had their camo’d asses handed to them, I find that a weird description.

      • exant

        “Is collecting guns such a massive fun-factor for people that it overwrites everything else? I don’t get it.”

        Yes. Borderlands 2.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        “Hmm should I use this small weak gun against the alien menace or this big one that kills them dead fast?” 

        SUCH STRATEGY.

      • indy2003

        It’s quite disappointing that a game based on the Alien franchise – a franchise which could easily inspire a terrific slice of space horror – is just another “muscle-bound military dudes with guns shooting stuff!” affair. You get a bunch of different guns? Isn’t that pretty much standard operating procedure for every FPS these days? Or any game featuring guns, for that matter? I mean, Ni no Kuni places almost zero emphasis on guns and a member of my party still has about twelve different types of pistols.

        • Bad Horse

          Well, XCOM only really has 3 families of guns, with like 4 types each, and that’s a game where you always be shooting. So…progress?

        • Vervack

           Well, to be fair, the first-person shooter as we know it owes its existence to the movie Aliens. Once you start working backwards through the 1990s the references, homages, and inspiration becomes pretty blatant.

        • valondar

           @Vervack:disqus  That’s true. Doom’s setting is essentially Aliens with demons taking the role of the Xenomorphs (and in fact there was a Total Conversion for Doom that turned it into Aliens and that was really rather good.)

          And after that point people are referencing Aliens, Doom, or games that took inspiration from both or either.

      • Halloween_Jack

        It is kind of fun; one of the improvements of Mass Effect 3 over ME2 is that you get all the guns. You can start out a mission as if you’re standing in front of your gun wall [TVTropes], thinking, “Hmm… the Raptor, or the Indra? Or, is this a Javelin job? Oh, heck, let’s live a little–the Black Widow it is.”

    • caspiancomic

      The xenomorphs are now both the scariest and funniest things I have ever seen.

      Also, hasn’t this Aliens game been in production for like, fifteen years? I remember reading about it in a Gamepro at Loblaws once. Do they even publish Gamepro anymore?

      • George_Liquor

        Five years, I think. You were probably reading about Aliens Vs. Predator for PC, which came out just about 15 years ago. It’s a pretty good game, too. Atmospheric as hell, it’s at least as good at creating a palpable feeling of dread as Dead Space.

        • Bad Horse

          I love AvP 2000, which knew how to use then-new lighting effects for nefarious purposes better than anything I’d played at the time. I still have the discs but even by 2002 it was having big compatibility issues with new PCs, so I doubt it would go in cleanly.

        • George_Liquor

          @Bad_Horse:disqus There’s a version available on Steam that’s been rejiggered to work on modern computers.

          http://store.steampowered.com/app/3730/?snr=1_7_15__13

  • George_Liquor

    So evidently Colonial Marines is set after the events in Aliens, but in the same location. I’m really curious to learn how they retconned the nuclear explosion out of the story.

    • ToddG

      Yeah, Polygon’s review roasts them pretty mercilessly for the nonsensical revisionism of the movies’ story.  The choice is baffling, to say the least.

    • caspiancomic

       Hahahaha, oh man. I was going to say how this game couldn’t possibly have any sort of narrative tension because we all know the answer to the plot’s central mystery (what happened to the crew of the Sulaco at Hadley’s Hope? They all died!), but it hadn’t even registered with me that they blew the colony to hell at the end of that film.

    • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

      From what I’ve heard there are giant plot holes that they literally bring up in game and then wave off. Like someone in the game says “Why is this?” and someone else says “Ahh don’t worry about it” and waves their hand. For real.

    • Halloween_Jack

      Was it literally set in Hadley’s Hope, though, or just on the same planet?

      • George_Liquor

        The reviews say it’s set inside an intact Hadley’s Hope, not a smoking, radioactive crater like it should be. I guess a few set pieces from Aliens are even recreated in the game. 

        • Halloween_Jack

           Ugh, that’s so fuckin’ dumb. It would have been so easy to say that, hey, there’s not going to be just a single colony with one (or a few) atmospheric processes on an entire Earth-sized planet. Hadley’s Hope got nuked but there was another colony, maybe a continent or even a hemisphere away, and some survivors from HH made their way there, but they had a passenger or few…

  • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

    I don’t think I’ve seen this many universally terrible reviews for a game in a long time. Good god Colonial Marines looks awful.

    So, can we definitely say now that it’s a terrible idea for Gearbox to try and resurrect games that have been stuck in development hell for years? I mean this is almost a beat for beat retread of Duke Nukem Forever (sans the insulting juvenile misogyny) . Gearbox definitely deserves blame for hyping up such an objectively shit game, and releasing such an un-finished buggy product for retail, but I’d wager that any developer trying to put out a game that has been in development for over 5 years is bound for failure. Technology changes alone during that timespan would make the entire process absurd. I know Gearbox can make good games. But this has shown that people would really be better off killing their hopes for an old game getting a release than for it to actually get a release.

    • KidvanDanzig

      To be fair to Gearbox, Sega definitely deserves at least half the credit for how this game turned out. I think they were the original developers for it, too. It was just in development hell (almost certainly Sega’s doing) for years even as it was bafflingly not-canceled.

      • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

        nobody appreciated my hilarious inside-gameological joke :(

    • http://www.facebook.com/gareth.hughes.1253 Gareth Hughes
      • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

        Yeah, saw… well, they ARE a renowned gaming journal, after all 

  • wzzzzd

    It’d be nice if that trailer for Impire would straight up say either “This is a tower defence” or “This is a Dungeon Keeper 2 clone”.

    • valondar

      What, you mean like this?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYJsSAV3lGA

      Actually if Impire is an attempt at a DK game I might have half an interest in it. Although I’ve not been so sure about a lot of these non-grand-strategy games Paradox has been releasing lately.