Aliens: Colonial Marines Xbox 360 Review
Warning this is unproofread temporary version of the review that I posted to test out the links. It may often be incoherent, unorganized and difficult to get through. Read it at your own risk. A fixed final version should be posted by June 10th, 20013, if not sooner. obviously I missed that deadline, but my new target goal is June 20th or soon. When I remove this warning the proofreading will be finished.
Aliens: Colonial Marines was first announced in its current state way back in 2006, as being due for release in early 2007. Since then the main developers Gearbox have released three other games; Boarderlands, Duke Nukem Forever, and Borderlands 2, all in the span of time it took for Aliens to finally come out in February of 2013. Unfortunately after completing the game several times, and dwelling into the multiplayer I think I could safely say that it was not worth the wait. Aliens: Colonial Marines's campaign is a mundane and monotonous adventure that lasts about five hours. The multiplayer however is somewhat entertaining, but only when you're playing as Maries who have a massive advantage over the Aliens due to their superior firepower, and easier objectives.
Aliens: Colonial Marines isn't a terrible game, despite being such a disappointing and lackluster experience, it can be moderately fun at times during the albeit unbalanced multiplayer and a few short snippets of the campaign. The problem is that it's so generic, and familiar that it feels like a late 90's run and gun first-person shooter, but without any of the cool levels, powerful weapons, or fun that makes you want to keep playing.
The single player campaign of Aliens: Colonial Marines is a rather dull mundane generic get from point A To point B. first person shooter. It's not particularly bad, but it's certainly not very entertaining, and it's definitely forgettable. On the plus the shooting controls in the game are solid, and unless an alien dodges you a last-second you'll always get where you're aiming which is as it should be. The problems start with the lack of enemy variety. fighting On the alien side of things 80% of the time you'll only be the basic soldier alien, who all happen to look identical. As you would expect this gets pretty monotonous. Around at level seven spitter aliens start to show up as a welcome diversion, but their defense is so low that they are no challenge to kill. You'll also encounter a few face huggers, maybe 10 or so of them throughout the campaign, who attacks are easily repelled by simply mashing the X button in a QTE every time one grabs you. There are also occasional appearances by bull aliens who charge that you and will take out half your health if you get hit. Dodging bull aliens is tricky since you have to run to the left or right in order to do so, but you may have already exhausted your Sprint which could potentially screw you over. Fortunately most of the time except in one instance you don't actually have to kill them, you just have to avoid them and move on. They are also exploding aliens that appear in one level, and of course as you would expect the alien Queen shows up eventually. But that's it that's all the alien species in the game, as far as I know there are no other xenomorth types in the game. It's a sad state of affairs when the alien versus predator super Nintendo and arcade game from 1994 have more alien species than Aliens: Colonial Marines does in 2013. If I learned anything from Kenner's alien toy line, it's that every animal has a alien species representing it. I wonder why there aren't any vehicle levels in the game, like say using a UPC against an alien Queen or using the gun on a drop ship to take out a flying alien Queen. How about some dog aliens, or guerrilla aliens, or snakes even all of them are looking. I just expected more than five times the aliens to be in the game, so I'm understandably disappointed. Starting at level two you'll also fight against Wayland soldiers who carry machine guns or shotguns, and you'll occasionally run into a heavy armored soldier that carries a gatling gun. I guess they thought that fighting soldiers would bring some much-needed variety to the game's combat however anything it just slows down the gameplay and turns into a very poor call of duty clone. The problem is that aliens might sneak up on you or just run straight forward and attack you. But soldiers love stay in cover and aim bot snipe which will kill you in two seconds. This makes it so that instead of running and gunning and exploding aliens heads as you quickly progress to the levels, into a incredibly boring Crouch and sheer around corners to shoot the knee or shoulder of your attackers first person shooter. It's the just position of the quick alien gameplay versus the slow progress too little reward soldiers gameplay that completely kills any replay value that campaign would have had. Because you're either in the mood for one type of gameplay or the other not both. Also killing replay value on the boring repetitive levels. Spoilers are ahead. You'll start out on a ship, go to the other end of the stip. Oh no the ships under attack, now go back to the other end. wait no the ship is going to blow up now so you have to cross to the other side of the ship one more time to escape. And that's how the first three levels of the game play out. The same thing happens when you reach the surface of the planet and the scientific colony. The one side the map, go to the other side the map, and then cross the map one more time, boom three levels. In fairness level five and eleven or standalone areas that aren't repeated, but I didn't really enjoy them either, particularly level five which an effort to raise the tension leaves you on arm early entirety of it. What's particularly bogus about level five is that in order to be stealthy you have to walk very slowly or you'll be seen and killed. So the level which could be beaten in 15 minutes takes about 45 minutes to complete because you have to walk so slowly. It's a ridiculous attempt to lengthen the short game. The game is pretty short each level only lasts between half an 15 minutes and one hour, since there are 11 levels the game should take most players about four or five hours to complete the first time through on normal difficulty setting which is called soldier. As you would expect from aliens game there are many dark courtorders in several areas look very similar to one another , and with all the backtracking it easy to get lost, which happened to me frequently. I didn't discover until late in the game however that you can use the motion tracker to point you to the waypoint of your destination. I did enjoy some of the outdoor environment levels on the surface of the planet and also some of the sewer and cave areas. It's too bad that those areas are probably only about one fourth of the game and that pesky soldiers and the slow camping gameplay that goes along with it makes me wary of replying the story again.
Unlike the single player, multiplayer mode in Aliens: Colonial Marines is actually fairly entertaining. The problem is that a few annoying design decisions, leave it horribly imbalanced, and the drastic lack of maps makes it becomes stale quickly. In every multiplayer mode, one team plays as the Aliens and the other as the Colonial Marines. Regardless of the mode the goal is almost always to simply eliminate the other enemy team. The problem with multiplayer is that both Marines and aliens have almost no health or defense, and because of this everyone can be killed in one or two hits. Everyone being so fragile seems like it would make things fair on the surface, until you realize that aliens must do close range sneak attacks to get kills, while Marines can simply fire a hail of bullets from across the map to take out the an alien. Basically the aliens need either a lot more health or be able to do much more damage in order to compensate for the lack of long-range attacks, in order for the game to have anywhere close to being balanced.
Despite its abundance of ammo, and high rate of fire, I find that the much lauded pulse rifle is largely useless in most situations. It generally takes about twice as long to kill an alien than as it would with the far superior shotgun, because of how inaccurate the rifle shots are, even at point blank range. Even when sniping where you think the pulse light would shine, the shotgun is actually superior. Speaking of sniping, why isn't there a sniper rifle in the game? I guess you could argue that the Smart Gun serves a similar purpose, but it doesn't give me the same satisfaction that a nice clean headshot wood. The shotgun is unquestionably the best weapon marines can use. Although it seriously doesn't have much of a spread, as you would expect from shotgun, certainly has the stopping power. Most enemies be it aliens or even human PMCs in the campaign will die from only one shotgun blast. Occasionally though with xenomorphs you'll have to hit them two or three times if they dodge a lot. You even get one hit kills at medium to long range sometimes you get lucky and your target isn't moving around too much. What's important to remember when using the shotgun is that if you dismember an opponent you'll also kill them instantly, so you might want to purposely aim for a arm or a leg, instead of the head or torso, since the damage threshold for blowing one off is considerably lower, therefore making it easier to kill them. I'll be honest and say that I don't actually use the pistol very often, usually only when I've been grabbed by an alien and I'm recovering. However even though the pistol has a high rate of fire, if I shoot an alien six times in the head during the campaign it should drop. So clearly the pistol is underpowered, I recommend switching to your primary weapon when you stand back up as soon as possible, otherwise your a goner. The flamethrower I was surprised is actually very effective. Lately when source of been rather useless in most games , feeling pitiful damage and running out of ammo after 2 seconds. In Aliens: Colonial Marines however the flamethrower is actually a viable weapon since it can kill after only a sustained blaze of about 2 or 3 seconds, and has a decent supply of ammo that should last you for about 60 seconds of continuous use. I really like how most the time when you ignite an enemy will perish immediately, and won't keep attacking you all on fire, or set you on fire as well, like in many other recent games. In the campaign the missile launcher seems pretty effective since it kills everything in one hit, however you only get to use it in level 9. I like the targeting system when you zoom in, but due to the massive splash damage you have to be careful not to fire it at close range, which often happens when a alien rushes you, or to kill yourself by mistake. I don't find her needs to be that useful generally, especially in this game since aliens are always moving around, the blast radius isn't very large and crouching in cover is surprisingly effective against explosive damage even when the detonation was just on the other side of a crate. In multiplayer people love to set trip mines explode when aliens passed by. Generally easy for an alien player to notice them, and it's difficult for the marine player to place one in a spot that the alien can go round. But when a mine does go off it's always an instant kill. In both the single player and the multiplayer as a marine you can track the movement of friendly and enemy targets with your motion tracker, however unlike in the movies and other previous alien games , you can't look at your motion tracker and fire your gun at the same time. I honestly don't understand why the motion tracker can be attached to your weapon like in every single Alien versus Predator game dating back to 1994 on the Jaguar. It's ridiculous. What's also ridiculous and that the motion tracker takes up the movement of your teammates, which I guess is realistic, but when the motion tracker doesn't just show the movement of enemies, it takes a split second for you to translate who are your allies in the war the aliens in your head, and you seem realize that it's just easier to ignore the motion tracker, put your back to a wall, and shoot any xenomorphs you see. In the single player the motion tracker is made even more irrelevant than it already is, by beeping every time an enemy spawns, which means you pretty much don't have to ever actually take in out to look at it, since it for real or you can enemy's presence. One good thing I will say about the motion tracker is that in the single player if you get lost in a map, which is a common occurrence since everything looks the same, be doing a lot of backtracking , and pull off the motion tracker and it will point you in the direction that you're supposed to go, which is pretty useful and is a nice feature to use the tracker for. The Smart Gun is a large rifle with a labyrinth targeting system that takes over your heads up display, filling the screen with various icons. When a enemy is in sight, your targeting reticule will automatically move to them, so all you have to do is pull the trigger. It is possible however to die while wearing the Smart Gun, since you still have to be facing approximately the right direction that the enemy is attacking from, but most the time you'll be untouchable. Both the missile launcher and the Smart gun can't be used as default weapons in multiplayer, and special power ups that you collect instead. Since they usually only spawn one of the power ups per match, you should avoid letting noobs pick them up, as they'll probably get killed right away and waste them.
As I mentioned earlier aliens have a much tougher time in multiplayer, since just like Marines they have no health or defense, but unlike Marines they are forced to only attack at close range. There are three different species of aliens to play as, soldier, spitter, and drone. Honestly soldiers and drones look almost exactly the same, and really only their skills set them apart, and even those are very similar. Another problem that aliens have is that all their attacks have a massive delay on them, a windup so long that you'll be killed before you can even scratch a marine in four out of five times. gjhjghu this is why some players like to take the stealth approach when playing as xenomorphs, what with all the motion trackers, alien noises, and wide open levels, I'd rather take my chances and play aggressively then get picked off from across the map. Usually I'll approach my target from the side, or zigzag in a serpentine style, then attack a marine with my tail or mouth once, and then follow up with several quick slashes and hope that I kill at least one Marine before I die. Each xenomorph class has an attack specialty; the soldier has tail attacks, The spitter spits acid very slowly but at long range, and the drone has pounce attack that is very slow, but powerful. Each class has a claw slashing attack, a instant kill finishing move, a defensive ability and their primary attack such as the spitter acid or the soldiers tail strikes. Another distinct advantage Marines have over the aliens, is that Marines gain experience and can level up by playing either the campaign or multiplayer, and since you can only play as aliens in multiplayer, the alien team is often under leveled when compared to the Marines side. I've already complained quite a bit about the unfair advantage Marines have in multiplayer, but the slaughter would be lessened, if it was easier for alien players to acquire points, and B more alien players were at least level 17 so they can buy the defense increasing upgrade, and then hopefully not be constantly one hit killed all the time.
Unlike the Marines when playing an aliens the camera switches to a third person perspective so that you can more easily let up your character for stealth attacks. This is probably because in other previous aliens versus predator games climbing walls was often disorientating in the first-person perspective, and it was often hard to tell if you are actually hidden from the sight of your prey or not. Also when I played at the alien in other games I would often get motion sickness due to the speed of their movement after only a short period of playing the game. So I commend them for letting people play as aliens with a third person camera, although it might be nice to have the ability to switch to a first-person perspective if I want to.
In order to simulate alien vision, the way that xenomorphs see the world, when playing as aliens the screen is tinted a brownish yellow color and human marine characters are highlighted in red. A problem I have on the more claustrophobic maps, is that I'll run toward Marines that are highlighted, only to hit a wall, and I'll be forced to run in the complete opposite direction to find the entrance to the hallway that leads to the Marines that I want to kill that were highlighted. It degrades that there were some way to turn off the alien vision mode so that I could see where I was going, and not constantly get cut off by pointless walls in the mazelike levels.
As a soldier alien I usually like to rely exclusively on tail attacks. They have a slow windup, but it usually only takes one or two strikes to kill a target, which actually makes the most effective alien attack. The drone alien's pounce attack is very deadly, but the range is so short, and the charge time so long, and they are so small, that you practically have to be directly behind a Marine that's standing completely still in order to connect. With the spitter alien it will usually take one or two direct hits with acid to kill someone. If you miss and only grace them with acid it might take as many as four hits to take them down. Blind firing acid at point blank range is quicker, but if you actually want to target someone in a long-distance number to hold the trigger down and charge the shot for at least 3 seconds, so if you have to hit someone multiple times to have definitely lost the element of surprise and the advantage by the time you're ready to shoot your second shot of acid. This is why the spitter alien is more of a support class, and should be used as backup for the more reliable soldier or drone aliens and mop up whatever of tolerance they couldn't kill themselves.
Supposedly the drone alien as the defensive ability to cloak it sounds like you'd be super useful, but unfortunately I haven't unlocked to get so I can't say either way at this time.
The alien team also has power ups in multiplayer, one of which will turn a player into the powerful bull alien which can charge great distances and RAM groups of targets with its head for a devastating strike which is often fatal. Honestly I really don't know what triggers power ups to spawn at this point, I'll have to put more time into multiplayer figure it out.
I like to point out that I think a great multiplayer mode for this game would be something similar to Left 4 Dead's versus mode or resident evil sixes agent hunt mode where one team placed a single player as Marines while the other team plays the single player as the aliens, taking turns at whoever has the fastest time or the most kills in that match wins. That sounds like it would actually be pretty fun.
In the extermination game type, the aliens have laid an egg nest at two circular areas of the map, the Marines are tasked with capturing these points by simply standing on them, without a xenomorph contesting it, in order to detonate and destroy the egg cluster. After one egg nest is destroyed, another location appears at one of six areas in the map. The as more Maries control an egg nest the quicker it will be destroyed. The game type is very similar to King of the Hill, or double domination in unreal tournament 2004, the only difference is that the aliens are stuck playing defense and can never control the Hill. The best strategy for aliens seems to be to simply run back and forth between the two hills and hopefully kill any single Marine that tries to capture one. A group of two or three Marines however will easily overpower you and take the hill. Even after you kill all the Marines at the egg nest you'll still have to wait around the nest to lower the Marines control of it back to zero, before it's safe to check on the other nest or go hunting for more Marines. Something that really frustrates me about extermination mode, is that aliens get about 60 points for killing a Marine, while Marines get around 150 points for killing an alien, and about 500 for destroying an egg nest. So not only do the Marines have a tactical advantage but also a much greater incentive and ability to level up than people on the alien team.
At some point they must have realized how unbalanced the multiplayer is, and decided to make every match two rounds, at the start of the second round the player switch teams, so the Marines become the aliens and the aliens become the Marines. Since it's pretty rare to have any effective coordination on the alien team much less a good defense, basic strategy for victory is to score as many points as possible while you're playing as the Marines, so that even with a terrible defense the other team won't be able to make up the point spread from the first round. Also the Marine team should really all stick together and travels to each egg nest the same time so that they don't get picked off, and quickly captured the Hill. Usually if one team of Marines scores over ten points they'll probably win, for guaranteed a victory try to score over twelve, as most final scores are six to eleven as an example.
Another problem I have with multiplayer mode is that there are hardly any maps. There are only four maps in the game available for multiplayer, which is totally ridiculous, I thought the minimum ship with was five, preferably 20, but ideally I'd like to have 50 or 100 maps available at launch since after two months regardless of how good the game is, no one will be playing it. The other problem with maps is that three of them look almost exactly the same. Adrift in cargo hangar have too many walls, which I guess supposed to make it easy for aliens to perform sneak attacks, but all it really does is make it really difficult for either team to get across that quickly. The sewers at the bottom of hive or at least fairly open, and y easy to navigate, but the top floors suffer the same problem that adrift and cargo hangar faced. Origin is my favorite map since it's a wide open environment, and easy to quickly run across and get to the next objective. Also enjoy the atmosphere of the level and is the only one that gives me a sense of the aliens movies and not just a regular corridor shooter. fgfgh
Something that really annoys me about the game is how slow your walking speed is. Marines just showed along at snail's pace. Then you try running your sprint only seemed to last about 5 seconds, which usually isn't enough time to get the next area of cover, so you'll start walking slow again and start taking fire which could get you killed. Aliens of course move a lot faster than Marines. However in multiplayer aliens usually have to run across the entire map just to get to the Marines and start killing, so even their speed is not fast enough. Fortunately though xenomorphs do have a speed upgrade which I fortunately haven't yet tried out.
Gearbox actually has the balls to release a $30 season pass for all the DLC that's going to be released for the game over the next 4 to 6 months. Supposedly buying all of the downloadable content separately would cost you at least $40 so you pretty much get one free. However I noticed that most season passes usually only include one piece of content that's actually good, two that are ok, and one that is really bad and is a waste of money. Also consider that most season pass DLCs are multiplayer focused and the game isn't that popular so who's to say how many people will actually be playing the DLC or even the game itself when the content is actually released months from now. The only upcoming DLC that is confirmed right now is the multiplayer Bug Hunt mode, which is a survival game type where human players as Marines fight wave after wave of A.I controlled xenomorphs and see how long they can survive, which is similar to horde mode in Gears of War. Bug Hunt mode supposedly cost $15 and be released in the second week of March.
The graphics in Aliens: Colonial Marines are very inconsistent. Most of the character models of the main characters are pretty impressive and nicely detailed in the single player. In the multiplayer however they really fall off the cliff, with much lower resolution textures and blocky arms legs and especially heads that sometimes look like they're straight out of a N64 game. Aliens on the other hand usually look pretty good, but not great, they are modeled accurately to the films, but just don't seem very imposeding. Perhaps it's a animation problem, or maybe they just don't look fierce, glossy or intimidating enough, it's hard to say. Enemy Weiland soldiers mostly look pretty bad, besides having very low poly counts, and poor textures they too are also blocky looking and remind me of Titius's Robocop game which in turn looked like once again a Nintendo 64 game. At least the armored heavy Weiland soldiers that carry Gatling guns look fairly decent and not totally out of place like the other soldiers. The environments of levels in the game are fairly detailed but again aren't up to current generation standards. Most of levels look like backdrops from PlayStation 2 games with dull flat textures that are repeated everywhere, and the only decorations being blood splatter, generic crates, explosive barrels, and the occasional face hugger egg. To be fair occasionally the walls of certain ship corridors do look pretty good, like for example umbilical in the game's first level, but instances of bad or terrible textures far outweigh those of good to fairly impressive textures, by what I would say a four to one margin. Probably the worst aspect of the game's graphics is the lighting which is downright atrocious. There honestly seems to be no attempt to try any sort of uniform dynamic lighting system. When an area is dark it is pitch black and you cannot see any detail at all in the environment, unless you turn on your flashlight where you then might see 2 feet in front of you, or what is more often the case terrible artifacting at the edges of your flashlight beam. In the outdoor environments everything is encased in a bluish purple glow that is monotonous and stagnant looking. Explosions are also unrealistic and quite tiny. Lastly I must mention that the game has almost constant screen tearing just about every time you move the camera left right. It's literally a constant annoyance. It's worse than in other games plagued by screen tearing for the Xbox 360 like Ninja Gaiden 3 or the first Saints Row game. The frame rate itself isn't very good either but doesn't dip too much lower than 30 frames per second most of the time, I wouldn't say it's a huge problem, but I did get dizzy after playing for about four hours, on two separate days. Supposedly the game runs on the second version of the Unreal engine, which is strange considering that the Unreal engine three has been in wide use since 2006 when the game was first announced. I also have to wonder why unreal tournament 2004, as well as Duke Nukem Forever Gearbox's own game both look substantially better despite using the same engine. Also didn't both borderlands one and two use the unreal engine 3? So how come this game doesn't? If this game came out in 2003 it would be look fairly impressive, but in 2013 it's not going to win any beauty contests since it's horribly dated.
Most of the voice acting in the game I would say is rather lackluster. Most people read their lines as if they just fallen asleep and have been startled awake. The ship's captain Cruz does a nice job, as well as the actress playing Talos, and the female dropship pilot. Everyone else I had issues with. O'Neail for example is inconsistently angry, he'll be jovial and joking around during a level, and then immediately afterward in a cut scene he's in a blind fury. I suppose it's more for writing problem, but it just seemed like he should be agitated all the time, to foreshadow his aggression later in the story. It's always jarring when the main character you play as Winter speaks, perhaps the sound volume is mixed poorly, or it's not a voice I can identify with, but he always sounds awkward and forced, and I probably would've preferred if he kept silent most of the time such as Master Chief or Gordon Freeman. Bishop appears in the game and since he's a robot it makes sense that you would speak in a monotone voice since he doesn't have emotions. However at one point Bishop's voice changes for a sarcastic comment, and I wonder if he was just phoning it in the whole time. A lot of people praise the game for using the original film accurate sound effects for the alien screams and weapons fired in the game. Although it's great to have the original audio samples from the movies, it very quickly becomes repetitive and irritating to hear the same three or four aliens screeches and the same noise every time anyone fires a machine gun. It's especially bad in a firefight, because you can't determine who is shooting at you or where, because every weapon sounds the same, and the same volume regardless of how far away your attacker might be. Often I'll hide in cover because I think I'm taking heavy fire, but actually it was just my trigger-happy partner O'Neal firing his Gatling gun at an alien 50 feet away for four minutes until he actually kills it. It would be great if they recorded new sound effects that were similar to the ones in the movie to indicate sustained fire, or higher caliber weapons, and its aliens made different noises based on their proximity to humans or other xenomorphs and the success or failure in their current objective. There isn't a lot of music in the game since its only triggered when something particularly cool like a large battle were cut scene occurs, which is similar to how the Halo games approach the score as well. The majority of the time levels are silent and you'll only hear footsteps and gunfire. The game has a orchestra score, which tries to emulate those of the films, but I would say unsuccessfully. It's certainly not a bad score, it just isn't memorable, and often doesn't contribute to the game's atmosphere all. Overall I would say that most of the sound in the game is rather bad, and I'd recommend just turning it off, and listening to music, the radio, or television instead, it's honestly you won't be missing anything.
Supposedly the PC version is quite a bit better since it has a much higher frame rate, better lighting, and textures that are much more detailed. All of which you would expect in a PC release. There is a rumor also that supposedly Gearbox is considering a massive 8 gig patch for the game to fix things like the lighting, textures and low poly character models. If it's true and the 8 gig patch does come to fruition, and is not simply media spin to coax people into buying the game anyway despite its many flaws, then the patch would probably be released for the PC first and then possibly the PlayStation 3. I've never seen a patch that big release for the Xbox 360, except as downloadable content, and maybe that's the route they'll take. It remains to be seen. However if a massive patch was released, I wouldn't expect any time soon, considering that Gearbox's other game Duke Nukem Forever had many of the same problems Aliens does, and it wasn't patched until three months after its release, and the expansion pack didn't come out until another four months had passed. So I would expect a large apology update to the game in July perhaps.
Much like call of duty multiplayer in aliens is all about having a better gear. Having access to stronger armor and better upgrades will give you a huge advantage over new players especially on the aliens side. When playing as alien you'll be killed almost instantly by any attack until you slog your way to level 20, and unlock thicker skin that acts as better armor and increases your defense, until then you'll have very little fun as you grind your way through matches getting a measly amount of points on a choice few one or two kills. The problem is that 2 out of the four multiplayer modes give out really small amounts of experience for winning and kills. Playing death match will give you about 160 points for killing someone, but extermination only gives you 60 per kill, making the 2000 or so experience points needed to gain a level seem unattainable. Luckily escaped and survivor mode both offer a reasonable amount of experience at around 350 per kill and 1000 for winning the match. Unfortunately it's pretty difficult to kill people in escape, since marine players often stick together and camp, which makes it hard to pick them off one at a time, plus every time the Marines hit a checkpoint any dead players can then respawn, making it even tougher for the aliens to win. That's why I recommend playing survivor mode if you want to level up your aliens characters quickly, since humans can't respawn but aliens can, and Marines tend to spread out in order to guard different positions which makes them vulnerable. Usually with a good team, or if you're against bad players, the aliens should be able to land at least one out of three matches at minimum, which should let you gain enough experience to gain three or four levels in a matter of hours, instead of a few days.
Initially multiplayer mode seems very unbalanced and favors the Marines, however when maxed out the reverse is true, since it's much easier for an alien to acquire a good load out of weapons and armor, then is for Marine to increase the defenses. Basically by playing the single player Marines can unlock all their weapons, and every time you level up now gained 1 point to upgrade or customize their guns. Since you can only play as the aliens in multiplayer it can only gain upgrades by playing matches, and each level the game will also rent them one skill point to unlock a new attack or ability. I level 20 aliens will have access to their entire arsenal. If a player isn't stupid and decides to focus their skill points on one specific type of alien class, and not spread them out between all three, you can easily become overpowered and very hard to kill or even two or three Marines working together. Alien abilities such as decreasing damage and regenerating health, or asset explosions after death may then tanks that will take out two or three guys with them when they die. Marines can also acquire similar abilities, but not by simply leveling up, instead they must complete one of the 50 or so random challenges to unlock vital skills against high-level alien players such as better armor, regenerating health or stronger incendiary bullets. Unlike Gearboxe's prior game Duke Nukeum forever you can't complete challenges in a random order, instead you only activate three challenges at time, which are chosen for you randomly, and only then after you complete them can you move on to another challenge. I think there's a way to unselect a challenge and move on to a different one, but only if it's a different column, as you can't take a challenge that's below one that's currently active since it hasn't been unlock yet. To make matters worse many of the challenges are incredibly vague enough descriptive description of what to do and how to do it, and worse still some of our glitchy or outright broken which will no doubt holt your progress -- or hopes of getting better abilities for Marines.
In escape mode a team of Marines tries to make it a one-point to another on the map while alien players attempt to eliminate all of the humans before they reach next checkpoint, where any dead Marines can then respawn. The game type is very similar to versus mode in left for dead. I suppose you also compare it to assault in unreal tournament and UT2004. The problem is that unlike left for dead, the maps are very small, and there really isn't a very good spot, aren't any good spots in high sneak up on human players. So you'd be left to often run straight at them in the open field or corridors with no chance of cover or the element of surprise. Marines have an easier time is all they have to do is simply rushed to the checkpoint and complete easy objective, such as wait by a door for one minute, or open one with a blowtorch which only takes 10 seconds. So usually marine players can bum rush the objectives and checkpoints in only one or two minutes, and considering how long respawn times are not only gives the aliens players one or two attempts to halt their progress before they are teleport to the next checkpoint and have to start from square one again. Marines definitely have an advantage in game type, however high level alien players who camp with specific loadouts can wipe out teams of inexperienced players.
In survivor's mode of human players are given a position to defend against aliens, usually a building or castle like structure, then to task to make fortifications and survived for 10 minutes or as long as possible to get a better score. Typically Marines will have to seal doors, moved touristsfg, to gain points while alien players simply have to sneak in the base and kill all marines before time runs out. Generally the best strategy for Marines is to simply stick together and camp in a corner. The only reason for the Marines to split up to open doors in hopes of collecting stronger weapons like t smart guns or turret which though powerful unfortunately spawned right next to the aliens base, which makes the acquisition risky, especially without backup. If the Marines all run off and then themselves it should be pretty easy for the ailing team to pick them off one by one. You could even down a Marine, and then wait for a teammate to come and revive him and then activate the would-be rescuer as well, for a easy double kill. If there rings stick together and decide turtle in a corner however , then you only have about three recourses. Have the entire team rushed them at once, hoping to make them panic and leave the position, attacked and futile one at time slowly whittling down their health until they finally die, while wasting 4 or 5 of your lives in the process, or lastly scoured the map for a super alien power up, are preferably the bull alien and hope that you take a few of them out.
The bull alien can only be attacked from behind, since it's a large bottle escsk forehead protects it from nearly all damage in the front. It's charge attack if it's you will take out nearly all your health, so you'll want to wait for it to charge you, then run to the side, and then shoot in the back for as long as you can before it rushes you again, and you'll have to run and repeat the process. The exploding alien certainly does a lot of damage, as seen in the fifth level of the game's single player, however in multiplayer if someone shoots the alien and distance it will prematurely detonate, and waste your effort. It's also pretty hard to sneak up on people since it moves so slowly and it's hard to miss being such a large bright white target.
It reminds me of the old doom 3 gameplay gimmick where you could either fire your gun or use the flashlight but not both at the same time. Here in aliens you can either look at your motion tracker or fire your gun, but unlike doom three and the flashlight, often there is no reason to ever look at your motion tracker, and instead you shoot things wildly and forget about its existence entirely unless you're completely lost in the level