I was at Eurogamer for two days, and for those two days the line to get some hands on time with Colonial Marines was always massive, rivalling big hitters like Assassin’s Creed and Dishonored. So on my second day, after having rushed in to play Halo 4 (easily the second longest queue all weekend, only topped by Black Ops 2 which I didn’t play because I’d grow old in that line), before proceedings got truly busy, I headed straight to Sega’s booth to test my mettle against the xenomorph threat.

What I got was a standard team deathmatch, marines against aliens. I would have loved to have gotten some hands on time with the xenomorphs, but unfortunately that was out of the question. We’d be going up against players hired for the event, as apparently the xenomorphs have a steep difficulty curve and they’d be able to show off the teamwork dynamics. While I can understand the thinking behind that, myself and my partner were a bit miffed to be missing out on it. Playing as a xenomorph was easily my favourite part in the newest Aliens Vs Predator game, but I digress.

There were a set number of loadouts available for my future warrior to enter the fight with. I started off with a three burst rifle and a pistol. These proved to be as effective as a sharp stick as I fired wildly at shadows and was torn apart from behind. They mostly come from behind. Mostly. After quickly getting to grips with where I was and what I was playing I managed to equip myself with classic pulse rifle and shotgun, which I like to keep handy for close encounters.

On the issue of the pulse rifle, just let me say that the game sounds great. When you fire that bad boy, it sounds like your firing a pulse rifle. I was momentarily transported back in time when as I young lad I watched Aliens with my dad. The shotgun was equally as impressive sounds and allowed me to blow off the heads of several of my opponents.

However I haven’t got to what really proved this multiplayer session as a truly authentic experience. I’ve mentioned how great the game sounds, and that goes double for the motion tracker. Pushing the left shoulder button brings the little screen up. The tension is palpable as you see red dots convering on your position, the beeping becoming quicker and quicker as the xenomorphs close on your position. You can’t hold the tracker and fire your rifle at the same time, so trying to figure out where the enemy is leaves you momentarily defenceless, heightening the tension.

There’s an underlying element of fear to be had here. I found myself paying far more attention to my surroundings and the position of my team mates than I did for other multiplayer games. You’ll jump at shadows, spin wildly around to be confronted by empty, beckoning space and become fearful of holes in the walls.

If a xenomorph gets the jump on you, 9 times out of 10 it’s game over man. Game over. While the marines pack some serious fire-power, they’re weak when they’re alone, unable to cover all areas at once, stealth and timing being the xenomorphs greatest weapons. Teamwork is made apparent on both teams. I’m happy to say, and slightly surprised that we ended up winning against Sega’s crack team of xenomorphers.

Aliens: Colonial Marines is certainly living up to its reputation as being a true sequel and official cannon to Aliens and the Alien franchise. It’s some of the best competitive action I’ve taken part of in a while, and the atmosphere is really piled on. Keep this one on your radars folks as it beeps ever closer to its release date.

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This article was first posted on October 5, 2012