Aliens: Colonial Marines ‘Stasis Interrupted’ DLC Review – Terrible

Warning! Mild spoilers within as to set pieces and other big moments in the progression of Stasis Interrupted. If you actually care about playing this and don’t want to know about the encounter with REDACTED, skip this one.


If James Cameron’s Aliens was supposed to be an allegory for the Vietnam War, Aliens: Colonial Marines is probably best described as an allegory for totally not understanding what an allegory is.

Meanwhile, the first (and hopefully probably last) piece of story-expanding downloadable content for Gearbox’s Aliens-lengthening disappointment, “Stasis Interrupted,” is like the game’s Walter Sobchak of The Big Lebowski — it continually wants to tell stories of its buddies who died face-down in the mud, and all you want it to do is shut up and bowl. Everything’s a f–king travesty with you, Colonial Marines.

I lost track of this metaphor somewhere along the way, but this still makes more sense than the story of Stasis Interrupted (or A:CM). It’s a DLC that exists purely for the sake of filling in the game’s massive, unwieldy plot holes and lore retcons, without fully realizing that there’s no spot-welding this shambolic disaster of a caper back together at this point. And now we know why those plot holes and lore retcons were left with so many jagged, acid-etched edges in Colonial Marines’ retail release. When Cpl. Dwayne Hicks answers characters asking how the hell he is still alive in Colonial Marines after he supposedly died back in 1992 in Alien 3, what Hicks says is, “It’s a long story.” What he meant was, “It’s a long story, and you can hear it for only an additional $9.99!”

He made no promises as to its quality, however.

Aliens: Colonial Marines ‘Stasis Interrupted’ DLC
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), XBOX 360, Playstation 3, Wii U
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: SEGA
Released: July 23, 2013
MSRP: $9.99

So, long story, huh. Hicks wasn’t kidding. If you know your Aliens lore, you know Hicks supposedly bought it at the very beginning of Alien 3 when a facehugger, apparently left over from the attack of the queen in the Sulaco hangar bay, cracked into Ripley’s hypersleep chamber. The resulting acid blood triggered smoke, which triggered a fire alarm, and that triggered the emergency launching of the stasis pods in the Sulaco’s EEV — an “Emergency Evacuation Vehicle.”

That EEV crashed on Fiorina 161, at the prison colony seen in Alien 3. Newt drowned in her tube; Hicks’ head and upper torso were basically annihilated in the crash. Except they weren’t, according to Colonial Marines, and someone else was apparently in that EEV. Stasis Interrupted sets out to explain what the hell happened in the intervening time between Alien 3 and A:CM, closing up the plot hole of Hicks’ being alive — while also opening some new ones that fall more into the realm of “Hey, that really doesn’t make scientific or physical sense,” and less “Hey, that’s a complete retcon of known character and logistical information.” So in that sense, the new issues are a little easier to swallow than the old ones, although they don’t do much to save the overall story.

It’ll be a massive waste of time to make sense of all the crap that goes on in the DLC’s actual plot, but suffice it to say, Stasis Interrupted is basically the story of how some other poor fool wound up in Hicks’ stasis pod. It concerns, mostly, survivors from another ship, the Legato, which Weyland-Yutani filled with xenomorphs and then sent to dock with the Sulaco to intercept Ripley and Hicks before Alien 3. So that explains in a nutshell where all those goddamn aliens came from that you’re constantly splattering all over the place in Aliens: Colonial Marines (and also, incidentally, where Ripley’s facehugger came from). There, is that everything? Whew.

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6 Comments on Aliens: Colonial Marines ‘Stasis Interrupted’ DLC Review – Terrible

Kevin

On July 31, 2013 at 6:19 pm

“We’re talking about a DLC that’s reason for existing is that fundamental conceits of the original game’s plot needed to be explained over again.”

*Cough*MassEffect3*Cough*

Aedelric

On August 1, 2013 at 12:51 am

Please excuse my language but Aliens three was .

If anything destroyed the franchise, it started with that movie. Killing of Newt and Hicks was the worst move possible for the story.

I have not played A:CM yet, but I am sure it would have been much improved if that pretended Aliens 3 & 4 did not exist.

Economic Rape

On August 1, 2013 at 4:00 am

Well spotted, Kevin. After ME3 as well as the Prince of Persia reboot’s DLC epilogue (which was allegedly already in production before the game was released because they knew the ending wasn’t going to be very well received – but they had the gall to charge money for it, at least BioWare made the Extended Cut free) games developers have now entered a seriously worrying pattern of releasing games before they’re finished then retconning them afterwards while trying to claim it’s good customer service. Valve gets a lot of flack for taking ages to release their games but that’s exactly the way it should be, making sure it’s as good as it can be instead of just hoping you can fix it afterwards. What should have been a great tool for fixing unforeseen bugs and glitches – internet patches – has now become an excuse to rush games onto shelves before they’ve been properly playtested so they can meet a completely arbitrary deadline.

Hell, why stop there? Why not patch Heavy Rain so it makes sense and charge people $20 for the privilege?

Phil Hornshaw

On August 1, 2013 at 6:09 am

@Aedelric

You’re right, I’m not a huge fan of Alien 3 either, but Colonial Marines doesn’t ignore it, it just jumps through some intense mental hoops in order to retcon the story. The only thing that’s different is that Hicks survives. The story of A:CM isn’t exactly a great way to bring him back, and it doesn’t do much with him.

Aedelric

On August 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Seems a missed opportunity to me, if they were willing to rewrite parts of the story and gloss over events. Then they should have not done it half-heartedly, what they should have done is make it a direct and unique squeal to Aliens ignoring the events of the later films entirely.

Still, I doubt they would have got permission from the copyright holders to do something like that. Unfortunately between Riddley Scott screwing up Prometheus (Such a shame as I love the director) and the atrocious reception A:CM received, it seems like I will have to wait many more years before I get an Alien film/game that may be good.

I am sure I will eventually play this one, perhaps when it is super cheep through the steam store.

csm

On August 7, 2013 at 2:22 am

Durp durp but der whole me is an ending durrr. Read da advertising it sez dat sumware cuz my 5 yere old tort me 2 rede durrrrrp