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

There just aren’t many redeeming qualities in Stasis Interrupted. The reason to play is the plothole-filling story, but it’s not compelling in any meaningful way. So Hicks survived, and then he sent a distress call — that’s the gist of it. There are three characters you get to inhabit, and not one of them has a single interesting thing to say. In fact, they tend to say the dumbest thing possible whenever possible — each has a set of barks to shout out as they kill things, and you’ll hear a lot of “Killed ‘em good!” and “Serves you right!” shouted out. At the aliens. Who are animals. The writing here is not exactly inspired, and while Aliens also had dumb dialog, that was at least about characterization.

So if the reason to play is the story, and the story is not only not interesting but kind of a foregone conclusion, what’s left? More shooting enemies that are kinda dumb, I suppose. Between xenomorphs freezing in place like they can’t decide what to do, and the annoying PMCs who claim they’re smarter than they are (they constantly say they’re going to flank, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one actually do it), it’s just not that exciting. The best moments are those spent dealing with the “lurker” aliens that hide behind things and ambush you; the worst are those that see the addition of rocket launcher-wielding troopers who can kill you before you know they’re there. We all know how fun a rocket to the face can be.

But the issues with Stasis Interrupted aren’t just limited to the technical problems that might just be hold-overs from the crappy main game: there certainly doesn’t seem to have been a lot of thought put in here even in new stuff. On two or three separate occasions, I flat ran out of ammo in the middle of big fights. Just, nope, there’s no ammo to pick up for your two guns and there hasn’t been for 10 or 15 minutes — use your basically ineffectual pistol instead.

Sure, there was plenty of ammo around, dropped by enemies, but for some reason, it was all for guns I was not carrying nor had seen anywhere in the DLC campaign at all. The simple question is, did anyone ever bother to play these badly designed levels before shipping them? Given what we’ve seen in Aliens: Colonial Marines, my money is on, “No, absolutely not — why would we bother to ensure quality?”

Probably the thing that bugs me most about Stasis Interrupted isn’t that it’s, at best, a sometimes-competent rehashing of a mostly broken game. It’s that it’s a reminder of just how big a rip-off A:CM really is. 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. It’s a DLC that highlights that, even with some graphical fixes and some AI fixes that have been added to the new content, A:CM still just isn’t any good. And even Stasis Interrupted’s own idiotic problems, like levels designed without enough ammo in them and set pieces that make you wish you could get back to the lackluster shooting, make clear that the people behind this game would have been challenged to demonstrate an ability to give fewer f–ks.

The feeling experiencing all this crap again elicits in me is like video game PTSD: I’m stuck with flashbacks of just how upset I was that Gearbox et. al. not only turned out a game that Randy Pitchford and company sold like snake oil, but that it’s an utter mangling of Aliens story, lore and characters.

Stasis Interrupted is probably the best version of Aliens: Colonial Marines, so at least it has that going for it. It’s also a boring DLC built on a game that’s terrible, and nobody involved in that project deserves another $10 from anyone who got conned into buying A:CM in the first place. As Walter would say, if you buy Stasis Interrupted, “You’re entering a world of pain.”

Pros:

  • Explains most of the biggest, most idiotic plot holes from Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Some graphical improvements and other fixes
  • Starts with a stealthy section that’s mostly on rails, but at least isn’t all about shooting dumb enemies
  • Eventually comes to an end

Cons:

  • Boring characters working in a boring plot that’s mostly a foregone conclusion, explains little, and adds nothing to the overall experience
  • Lots of rehashing of the exact experience of the full A:CM game
  • Rocket troopers: blegh
  • Demonstrates all the reasons A:CM sucked so badly, including technical glitches
  • Poorly designed levels without enough ammo and resources; set piece moments that are irritating rather than thrilling
  • Introduces its own, new plot holes
  • Forces players to experience A:CM again, in any capacity

Final Score: 35/100


Game Front employs a 100-point scale when reviewing games to be as accurate about the experience as possible. Read the full rundown of what our review scores mean.


Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

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