Review – Aliens: Colonial Marines Official Strategy Guide
OverviewType: Strategy Guides
+ Nice design and use of game assets
+ Helps you get through a mediocre game efficiently
+ Great full-game walkthrough
- Some items are missing useful information
- Maps can take a little time to orient yourself to
The Aliens: Colonial Marines game was a let-down and mediocre at best. The Official Strategy Guide is not indicative of that lack of effort and shows more beauty and content within the game than the game showed itself.
There’s rarely a choice of cover art when it comes to strategy guides, being that they are intended to be a companion to a product with a much larger design budget. Since it’s going to be sitting on your shelf, it still needs to look nice. The spine has the universal design for BradyGames Signature Series in stark white with orange accents and black text. The front cover has a clean design that matches the game’s title art. The bright, clean colors and lines do not exactly scream horror to me, but it is a nice piece of artistic design. Back cover is standard faire, showing the highlights of what you’ll find within the guide.
The Aliens: Colonial Marines Official Strategy Guide features a paperback binding, high quality matte paper, and a decent glossy front and back cover. Through use over a week, there was no cracking along the spine or irreparable bending or creasing, even when the cover was folded around the spine during use.
I really liked the design choices in this guide. The background on most pages is a gritty grungy textured look, which very much fits the dark, dirty feeling in the game. The game art assets used to decorate the content pages show that there was effort put into the game design, even if it didn’t always appear on screen. Some of the full page backgrounds demonstrate the better environments from the game and come across beautifully.
The guide features in-depth sections the introduce the reader to the characters, game mechanics, and weapons, items, and enemies you’ll encounter. While most of the content is definitely useful and may provide some insight to new players of the game, the items section left a bit to be desired. The items section covers pick-up items and collectibles, and many of the pick-up items don’t contain any more explanation other than they are pre-order bonuses.
The walkthrough is very thorough and well thought through, but some of the maps take a bit of getting used to because they don’t directly translate to in-game map displays. This is not the fault of the guide, per se, but translating the maps you see on screen with what’s in the guide takes a bit of directional prowess. Followed closely, you will not miss a thing using this guide for the walkthrough.
Achievement guides are always important within strategy guide books because many players consider getting 100% of them part of completing the game. There are hints and instructions on how to get each of the achievements, but there is a lack of a true achievement guide or walkthrough here and that is unfortunate because achievement hunting may be one of the few redeeming qualities of the game.
While listed and printed at a suggested retail price of $19.99, Amazon and BradyGames both have it listed in the $13 range. Unfortunately, it appears part of the price cut was influenced by the severe backlash the game itself got and now there is a sense of urgency to unload these books. The bottom line is that if you buy the game, do yourself a favor and pick up this guide.