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Quint's Essentials: Geek Games for February! Aliens: Colonial Marines, Crysis 3, Metal Gear Rising and Dead Space 3!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I’ve long wanted to somehow integrate my passion for gaming with AICN. We have movies, TV and comics covered, it seems only natural to have a spot reserved for gaming.

Some long-time readers might remember a failed spin-off site called AICN Games that was way mismanaged and abused by the person put in charge of it and was shut down soon after its tepid launch. A few years later we tried to lick our wounds and have a regular weekly gaming column with the same name. We brought in a guy named Monki (real name Jack Pattillo) to run it and he did a good job, but ended up moving on to greener pastures and is now a fixture at Rooster Teeth, one of the cornerstones of their very popular Achievement Hunter series.

Now, I love video games, but I don’t claim to be as knowledgeable as Mr. Patillo about their history outside of my own personal experience. I fondly remember getting stuck at the early AT-AT level on the old Atari Empire Strikes Back game. I remember being obsessed with the Nintendo, specifically the world of Mario.

I loved my original SEGA Entertainment System, but never owned a Genesis. Instead, I used to sleep over at a friend’s house a lot not because I craved his company, but because he had a Genesis and we’d stay up all night playing it.

I remember walking through a little fair in Cupertino, California, close to where I grew up, where I entered a tent to see giant computers lining the tarped walls, wires snaking all along the ground to a central hub. The game they were all playing was Doom and it blew my mind that they were actually playing with each other… but on different computers! How is that even possible!?!

I remember being the baddest motherfucker to ever play Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo. I was unstoppable at that first game and have been nothing short of pathetic on the subsequent iterations.

I remember taking great pride in beating the shit out of my 10 years younger brother at GoldenEye on the N64… too much pride considering he must have been all of 5 or 6 years old at the time.

Then I kind of fell out of gaming around the time of the Gamecube. It wasn’t until a fateful ice storm hit Wellington on one of my New Zealand excursions and I holed up with my best bud, a rented X-Box and played through the entire Halo campaign that I was hooked again.

I own both a PS3 and an Xbox 360, but if I’m going to be completely honest I tend to lean toward the Xbox and minus a few PS3 exclusive games (God of War, Uncharted, Heavy Rain) I spend most of my gaming hours on that that console.

There’s a whole segment of gamers that are PC loyal and I respect that, but I couldn’t hang once computer games started getting more complicated than Doom and Duke Nukem.

My thought is that there needs to be a gaming conversation on AICN because I’m sure most of you are like me. I love movies, books, comics and television (both short (episodic) and long form) because more than anything I’m fascinated by storytelling. Video games are just another form of storytelling, so naturally I’m drawn to them.

There’s also a lot of crossover between games and movies. For the longest time, since the beginning really, that crossover has been games adapting movies, but we’re close to hitting a time when that dynamic switches and when the right writer/director adapts the right material you’re going to see Hollywood wake up to the rich vein of iconography and storytelling that could be adapted into franchise movies, much like they did with comic books in the late ‘90s/early aughts.

So far we’ve only had the enthusiastic, but less talented crop of filmmakers try their hands at making big screen video game adaptations, so video game movies are a joke. If Paul WS Anderson and Uwe Boll were the only ones making superhero movies, people would be laughing at the concept of franchise superhero films, too. Whether it’s Duncan Jones on Warcraft or if Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp somehow resurrect Halo, someone with real talent is going to do a big budget video game movie right and the floodgates will open.

Celebrating that crossover, I figured now’s the time to start a monthly column where I highlight some interesting console gaming titles, discuss them a little bit, incorporate some gameplay footage and essentially start a discussion on video games.

I’m picking this month to start because it sees the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines, which provides me the perfect crossover title since it bills itself as a direct sequel to James Cameron’s Aliens.

Here’s why you should be excited for this game: One, just look at the gameplay footage below. They’re letting you play space marines fighting xenomorphs on LV-426. Two, Gearbox is developing the game. They’re the crazy guys behind the Borderlands series and I heart the gameplay of Borderlands 2. Three, if you pre-order the regular version at Gamestop or order the Collector’s Edition anywhere you can play as Hicks, Apone, Drake or Hudson in the multiplayer. Oh, and with the collector’s edition you also get a huge resin Powerloader figure.

The Aliens Vs. Predator game that came out a few years ago was okay, but they seem to be approaching this one right. They have all the iconic imagery and sounds from Alien and Aliens, they have built in a drop-in/drop-out co-op system, which means you and your friends can join up together and go on a bug hunt whenever you feel like it and they’ve also instituted a perk tree and upgradeable weapons system that makes these kinds of games so goddamn addicting. It being a direct sequel to Cameron’s Aliens feels like an extension of that kind of shit Dark Horse was doing when I was kid… except you can be an active participant in the story.

Aliens: Colonial Marines is released February 12th and will be available on Xbox, PS3 and PC.

The collector’s edition with the powerloader and all the cool extra content, including the ability to play as Hicks, Hudson, Apone and Drake in the multiplayer, is a little more expensive, but I think worth the extra money. It’s $99.96 and is available for the console editions of the game, Xbox, PS3.

As if February wasn’t already full of sci-fi monsters, this month also sees the release of Dead Space 3.

I’ve played the demo and if the first two games were Alien meets Event Horizon, this one is John Carpenter meets Cronenberg. You’re crash-landed on a snowy planet where these Thing-like fuckers pop out of the snow and try to ruin your day.

I quite like these games and the demo for the new one was more of the same in the best way possible. I liked the new terrain. You’re not in yet another spacecraft, but now crashlanded on what looks like a mining planet, so you’re getting the gameplay you like from the first two, but in a whole new setting.

I have this one pre-ordered via Amazon, where you get a $20 credit towards most things sold at Amazon (which discounts the game by over 30%) plus a code for the exclusive Tesla Enervator Gun.

The Gamestop pre-order nets you more exclusive suits and guns, though. You get a Witness Suit (insulated), First Contact Suit (space exposure), an assault rifle/shotgun combo called the Evangelizer, an electric gun called the Negotiator and a high damage SMG.

The beauty about these in-game pre-order bonuses is that you get them right away, so feel like you take on whatever the game throws at you right from the beginning. So, the choice is yours… Save money, get a cool gun or spend full price, get the game at midnight (provided there’s a Gamestop in your neighborhood) and a bunch more goodies.

Dead Space 3 comes out next Tuesday, February 5th and is available on Xbox, PS3 and PC.

The huge Metal Gear Solid franchise gets an upgrade this month as well, thanks to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

The title’s a bit silly, but Kojima Productions is still behind the franchise, teaming up with Bayonetta’s Platinum Games to develop this spin-off story. You’re no longer Solid Snake, but Raiden, his cyborg ninja buddy who can slice and dice his enemies like a champ.

I’m not hooked on this series like a lot of people are, but some of that gameplay footage looks good. Not a fan of that voice acting, though.

Amazon’s pre-order bonus is something called Inferno Armor, Gamestop’s pre-order bonus nets you an exclusive art book, a “Cyborg Ninja Skin” and a powerful sword called the Fox Blade.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance comes out February 19th on Xbox and PS3.

That leaves Crysis 3…

I was a little underwhelmed by Crysis 2 in terms of story, but the gameplay was decent FPS stuff. I know the first game was a massive PC favorite and I can see why. One of the trademarks of this series is the gorgeous attention to level detail and this new game seems to fall in line with the rest of the series in that regard.

Set in a domed-off futuristic New York City, the landscape is overgrown, nature taking back the concrete and steel of man’s domain.

Another interesting component to this series is that the suit itself is the star. The nanotechnology takes a new host, but retains some of the memories of the previous, so you get a weird form of continuity, which is a great idea for a franchise game series.

I’m not super excited for this game because I felt let down by the last one, but I’m still intrigued enough to throw it on my Gamefly queue.

If you’re more interested than I am Amazon is offering a $20 Amazon credit, an exclusive “Brawler Pack” which gives you immediate access to a powerful submachine gun as well as multiplayer content, like a special Hunter bow, to give you a foot up on your competition. Most interestingly, though, is you can also get a free digital download of the first Crysis game, which was only released on console via online download. The Gamestop pre-order exclusive includes the same multiplayer loadout, the digital copy of the first Crysis and a “Stalker Pack” which gives you a powerful exclusive shotgun.

For my money, it looks like Amazon gives you almost the same amount of awesome stuff, but also knocks off a third of the price of the game, so unless you need to have the game at Midnight, I’d just pre-order at Amazon and pay for the day of release delivery. You’re still walking away with a significant amount of money plus an equivalent of pre-order perks.

Crysis 3 releases on February 19th and will be available on Xbox, PS3 and PC.

That wraps us up for February. March is crazy for games, with the new Bioshock finally coming out. I’ve had my Premium pre-order locked in for a couple of months now and I’m dying to see how this one turns out.

So, if you guys like this expect to see a new Geek Games article on the first of every month, looking forward at the cool shit coming up and maybe even some extra cool bits here or there.

-Eric Vespe
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