Aliens: Colonial Marines is by no means an easy game, even on the normal (“Soldier”) difficulty setting. Enemies won’t forget about you if you pop behind cover for a few seconds, and quite simply, they deal a lot of damage! What else did you think we meant by “not easy”? 

We’re here with a list of tips to help you help us (since we don’t want Xenos overtaking planet Earth or anything).  

1. Perk up your ears

Fellow marines will often tell you where to look for oncoming Xenos, and there’s also a nice blip cue coming from your Motion Tracker to advise that you use it! Which brings us to our next point...

2. If stumped, use that Motion Tracker!

You’ll have it in every mission but one, and beyond highlighting nearby enemy presence, it shows you your objective as an orange spot on your HUD. You can even sprint with it, and bring back your original weapon by aiming down your sights.  

3. Close doors behind you. Just don’t trap friendly AI.

It’s not only useful, it makes you feel badass!

4. Learn to time your melee right

Xenomorphs deal heavy damage once they’ve closed in, so learn to shove them off with a melee hit. It’ll even stun them for a few precious seconds. 

5. But then again... don’t dash and bash

Some first-person shooters reward the smart sprint topped off with a melee strike. This game doesn’t, as most enemies manage to get a shot or swipe in (for lots of damage) before you’ve closed the range. 

6. Keep your last checkpoint in mind

They’re few and far between, so don’t take risks if you haven’t hit one in a while.

7. Rely on your squadmates

The ally AI is particularly good in Aliens: Colonial Marines. It’s refreshing to see squadmates take point and lead you to a mission’s next objective. Use O’Neal for navigation, but also as the tank that he is (can’t you tell, with that big old smart gun he’s got?).

8. You’re wolverine, didn’t you know?

Aliens: Colonial Marines features a system that marries the health bar with the wolverine (i.e. “heal over time”) system. If one of your three health bars is getting low, duck behind some cover before it’s too late. In no time you’ll have the full bar back. 

9. Not every gun is a winner

Not only is the arsenal pretty modest in this game, but many of its weapons aren’t even worth using. In our experience, pistols were pretty useless, while the Pulse Rifle, Battle Rifle, and shotguns rose to the top. Read on to learn how to maximize their effectiveness.     

10. Know that weapon upgrades aren’t tiered!

In most games you would have to make weapon upgrades sequentially. In Aliens: Colonial Marines, you can go straight to the specific upgrades that tickle your fancy, without building up to it. 

Here are some pragmatic suggestions for a few worthwhile upgrades.  

a) Pulse Rifle

Extended Magazine - Since the Pulse Rifle is your go to gun, increasing its clip size from 40 to 60 is a good choice, even if it comes at the cost of an extra half second of reload time. 

Reflex Sight - You might not know that the Pulse Rifle has amazing range until you throw one of these bad boys on it. The Reflex Sight will give you the means to exploit that.

b) Battle Rifle

Variable Sight - The Battle Rifle comes standard with a 2x scope. The Variable Sight doubles that, while leaving you with the option of toggling back to 2x if you need. With the Variable Sight, Weyland-Yutani soldiers are a lot easier to handle.

c) Tactical Shotgun

Magazine System - This upgrade might be the most dramatic. Reloading a shotgun is usually a story of putting in one shell after the other. The Magazine System replaces that with a clip system that you’d sooner find on a rifle. Reload time goes from 4.5 seconds down to 2. 

Laser Targeting - The laser aspect of this upgrade sounds cool, but that’s not why we’re suggesting it. Laser Targeting passively increases the Tactical Shotgun’s accuracy by two bars. Well worth it.