New Mod Gives Aliens: Colonial Marines an Overhaul

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An attack by a single Xenomorph Soldier is now something to worry about

Perhaps the single greatest thing about PC game mods is that they can inspire you to revisit games that you wanted to like but didn’t for some reason that a mod fixes, or simply to see how a new mod changes the vanilla game’s experience. And you can bet that if a game is able to be modified there is someone out there hard at work trying to improve or add to it.

Take Aliens: Colonial Marines, for example. The second Aliens title published by Sega in 2013, Colonial Marines was developed by Gearbox Software and takes place after the events of the third film in the Aliens series. 

Modder “TemplarGFX” took it upon himself to try to improve the original game in a myriad of small-to-significant ways with his newly published mod TemplarGFX’s ACM Overhaul, which you can find on moddb.com. The mod has sparked some renewed interest amongst Aliens fans who are giving it yet another play through.

The mod includes several graphics improvements, such as better textures and shadows, along with a thorough tweaking of the game’s lighting models and particle systems. Volumetric fog has been thickened; fog, dust and smoke are visible from further away and are more detailed; and dead bodies, body parts, and decals such as acid and blood splashes will now remain in the game world “indefinitely”.

According to TemplarGFX ,“every Shader, every Material and every Particle Effect has been reconfigured!”

Note: If you decide to install the mod follow the online installation instructions, rather than those included with the mod’s 100MB download, which the mod author states include an error that the online instructions resolve. The instructions are detailed so take the time to read them all carefully, noting the section about what to do/try if you experience any graphics-related performance issues after installing the mod.

You may also want to follow the Post Installation instructions noted at the bottom to add a toggle key that will let you completely disable all in-game head’s up display (HUD) elements. You may find this increases the immersion level, and it presents the game as the developers originally intended (the HUD was added to make the game more accessible). 

Careful What You Wish For…

In addition to the graphical overhaul, the mod includes a host of tweaks to the artificial intelligence used for the enemies in the game that makes them tougher and faster and cranks up the game’s difficulty level.

For instance, the Xenomorph Soldier’s decision-making abilities have been sped up by a 1,000 percent, which TemplarGFX states was done “to greatly increase their ability to adapt to changing situations and react to new threats.”  The AI for most of the game’s baddies was overhauled, and you can see a complete list of the intended results in the mod’s changelog.

Aliens colonial marines death
Get ready to see this scene often!

If you prefer your Xeno Soldiers to be slower, but still tougher, TemplarGFX offers an add-on mod to achieve just that (requires installation of ACM Overhaul V2). 

And, judging by many gamer’s feedback that the game is now too hard (and so far, we’d have to agree), TemplarGFX may have turned the AI dial up a notch or two too far, which is something he’s addressing in the forthcoming Version 3 update, which is previewed in the video above and below.

Even if you have no interest in Aliens: Colonial Marines you simply have to admire TemplarGFX for rolling up his sleeves and working hard to improve a game that he feels passionately about. Ingenuity and resolve are traits that abound in the modding community, and you can always look forward to “what’s next”.

Will you give Aliens: Colonial Marines another look because of this mod? What are some other games you’ve revisited thanks to mods? Let us know in the comments below.

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