A lot of criticism has been leveled at Aliens: Colonial Marines since it was launched, for the way it has mistreated the cannon of the movie series on which it is based and for its less than impressive mechanics. But the biggest problem for me is that the game has failed to decide whether it wanted to be modern or classic in its approach to shooter mechanics.
This is a game where players can find actual health packs on the ground, sometimes dropped by dead enemies.
The same thing happens with armor, although it is presumably riddled with bullets, and with weapons.
Aliens: Colonial Marines even includes clear little helpers in the user interface to make sure that players keep themselves as well stocked as possible before heading into battle.
The approach can work in the first-person shooter genre as long as the development team decides that it wants a classic experience, one that ignores roughly the last decade of progress in the genre and appeals to those who miss classic experiences like Quake.
The big problem is that health packs were never really a part of the Aliens video game experience because the series was always looking to innovate rather than keep its core features classic.
In 1999, Aliens vs. Predator offered three very different campaigns, each of them modeled to take advantage of the strengths of the characters they were based on.
Playing as the xenomorphs introduced new ways to explore the environment and an emphasis on quick attacks and covert movement.
The Predator felt like a very powerful tank, decked out with a host of weapons but unable to deal with multiple threats at the same time.
Aliens: Colonial Marines fails to capture this innovative approach and wants players to return to the days of health packs and armor drops without giving them the quality to do that.