Alien Vs. Predator Review
March 5, 2010 by Jereme Puik
Good licensed games are hard to pull off, especially so when you’re talking about Aliens vs. Predator. You have two of the most recognizable sci-fi names in movie history and beyond. If you don’t know who we’re talking about, what rock have you been living under? Coming back to the show are Rebellion, who released the successful AVP titles of the past. The franchise is back and ready to take on a new audience, are we ready to welcome back the blockbuster franchise this generation?
In the name itself relating to this sole title, Aliens vs. Predator is not entirely original, as there have been many games in the past based on both properties. Recently there seems to have been a new found interest in the series, and thus this is where this edition from Rebellion and Sega come in. The humans are once again stirring up trouble thanks to The Weyland-Yutani Corporation who’s famous for “building better worlds” but instead having completely different motives. In this tale, the corporation has been breeding Aliens in captive and killing young blood Predators. In charge is Bishop Weyland and this is their latest effort into creating the perfect killer and stealing Predator technology for their own personal gain. Players are given the choice to either play as the Alien, Predator or Human, and although each story is different they ultimately lead to the same ending, which is a bit disappointing.
The gameplay differs entirely depending on which campaign between the three species you can choose from. The Marine campaign is your basic first-person shooter experience and gives you the chance to handle an array of weaponry at the disposal of the Military. You’ll also be given a movement tracker in the bottom left corner of your HUD screen to give you an advantage of when an attack is incoming. It does give a sense of vulnerability even though the most common option in these cases is to run away. There are definitely some classic moments in the game where it feels like you’re actually in an Alien movie, though in the end, four shots to the head and that movement tracker dispel any sense of fear of the unknown in the facility.
The Alien campaign depends highly on stealth. You aren’t given any weapons to use other then melee strikes and so your advantage here is speed. With speed this gives Aliens the ability to climb up walls and ceilings. Your only issue here is that you’ll find yourself being disoriented with the environment if you’re speeding through each map to find your next target, you could easily get lost. However, don’t forget, practice makes perfect, so you’ll have to put in some solid effort to master the Alien. The campaign for it is a tad short, but rightfully so, clocking in at around 2 hours, any longer and it would’ve felt tedious.
Finally we have the Predator campaign which gives you the best of both worlds: two dual wrist-blades as your melee attack and any choice of ranged weapons you can find. Players are also treated to the infamous Plasma Caster, which you are given a small short tutorial on before you start. It is a small plasma cannon that’s mounted on the Predator’s shoulder and can lock on and easily blow enemies to pieces. Though like most weapons the Predator can hold, it needs to be charged at supply points which you can find virtually everywhere on each map. Although the ranged weapons are a bonus the real treat is the Predator’s stealth camouflage and thermal display. You also have the uncanny ability to distract Humans and stalk your prey as if you were an Alien. Although you have the same weaknesses as the Marines do when it comes to fighting off the Aliens; better technology and the ability to jump off of high surfaces give you an advantage and make the Predator the most fun species to play as.
You’ll spend most of the game in jungle or man-made facilities and other related areas which don’t make the experience memorable at all. The graphics in the game are nicely done, Rebellion has managed to capture the feel of each species and give them their own personality. You’ll easily feel like your in a Predator or Alien movie once you get deeper into the game. The problem is having to play through the same set-pieces three or four times that makes things a bit troublesome. The only part where we can give credit too is that each species is a different play style, so you’ll have different experiences depending on playing as the Humans, Aliens or Predator. Another bonus I would like to commend the developers on is the background noise and soundtrack. Hearing pulse cannons go off, Aliens dying and other sound effects, make it a more realistic experience and only adds to the feeling of being one of those characters. Also given the quality of the soundtrack it lends itself to the overall excellent presentation of the game that makes it feel like you’re in an Alien or Predator film.
Every game these days feels the need to have online multiplayer and Alien vs. Predator is no different. What is different though is that this opens the door for more unique multiplayer modes such as Predator Hunt or Infestation. You’ll also get to experience several other multiplayer modes like Survivor, Domination, the common Deathmatch mixed with Species Deathmatch and Mix Species Deathmatch. Each match type has its own advantages and disadvantages. You’ll probably want to stick with Predator Hunt and Infestation in order to get the most out of the original parts of the multiplayer. Unless of course you want to stick with the normal side of things and hit up Deathmatch and Mix Species Deathmatch. The multiplayer also has the standard ranking system and as you can higher rank you unlock different character skins…etc. As far as collectibles go, Predator’s collect Alien belts, Aliens collect juicy containers and Marines collect Audio logs. So it’s not exactly deep in terms of replayability unless you want to go back and horde trophies or achievements.
Thankfully you can decide which choice of species you’d like to play as, or you can play as all three. Either way, playing as all three species is probably the best way for you to get the most out of the game. Each species has its own point of view in the story and it’s nice to see how everything turns out despite the fact they all lead to the same ending. The multiplayer is frantic but can be fun at times if you don’t take it seriously. Just make sure you actually master the moves of either the Predator or Alien before jumping into a match as you’ll easily get killed within 5 seconds of stepping into the battle. It’s great how Rebellion was able to capture the presentation and detail for Alien vs. Predator. You could easily get lost in its world during the 8-10 hours of gameplay.
Unfortunately, for an uninspired story and a repetitive level structure make this title a bit of a chore to play through. However, interesting play-styles and character options make the experience a bit more entertaining. It’s pretty obvious developers went through the process of making sure each species was faithfully created and it works. While the graphics are good they could’ve bumped up the quality a bit more and a stronger emphasis on atmosphere would’ve made this an unforgettable experience. And although the single-player is good it will get monotonous while the multiplayer will keep everything fresh. It utilizes the different species great and will give you a chance to experience something you’ll only find in Alien vs. Predator.