Review by Syko_666
"If it bleeds you can kill it."
Aliens vs Predator has had a rough time as a franchise as of late. While it was met with great success when the original game and it's sequel were released, the movie adaptations left a lot to be desired and were critically panned and the series had lost it's credibility. So Rebellion the developers of the original AvP game return with what is basically a reboot of the legendary video game series, and it is good. But not great unfortunately.
Much like it's predecessors, the game has 3 separate stories that interconnect with each other. The first one you are most likely to go to is the Colonial Marine campaign, which plays out like your standard first person shooter. Unlike most first person shooters, this game takes influence from the survival horror genre as well though, so you won't be running around like a madman firing off rounds. Strategy is the key. You start off with a pistol and work your way up to weapons that you will probably recognize from James Cameron's Aliens. The pulse rifle is a particularly invaluable weapon which packs more than enough punch for all the Xenomorph slaying you will be doing. The smartgun also makes an appearance. You are also equipped with a flashlight on your helmet, which will prove to be a necessity throughout the game as a lot of the environments are dark and the Xenomorphs are very hard to spot in the dark with your naked eyes. You can also use melee attacks to knock your enemies back if they get too close, though interestingly enough you also have the ability to block your enemies attacks as well, which is unusual for a first person shooter. Though my one complaint is the lack of the Predators' presence in this particular part of the game, save for one entertaining boss fight the Predators don't seem to do much in the Marine campaign which is a disappointment, but you have a whole nest of Xenomorphs to fight so it isn't a big issue, it isn't a bad campaign by any means, in fact it is above average, the one thing that I cannot forgive is the fact you can't aim down the sights of your guns, this makes it extremely difficult to land accurate shots, there is a reason why most recent first person shooters allow the players this ability and it is for accuracy. Another odd thing that Rebellion didn't include was the ability to crouch, which makes your selection of cover a little bit thinner.
The second is, of course, the Predator campaign which plays out more like a stealth action game. Predictably you have access to the Predator's vast arsenal of weapons and gadgets such as it's trademark shoulder-mounted plasma caster, the combi stick, the wrist blades and a whole other bunch of goodies that I won't spoil for you. The Predator has distinctively different abilities than the Marines, for starters they are much stronger in close-quarters combat, if you engage a Marine with your wrist blades it is most likely you will win if you have the skill and timing. Another ability you have as the Predator is to jump onto high vantage points such as trees for example, you simply hold down the L2 button and a red icon appears on the nearest place you can jump to and with a tap of the X button you will jump to the area, there are a few technical issues with this mechanic though, sometimes for no reason whatsoever the environment will decide that it doesn't want you to jump to an area no matter how close to it you are, it doesn't happen all the time but it will most likely happen more than once in your playthrough. The really awesome thing about this campaign is that you really feel like a Predator, tap the triangle button and you will be able to cloak yourself and no human will be able to see you until you are very close. You can also use the Predator's vision modes to track out targets, there are two vision modes. The first is the iconic thermal imaging that we all know and love, which is used for seeing humans, but be careful it won't work against the Xenomorphs. The second is the Alien vision, which works the opposite way it's good for spotting Aliens, but on the other hand it is bad for spotting humans. You have the ability to perform stealth kills on humans and these moves are very gruesome and gory but somehow satisfying. Also in a straight up fight you can perform finishing moves, you simply knock an enemy to the ground and press the square button when the icon appears on the screen, these finishing moves are also pretty gory and if you use it at the wrong time you might have another enemy attacking you while you finish off his ally, so I would advise players to use it sparingly. The encounters with the Xenomorphs play out more like an action game. The Aliens can see through your cloak with their razor sharp senses, so stealth is not an option with them. Thankfully as the Predator you will be able to fight them off without a lot of difficulty. One of my favorite moments in the Predator campaign is the boss fight against the Pred-Alien from the second AvP movie inside a lava pit and you have to jump from platform to platform to navigate the environment, it is a pretty awesome moment that will bring a smile to your face if you are a fan.
The Alien campaign is somewhat in the middle. It is considerably weaker than the other two in terms of story but I will get to that later. As the Alien you have the ability to climb on virtually any surface and this provides a great sense of freedom and proves to be very useful when surrounded by enemies. The Alien is also very quick, if you hold down the L3 stick while moving the Alien will run at a ridiculous speed which is brilliant for quick getaways, ambushing your foes and dodging enemy attacks. The mechanics aren't perfect though, the climbing on to surfaces like walls can be a bit fiddly and moving from walls to roofs can be a bit confusing. This isn't a technical issue though, it's probably my level of skill, the Alien campaign isn't as accessible as the other two. In terms of combat the Alien, unlike the Predator and Marine, uses only melee attacks, you can use it's tail or it's claws. You also have the ability to do stealth kills, like the Predator, and you can also harvest humans for your hive. Stealth is the best option when fighting multiple foes but if you are skilled enough you can go for a straight up fight.
The story in the Marine campaign is not great, but good for a game of this nature. There is a crisis on a planet called BG-386, a country that is used by the Weyland-Yutani corporation for breeding Xenomorphs, the communications have stopped and the Marines are sent in, but disaster strikes before they even land on the planet's surface. A Predator ship comes and destroys their command ship and through a series of events you are separated from your squad, after this you first take control of the Rookie, the silent player character, the remainder of the campaign focuses on finding your squad, completing some epic objectives like destroying an Alien hive and stopping Weyland from causing any more damage.
The Predator campaign is a little bit more simple. It just so happens that the planet BG-386 is sacred to the Predators and you play as a novice sent in to stop the humans from starting an interstellar Xenomorph infestation and from stealing ancient artifacts. There are a few really awesome moments like taking on a Praetorian, and the aforementioned Pred-Alien. There is also some interesting history as to why the planet is sacred to the Predator's. The only complain I have about this campaign is the length, it's pretty short and could be beaten in roughly 8 hours.
The Alien campaign is the weakest of the three. You are basically an Alien who has been bred in captivity, you escape and hook up with your fellow Aliens and tend to the hive and hunt for hosts for your facehuggers. The story is not very compelling, but I can't blame the writers, how do you make a story about a group of monsters that can't speak compelling?
For a next-gen game the graphics are very good as you would expect. They aren't brilliant though, some character models look rather lifeless and the environments need more detail. The Predators look brilliant as do the Aliens, the human characters are hit and miss. Some look great, others are somewhat lifeless and uninteresting.
The sound is excellent, the score is pulse-pounding and suits the game really well. All of the signature sound effects from the films are here such as the sound of the pulse rifles, the Predator's growl, the Alien's screech, pretty much every sound you would expect from an AvP title.
While there are some technical issues and the three campaigns are a bit short, Aliens vs Predator is a top class game that gives you the chance to play as three of the most iconic figures in sci-fi horror in three unique campaigns. I highly recommend it to fans of either Alien or Predator, but if you are not a fan of the franchise I recommend you either borrow it from a friend or rent it.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/15/10
Game Release: Aliens vs. Predator (EU, 02/19/10)
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