‘Aliens vs. Predators’ review
“Aliens vs. Predator” sets itself apart from similar games by providing three separate campaigns: marine, Alien and Predator. Each revolves around the same basic story line with minor alterations based upon what race you play. A space colony has decided to try and harness the power of the Aliens. They inevitably escape, and marines are brought in to defeat them. Meanwhile, a Predator has decided to hunt everyone for sport.
Across all campaigns, the lighting is fantastic. The environments are pretty, and the graphics are good but not groundbreaking. They would be much more enjoyable if they were not reused for each campaign. The first and most noticeable detriments to the game are paper-thin plots and subpar voice acting. As the marine, it may be hard to find motivation, whereas the Alien and Predator will find the blood work motivating in itself. More experienced gamers may also find the boss battles to be lackluster.
The longest campaign, the marine campaign, is most similar to and comparable with decent mainstream first-person shooters on market today. It spans across varied terrain, from a claustrophobic colony to a wide-open jungle. The vast majority of enemies that the marine faces off against are Aliens. Facehuggers, Predators and military androids also make appearances to add variety to the gameplay. The marine is given a small yet effective array of weaponry to take on the opposition, making up for his lack of speed and strength. He is also equipped with a motion sensor that beeps at higher frequencies as enemies get closer. This can lead to nerve-wrecking paranoia, as many environments are nearly pitch black. Strategic use of a flashlight and emergency flairs, however, can illuminate these dark spaces.
The Aliens that attack are fast and deadly. They scurry on the walls and floor with erratic patterns, making hitting them surprisingly difficult. Killing them before they reach you is highly encouraged, since the marine can’t take much damage, and bullet wounds cause the Aliens to leak acidic blood. Once the Aliens are in striking range, the marine can engage in hand-to-hand combat—though it seems odd that a human could easily deflect the deadly swipes of an Alien.
The Predator campaign lets you stealthily hunt the humans while engaging the Aliens with your wrist blades. The Predator begins its story without most of its trademark weaponry. Many of the weapons it acquires end up being wholly useless, and others are far overpowered. But the real drawback of this campaign is that humans are hunted in an odd fashion. The game promotes the use of grabs, which result in a horrifically gory animated kill. Unfortunately, the human animations are not convincing, and there are only four or so unique renderings. Because it is often suicidal to attack the humans head on, the grabs get old very quickly. They also take an egregious amount of time to perform, leaving you open to attack while you take your time slicing one victim. The Predator campaign, however, does also incorporates platforming elements to quickly traverse the maps. Despite the shortcomings, playing as a Predator and picking off stragglers one-by-one still feels decidedly *badass*.
The Alien campaign is the most unique of the bunch, but is still riddled with problems. The Alien is strong, incredibly fast and nearly invisible in the shadows, and is able to crawl on any surface. The Alien has no ranged attacks, so stealth is key. Regrettably, the navigation system is highly unintuitive. You will often find yourself crawling on walls you did not intend to explore. With the first-person vantage, it is also often hard to tell where you are. When the Alien’s blinding speed is added, it is very easy to get confused, stuck or shot while attempting to flee or attack. Like the Predator, the Alien also relies on grabs for gruesome kills. The scurrying and striking from the dark is a relatively novel experience. Despite the originality, the controls make the Alien campaign the weakest of the three.
“Aliens vs. Predator” has a unique multiplayer to make up for the shortcomings of the campaigns. There are variations of classic game types such as deathmatch, zombies, juggernaut and horde. The intersection of three separate species with three completely different strategies makes for truly exceptional matches. The real tragedy of the game is that there is no solid online community. There are seldom more than a few dozen online at a time, leaving many to miss out on multiplayer.
Overall, “Aliens vs. Predator” is a mediocre game. It tries out new ideas that are simply unavailable in today’s market. Each campaign has its own unique flavor and gives thrills that other games do not. But the shortcomings are numerous. If you are a fan of the series and first-person shooters in general, then I suggest you try this game, but I would perhaps refrain from purchase.