Aliens vs. Predator Review
Developer: Rebellion / Publisher: Sega / ESRB: Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes) / Played on: Xbox 360 / Price: $29.99
In the early 90’s, Dark Horse Comics had the right idea when they forged two major franchises together and pitted species against species. Aliens vs. Predator was born. The roaring success of the comic books inspired the 1993 release of Aliens vs. Predator in video game form. Can this latest installment in an ongoing and very beloved franchise recap the magic that once was or will it get skinned alive and strung up from a tree?
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Three campaigns plus a multiplayer mode is offered in the gameplay for Aliens vs. Predator. As a player you have the option to play as the marines, aliens or a predator. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. As the marines you discover that Karl Bishop Weyland has closed “Freya’s Prospect” for power and control. You as a solder have to patrol the area, but nothing is what it seems. You are a rookie who has to take on the daunting task of surviving both alien and predator attacks.
Playing as a predator you see that humans are nothing more than good sport for hunting, until they uncover an ancient relic that is significant to your kind. If they take control it could mean the end for you and your species. Humans are the enemy, but a new kind of enemy is in the mix: aliens!
Born in a laboratory you are “6” an alien subjected to research and tests. During a routine test the lights go out and the shackles come off. It’s feeding time. You discover that you are not alone when you find out that the Hive is near and hundreds, if not thousands, of your kin are ready to please the queen. That’s if the Marines and the predator don’t stop you from making your dynasty thrive once again.
Online play is added to the triple dose of campaign goodness. A handful of gameplay modes are at your disposal: solo deathmatch and team deathmatch are common amongst FPS titles and it’s no different here. There is a species team deathmatch where no humans are involved. Online play is like any other FPS online game, you go, you kill, you win. One super negative thing about the online play is the one-hit kill. This is quite frustrating because stealth can play a big part of the game and with one button you can take out your enemy. It doesn’t make the game as enjoyable as the offline campaign.
Playing as any one of the three types of characters, all the maps and locations look the same. In specific areas the graphics look fantastic. Playing as the marine and aliens the underground hallways look amazing coated with alien webbings and goop. It puts a sense of fear and dread in the gameplay. The fear of an alien or predator lurking in the shadows is always present. Darkness can be your ally or enemy and Rebellion does a good job at putting you in the location. On a downside, when you leave the dark and creepy areas the feel and effect of fear is gone. The characters themselves are very well done. Predator looks like the predator, right down to the creepy fingernails. The aliens themselves have believable maneuvers, so when seeing them slither around the map you kind of want to see them move. Unfortunately you can’t do that because they will kill you. Lighting is also really well done in this game. There are, however, a few glitches, like the melee animations, where you’ll notice some model clipping. It’s a small but noticeable issue in an overall good-looking game. Could the graphics look better? Yes! Are they so terrible that it’s not worth playing? No.
Three different campaigns with three different characters means three slightly different sets of controls. Overall they are similar, but they do differ in certain ways. One example is while playing the marine, the right trigger is to fire. That’s typical of any FPS. While playing as alien and predator, right and left bumper is attack. It’s little things like this that made the control learning curve a bit agitating. You play through the campaign as one character and switch over to another and have to learn the controls for that character. Every once in a while the attack and healing controls are unresponsive. It made for melee attacks at crucial parts difficult and frustrating. Minor alterations to the controls aside, they are fairly well mapped out
The sound design in Aliens vs. Predator is spot on. From the alien squeals to the predator purr, the game gives you an atmospheric vibe. The voice talent on the marine side lacks a certain toughness that both the alien and predator bring. Lines are repeated over and over and frankly, it gets to be quite redundant at times. The sound effects on the predator and alien melee attacks are a bit cheesy sounding and a lot of the background music is quite bothersome as well. It doesn’t fit the mood and vibe of the overall game. Not to say that all of the background tunes are like that, but a handful of them are
Aliens vs. Predator is such a beloved franchise. This game as a whole entity isn’t terrible by any means, but it isn’t anything to drool over. It has some decent graphics and decent controls. Online play will give it longevity but after a while it is a fairly mediocre game. Some campaigns are better than others and online play will live on until the next big FPS comes out but that doesn’t make this title as epic as others. I feel that the sound could have been a bit better and some of the level design more thought out. Audio drops, bad clipping, and mediocre level design are all signs of a game that feels incomplete. You will have fun playing this game but in the long run it is very forgettable.
6 / 10