Aliens vs Predator
Alien, successor Aliens, and Predator are movies that have determined my youth. The first is the ultimate sci-fi horror movie, the second one of the the best action movies ever and the third is just a perfectly made pulp with every five minutes a scene that I loved playing myself with my brothers. And of course I would be Arnold! It may be clear that I have quite some good memories of the movies and was quite sceptic regarding the game when I started it up for the first time.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a top game from developer Rebellion and the previews and movies we got before release didn’t make us expect the best. To make a long story short: Aliens vs Predator has become quite an enjoyable game but doesn’t succeed in bringing forth the atmosphere and strengths of the series nor has it become a first person shooter that is really worthwhile. A game for the fans, to play until the end once, and then go back to the movies as your hunger hasn’t been satisfied.
The best comparison is probably that with the original movies and the crossover version. The Aliens vs Predator movies may have had all elements from their illustrious predecessors, they never managed to recall that same magic and exceptional atmosphere. “Game over, game over man!”
There’s three singleplayer campaigns where you get to play as Marine, Xenomorph and Predator. The human one starts promising with all sound effects being there, good use of terrifying lighting and an atmosphere and story that seem perfectly fit. Nervously you’ll be wandering through the hallways of an attacked space station, your butt tightly closed avoiding the bleeps while with your other eye watching the floor, walls and ceiling. We’ve learned our lesson with Aliens! The first time one of them appears you’re scared to death and start firing all over the place while trying to escape. A bit later you get your Pulse Rifle which feels completely like in the movies: powerful, difficult to aim with, and o so great sounding!
Unfortunately that feeling disappears quite fast. Aliens quickly become cannon fodder, appear everywhere and you can only think about the fact that the makers have missed an opportunity to make this a game where an encounter with a Xenomorph could be rare and extremely deadly. Just another FPS so to speak, where an Alien is just another hostile and not a unique character that makes you shit your pants. The graphics and level design are also too mediocre, linear and sometimes too tight and feel average and déjà-vu, something that doen’t help to bring the uniqueness of the movies to life. The sound makes up for a lot, but not all!
The gameplay suffers from the same disease: we’ve seen it all before and there’s not a lot of depth. Also here the franchise appears to be the only positive thing but again this doesn’t make up for the many lackings. Lackings that in largely due to the level design that doesn’t give room for the different species to do their trick and the AI that’s so stupid that it would give three kisses to a Xenomorph if the creature would sing Happy Birthday at Christmas.
Shooting as a Marine quickly becomes boring as you always take down enemies the same time and combat quickly becomes chaotic. As Alien it’s still quite cool to crawl over walls and ceilings and have a feast with those weak humans. Unfortunately the controls fall short: you’re too often busy aiming and trying to choose the path you want which completely draws you out of the atmosphere.
The Predator campaign does succeed in making you feel very powerful, amongst other things due to the ability to jump around like Batman and planning your bloody skills. Thanks to the stealth option you can trap your opponents to then do one of the cooler features of the game: a trophy kill! With that you brutally tear the head – and spine, what did you think? – from their weak body to afterwards add it to your gruesome collection. Beautiful!
The multiplayer modes are extensive and quite enjoyable. The problems with the AI quickly disappear and taking on human-controlled creatures is a lot more exciting. The most unique modes are also the most fun. In Predator Hunt for instance you play some sort of tag game, while in Infestation you need to take on one Alien who changes any Marine it kills into an Alien as well. A couple of hours of fun guaranteed on top of the all in all short singleplayer campaign.
Aliens vs Predator has its moments. The atmosphere at times is completely spot on, the sound is beautiful and the storylines enjoyable. Unfortunately the gameplay falls short and the makers don’t succeed enough in making this game a unique experience that brings the power and potential of the movies to life on console and PC. You’re left a bit hungry and that’s unfortunate. A snack for the fans, but no classic as we had hoped