Aliens vs. Predator
North American Release Date: 2/16/2010
European Release Date: 2/19/2010
Aliens vs. Predator is the 3rd in the AvP series thus far. For all intensive purposes it is a spiritual sucessor to the first AvP, following that style of gameplay for all 3 races. The game takes place on BG-386, a Weyland-Yutani facility. Here an ancient Predator temple is discovered, and when opened alerts the Yautja. This event sabatoges a sinister set of experiments going on, and triggers a call for help to the Colonial Marines, responded to by the USS Marlow. The end result is a clash between the three races, and 3 campaigns that intermingle to tell one greater story.
The Gameplay is completely different for all 3 races, and each has their own learning curve, with the Xenomorph being the most difficult race to play. The approach has its pluses and minuses, first and foremost each race actually feels different and in the case of the Predator/Alien campaign you will not see anything like it elsewhere.
The Marine is the most straightforward, and for the average gamer will be the easiest to pick up and the most straightforward. You have an array of weapons: The Pulse Rifle, Smartgun, Flamethrower, etc. You have some other tools at your disposal, such as flares and a flashlight to light dark areas, but overall anybody who has played an FPS this generation should have no issues with the Marine. Most of the Marine campaign is spent leveraging your firepower and tools as an advantage over the other 2 races. Not only can the Marine do the most damage on the whole, but your flares can illuminate a dark room and the Smartgun tracks by movement, meaning even invisible Predators are not above your destructive capabilities.
The problem with the Marine is its too old school. Sometimes this is ok, for example with Med-Kits. Other times the lack of grenades is just a joke. It feels like this game is still in 1999, and living with both the good and bad of it.
The Predator (Yautja if you are a dork) plays similarly to how he did in AvP1, which makes sense since Rebellion did both games. The Predator is not a tank in this game, instead you will rely heavily on your wits, your tools, and being able to gain advantage over your prey through deception in true Hunter fashion.
The Predator has a nice mix of weapons that allow you a much more tactical approach than with the Marine. Not only do you have your wristblades and the combi stick for melee attacks, but you have your Shoulder Cannon and Disc for long range attacks, and Proximity Mines to set up traps. Combining this with the ability to cloak, change vision modes, and very easily gain the high ground and playing as the Predator becomes a delight in finding out just how many ways you can kill your enemies.
The Alien (Xenomorph if you are a dork) again plays similarly to how he did in AvP1, and has the steepest learning curve of the 3. The problem is that as the Alien you can climb on anything, while there is a small marker to indicate which way is down, the combination of that with your extremely quick movements means it is very easy to get disoriented if you aren't paying attention to your surroundings as you move, eventually it becomes second nature, but it takes an hour or so to get used to how the Alien plays.
The Alien very obviously has no weapons. Instead you have your claws, tail, second mouth... and some brutal finishing moves. You also aren't at a complete disadvantage as the Alien has the best vision in the game. All your enemies are highlighted (Aliens track by scent) so no-one can actually hide from you and you are the only race that can see clearly in the dark. The end result of which is very fun play once you get used to it. Being able to hang on a ceiling in a dark room waiting for a guard to pass by... then digging his brain out with your second mouth before he even turns around is just plain awesome.
The singleplayer is really the only reason to play this game, Im going to be completely honest in this regard. The three campaigns are not ground-breaking, but far from boring. Essentially Karl Bishop Weyland discovers a secret Yautja ruin and uncovers a greater treasure within, he was already conducting illegal Xenomorph research and when the ruin was opened, the power in the facility shut down. The result is a Xenomorph infestation and the Yautja being alerted to the ruins opening. Weyland-Yutani calls in the marines, and this is the point at which the three campaigns truly begin.
Its hard to separate them because each takes place simultaneously, and none of them are mutually exclusive (i.e. there will be no 'canon' ending). On the whole the game is about 12-15 hours of SP action, and you are given reason to come back with collectibles which reveal additional elements of the story, in the Marine Campaign atleast.
My only complaint is each individual campaign is not long enough, and in particular I was disappointed with how "locked" the Marine and Predator technology is at the start. The fact that as a Marine you don't get the smartgun until the last hour or so of gameplay and even then only get access to about 500 bullets accross the whole game, thats just cruel.
There really isn't alot positive to say about the multiplayer experience. It really is nothing special. Thats not to say its bad, but Rebellion really stuck tot he old-school moniker, because this MP mode feels like its just a next-gen re-hash of the 1999 version's MP modes.
There aren't classes, perks, or unlocks to speak of, no real game-modes. For those of you that loved AvP2, life-cycle is gone. The end result is a pretty shallow game in terms of MP, which considering how much this game seems to focus on it... feels like a joke.
Technically speaking this is a very odd game. The graphics are average, nothing special, but nothing really bad either. The controls for each individual species work well, although if you are constantly changing between species it can easily get confusing.
My problem lies in two large areas of the game. The first is the melee-focused combat. I understand the principle behind it, the Alien doesn't have any ranged weapons. The problem is it feels like Rebellion is catering DOWN to the Alien as opposed to developing each species independently. The end result is the Predator just feels weird, like a bastard-child between the Marine and Alien. His control scheme is melee focused, but the weapons you want to use are not melee, and neither the melee or the weapon element lines up with the Alien or Marine. Its the primary cause of the disconnect I was referring to earlier.
This is a problem in general as well, the melee combat in this game is too disconnected. Nothing flows well, it all feels stiff. It makes playing as the Alien in particular awful, why have a charge up attack Rebellion? Why make pounce so complicated?
The second problem is more over-arching, but I will mention it here. If you have played AvP2, this game will kill you with disappointment. AvP3 (this game) represents one gigantic step back for the series. Everything AvP2 improved on is gone, and its one reason I can't rate this game higher.
The trophies for this game are pretty straightforward, although not particularly easy. The one most people will have issues with is beating each campaign on Nightmare. Its another element Rebellion stuck true to... This game is brutally, unwaveringly difficult on Nightmare. Most of the other trophies are typical of what you'd expect for a MP game, although the 'grind' trophies aren't nearly as bad as 90% of the other FPSs out there like Resistance 2 or Red Faction.
-The gameplay is nice and varied amoung the three races, each race plays as you would expect it to, and there is a very nice balance and each is fun on its own.
- The SP campaign on the whole is interesting and longer than the typical shooter, problem is each individual race only has about 4-5 hours worth of game.
-Bland, boring, stereotypical. A serious step back from AvP2.
- The graphics are average. The controls can be a bit tricky because each race has a completely different scheme. Melee combat doesn't flow nicely with ranged.
Overall: 7/10 Good
Let me end by saying AvP is by no means a bad game. If anyone tries to sell you on it, they are a loser who obviously doesn't actually pay alot of attention to the games that come out and sample them.
The problem is Rebellion didn't seem to put any real work into this title. I am not sure if it was rushed or if Rebellion has just lost its talent, but this game is really just a port of the 1999 version at its core, no real gameplay elements were added, the game is as simple as simple gets. The end result is a very run of the mill shooter involving some beloved franchises.
If you like the concept of AvP and want to play a good game. Id recommend AvP2 for the PC.