Review: Aliens Vs. Predator

In 1999 Rebellion developed what became a classic amongst First Person Shooter fans, and this title was known as Aliens versus Predator. Since then we have seen several motion picture releases in similar fashion, bringing the world of Aliens together with Predators. After 10 years, Rebellion are back with Sega, and have released a new revitalised version of their successful original, Aliens Vs. Predator.

For the PC platformer, this game was quite anticipated for not only the success of the original, but also the use of the new DirectX 11 features, which we will discuss further in. As you would expect, the game features the three main races, humans, aliens, and of course the predators. These races all receive their own short campaign in the single player mode. Although you are able to select any campaign straight from the get go – there is a slight recommendation lean to start with the Colonial Marines to find your footing.

The Marines campaign begins with you in a ship known as the Marlow on a routine mission of sorts, when suddenly you are attacked by what appears to be a predator vessel. You escape using a drop ship with your fellow squad members, and are placed right into the middle of a storm on the planet below. As you battle through the lush and creepy environments, you will find many references to the motion picture series, for example finding an egg infested room and your squad leader cocooned, which will bring a smile to the fans, but sadly there is not enough to wet the appetite.

The aliens campaign ties in with the Marines campaign and starts off with you being a subject of experiments by the humans, which you see glimpses of in the Marines campaign. The humans are attempting to create controllable xenomorph soldiers, and you are one of their test subjects. Unfortunately for them, you will have none of this and successfully escape and follow the orders of your queen through telepathic communication. Sadly the Aliens campaign and Predator campaign are so similar that they are not worth mentioning separately. It is almost as if they ran out of ideas with the story and blatantly just repeated all the steps using a different character.

The game spirals further down hill with it’s complete simplicity and poor game play – it is a shame for such a great title to fall this far down. Starting with the Marines campaign, the game style is so mundane that it will literally put you to sleep. Even though the campaign is short, you will find it a constant struggle to continue on to the end. First person shooters have come a long way these days and as a gamer, we expect more than a simple path to follow and shoot anything in the way. It is embarrassing and Rebellion have brought us many steps backwards with this. Other annoyances you will find is the pulse rifle working similar to a chain gun. Double tap firing will not work and I literally had to switch mouse thinking my button was stuck at first. At first, seeing aliens come at you from all angles is great, but this soon becomes a short lived fad as you start to notice some terrible AI and movement.

The Alien campaign only gets worse. As with the Marines, ideas that at first seemed good, soon become a complete hindrance. As you learn the basic moves of the xenomorph before you escape your confinement, you have an evil anticipation to use these on humans in battle, but ultimately you will be disappointed. Performing grab moves takes valuable time and in the harder difficulty settings will have you left exposed and killed within one or two shots. There is a lean for the player to obviously use stealth tactics with the alien, using several ideas from others games have been incorporated to achieve stealth, and they have failed miserably. Smashing lights to create darkness becomes useless when the noise generated attracts patrolling soldiers from far away, and sitting in a dark corner is a gamble; some soldiers have been eating their carrots and have extremely good eye sight in the dark and randomly begin to fire at you. There is also an option to harvest unarmed humans which you may expect to do something interesting, but oddly only used to unlock an achievement, and this basically sets the trend for the rest of the game – ideas that ultimately lead to disappointment.

You will find more of the same in all campaigns, the game play does not flow smooth and can be unpredictable to the point that it becomes completely frustrating. Not all is lost though; there are a few sparks of brilliance in this game. The level design, modelling and graphics overall are stunning to behold, coupled in with the lighting effects are just astonishing. The environment that has been created is uncanny in comparison to the visuals we are all familiar with from the motion pictures. DirectX 11 brings in modelling detail like never before with the use of a technology known as tessellation. In basic terms, this allows for more surfaces on an object, for example a sphere will look rounder than anything you have seen before. The sound is authentic from the screams of aliens to the famous pulse rifle firing sound. It is all there and spine tingling when combined with the dark visuals.

But, in saying all this the game is clearly divided in two. On one side you have high quality sounds and exceptional visuals, and on the other hand completely horrible game play and story. The single player campaign can be knocked off in a quick 4 hours and is forgettable. The game is saved by some great multi-player action thankfully and includes plenty of different modes, with some such as domination being familiar to those who have played Modern Warfare. The classic survivor mode is one of the greatest of these modes and is hours of fun, but again there are moments where annoyances with weapons and animations performed can be a let down, and do not expect servers to be filled with players.

The game becomes a let down and unfortunately the one hand cannot carry the other. Unlike its original, this game will be quickly forgotten as just another fill in game as we wait for other great titles to be released.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

About the Author

Nightshadow is an avid PC gamer, but occasionally strays off to the Xbox360 for some console action. Frequent writer for Gameolio - he has a strange obsession for uniquely flavored soft drinks such as Cherry Coke, Passion Fruit, and Buzz Monkey. Currently Playing: - Mafia II - Age of Conan - Red Dead Redemption