A lot of people are very worried when it comes to licensed games or when it comes to resurrecting a franchise. I don’t blame them; I was the same way when I heard that Aliens vs. Predator was coming back. After having a couple of weeks of hands on time, is it what I expected?
There have actually been quite a few Alien(s) vs. Predator games, one being the Super Nintendo version of the game. I have never played this one, the first AvP game I played was Aliens versus Predator by Rebellion (the same people doing this game), then played Aliens versus Predator 2 by Monolith Productions (Guys that did Condemned and FEAR). Right when you start the game up, it’s basically has the same options of the last two AvP games and already hints it will have DLC (just like the last two games).
Even though the games offer single player experiences, a campaign for each race (Aliens, Predator and Marines), it isn’t a single player game. This game has always meant to be all about multiplayer, so much so that I never even touched single player in the last two games on PC, but I did on this one for the sake of this review. It would be weird for me to just skip a chunk of content.
I decided to start off my single player experience with the Marines campaign, in it you play as a character that is only known as ‘Rookie’, you are being dropped onto a planet to help out Marines. In the game you lose your squad, but you are given orders by Corporal Tequila, giving you instructions to getting the system back online and rescuing the surviving Marines. Issues? There are Aliens and Predators in your way. This turns from a simple rescue mission into something a bit more bigger.
Even though I don’t want to spoil some of the story of the Marines, I felt that the Marine’s campaign story line was probably the best in the whole game, but I felt that the game play of the other two (especially the Aliens) was much more fun. The only issues I had is that it was very stereotypical game play wise, going through dark halls and shooting Aliens that do a ‘jump and scare’. Aiming for the game took awhile to get down, it seemed to be a bit off and I guess starting the game on “Nightmare” difficulty did not help at all.
I then decided to play some Aliens, which I should have done to start with seeing as how playing the demo for the game I played mostly as Aliens. The campaign starts off with some humans in a lab, then chestbursters kill them, this is when some scientists enter to collect the aliens that just burst from the chests of the humans. Though they notice that one is missing, the one labeled number 6, instead of bursting from the chest number 6 decides to wait and come out of the mouth. They were suppose to kill it but are stopped since Mr. Weyland, who wants to keep it. When they show number 6 again, he is grown. This is where you control him and follow instructions from the queen, first one is to escape the lab.
The campaign for the Aliens is not very long, so telling you a bit more will render you playing it useless. I think the issue with the story for the Aliens is that it doesn’t have many surprises in the end that I expected it to have. It is fun going into a room, breaking all the lights and picking your prey one at a time while you run super fast (and climb on walls). I think what made the campaign so fun for me with the Aliens was not the story, was the fact that I just like playing as the Alien, so much more fun than slowly walking around as a Marine.
Last, but not least, the campaign for the Predators. In the start you play as a “young blood” and have to go through the rites of passage, after you finish this you are promoted to “elite” and given your first mission. That mission is to go to a planet with other Elites and find some missing young bloods. When you enter the planet, you destroy a human ship (the one you are driving in the Marine campaign) and the elites self destruct theirs so the humans won’t get their technology, leaving you on a planet without a way out.
Something that I always liked about Predators in their films and in the game is that they have advance technology but live like an ancient civilizations. I love the system that you use to jump on trees, giving you better advantage to take out some meat sacks (aka Marines). You also have the ability to set traps and other things for your prey. The campaign storyline was a bit better than the Aliens, but not all that much better. The campaigns really do seem to be tossed in for the sake of having single player.
The campaigns do have items you can collect with each race, giving you a trophy (or achievement) for getting them; also has higher difficulty levels. But outside of just getting this stuff to boost your achievements/Trophy score, there is not many other reasons to go back to the single player mode. The graphics in the game won’t really blow anyone away; they range from good to bad depending on what it is. About 95% of the time you play this game it will most likely be spent in the multiplayer mode….
Multiplayer mode for Aliens vs. Predator is very unique, just like the last two games, it keeps the spirit of the films and characters, while adding a fun multiplayer mode that makes you want to come back for more. Nothing like pulling out a Marines spin and watching his eyes turn into the back of his head while you hear him on mic calling you names. That is satisfying.
Something that you should know about Aliens, if you are playing as them in multiplayer, is that you have a unique advantage. The advantage is that you get to see all the players on the map and know where they are, this gives you the ability to plan your attack and you will need to try and get in and out as fast as possible, thankfully Aliens are the fastest species in the game. The issue with Aliens is that they don’t have ranged weapons; you have to get in close, while both Predator and Marines have the ability to hit you from afar. You also the have ability for a trophy kill, I suggest not doing this till you actually have the person alone, because you can be attacked during the trophy kill animation, which is very annoying!
Aliens give you a mindset of staying in the dark, giving you the cover so your enemies won’t spot you and kill you with their long ranged weapons. Even though you might come up on the Marine’s radar, you have a unique ability to climb any surface, so they never will know what angle you are coming from. I enjoy playing as Aliens the most, I love being able to run in and out of areas fast and prefer the more up close approach.
Playing as a Marine in multiplayer really gives you the sense of horror, something that has been missing in a lot of so-called horror games this generation (I’m looking at you Resident Evil 5). Something about them being the weakest species of the bunch and walking into a killing field filled with Predators and Aliens should be enough to scare you. If that is not enough, it is very dark and you will have to be using your flashlight to see into dark areas for Aliens since they blend into the darkness. You do have a radar that you hear go “beep beep”, adding to the sense of horror, especially when you see it light up with enemies and you can’t find them on screen. The radar has to refresh all the way (takes a second) and enemies could be too fast, so it’s hard for it to be exact.
As a Marine you can gather different weapons around the map, giving you greater fire power to take down the approaching Aliens and Predators, but you are also the slowest and weakest by far in the game, meaning you should be careful. The hardest species for me to take down as a Marine was the Predators and the easiest was the Aliens. Even though it’s fun to play as Marines for the horror aspect, they are much too slow for me and I’m not so good at aiming, I wish they tweaked it a bit. It’s not broken, but it feels off.
If you have not guessed it, the Predator is a hunter type, obviously just like the films you have to set traps for your prey. You do have the stealth device, only issue is that the only species it works on is Marines, since Aliens will still be able to see you. Predators also have the ability to use stealth kills (trophy kills), but just like the Aliens, do it when no one is around since you can take damage while the animation for it plays (or even get trophy killed while doing a trophy kill).
Unlike the Alien, the Predator can attack its prey from afar, with weapons like the plasma cannon, spear and razor discs. It also has up close combat like the Alien, so he is really well ranged and recommended to play as a Predator if you want a well versed character.
One of the better features in the game is the multiplayer modes. Even though I had fun with the mixed species death match type in the playable demo, I thought that Infestation mode was the best. Basically everyone is Marines beside one player, that player is a Alien Hunter. The Marines have to try and take him out, if the Alien Hunter kills a Marine, they join the Alien Hunter and try to take out the Marines. Basically zombie mode with Aliens. There is also one with Predators called Predator Hunt, but that one focuses on using your hunting skills to kill Marines and score points, also very fun.
Its not all about killing each other online though, the game also has a 4 player co-op mode called “Survivor”, where you play as Marines trying to defend an area from waves of Aliens. Each wave gets harder and harder, making you come back and see how long you and your friends can last. I quite enjoyed this mode, wish there was more of this sort of stuff in the game, maybe future DLC?
In the game you will get XP for playing online, just wish they would give you actual weapons or new skills like new FPS games (Modern Warfare, Battlefield come to mind), but the only thing you really get for it is new skins. I’m not complaining much about this; just know that new skills and weapons could have really opened up the multiplayer more.
Aliens vs. Predator is the biggest fan service game ever, right from the title if you liked Predator movies or Aliens, you can’t refuse a cross over. Thankfully the game offers up a fun multiplayer mode, even if it seems a bit dated in some areas, it is still really fun and that is what matters. I wish they would have took the time and made a better single player mode, but single player mode does help you get the controls down for the game.
In the end of the day, if you enjoyed the demo, movies or anything sci-fi, you will most likely like this game. It is very faithful to the source material and offers up lots of online fun.
+ 3 unique species that plays differently
+ Fun multiplayer
+ Faithful to the franchise
+ A game that scares you? Yes!
– Graphics need some polishing in areas
– Single player isn’t that in depth as could be
– Could use better online reward system
– Matchmaking still takes too long, even after patch