Aliens versus Predator

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In an ideal world there would be no wars, no famines. There would be no terrorism, no natural calamities and Aliens versus Predator would have been an awesome game. Unfortunately the world we live in today is cold and bitter thus sealing the fate of developer Rebellion’s latest AVP game. Of course the world has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the game sucks purely because it was rushed or too ambitious for its own good. We’re gonna go with a bit of both.__STARTQUOTE__Trophy kills in AVP are undoubtedly the coolest things I’ve seen this year__ENDQUOTE__You see AVP is kind of awesome at places. There were times during my play through when I sensed tremendous potential. Sadly all of those moments were corroded away by either piss poor AI, broken gameplay or clunky controls. No matter how much I tried to like the game there was always something around the proverbial corner waiting to deprive me of that much needed entertainment.

Contrary to what the name suggests you actually play as three species instead of the two headlining the game. All three get their own single player campaigns that you can play in any order. Being a huge fan of the predator movies (GET TO THE CHOPPA NAO) I opted to go in for the predator’s campaign first expecting to play as the badass intergalactic bounty hunter. Instead I ended up feeling like a 60 year old woman plagued with arthritis.

Since the good stuff is a rare commodity in this game I’ll get that out of the way first. Trophy kills in AVP are undoubtedly the coolest things I’ve seen this year. Watching the facial expressions of your prey as you stab them in the face or rip their head off and stroke their spine never gets old. As cool as the Trophy kills sound they are a bit erratic to pull off as well. You have to be standing at just about the right distance for the prompt to pop up on screen. There were times when I had to literally jog around my opponent to trophy kill him/her.

Making matters ever worse is the fact that the AI in this game is the dumbest and I mean the DUMBEST I’ve encountered in a game since Judge Dredd. There are tons of examples that could convey this but I’ll sum it up with one encounter where I threw a proximity mine near a guard that didn’t kill him but instead of running around in panic trying to figure out where a proximity mine came from he just got up, dusted his pants off and stood in the same position. What’s worse is that his comrades who saw a bomb detonate in front of their eyes didn’t give two hoots either as they just stood their ground not bothering where a perfectly lethal proximity mine came from. And their only form of consolation to their comrade who narrowly escaped the clutches of death was repeating the line “Don't let your guard down Marine” over and over and over again. That’s hardcore!
And then you have the clunky controls that are most painful in the Predator and the Alien campaigns. As you’ve seen in the movies the Predator can leap across the jungle in a simple jump but doing so in this game is highly retarded. You have to hold down the SHIFT key, place the marker at a designated spot and then release it to jump. Not only is this unnecessarily complicated but doing so during boss fights is just plain annoying. Also it’s very contradictory to the fact that I can scale an entire tree using this lock on jumping method but I can’t scale a two foot tall ledge using the game’s default jump key.

Similarly the Alien can walk all over walls and ceilings with ease but the transition from surface to surface in this game is jarring and extremely disorienting. You’ll stick to walls when you want to ambush someone, jump up to the ceiling when you want to leap across a room and so on. Still like in the Predator campaign, trophy kills as the Alien are extremely badass as well.

As the Marine gameplay is your standard first person shooter fare that’s at best above average. For some reason controls don’t feel as tight and responsive as other FPS games on the block and like I said before, gameplay just feels outdated and generic. No I’m not upset about the lack of a jump button or iron sights; it’s just that gameplay as all three species is predictable, boring and not very exciting.

Things do improve a bit on the multiplayer front. You have your standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes along with two pretty awesome MP modes – Infestation and Predator Hunt. In Predator Hunt any one player on the server will randomly spawn as the Predator while the rest spawn as marines whose sole aim is to hunt down the Predator. The marine who kills the Predator spawns as the Predator and so on and so forth. In Infestation you actually start off with just one alien and every marine that gets killed by an alien spawns as an alien till there's no one left behind. And trust me, it’s really intense (and not to mention hilarious) watching an entire server of aliens descend on the final marine.
Wins in MP reward players with XP that can be used to unlock newer skins and that’s about it. No new weapons, no armor, nothing. It’s new player skins. SKINS! Luckily for us PC gamers Rebellion recently patched the game with dedicated server support so pings now are a lot less obnoxious than when I got the game.

Visually the game is a mixed bag. There are times when it looks really cool but then again there are times when it looks painfully bland. Kill animations look extremely slick and character models though repetitive, are well detailed. Frame rates hold up pretty well for most of the game but during certain intense sections hit the fan in a bad way.

As you can see AVP has its share of problems that could have been easily avoided in the hands of a competent developer. I personally have nothing against Rebellion but their track record should have been an indication that the devs aren’t on top of their game (Rogue Warrior anyone?). Still if you’re a real fan of the franchise or get thrilled by hyper violent kills, give this game a shot. To all the other folk out there, save your money since Battlefield Bad Company 2 is right around the corner.

Published Date: Mar 05, 2010 09:58 am | Updated Date: Mar 05, 2010 09:58 am