Aliens Vs Predator - PS3 Review
When it comes to sci-fi action movies two of the biggest franchises are of course Alien and Predator. In recent years we have see two movies combining both franchises with AVP and AVP2: Requiem, but these two franchises were brought together way back before even Predator 2 hit cinemas. Dark Horse comics released a storyline in Dark Horse Presents #36 in February 1990 which brought the two franchises together. Since then there has been numerous comics, novels, action figures, movies and of course the video games. Aliens Vs Predator on PS3 is the latest in a long line of dozens of games covering both franchises, but sees the return of Rebellion as the developer.
|Aliens Vs Predator is visually quite solid.|
On planet BG-386 a colonist mining group discovers an ancient pyramid containing a dark and horrible secret. Across the stars a race of warriors is alerted to the discovery of their pyramid and a hunting party is dispatched to ensure that it remains sealed at all costs, whilst deep inside the ruined pyramid a malevolent intelligence awakes from centuries of dormancy.
The single player mode is actually split up into three campaigns, with each lasting 2-4 hours. Impressively each of these three campaigns sees you playing as a different species. One is as a human marine, another as a predator and the third as an alien. Naturally each provides a distinctly different gameplay style.
|An alien inflicts some pain!|
The first campaign we got into was the Marine one which sees a human soldier exploring the pyramid which and provides the most 'normal' FPS styled experience with a variety of guns and grenades available as well as a complex storyline thanks to, well, the English language! Fans of this franchise will be quite pleased to hear that Lance Henriksen appears in the game, with his likeness and voice used, as Karl Bishop Weyland, a descendent of Charles Bishop Weyland, the founder of the infamous Weyland-Yutani corporation.
The second campaign we tackled was that of the Predator whom is equipped with plenty of weapons including the very powerful plasma canon which can be used for quick, low-powered shots, or be charged up for more power and targeting (and yes, the red triangle target is in the game). While the plasma cannon is very useful it has a limited amount of power so when you're surrounded by enemies you'll likely need to use R1 for a light attack with your blades, or L1 for a heavy attack. By holding L1 and R1 together the predator can block attacks. Of course the predator can also use the camouflage to make him invisible as seen in the movies, can switch visual modes to view heat sources (such as marines) in the world and is quite agile being able to jump large distances to hide in trees and on ledges.
|The predators look quite superb.|
Moving on, the Alien campaign will be quite the opposite to the predator with his only method of attack being physical via his spear-like tail or double mouth. Having said that the alien is super quick and has the very neat ability to climb up, over, and along walls as well as jumping large distances.
While many of the levels are the same for each of the three characters, you do see them from a different viewpoint and gameplay standpoint. Each of the campaigns runs around 2-4 hours in length, so not overly long individually, but add it all up and you're sitting around 6-10 hours of single player gaming (depending on your abilities and which of the four game settings is selected). Besides the campaign you are sure to spend plenty of time in the Survival mode too.
|Watch out for the aliens claws!|
While I enjoyed this game there were certainly limitations that made it feel like more of a "retro" shooter then something new and modern. You just need to look at the game and see there's no crouch option, no option to take cover behind walls, no modding of weapons and certainly no RPG styled character upgrade. There were also some annoying glitches. Listen to an audio diary and any chatter from fellow soldiers may cut out.
When playing as a human or predator there are swarms of aliens present, but when you play as an alien, you're pretty much on your own. Finally while the first couple of times you see some up-close death animations (which last a couple of seconds) you will love them, but they soon become tiring, can't be skipped, and worst of all you can be attacked while performing these actions with no way of defending yourself. When playing as the predator I really found the need to re-cloak after almost every action.
Prior to Christmas 2009 Aliens Vs Predator was Refused Classification at Australia's Classification Board meaning it was not suitable for display or sale here. Rebellion responded confirming they would not edit the game for Australia, and we would just miss out but on December 18, 2009 Sega Australia successfully had the ban overturned with the game being awarded an MA15+ rating with the warning "Strong science fiction violence".
|Another great Aliens Vs Predator screen.|
Multiplayer consists of seven game modes in total. Now we would love to say we have extensively tested the online multiplayer mode but we simply have struggled to get into a lot of games. Those we have though are tremendous fun and the three factions are sufficiently different to provide radically different game experiences depending which side you are on. Hopefully the number of games and the time to connect will be dramatically reduced as more people pick the game up, and Rebellion patch the title (with rumours of dedicated servers in future also floating around).
One of the most annoying aspects of the online multiplayer is that when you do get into a game eventually, and that game ends, it kicks you back out to the menu, with no one left in the lobby so you have to spend time waiting for the game to find you another game to join. Why the hell doesn't it just keep you in the lobby with the group of people you just played with!
So how about the visuals? Well this isn't the best looking game on PS3, there's no question of that, but Rebellion have done a fairly solid job of capturing the look and spirit of the two franchises. The character modelling is decent enough and the levels have a tense, dark, moody look to them.
|AVP's lighting is atmospheric.|
Having said that there are some small disappointments with Aliens Vs Predator. Firstly sometimes the animation is a little rough, we've seen the occasional alien "sliding" around the level. We also saw a couple get stuck behind some objects until we blasted them away while we also noticed the occasional clipping error. Annoyingly the game also includes some screen tearing which is quite visible at times and can be a distraction. Finally we suffer from motion sickness sometimes and we certainly felt this during the Alien campaign, so bear that in mind.
Of course any game set in the Alien or Predator universe needs to sound like it belongs there, and on that count Rebellion have succeeded with the chattering of the pulse rifles, the woosh of the predators plasma gun, squeal of aliens, and wooshing sound of the predator changing viewing modes or turning on the camouflage. Music too is fairly atmospheric and suits the tone of the movie.
|As an alien, your weapon is your tail!|
Where the audio fails though is the voice acting which is pretty poorly written and generic, especially with your fellow soldiers, Tequila and Katya, over voice comms and the persistent need to call you "rookie" every two minutes.
Ultimately this isn't the triple-A title that we were hoping for however for fans of either or both universes upon which this game is set there is still quite a bit to enjoy. It's been a long time since we've had a decent game in either of these franchises - you probably have to go back to Rebellion's previous AVP title on PC in 1999 - but this is one which will provide a few thrills. Had the multiplayer included better matchmaking or dedicated servers, and there been a few more "modern" features then Aliens Vs Predator could have scored higher, but this remains a solid title overall.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||Graphics are moody and suit the tone perfectly, some good models, but also some minor niggles.||80%|
|SOUND||Close your eyes and listen to this game - it certainly sounds like the Alien and/or Predator universes.||83%|
|GAMEPLAY||The marine FPS mode is solid but we've seen it before. The Predator and Alien campaigns are more unique and quite fun too.||72%|
|VALUE||Each of the campaigns is pretty short, about 7 hours all up, but multi-player, when it works, is very fun.||75%|
|OVERALL||Aliens Vs Predator is't the great title we hoped for, but I had plenty of fun playing the game from all three sides and, when I got into matches, some great multiplayer too. If you're a fan of the movies, do check this game out.||77%|