Sega was nice enough to bless with an advanced copy of their newest title, Aliens vs. Predator, and while it’s definitely an entertaining at first, there are several elements that keep the new game from staying in our game rotation.
The AvP franchise saw gaming releases all the way back to the early 90s, when hit the Super Nintendo with the original AvP title in 1993, followed by arcade and an Atari Jaguar version a year later. Those titles are certified classics. But, the developers, Rebellion Games, have failed to pay attention to detail. Basically, it’s the little things dragging down what could’ve been a very good first person shooter (FPS).
First off, AvP offers three different campaigns: Alien, Predator, or Marine. This was Rebellion’s first mistake. They tried to pack too much into a single package, and it really shows.
The Alien and Predator campaigns are a little tough to catch on to at first, and while the sight of a Predator ripping the spine out of his human victims is awesome to see, it’s a short-lived joy, simply because it becomes rather repetitive as you continue gaming.The three distinct campaigns AvP offers should be its main draw, but they’re not. Each campaign has its strengths and do start off rather fun, but as you continue playing, you begin notice basic design flaws, a not-so-fluid gameplay, clunky controls and mechanics, and other little gripes that get a little frustrating.
The Alien campaign seems interesting during your first run through, thanks to cool abilities like crawling on walls and ceilings for example. However, that wears off fast, due to the awkward controls. At times, you’re Alien will just crawl onto a wall even if that’s not what you intended. Or, you might find yourself struggling to slither into a vent. As you play as the Alien, you just never feel in control of the creature at all. Instead, it’s as if you’re just floating around from wall to ceiling to ground. There’s just no grip to its movement. This, coupled with the poorly designed levels, make it hard to really navigate your Alien through the levels.
The problems with movement also get in the way of the Alien’s offensive attack. Being that you can slither across ceilings/walls, or creep in and out of vents, it should be easy to sneak up on a human and kill them before they even realize. But, that’s difficult at times. It’s easier to just stay on the ground sometimes. For example, you might want to try to pounce on a human by jumping off the wall onto them as they pass, but a beam might get in your way and you fall right in front of them instead, without doing any damage. The controls for the Alien are just too clunky for our taste, taking away from the whole experience, which, in theory, should be fun. But, when you do sneak up on a Marine and swallow his head inside your mouth, that’s a cool and horrific sight. Is it enough to make it enjoyable … NO.
As for the Predator, it too relies on stealth to kill its prey. So, you can utilize their ability to go invisible, draw one of the Marines in, and yank his head and spine right out of his body, look into his eyes, and then stroke the dangling spine. It’s brutal and one of the coolest aspects of the game. But, as mentioned, after a while, it gets a little old.
There are some irritating mechanical and level design problems to both the alien and predator campaigns. Some levels require you to move about only in ways the developer intended. So, you might run into an invisible wall or ceiling as an Alien; or as as the Predator, you might leap to certain surfaces but others you can’t, which doesn’t make much sense at all. For example, you will be able to leap 20 feet into the air to one spot, but you can’t even hop over a six-inch barbed-wire fence at other times. Little inconsistencies like this really take away from AvP. The AI isn’t any better either. Sometimes a human can spot you easily, even when you’re invisibly clocked as the Predator, while other times, they are oblivious while you’re right next to them. Or during an attack, a Marine might take cover on the wrong side of the wall, exposing themselves to you. SMH.
The Marine campaign is the best of the three, and avoids the mistakes of the other two. However, that’s about all you can say about it, because it’s a very plain, straight forward FPS with not much thrill to it.
AvP does offer some fun with friends via its online features. But, you’ll still have to deal with the mechanical problems of the single player mode. It boasts the typical online modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Survivor. While it’s definitely a lot more fun than single player, other FPS titles offer a much better experience via its online modes than AvP.
Overall, AvP could’ve been a very good game, but the little failures kept it from reaching its full potential. The franchise’s appeal might be enough to get gamers to purchase AvP, but even then, there are so many awesome shooters to choose from these days, it’s really hard to justify spending your hard earned cash on a title that “could’ve been great.”
Either way, you may want to try it out for yourself to see if those “little failures” we talk about would even bother you. Let us know how you feel.
Our Rating: 2.5 out of 5