Aliens vs Predator – The PS3 Attitude Review
Developed by Rebellion, these guys are no strangers to this franchise as they were behind the Atari Jaguar edition way back in 1994, which was followed by a PC version in 1999.
Now the title is back and reimagined for 2010, the first time we have seen a full game since 2007’s awful film Aliens vs Predator: Requiem.
With most games you’re used to just one campaign, but with this title you’re given three very different ones in the form of Marines, Aliens and Predator.
Each offer a different experience that try to provide something new for gamers. Sadly though, Marines falls at the first obstacle. It’s a fairly typical shooter campaign that differs little from anything else we have seen before. This really is a shame as the gaming market has been flooded with FPSs for a long time.
Rebellion has tried to stay true to the films though and so many aspects including the sound will be all familiar if you’re a fan. Even that popping sound of the radar is there, even if it is very irritating. At first we thought there was a problem with the speakers and it took us a little while to realise what it really was. As much as we like the game trying to stay true to the movies, this is something that we feel shouldn’t have been transferred over. It may only be a minor annoyance and other people may have no issue with it, but we feel the developers should add an option to switch the sound off before we explode.
Moving on from this gripe, we can credit the campaign’s lighting as it’s used very efficiently to build the atmosphere and tension, which the plot fails to achieve – our eyes were regularly glued to the screen searching every shadow in the environment for a hiding enemy!
In summary, the Marine campaign simply offers nothing new from an already crowded FPS market. Regretfully in most areas other games perform a lot better and so if you’re looking for a thrilling shooter you’re looking at the wrong game.
But of course there are two other campaign modes in this game too.
The Aliens campaign is very unique, but not necessary in the right way. As an alien you can travel on walls at speed, as well as see your enemies through almost anything. You don’t carry any weapons but you can melee anyone or anything from a distance which can be fun. Clearly this is not a typical game experience, but perhaps that’s for a good reason. You see, it is very easy to get disorientated when running on walls or the ceiling, so much so that you become lost all the time. In fact it can be so bad that the whole mode at times feels like a complete mess and a waste of time.
The controls generally are very poor too as you spend a lot of your hours running into things and trying to stand in the right position to kill your enemy. The gremlins in the system don’t help either, but sadly even if they were wiped clean there would still be too many issues left for Rebellion to fix.
The final mission type entitled Predator is a combination of the Marines and Aliens modes. As a predator you can jump long distances from trees to walls without causing a flutter of attention from your prey by using a special targeting system. This unusual mechanic will take a little getting used to, but it’s a nifty feature that differs itself from anything else we have seen before. Patience is key in this mode but is rewarded when you deliver a fatal blow to your enemy while hardly lifting a finger.
But in addition to the ability to melee your opponents, you can also wipe out your enemies with the use of a powerful plasma cannon. This is great to use as it is very effective if you don’t mind blowing your cover. Furthermore you can also throw a spear or disc at the enemy which is useful if you’re waiting for your plasma to charge. We found one handy tactic that we used a lot was a special distraction tool where you try and divert your enemy’s attention elsewhere so that you can exterminate them from behind.
You’ll find that all three of these campaigns are very short, which is disappointing. For us the Predator mode is our favourite due to its fun and unconventional gameplay.
But this title has a lot more to offer as it also comes packed with multiplayer. A total of seven different modes are offered to gamers, including the ones you would expect but also some that are fairly innovative. One that particularly sticks in our mind is Infestation where one alien is up against a team of marines. The alien must try to kill as many marines as possible, with each human death adding a new alien to the proceedings.
The XP that you earn for multiplayer is dedicated to each species which we like, meaning that earning a lot of points as an alien will have no effect when playing as a marine or predator. Unfortunately though you can’t really unlock anything of value by earning these points, unless of course you’re really into player skins! It would have been good to have new weapons or armour available for the more experienced players, but we can’t have everything. Despite this, the multiplayer is still the best part of the game as it isn’t just another carbon copy of the Call of Duty formula.
The visuals for this game are another point to mention. We would so love to say that they push the boundaries of PS3 gaming like other games of late, but we can’t. The graphics vary somewhat throughout the game from satisfactory to disappointing and the animations are very outdated. Despite these problems the game still succeeds at setting a dark and tense tone, particularly in Marines.
Aliens vs Predator had a lot of potential with a good concept that if pulled off correctly could have made an unforgettable game. Unfortunately, it missed the mark and deserves more development time to polish it up before letting gamers have their hands on it. The game also has a steep learning curve that will put many people off. Even if you’re used to FPS games, you may still need time to settle in, especially in the Aliens and Predator modes. While there are elements of the game that we enjoy, including the multiplayer experience, it is hard to recommend this game to anyone who isn’t a big fan of the films.