Every time the famous Alien and Predator franchises meet the outcome is always somewhat spectacular, be it in the spectacularly poor AvP movies, or in the ground-breaking 1999 AvP computer game. Rebellion, the developer of the original AvP game, has returned to create the latest game to celebrate the clash of the two franchises, but can they relive the success of the last game, or does it follow in the footsteps of the far from stellar movies?
There are 3 different single player campaigns in AvP, one for the Marines, Aliens and Predators, all of which have different story arcs and playing styles. The Marine’s campaign is probably the most well rounded of the three, providing a decent first person shooter and survival horror experience. Playing as “The Rookie” you are far weaker than the Aliens and Predators that hunt you, and must survive on your wits alone. Ammo is often scarce, meaning you must conserve bullets and rely on weaker weapons like your pistol. The game uses a mixture of flashing lights, strange sounds, and distant screams to keep up the suspense as you traverse through the colony of BG-36, and try to uncover what the Weyland-Yutani Corporation have unleashed on the planet. The soldier’s motion tracker also helps create an ever-present sense of tension and suspense as you are left forever guessing where the enemy is.
The Alien campaign has you using the creature’s extreme speed and ability to traverse almost any terrain, even the ceiling. Playing as “Number Six”, an Alien who had been held in captivity for its entire life, you must break free and try and save your Queen, while hunting hapless humans and battling ferocious predators. Unfortunately, unresponsive controls can hold the game back, with the stealth often being ruined by imprecise command prompts. Maneuvering through the dark and damp levels at high speeds can be disorientating, but allows for a unique take on first person combat, as players rush towards their next kill.
The Predator campaign is the weakest of the group, being a mixture between the stealth of the Alien campaign, and the gun-play of the Marine campaign, but not playing on the strengths of either one. The game doesn’t give the Hunter the power and sense of control he deserves, with his weapons barely inflicting damage on the Aliens he should dominate. As a newly trained Predator you are tasked with destroying all traces of your species technology and history on the planet, however, with the other campaigns taken into context, it seems rather bland and generic.
The three campaigns intersect throughout their stories, but unfortunately, the plot fails to interweave effectively, meaning that it seems more of an excuse to reuse the same levels, than to create a succinct story. While the Predator campaign fails to do justice to its franchise, both the Marine and Alien campaigns provide decent, albeit flawed, gameplay arcs, that make the overall single player game a worthwhile experience.
The game’s multiplayer is may not be able to compare to heavy hitters like Modern Warfare 2 and MAG, but at its core it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The species are well balanced, with the multiplayer fixing many of the issues of the campaign missions. The deathmatch is a fairly standard affair, but where the multiplayer really lifts off is in the exciting extra modes, such as the Infestation mode, where one player takes the form of an Alien hunting down a troop of Marines, only to have each dead soldier return as an Alien. However, the game is held back by a multitude of bugs and glitches and no matchmaking or dedicated servers, that make finding, and staying in, a game a fairly sloppy procedure.
AvP far outstrips the movies of the same name, but is nowhere near the landmark experience that the original game was. AvP lacks the flare to make it a must have title, but is by no means a bad title, with a solid single player campaign, and an entertaining multiplayer mode. Fans of the intellectual properties will be drawn in by a rich background history, with an abundance of audio diaries expanding on the extensive worlds of the two franchises, but to those not familiar with either species, the game is an enjoyable, if not spectacular, experience.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ Enjoyable multiplayer
– Weaker Predator Campaign