Review: Alien Vs. Predator

Released on February 16, 2010, Aliens Vs Predator X-Box 360 version is already at a bargain pre-owned price of $17.99 at GameStop. Aliens Vs Predator in any form has been a highly anticipated fan acid drool fest since seeing an Alien trophy skull on the ship near the end of Predator 2. Add in novels, comics, and finally movies, a game is another great addition to satisfy even the most die-hard fan out there.

You are given the choice of playing all three species; Colonial Marine, Alien, and Predator. As you progress through the campaigns, each individual story overlaps and you find yourself in the same locations. Each character has its own unique abilities, the Predator able to leap to high vantage points, the Alien able to climb on any surface while remaining nearly invisible in shadows. With these differences in the characters, each campaign deserves its own separate breakdown in this review.

Colonial Marine

Coming to in a darkened garage, you gain control of a rookie Colonial Marine. A short tutorial ensues, and Tequila, your Sergeant, walks you through the basics of the controls. After looking around, using your flashlight, throwing flares, and learning how to use your handgun, Tequila informs you that you need to kick rocks and get out of there. As you make your way through darkened, claustrophobic corridors, the infamous motion detector from ALIENS is constantly in action. You hear the beeps, and see the blips in front of you, behind you, above you. Yet every time you turn ready to shoot, nothing is there. The atmosphere of suspense is built up perfectly, the gaming adrenalin building up, trigger finger getting itchy and you finally some across your first Alien with nothing but a pistol. I wish I could say that all that tense build up was worth it, but the Aliens are a bit of a disappointment.

Not to say that they are not quick, deadly, and can easily overwhelm your Marine throughout the game. They have that capability, in larger numbers and even alone if caught unprepared. The Aliens climb on surfaces, attacking from above, below, and behind. Shooting out their legs and they will still have the ability to lunge at you causing a jumping “Oh My God” moment. Maybe it is nitpicking, but they just seemed so small, around the size of a German Sheppard. From the movies, the Aliens always seemed bigger, similar in size if not larger than humans. This was one small detail that kept nagging me during my game time. Continuing through the Marine’s campaign, the goal is escape. NPCs play a relatively minor role during the game, with the exception of Tequila, who appears sporadically in the chapters. The atmosphere is well done, and while not exactly challenging, the sheer amount of enemies will cause a few deaths. 

Alien (Number 6)

As with all bad plans when it involves the Xenomorphs, as Number 6, you start out in captivity. The tutorial unfolds as the Corporation tries to train you as a biological weapon, teaching you stealth by smashing out lights, how to run on walls and ceilings, and how to hunt and kill unsuspecting humans. Given the high intelligence of this formidable killer, escape is inevitable. The flashing alarms, panicked scientists, and slow on the draw guards make the escape a highly entertaining beginning to the Alien campaign. I found myself rushing ahead of the NPC aliens in my haste to get in on the kills. Being able to run on any surface with a simple push of a button is easy to learn and fun to use. Escaping when detected using this surface transition is vital to survival as the Alien has very low health, a few shots from the Marines will end your quest. Stealth is a key element for hunting Marines, hiding in the shadows and hissing to lure your prey in for an easy kill. Here, the game starts to fail. The Marines often refuse to investigate or comes in groups requiring a tail lash, run and hide, and repeat. Even when you manage a stealth kill, there are limited animations so you are forced to watch the same death over and over. Adding the Predator’s to the mix adds a little extra entertainment, but for a game titled Aliens VS Predator, fighting a total of three Predators seems very thin.

Predator

As the Predator, your tutorial begins by teaching you how to jump from vantage point to vantage point, using stealth, and luring unsuspecting Marines to their doom by using the voice recorder. Playing as the Predator should be fun with all the weapons at his disposal. The javelin, the wrist blade, the laser, the heat vision, and the stealth camouflage all have the makings of a bad ass character. Why then, does it feel like the Predator was just tacked on for the sake of the title? The Alien has all its abilities from the beginning, the Predator on the other hand, slowly unlocks each weapon so it feels like the entire campaign is a tutorial. Jumping from vantage point to vantage point is a nice idea, but over 90% of the places you want to jump to are blocked off leaving the campaign feeling very linear. Predator has always had the image of being tough, impossible to detect and kill. Playing through the game, even with the camouflage activated, marines still have the ability to spot you, and only a few shots bring you down.

Summary

Aliens VS Predator was not a bad game, but the title just didn’t deliver what it promised. Enjoyable atmosphere as the Marine, made possible by that incredible motion tracker, the ability to easily climb on every surface as the Alien were moments that will keep this game in my mind. Playing as the Predator, well, the game should have been renamed as Aliens VS Colonial Marines. For the Empty Wallet Gamer, I’d recommend waiting until the price drops to $10 or even $5.

-Steven Jackson

Verdict:70%