Aliens vs. Predator PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 7.0
Sound 9.0
Value 8.5
Distributor: SEGA
Developer:
Rebellion Software
Classification:
MA15+
Review Date:
February 2010
Reviewer:
Edwin Millheim

8.5


Aliens vs. Predator
(2010)
PC, PS3 & XBox 360

Game reviewed on an Alienware system

Check out Alienware at www.alienware.com

The highly acclaimed British developer Rebellion is striving to scare the hell out of you again with the new Aliens Vs Predator game. Re-capturing the pulse pounding game play from the original PC gaming classic, players once again get to play three different campaigns from three different perspectives. Aliens Vs Predator is a thrilling gaming experience no matter what part of the campaign you play. The clash this time around takes place on the deep space frontier world being colonized by humans. There on the the colony on a far off planet an ancient pyramid is found. Of course scientist and archaeologists can't help but go exploring this historic find. This of course triggers the ultimate confrontation between Colonial Marines, Aliens and the Predators.

I really did not know what to expect with this game. I remember the dread and irrational fear that the original seemed to invoke around every stride down a dark area. For this Latest incarnation, I gleefully played the first couple sections of the Marine, then Predator and then Alien, just to get a taste of the game over all. Playing as a rookie Colonial Marine the player is part of a mission that went south really fast, all hell breaks loose and you and your team have a hard landing on the surface of the planet....but in the mad dash to the surface the players character is knocked out, blurred visions of a battle take place, fast sounds that slip away as the darkness surrounds the player....only to wake up later alone and abandoned.

The sheer horror and nervousness are all here again as the player makes their way through a seemingly abandoned base. Through the darkened corridors and stairwells, lit here and there by slivers of light. Rebellion did an incredible job not only with the visuals, but of creating an immersive game of audio. Creeks and clangs and sounds of movement or of a falling object not far away all serve to put the player on the delicious edge of a roller coaster ride, add in the music that builds and explodes the senses but like the Aliens in the dark never seems to overwhelm and yank the player out of the moment. Like any good music score, the player never really knows it's there, it's just so part of the experience, fitting in so well.

Cut scenes are also handled well here, using all manner of film technique to play out the story. From sweeping views and Point of view shots, to the angled shots, all invoke active and forceful images to the story.

The visual, the sound effects and the musical score all combine wonderfully to invoke an emotional response in the player, be it surprise, or that underlying excitement and fear as to what's around the next corner.

Each part of the game is a rather unique playing experience, I must admit I would be hard pressed to say I have a favorite out of the three characters. It's difficult to really say if any one of the three are more powerful than the other two. Each one has it's strength and in turn weaknesses. The Colonial Marines, while rather fragile, they have a heck of a lot of fire power. The Predator has it's stealth and cloaking device, and the Aliens have the claws, the speed and numbers. Each character type requires a different skill to play to it's full potential. It all comes down to the skill of the individual players really. (More on that in my romp through the multi player part of the game)

At the start of each campaign there is the customary tutorial stage, well done and makes it so part of the over all gaming experience it's not intrusive at all. In no time at all your plunged into the mind numbing adventure of what ever campaign you happen to choose first. The hardest thing perhaps about the game is actually choosing which campaign you want to experience first.

Each character has different control aspects and can perform different abilities. I found that while the Predator's controls took some getting used to, I was jumping through the trees hunting Colonial Marines within a few fleeting minutes of the game. I just may be strange, or I am just already warped, but the Aliens ability to walk on most surfaces came pretty easy for me and was a thrill to control such a beasty. The Marine's controls are pretty standard fare. Across the board if playing the PC version most of the control layouts are for the most part logical and easy to pick up.

The Colonial Marine makes due with the human technologies, from pulse rifles and pistols and auto turrets to motion trackers. The over all feel of survival horror and thrill when dozens of Aliens start clambering at you from every possible angle is exhilarating. Moving along through the darkness with only your beam of light illuminating small portions of an area is such a thrill.


The Predator is pretty awesome to play, I mean really who did not long for a game with this character after seeing the films? All the Predator equipment is at your disposal here, from the personal cloaking device which aids you in your stealthy approach to human targets, on to the unique ability to target a Marine and then throw a recorded mish mash of a voice to a point where the target will go investigate. This is perfect for luring target's out of a much more dangerous group. They will not fall for this tactic though if they are on alert. Predator also has it's view modes, each species has a special view mode that can spot them best. For instance if the player is in a view mode for hunting Marines, they have to take care because the Aliens are next to invisible in that mode. Getting around as the Predator is achieved by the standard running around...but what's fun is that the Predator has a focus jump mode. Much like the jump mode in the last Wolverine game, a circle representation of where you can jump to shows up, then hitting the right button and off you go. One would think the Predator would be the be all end all power player of this game, but there are things in place that balance it out pretty well. Some of the Predator's weapons have to be recharged, so just blasting away with the shoulder mounted plasma cannon is not advised.

Playing the Alien campaign the player is the creature that the scientist named “Six” A poor captured Alien. The Wayland Yutani company has some special plans for Six, oh the greed and nastiness of this company, who is the real monster here? Playing as an Alien requires a lot of tactical skill to fully utilize this character types natural defensive and attack capabilities. Claws, teeth and spiked tail and special senses. Sort of a natural enhanced sense mode that aids in seeing the prey. Blending with the darkness and easing in on a target is what the Alien does, or can attack in great numbers. Of course, the Alien can run along walls and ceiling, making it a very cool character to control indeed. As noted, darkness is your friend so, the Alien can also break light emanating sources, to plunge an area into darkness. Getting in close and personal is what the Alien does best. It's a good balance of character abilities and environment based survival abilities.

Other than the atmospheric single player campaigns there is some genuinely fun multi player gaming to be had here. The first time I played multi player, I was an Alien and surprisingly I came out second in the match. I think it was more dumb luck than anything, but what a blast. Now to my point on what I mentioned earlier about player skill. I was pretty much owned when playing as a Marine, while some other player's have the skill to exhale as that character, I died a lot and managed three kills only during the next all out death match.

There are several different multi player matches to be had in the game and all of them have something different to offer.

DEATH MATCH: A no brainer free for all, shoot everything that moves and survive to the end. Get the most kills in the set time limit, or get the target score before anyone else in the game.

INFESTATION: Massive mayhem, sort of like zombie tag in many respects. One player starts out as an Alien. All the others are Marines, when a Marine is killed they come back in the game as another Alien. So as the name implies it's a race to stay alive and try not to be over whelmed, though being the last Marine standing in one of these matches is a thrill fest.

MIXED SPECIES DEATH MATCH: Yup another death match. Get the most kills in the set time limit, or get the target score before anyone else in the game.

SURVIVOR: The title says it all, four players enter the game and must fend off waves and waves of Aliens.

PREDATOR HUNT: Oh what fun, One player is selected as the Predator, sort of like king of the hill but not. Who ever kills the Predator get's to play as the Predator. Pretty fun all around.

SPECIES DEATH MATCH: Death match, only this time with teams. Marines, Vs Aliens,Vs Predator's. Get the most kills within the set time limit or reach the target score before any of the other teams.

DOMINATION: Two teams fight it out for control points all around the level. Keep a Control point and get a steady stream of points flowing in. Getting more Control Points and the team get more score.

Over all Aliens Vs Predator has succeeded in bringing to the table so much newness with an old concept. It just does not get old anytime soon in it's playability. While I did experience some freezes that locked the system up a couple times, a combination of updating the graphics drivers and tweaking some of the settings like disabling vertical sync seems to have done the trick thus far. Graphics have been said by some to be not as spectacular as expected, but the over all look and feel of dark grittiness is delivered well, I feel the graphics look great. The single player campaign can be viewed as short, but when combined all three experiences together, it's not as short when as measured as a whole. Some of the AI is a bit stupid, Marines walking up on their dead comrades on a couple of Predator missions did not even have them raise an alarm. That's all fine and well, the fun factor is still there. Aliens Vs Predator is a blast. Let us all just hope that if there is any add on content planned that Rebellion is the one to handle it, because they seem to know what makes a enjoyable Alien Vs Predator game.

While Aliens Vs Predator is available on Xbox 360, PS3 and the PC, this review was done on the PC version. Our rig we used for this review was an Alien Ware System.
Quad Core System at 2.66 GHZ. 2 Gigs of System memory, and a Nvidia Gforce 8800 GTX with 756mbs of card memory.

Have fun, play games
Edwin Millheim

 






 
 



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