Aliens vs. Predator™
Developer: Rebellion | Publisher: SEGA | Release Date: 2010 | Genre: First Person Shooter | Website: n/a | Purchase: Steam
While the movies failed to make much of an impact, the Aliens Vs Predator license proved popular enough for two previous PC games (in recent years) and quite a few videogames before that. Since the same team behind the original 1999 release stepped in for this 2010 version, hopes were high that they would be able to recreate the magic. With three separate campaigns dedicated to the humans, Aliens and Predator factions, the odds are were very much in favor of this game being great.
The game opens with the nefarious Wyland-Yutani Corporation discovering an old temple on a planet. It’s not long before they are up to their old tricks again and experimenting with the Aliens that they stumble upon. Predictably enough, the Aliens break out of containment and starts wreaking havoc. In the marine campaign you have to fight for survival while in the Predator campaign you play as a young warrior who has to avenge the sacrilege of the temple by the humans. The Alien campaign on the other hand allows you to wreak some carnage on both of the other factions while following the orders of the queen. It’s not the most original plot but it does give players a good excuse for playing as some of the coolest creatures in cinema history.
All three campaigns share key locations which can make the game feel a bit repetitive but the gameplay styles differ dramatically. The marine campaign is typical first person shooter fare as you run around guns blazing on your bug hunt. You’ll have to content with Aliens popping up from everywhere trying to make a meal out of your face as well as Predators and even androids in later stages of the game. Levels are pretty linear, checkpoint based affairs but fighting Aliens in the dark or evading Predators in the jungle remains atmospheric. Along the way you can collect audio logs to learn more about what was going down on the planet before your arrival.
The Alien campaign requires a more stealthy approach as you crawl along walls and ceilings before pouncing from a dark corner. You’ll also spend a lot of time scurrying through vents as you go about doing the queen’s bidding. You’ll have to employ hit and run tactics as you only have melee attacks at your disposal. You can perform gruesome instant-kill moves if you can get close to your targets and grab them but make sure to lure them away from the group first to avoid retaliation. Non-combatants can even be grabbed and harvested.
The Predator campaign also features extensive melee battles using your razor sharp wrist blades but you have other high-tech goodies at your disposal. The Predator lacks the speed and agility of the Aliens but can cloak himself and leap all over the place. Luring humans away from the group is still recommended and you can perform some really spectacular “trophy kills” up close. Each of the characters has their own strengths and weaknesses so everyone will have their favorite campaign.
The visuals are good, especially when played in DirectX 11 mode but it was the animations that impressed me the most. The Aliens in particular look great as they come swarming at you from the walls and ceilings. Shoot off their limbs and they will still drag themselves towards you while acid spurts from their wounds. The instant kill moves of the Aliens and Predators are also pretty spectacular not to mention exceptionally gory. The novelty starts to wear off after you have seen them multiple times however. I would have liked to see more visual variety and unique locations in the three campaigns as well to avoid the feeling of repetition that crops up.
The music and sound effects are great and faithfully reproduced from their respective movie franchises. The soundtrack is suitably moody when you are creeping around and then changes tempo once the action heats up. The voice acting isn’t too great although Lance Henrikson does a great job voicing Weyland. The controls are fine although creeping around as an Alien can take some practice as it is very disorienting at first.
The game is unfortunately not without its flaws however. Melee combat is notoriously tricky to pull off in first person perspective and Aliens Vs Predator is no exception. Once you have mastered the art of blocking an attack, knocking the assailant backwards and then finishing them off there’s isn’t much that will be able to stand against you. There are a few boss battles but even these shouldn’t pose much of a problem. Enemy variety is also somewhat lacking with only Aliens, Predators, marines and androids on the planet. I would have liked to comment on the multi-player aspect of the game but at this point I could not find any matches.
While the three campaigns are not very long they do provide a decent amount of playtime combined. That is if you do not play on the easiest setting of course. There are some Steam achievements to encourage further playthroughs but most can be done on your first run if you are thorough. Aliens Vs Predator definitely has some good ideas and fun aspects but ultimately there is very little here that is truly memorable apart from the gory kills. The license allows for some very cool set pieces and characters which this game just doesn’t’ fully exploit.
*Review originally published 2010.
- OS: Windows XP/Vista
- Processor: 3.4 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
- Memory: 1 GB System RAM (XP)/ 2 GB System RAM (Vista)
- Graphics: DirectX 9.0c compliant video card with 128 MB RAM (NVIDIA 7900 or better, ATI X1800 or better)
- Hard Drive: 16 GB free hard drive space
- DirectX®: DirectX 9.0c