Sunday, 5 August 2018

Ross's Game Reviews: Aliens vs Predator (2010, PS3)

After thoroughly enjoying my time with the fantastic Alien Isolation, I felt like playing another game from the same franchise and I had this one from years back, so it felt like a good time to pick it up. So does it hold up 8 years later? Let's take a look.

For anyone looking to purchase this game to try for themselves, I would recommend Cex where you can get it for PS3 and Xbox 360 for £1.50, or you can get it on Steam where its current price is £9.99.
Also a shoutout to the Facebook page Chew Bubblegum and Kick Ass where all my reviews go and you can find loads of other great movie content, and now you can also follow me on Twitter @rossd9711 where I will post to show what I'm doing in between reviews to keep you all up to date. Anyway onto the review.

Upon doing a bit of research for the game, I've found that there's been a fair few attempts at making an Aliens vs Predator game with varying degrees of success. As far as I can see this was the latest attempt at making a successful game in the franchise.

You have a few options when you start off the game as there are three main campaigns to choose from where you can either play as a Marine, an Alien, or a Predator. And the cool thing is you can play these campaigns in any order you want and it won't ruin the experience of the other campaigns.

You also have an option for a survival mode where you can play online co-op with friends to survive a horde of Aliens attacking you in a round system, similar to the Nazi Zombies set up in Call of Duty.

There's also a multiplayer mode which I couldn't really give a go as there's no one playing multiplayer on PS3 anymore, however I have a feeling that there may still be players in the Steam version, and from what I can remember when I originally played the game years ago, it was pretty fun and worth a try. Unless you were playing as a Marine in which case you died most of the time.

So lets take a look at the meat of the game starting with the Marine campaign. As a sidenote, I completed each of the three campaigns under Normal difficulty.

The Marine campaign starts you off as a Colonial Marine who has been sent out with other troops to take out a few Xenomorphs that have run free in a colony and caused havoc. You are a rookie that everyone calls....... rookie. Imaginative. Upon your ship's landing you are knocked out by the impact and left in a locked room with your buddies leaving you only with some flares and one pistol. Thanks guys. Pistols are great when there's a bunch of Xenos trying to kill me.

Anyway it's actually quite a tense start as you aren't totally armed to the teeth and there's no one else in this dark building which has no power, and you have to turn it on. After you do, you run into your first Xeno and that's where the fun begins.

It is kind of funny going from the unstoppable Xeno in Alien Isolation, to quickly mowing one down with a few pistol shots. This is where a couple of flaws seep in that could have easily been fixed to make the game scarier or just a little more tense. For starters you have an unlimited supply of flares that really light up the room and you only have to wait to recharge them for a very short amount of time so you're never completely in the dark. Also your starter pistol, which you keep for every mission, has an unlimited supply of ammo so you never really feel like you're in danger. It doesn't help that I never really had to use my pistol since there's ammo drops all over the damn place.

For health, you have a health bar with three sections. Your health will regenerate automatically as long as you haven't lost all your health in a section, and if you do, you can carry up to three Stim packs to heal yourself with. I personally never really ran out of these.

I didn't die that often in my playthrough and when I did, it was down to my own stupid fault. For example, if you decide to shoot a Xeno in the head with a shotgun when it's right next to you, the acid blood will get all over you and it's an instant death if that happens. It took me a few tries to learn not to do this anymore.

You get a few weapons you can try out with each having their pros and cons. You have the aforementioned shotgun which is powerful but can cause you harm if you're too close and ammo for it isn't always plentiful. You have the iconic assault rifle which doesn't do too much damage but it handy to keep around as it holds a lot of ammo and has a grenade launcher attached which is surprisingly ineffective most of the time. You can go with my favourite which was the sniper rifle as it has a ton of ammo, has a one shot kill, and has a scope that can pick out hidden Aliens for you. There's also the iconic railgun from Aliens which is a great gun to use, but this takes up both your gun slots so when you run out of ammo you need to quickly find a replacement gun.

And then we have the flamethrower. Oh my baby what have they done to you? This was my favourite weapon to use in Alien Isolation, but after one use here I never picked the damn thing up again. Don't get me wrong it's handy against eggs and those little facehugging bastards, but against the main threat of Xenos it's practically useless. Killing takes a bit of time, and then for some reason, the Aliens explode from the damage which can hurt you and even killed me! Yeah I'd avoid it.

As far as enemy types go there's only a few with the standard Xeno, a Xeno that shoots acid from afar, a double sized Xeno that acts as a mini boss, and combat androids from the Weyland-Yutani company that are best dealt with by a good shotgun blast.

There are a couple of bosses as well with the Alien Queen and the Predator. The queen fight is a joke as she doesn't attack you and you only need to destroy the explosive cannisters next to her to kill her. The Predator fight is pretty fun though as you're locked in an arena in a fight to the death to see who is better. Weirdly though, the final boss is the head of the Yutani company which is kind of boring and an unfair fight as he's overpowered and there's not really any cover.

I should say that there is an overarching story but it's basically what you would expect as the Yutani company tries to gain access to a Predator temple to find the Xenos homeworld because of course they are. That's really it.

Overall the Marine campaign was pretty fun and feels like what the Colonial Marines game should have been. My only complaint is how short the campaign is as it can be finished in about 2-3 hours but I guess that's to be expected since there are another two campaigns to go. I would also recommend playing on hard mode as that should give you a proper challenge as I felt that even Normal mode was too easy.

Next up is the Alien campaign

The Alien campaign starts off with you as a more intelligent Xeno known as '6' as you have been imprisoned by the Yutani company for experiments along with your siblings. After a power outage, you escape and take out the scientists and security guards in order to free your Queen and escape with the rest of your species. This is how you receive your objectives as your Queen sends them to you through her calls.

As for the actual gameplay, if you suffer from motion sickness at all then you are not going to have a good time here. I'm not bothered by it normally but even I had to take a couple of breaks while completing this. It doesn't ruin the game by any means but can cause a difficulty spike at times.

Since you're an Alien you can basically crawl up every wall you come across which in first person can be nauseating. Thankfully you also have an icon to tell you which direction you're facing compared to the ground.

I actually did have a lot of fun playing as the Alien (most of the time) as the combat sections feel more like Arkham Asylum as you wait to strike on your prey at the best time to avoid being shot at by soldiers. Taking out soldiers one by one with them getting confused and panicked is pretty satisfying. You also have a chance to use finishing moves which are a variety of different killing options to finish off your prey, such as piercing them with your tail, cutting their head off, or using your second mouth to blast their brains out. It's pretty gory and fun to use.

You can also use this on unarmed humans to harvest them by letting a facehugger attach itself to their face to create more siblings. One thing that did annoy me (and this is a theme) is that the same levels from the Marine campaign are used here, and this happens again in the Predator stages later on. Just feels a bit lazy.

There's no real endgame to this campaign as you're just doing what your Queen tells you to do, and it culminates with fighting off a few Predators. Now the game is called Aliens vs Predator so you think this would be the funnest part of the game, but it's far from it.

You have to fight in the same combat arena as before and this is a nightmare for the way the Alien moves as you find yourself stuck to walls, and as far as combat goes, all you need to do is block their attack and then attack back. Rinse and repeat until you've won. Pretty disappointing.

Overall I did have fun with Alien campaign even through all it's flaws and crappy boss fight. This is easily the shortest campaign though as you can finish it in about 1-2 hours.

And we'll end with the Predator campaign

Can I just start by saying that this is easily the best part of the game and I wish they had made the whole game just this. I mean you're playing first person as a Predator and you get all the gadgets that come with that! It's awesome!

You start off as a young blood about to complete his trials so that he may become an elite. Once this is completed, he is sent to the planet where they keep the temples as the humans have soiled their sacred ground and must be hunted along with the Xenos.

This is more stealth based gameplay but it's much better than the Alien campaign with all the tools that you have at your disposal. You can go invisible anytime and plan your attack. You can use you voice manipulation to district enemies from certain areas. Once isolated you can strike a killing blow that are the most brutal in the game as it mostly involves pulling their head off with their spine still attached, or in the case of the Aliens, ripping out their second mouth until they bleed to death.

If all else fails, you still have your claws for light and heavy attacks, or you can use the badass plasma shoulder gun that can unfortunately run out of energy so you need to be careful with it. Later on you also have the ability to use mines, a spiky boomerang, or a totally overpowered spear that I used all the time.

Again we have the same levels as we've already seen and the same enemies as well, including the double sized Xeno making a return for a mini boss fight in the arena.

For fans of the critically acclaimed Aliens vs Predator: Requiem, the hybrid Pred-Alien makes a return and is the main antagonist as your elders have claimed that you need to wipe this abomination from the planet. It's the final boss in what's actually a pretty fun boss fight at the end.

Sadly the campaign is also pretty short but not as bad as the Alien one as this can be finished in just over 2 hours. Again though, more of this please as I had an absolute blast.

Overall I can only give a slight recommendation to this game as the most gametime you can get out of all campaigns is about 7 hours and only the Predator campaign is really worth the price of admission. The Marine and Alien campaigns do have their moments though, so overall it's a decent package.

Rating: 6/10

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