Wot I Think: Aliens vs Predator

By Alec Meer on March 8th, 2010 at 11:37 pm.

Continuing the RPS trend of being up-to-the-minute with its verdicts, here’s my brain-meanderings about the recent AvP sequel/remake. It’s late because, frankly, the PC port wasn’t in rude health. Like many other owners of the game, I suffered a bug which caused it to freeze for a few seconds every couple of minutes. A patch hit last week which, though it didn’t fix the problem, alleviated it enough that I could stand to play the thing. Despite the naughty words this bug had me shouting, this write-up’s consciously penned as though it wasn’t an issue – partly because I’m sure it will be fixed, and primarily because it seems the majority of players didn’t suffer it. So, on with the words. As RPS’s resident AvP expert, it is my duty. Er. Which one’s the Predator again? Is he that robot policeman, or is that someone else?

I didn’t enjoy it at all until I decided to play Lady Gaga in the background. AvP3 fails on an absolutely fundamental level, given its classic monster subject matter – it’s not scary. Whether that’s the fault of the now over-exposed beasts, of the game’s lurchingly empty atmosphere or both is academic. It’s not scary. Not ever. Unfortunately, it’s convinced it is. This means its constant attempts to put the willies up you come across as tediously predictable, annoyingly momentum-scuppering. In an alternate reality, I played it through, sighed, wrote terribly mean things about the game and that was that. In this reality, I turned its music off after a couple of hours and played Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster instead. And y’know what? I had a great time.

This is scarcely an unequivocal endorsement of Rebellion’s do-over of their 1999 finest hour. It’s just an accidental discovery that this grim’n’gritty but tonally misfiring FPS is sorely in need of an antidote to its own unsmiling adventurousness. That antidote is disco. “My telephone!” Cyber-spear to the face “M-m-my telephone!” Disc whips through three Aliens consecutively. “Cause I’m out in the club” slish-slash-slice ” I’m sipping that bub” splat-splat-hiss-screeee “and you’re not gonna reach my telephone!” Elephantine roar of triumph.

Whereas with the game’s own, understandably film-derived music ol’Predator-Chap felt plodding and fiddly, with a high-BPM soundtrack I find myself playing at three times the speed, feeling twice as superhuman and ten times as entertained. And, with immaculate timing, I found myself holding a Colonial Marine commander’s severed head up to a retinal security scanner to “Can’t read my can’t read no he can’t read my poker face.” This is very true. But he can read my gruesomely detached human skull. By not taking AvP seriously, I found myself able to take AvP seriously.

Is a sense of humour what AvP needed, then? I suspect not. It just needed the happy accident of something that took it miles away from its over-familiar foundations – monsters we know inside out, and oppressively metallic sci-fi corridors we’ve pounded far too many times before. The Alien’s quick and stealthy. The Predator’s gadget-laden and also stealthy. The Marine… well, the Marine’s pretty screwed.

It’s a dependable enough break-down, and truth be told this new AvP probably realises the murderous trio’s abilities more film-accurately than its revered predecessors did. Unhappily, it doesn’t put them anywhere interesting. It distractedly recreates a bunch of environments you might recognise from the movies (including the reviled AvPs), removes as much freedom as it possibly can and waves you onwards with a bitty, dreary story that thinks dialogue and characters should play second fiddle to overcooked fanservice. Couldn’t we have had even a single remotely memorable and/or likeable character instead of the phoned-in Lance Henriksen appearance? Alternatively, we could have just been shown a picture of his face for thirty seconds while someone growled into the microphone. Would have been much cheaper whilst achieving exactly the same effect.

On paper, the idea that the three mini-campaigns segue into and crossover each other is a neat idea – for instance, in the Marine campaign you’ll witness a scene of mysterious bloodshed, before later creating said bloodshed as the Predator. In practice, it means revisiting the same locations a few too many times without enough interesting narrative or combat to lift it. You know did lift my third visit to the squat metal warehouse that briefly housed a doomed Alien Queen? Lady Gaga’s 2008 number one hit Just Dance, that’s what.

It’s not a terrible singleplayer shooter: it’s just a very ordinary one. By Rebellion’s recent, reliably low standards, that’s something to be thankful for. It’s a good-looking action game featuring things you recognise from old monster movies – it might well fall out of your brain the second you stop playing it, but you probably won’t hate it. Well, except the super-dreary Marine campaign, nominally the game’s first chapter but comfortably its least enjoyable section. You have to over there, then some woman alternately insults and compliments before telling you to go over there instead. That’s about it. The Predator and Alien sections aren’t structurally much more interesting – but the former’s toy-packed inventory and the latter’s Spiderman movement enable you to treat the small environments as more of a playground, a place to bound around alternately brutalising the human populace and running for your green-blooded life.

Big Pred is about escalation: his weapons slow-burn up from the desperate flailing of close-quarters blades to the effective but energy-hungry tri-laser to the resource-free disc and eventually the one-hit-kill spear. The need for stealth lessens as crabface increasingly becomes an engine of destruction and, a fairly silly boss fight aside, his later, carnage-heavy levels are where the singleplayer most shines. Shrug your brain out your, ear lose yourself to the scatty mayhem, and forget all about the aggravatingly stupid AI, the atmosphere-breaking shuffle to stand in just the right point necessary to push a button and the embarrassing deaths incurred whilst trapped in an impressively gory but absurdly lengthy stealth-kill animation.

The context-sensitive super-jumps, meanwhile have been much-maligned for limiting where you can go, but once I’d nailed a decent mental sense of the usual permitted range and destinations, these clicked for me most agreeably. I’d be able to simultaneously hurl red-laser death around the map and bound chimp-like between roofs, treetops and cliff edges. Rebellion haven’t made Predhead’s Tarzaneering as elegant as they perhaps needed to, but they’re definitely onto something with their prompt-based rather than free-bounding system. It makes it measured and tactical rather than simply athletic, and that suits the character neatly. It all falls apart when you get shot in the bum because the bit you’re trying to jump to is an inch out of permitted range, but when it all comes together it lends the character the omnipotency the films suggest.

The Alien I’m less keen on, though I like her a lot more than the sleepwalking Marine. The wallcrawling can work well, especially when you successfully use a vertical environment to sneak behind some ambulatory meat, but too often it’s a matter of being stuck to a bit and at an angle you weren’t aiming for. You feel less like an otherwordly killer tailor-made from the DNA up to take lives, and more like a guy who went through a walk in World Of Linen whilst wearing a velcro suit. There’s a risk I’ve simply activated my rose-tint view mode when I say this, but it’s hard not to feel the 2000 AvP did the Alien, especially, better. There’s something to be said for being stripped down, but the unspecific prey-spotting Focus Mode and the Press E To Grab prompts overcomplicate the beast’s assassin nature with overtly gamey elements.

All-told, it’s a humdrum singleplayer tri-campaign, but it’s certainly not as bad as some of the online mudslinging might suggest. A few of the control systems could definitely do with a rethink in order to grant superhuman power rather than hand-cramping fussiness, but for the most part it’s merely a exceedingly ordinary game. As an AvP 2000 fan I feel let down, but not heartbroken.

The multiplayer comes out of it a whole lot better, and it doesn’t even need a performance-art popstar soundtrack to do it. With the artificial scripting, the plonker AI and the stingy Predator count of the singleplayer removed in favour of calculating human brains, the game feels a whole lot more alive. I’m not going to go into the various modes available (bar to say that the point defence Domination mode feels too abstracted from dudes trying to shoot head-chomping monsters), but rather talk about the shared highlight. When you get into the groove with your character of choice, the baby-pink skin beneath AvP’s musty, aged and over-fussy carapace really starts to show. You feel like you’re in control of something interesting and powerful, not just a a pretend man with a pretend gun shooting oher pretend men with pretend guns. Waiting for a server sucks, as do the freezes when it decides there’s a connection problem, but there’s definitely something bright and bold to the pile-on mentality and creeping paranoia of three asymmetrical species hunting each other down.

At the moment, the Predator’s double-whammy of hiding and insta-kill weapons seems to grant him a hilariously effective edge over the other species (and the gun-locked Marines a signficant disadvantage), but admittedly this varies hugely depending on both the mode you’re playing and how players organise themselves. There isn’t much that’ll get past three or four clustered Marines, for instance, but in a way disorganisation works in AvP’s favour. Aliens and Predator both have always been about finding new variations on “Oh god, we’re gonna die.” AvP fails to make that happen with scripting and storytelling, but when a couple of adept players are stalking random panickers like myself, this really threatens to be the game we hoped it would be.

It isn’t ultimately that game, unfortunately, and while it’s not the trainwreck you might have heard it is, it’s messy enough that Rebellion have surely blown their last chance to reclaim their long-lost critical darlings status. Still, slip on a suitably antithetical pop soundtrack and once your eight-foot extraterrestrial hunter is busy bluffing with his muffin, this fiddly, sadly compromised thing makes more sense than it perhaps should.

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153 Comments »

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  1. PHeMoX says:

    I’ve played an entirely different game that’s for sure… I downright love it. 0_o

    The AI isn’t the best, but it’s not unplayable or as brain-dead as games like Left 4 Dead where enemies miraculously always seem to know where the players are. :-p

    As for the bug, I was one of many that didn’t have that issue, so I’m guessing that might give a different impression altogether (freeze every now and then would drive me crazy too).

    Is it scary? Well to some extent that’s a matter of opinion, the whole AvP atmosphere is there alright!

    I’m sure many people here thought Doom 3 was scary, when in reality it used an extremely cheap trick that quickly failed to scare after about the first hour.

    • Premium User Badge

      HermitUK says:

      I think one of the real problems is that for single player you’re actually better served by the revamp of AvP1 at a fraction of the price.

      On the upside, this did at least sell well. Which in turn means Gearbox’s far more interesting looking Colonial Marines should be off the backburner and back on full steam ahead.

    • Dandi8 says:

      I agree with PHeMoX, must have been a different game for sure. The atmosphere is most definetely there, people are just constantly riding the nostalgia train, thinking that the original was more awesome than it really was. The game is all there is to AvP and making it scary would mean taking gaming into a whole different level, which games are yet to achieve. I mean, point out one game that scared you. And I mean scared you, not made you look away because a scene was particularly gruesome. For me, a scary game is yet to be made so I didn’t judge the new AvP based on that. The atmosphere was there, the aliens were there, the predators were there, the shooting was there… Perfect for me.

      And I did get the freeze bug. Enjoyed the game nonetheless.

    • Walsh says:

      What? Did you seriously criticize a zombie game for enemies that always know where you are?

    • Wulf says:

      @Dandi8

      An entire genre has passed you by, I take it?

      There have been many adventure games (of the first-person and point & click variety) which scared the living shit out of me and left me a quivering mess. Memory serves up stuff like Dark Seed and Scratches, but most recently was the White farking Chamber.

      Don’t play the White Chamber though, just… don’t. You won’t sleep for weeks.

      It is, of course, possible that I’m just a total wuss. But I remember playing that with a room-mate, and we’d take turns at it. It got to a point where we were having conversations like this:

      “I want to shield my eyes, you go into the next room!”
      “NO YOU GO!”
      “I did it last time!”
      “You’re more brave than I am!”
      “Ha, like fark I am!”
      “It’s true, you totally are, truly, I’ve never met a braver soul!”
      “Stop with the nonsense and click the damn mouse.”
      “YOU click the damn mouse.”

      And so on.

      — Edit —

      While I feel the White Chamber merits my original post, I’ve decided to clean it up anyway.

      Besides, that gives me an excuse to use ‘fark’.

    • Jayt says:

      “I’m sure many people here thought Doom 3 was scary, when in reality it used an extremely cheap trick that quickly failed to scare after about the first hour.”

      Your joking right? The fact it used shitty ‘scare tactics’ is probably the most common conclusion on the internet.

    • Warduke says:

      @Wulf – White Chamber eh? Hadn’t heard of that one. I’ll have to check that out. Thanks!

    • Wulf says:

      @Warduke

      Nnnnnooooooo!

      Well, if you can’t sleep for weeks after playing it… don’t say I didn’t warn you!

    • PHeMoX says:

      @Walsh:
      “What? Did you seriously criticize a zombie game for enemies that always know where you are?”

      Yes, I did exactly that. I like the idea of fast zombies, I dislike the fact they are running around like homing freaking missiles.
      Getting overrun by masses of enemies is cool and gets tense quickly, but it’s also an incredibly cheap trick. It could easily have been a hundred times more believably made. Just think about it. What if they had gone the stealth gameplay route of things or at least made that possible? I could think of dozens of ways to improve the whole concept, without ruining the ‘you’ll get overrun’ part.

      @Jayt:
      “Your joking right? The fact it used shitty ’scare tactics’ is probably the most common conclusion on the internet.”

      These days it thankfully is!! But early reviews at the time weren’t very honest about that at all.

      I’m sure in the same way people will come to think of this new Aliens vs Predator game as being a really great game.

      @Wulf: The old Phantasmagoria games and games like the 11th Hour and the Seventh Guest are a million times more scary than any modern day game I’ve seen so far.

      I think Condemned sort of did a pretty good job at being relatively scary (lol), but the best part there was it’s story and how vulnerable the player oftentimes is.

      Yeah, you can die quickly in Left 4 Dead as well, but you never feel vulnerable. Basically you just feel screwed. :-p

    • R3D says:

      @ PHeMoX
      if u ditch your flashlight in l4d2 they ignore the crap out of you. the zombies are attrekted to light and sound so if u melee only or but and run turn the light off and they leve you pritty much alone except for creshendos and when the director ai thinks you need a hord

    • Wulf says:

      The White Chamber is relatively new (’08, I believe).

      PHeMoX has clearly not played the White Chamber.

      But then… I can’t really recommend it to anyone. It’s a full on mind-rape, so much so that I actually had to go searching around their site for answers to some of the questions the story posed, otherwise it would’ve played on my mind for months.

      It’s an inquisitive, intellectual sort of terrifying, the sort that slowly creeps into one’s head over a period of time, and then hits like a slow-acting curry, but it’s no less scary for it, and when the fear does hit, it hits hard.

    • DrGonzo says:

      OMFG. Nostalgia alert. Phantasmagoria, 7th Guest and 11th hour are HILARIOUSLY bad games, seriously not scary in the slightest, but they are worth playing for a giggle. They were when they were released and they are now. Though I agree Doom 3 had cheap tactics, still made me jump a lot. Also, your right in that Condemned is probably one of the most scary games created so far.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’m pretty sure someone’s pulling my leg here. White Chamber again, is pretty funny rather than scary.

    • Jad says:

      @PHeMoX

      Left 4 Dead does not belong in a conversation of survival horror games, as that is not its intention. It is basically Serious Sam with zombies. For people who like that style of game, like me, it’s great. For those who don’t like Serious Sam/Painkiller gameplay, well, the game isn’t for you. I don’t like hardcore mil sims like ArmA 2, but I’m not asking Bohemia Interactive to make that game simpler and easier, and I would in fact be unhappy if they did. I similarly would not expect an ArmA fan to be asking Croteam to add realism to Serious Sam. Left 4 Dead needs Thief-style stealth to the same degree that Thief 4 needs God of War swordplay and hordes of enemies: not at all.

    • Jad says:

      @Dandi8

      And I mean scared you, not made you look away because a scene was particularly gruesome.

      Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl scared the crap out of me just a few days ago (just finished my first playthrough — man is that a great game). I found one part of it so unnerving that I felt anxious and jumpy for an hour after quitting.

      Obviously everyone is different, and I’m sure there are plenty who were unaffected by Stalker, but you really can’t make a blanket statement like the above.

      And then there’s more psychological games like those mentioned in this thread, that I won’t even go near =)

    • Wulf says:

      @DrGonzo

      It could be that your brain is wired to find particularly sick and terrifying things amusing, I actually know someone like that and they worry me. Did you find the Saw films funny?

    • Lilliput King says:

      @Phemox

      If you’re interesting in first person horror games, I recommend the following for gut-wrenching feeling of powerlessness in the face of a greater foe:
      Penumbra: Black Plague
      Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

      And finally for best creeping feeling of inarticulate dread:
      The Void

      I’ll add more if I think of them.

    • Xander77 says:

      Phantasmagoria is a disturbingly scary game, really?
      http://screencappery.wikispot.org/phantasmagoria

      (hope I’m replying to the right thread)

    • PHeMoX says:

      @lilliput king: I’ve played those and was only mildly impressed. Penumbra being the best of them, but it doesn’t come close to Condemned.

      As for Phantasmagoria, what’s your age? I was more so talking about Phantasmagoria 2, with nasty electrocution scenes and overall a haunting experience. Mind you though, these games are (very) old and must be seen in their own time for someone to be able to appreciate it by today’s standards.

      But in a way that’s exactly my point. Today’s standards… what happened to serious progress in the genre?

      It’s why I mentioned the 11th Hour and the Seventh Guest as being good examples of successful horror as well.

      They’re old timers, but classics in a sense when it comes to the horror genre and achieving a frightening atmosphere.

      I can understand how someone today would not know how to appreciate Phantasmagoria, but basically it’s because they missed out when it first got released.

    • PHeMoX says:

      In case you don’t understand, games have not severely become more frightening at all.

      Quite the contrary in fact, I might dare to state 3D ruined it to some extent. Especially games like F.E.A.R and Doom 3, but also Left 4 Dead have missed the whole thing when it comes to being genuinely scary.

      There are a handful of exceptions… Aliens vs. Predator, Thief 1,2,3 , Condemned 1, 2 and Manhunt 2 to some extent.

      But are those games really genuinely scary by any kind of objective standard? No, but it’s all the game scene has to offer.

      The average B horror flick is more scary, although these days the slap-stick genre seems to be dominantly present again.

    • Bowlby says:

      Let me reiterate in bigging up ma homie S.T.A.L.K.E.R: SoC. I only played a little of the game, and it has faults – I grant you – but holy hell does that game do atmosphere. Part of it comes from it being slightly rough around the edges, instead something so polished as, for instance, F.E.A.R 2 .(What is with all these acronyms, huh?) It has the gritty, anything could happen appeal of a low-budget horror film.

    • Shadow Wulf says:

      Haha White Chamber, I played that before and gave up. I cant see how that would be scary to be honest.. I played some of it and instantly lost interest in it. You want scary? Play Penumbra games those had me and my friend jumping and screaming when we had the lights off XD.

  2. Transportdaemon says:

    I haven’t much to add really. The single player mode seems lacking in atmosphere and I am waiting for the server issues to be solved before taking it back on multiplayer. A bit sad really as I had expected better.

  3. Trionx says:

    I’ve been on the fence about this -mostly because I enjoyed the original films these guys were in- but I think this’ll have to wait for a Steam Weekend deal.

    That being said, would it be better to wait for this game or just get the 2000 Edition?

    • DrGonzo says:

      I found the singleplayer to be much better than the original to be honest, and the multiplayer is excellent. Dedicated servers are out now so it’s not plagued with lag anymore either.

    • malkav11 says:

      Why not get the original now (it’s only $5, after all) and then if you happen to spy the new one at a reasonable price later on pick that up as well?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I liked the film with that introduced people as the villain.

    • Trionx says:

      @malkav11: I’m considering that. It’s just that if I get one then I feel like I’m just getting another version of the game. (Granted the older one is at such a price that I might pick it up even if I get the newer one. :P )

    • PHeMoX says:

      Trionx, you’re better off with the new game. The old one is a classic which you might like, but online servers tend to be quite empty and graphics-wise it’s severely outdated of course.

      Even in DirectX 9, the new Aliens vs. Predator game looks and play awesome and is very much the same kind of experience. You’ll regret paying for the classic version, as after 10 years it should be free considering what it’s offering these days.

  4. aldrenean says:

    disregard this

  5. DrGonzo says:

    Gotta say I’m really enjoying the game. It had moments in the marines campaign that made me jump, and the atmosphere was excellent. Preferred it to what I have played of Bad Company 2 so far to be honest. Even the multiplayer.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Down Rodeo says:

    I saw my flatmate playing the demo of this -I’d say it got a good few things right, such as the bleeping as aliens close in, the speed you get as an alien, and one very very spooky thing – seeing a tail whip round a corner, no sign of the full alien, but the knowledge that something is there, it’s faster than you, and it’s hungry. (that sentence seems to have escaped me a little, oh dear)

    On the other hand it didn’t look like something I wanted to purchase.

  7. Stu says:

    You know what’s better than Gaga’s “Telephone”? THE ALPHABEAT REMIX.

  8. DJ Phantoon says:

    Natural Selection will probably do This Sort of Gameplay better.

    By probably I mean it will. Then again Episode 3 will probably get launched before it does.

    • Bret says:

      And the heat death of the universe should beat them both to the punch.

    • PHeMoX says:

      I won’t hesitate to state Natural Selection 2 will probably fail in what they originally had in mind compared to this Aliens vs. Predator game, even though it should be obvious they’re quite different kind of games for the most part.

      It’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges …by their color.

  9. SirKicksalot says:

    The Alien’s first level is made of pure win. It especially nailed the weird scientists vibe of Resurrection.

    The Marine campaign was Doom 3 all over again, and that’s just OK for me! It gets far too much criticism – I was expecting the club bit to be a disaster, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t make sense in the context of the game. And it was fun to kill monsters on MEAN TECHNO!

    • shalrath says:

      “The Marine campaign was Doom 3 all over again, and that’s just OK for me!”

      I’m not going to do the “My opinion is right and you’re wrong!” thing, but… wow, Doom 3? Really?

    • PHeMoX says:

      @shalrath: Explain your point instead of acting like the other guy’s a fool. The ‘really?’ style comments are becoming old quickly.

      What happened to arguments? Did you even play the game?

  10. Fumarole says:

    I’ve mostly liked what I could play when not freezing as well. And no, the patch didn’t help me either, so I won’t be playing more until another patch can hopefully resolve that. Mostly I’m looking forward to the multiplayer with friends, as the original played at a LAN was some of the best gaming I’ve had.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Turn your texture settings down to medium. I had lots of stuttering until I did that. Not sure what kind have a monster this game is designed for. I have a gig of ram on my gfx card.

  11. Mario Figueiredo says:

    I saw a HD footage of the demo some weeks ago and wasn’t really much impressed. I decided then wouldn’t buy it. I think AvP is yet another missed opportunity at producing a slower paced FPS that could explore the idea of horror as something else other than a trigger happy testosterone party. I’d really love horror to really pass on to the FPS genre. But for that to happen, someone really needs to drop the idea that the only way one can play FPS’s is through some bullet rate count.

    Other genres briefly crossed into FPS with very good results. I’m thinking Thief. So why not horror? Maybe because the Alien & Predator franchises has been so darn explored that they aren’t taken seriously by their own IP holders anymore.

    Anyway, also interesting (not really) to see yet another game that apparently offers more arguments in multiplayer mode than in single player. For single players like myself, games and the companies that make games, are becoming very hostile. As time goes by I don’t see this getting any better, only worse.

    • sinister agent says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to blame the lack of horror on the makers, to be honest. Horror as a genre has only one rule, and that’s to show the viewer as little as possible. The more you see of a threat, the more you’ve quantified, and the less frightening it becomes. All good horror relies on the unknown, the unseen – basically allowing the viewer to scare the crap out of themselves. There’s just no way to do that with either Predators or Aliens anymore, except for simple practical matters like “there could be two out there, or there could be twenty”. Everything else about them is about as far from mysterious as a movie monster can get .

      The facehuggers in the first one still creep me the hell out, though. I can take anything both games throw at me (not played the third yet), but every time one of them gets me I scream like a schoolgirl.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Sinister agent is right on the money here…. that’s what’s happened with the horror genre in games. It just fails because general aesthetics are more important these days and that’s why they rely on the cheap scare tricks, like Doom 3 extensively uses.

      Can’t resist a good old Quote of the day:

      “I don’t think it’s fair to blame the lack of horror on the makers, to be honest. Horror as a genre has only one rule, and that’s to show the viewer as little as possible. The more you see of a threat, the more you’ve quantified, and the less frightening it becomes. All good horror relies on the unknown, the unseen – basically allowing the viewer to scare the crap out of themselves. There’s just no way to do that with either Predators or Aliens anymore, except for simple practical matters like “there could be two out there, or there could be twenty”. Everything else about them is about as far from mysterious as a movie monster can get .

      The facehuggers in the first one still creep me the hell out, though. I can take anything both games throw at me (not played the third yet), but every time one of them gets me I scream like a schoolgirl.”

  12. mcnostril says:

    Aw, that’s a shame.

    I’ll hunt around for more multiplayer impressions, but I have to admit I’m disappointed.
    We finally have the graphics to make some truly scary AvP games, and from everything I’ve heard including this wot i think, it doesn’t deliver. The original AvP marine campaign scared the bejesus out of me with its horrendously dark corridors and unpredictable alien spawns.

    I did enjoy the mp demo despite the bloody stupid idea of releasing it as deathmatch (it was quite enjoyable once people teamed up), but I’m not sure that’s enough to justify buying the game without knowing if it has been improved from there – at least not at this price.
    Besides, I’m still pissed at the absence of crouching for the marine. I mean, seriously? No crouching? Sheesh.

    Still, anyone have any impressions of the Survivor mode (if I recall correctly, that’s this game’s skirmish mode)? That’s probably what interests me most about the game and I don’t see it mentioned that often.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Yeah, Survivor mode is a multiplayer mode. A very good one if I may add.

      It’s where Marines get to fight ever more Aliens. Its challenging enough to be fun for a long while.

      Infestation is a similar mode, except it adds a Last Man Standing kind of thing to it, where humans that die become alien players as well.

  13. Brendan says:

    I liked the Marine campaign the best. Not because it was scary, but because I always felt like I was fighting for my life. Running backwards, firing my pulse rifle around the walls and ceilings trying to hit a slinking alien as it spiraled in for the kill, using my motion detector to make sure I wasn’t being attacked from behind. It was tense, and it nailed that feeling of being way outnumbered and overpowered. You never really knew when a blip on your motion detector was an alien about to attack or and an alien trying to intimidate you, making you look at the ceiling and walls until the blip mysteriously disappeared.

    Also, the designer who thought “Don’t relax just yet marines” was a good enough line to have the AI saying it literally every 5 seconds should be shot. I’m not one to rip on dialog in games, but holy shit, it’s like they don’t know how to say anything else.

    I’m a huge fan of the Aliens and Predator franchises, and I loved the first two AvP games – I’ve put an unprecedented amount of hours in to AvP2 – and I think the new game is a great successor. It does have it’s issues, definitely, like the ridiculous “jump” they gave the marine, no being able to spit acid as an alien even though they can in the campaign, no malting, auto-aim melee that devolves in to button mashing, etc. But the game shines when it works, and magnificently so.

    Personally, I think anybody who likes the franchise or the previous games will find something to love about this game. It’s not perfect, most definitely, but it’s obvious there was love poured in to this title, even though it didn’t come out the way they had hoped. If I had to pick an arbitrary number to give this game, I’d give it an 7/10.

    If you like Aliens or Predators, you will enjoy this game on some level.

  14. sinister agent says:

    Pity. A friend has it, and he’s said that the more he plays it, the less he likes it. The marine in particular sounded horrid, possibly even worse than it was in AvP2, but I’ll leave it for when I get to play it.

    Once I’d played the first one to the point where it wasn’t scary anymore (though it still managed to make me jump effectively when an alien caught me by surprise), I found myself playing through for the nth time as the Predator, with Bob Marley in the background. It worked wonders. There was something refreshing about casually leaping about the place splatting aliens and messily dismembering puny, panicking humans to Three Little Birds or Jammin’ , particularly if you got the timing right.

  15. D says:

    I have the sad suspicion that you can’t ignore FPS issues and objectively review a game at the same time. Not that this game is perfect or anything.

  16. JKjoker says:

    this game sucks, im not totally sure how they did it but they sucked the fun out of everything, the atmosphere sucks, the shooting sucks since human weapons are hilariously underpowered (and the game seems keen in forcing you to use the sucky pistol), the melee blows (and if you play the alien youll be doing this 100% of the time, a little less if you are a predator), the hold-E-to-murder crap gets old the second time you do it and its so slow you are likely to get killed while your guy is patiently disemboweling his target (and the saddest part is that this feature is the most praised in almost all reviews ive read, sigh), the AI sucks, there is no variation, for a game as short as this the speed at which you get bored of fighting the same enemies, the same way again and again and again is incredible, by the end of the first mission of all 3 races i was freaking tired of walking back shooting, leaping+E and block+quick attack+E, the predator might get slightly better later but you have to get there first, and you have to recharge your energy every 2 shots thats really fun, and btw the voice acting just sucks i just cant understand how some reviews are saying its good, the lines have no feeling at all

    this game has nothing going for it, nothing, even if i cared about the multiplayer (and i dont) not even the controls are adequate, its a waste of time and money, avp2 is a LOT better, a lot cheaper, many times longer and works better than this crap.

    • Bret says:

      Don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel.

    • Hattered says:

      @JKjoker:
      No offense meant, but I must link this in response.

    • PHeMoX says:

      With a name tag like that he must be joking. AvP 2 doesn’t come close to this game, even with all it’s control quirks.

  17. Pax says:

    So sad. Maybe I’ll just go boot up AvP2 and hunt down Dr. Eisenberg again instead…

  18. the_fanciest_of_pants says:

    I’m just stepping in to add to the Doom 3 dissaproval.

    It’s a bad game and you should feel bad.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      @all comparing AvP to Doom 3 and saying Doom 3 was bad.

      No, Doom 3 was not a bad game, it was average but far from bad. Most people (including myself) never play the truly bad games but I have played far worse games than Doom 3 (its expansion for one). Sure Doom 3 was not scary, sure it overused imps in cupboards (seriously why were they hiding there) to make you jump but it was still not a bad game. The later levels were far better when it opened out a bit and gave you a chance to dodge the fireballs that were heading towards you, if the whole game had been like that rather than a corridor I think it would have been considered a much better game.

    • PHeMoX says:

      I agree for the most part. Doom 3 was indeed a somewhat bad game despite it’s graphics (which were like plastic by the way), but mostly because it failed at being a game with depth. In all these years, they should have focused on trying to get first person shooters to the next level ( think about what Max Payne or Tomb Raider did for third person games… where’s the FPS equivalent of that? Doom 3 is not it.).

      Oh and it wasn’t really scary.

      It was intense to play through though and very much the same can be said of the new Aliens vs Predator game. The AvP game easily has a lot more depth to it, especially in the multiplayer.

  19. theSeekerr says:

    This whole review is undermined by the fact Alec likes Lady Gaga – since he clearly has terrible taste, how do I know whether he’s right?

    • qrter says:

      I like how Alec seems to think Gaga has anything at all to do with performance art. Made me laugh, at least.

    • Psychopomp says:

      GA GA OOO~ LALA

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Phew, at least I wasn’t the only one that thought so, Seekerr.

      It isn’t a great game, and you’re better off playing the first two before this one. In fact if you missed out on this one, you wouldn’t be missing out on much at all. Rebellion’s biggest fuck up was with the mouse movement, let alone the linearity and dumbing down…

    • DrGonzo says:

      Kinda losing faith in RPS. All this mac talk and now Lady effing Ga Ga. Plus I really enjoyed this game.

    • PHeMoX says:

      @DrGonzo: Same here.

      But despite that what I do like though is that RPS often times has a more unique voice of it’s own when it comes to game reviews, it’s not the stupid copy-cat stuff magazines like to throw at us.

      In this case though, I severely disagree with the review. But that’s all good. I’ve got more issues with them loving Left 4 Dead to death as if they’re owned by Valve somehow. ;)

  20. Paul says:

    First off – the so called freeze bug is likely due to you setting VERY HIGH textures while not having enough ram. Dropping it to HIGH (which looks identical) solved it perfectly for me. For some people, NORMAL is necessary.

    And for the rest – completely disagree, sure it is not as good as AVP2, but then I never expected it to be. But I know I loved it more than AVP1 and the marine campaign especially was a great thrilling 6 hours long ride. Stop playing on easy and then come back :P

    • jon_hill987 says:

      So is 6GB DDR3 not enough for the top setting?

    • PHeMoX says:

      6Gb of ram is more than enough for the Very High setting. It’s not a memory bug, but probably related to graphics cards and drivers. There’s no way this game uses over 2gb of ram.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Exactly what I thought.

    • DrGonzo says:

      It will be the Ram on your graphics card not the Ram in your pc. Plus as far as I’m aware its a 32bit game? Doesn’t that mean it can’t even make use of more than 3 gigs.

    • PHeMoX says:

      It has nothing to do with the Ram on graphics cards, granted your system is up to the minimal specs needed to run this game.

      As the whole freeze thing is happening with even the latest graphics cards (with over 1Gb of RAM), it’s definitely a driver related issue.

  21. blah says:

    @HermitUK : Seconded for Colonial Marines – “Let’s rock!” ;)

    • DrGonzo says:

      Never have faith in Gearbox. When have they ever delivered on a game? Don’t get me wrong their games are all ok. But they are all full of unrealised potential.

  22. Ravenger says:

    Here’s hoping that Colonial Marines won’t just be concerned with Giger’s aliens. It’s heavily implied that the marines are often sent against hostile organisms (‘another bug hunt’) so it’d be good for once to introduce some new alien life forms for them to go after, with different life cycles.

    As for AVP, I’m enjoying it. It’s a very consolised game with no crouching and checkpoint only saves, but there have been some very well done bits.

    The alien movement is pretty good with them jumping from wall to wall to get you, though where it fails is when it sends huge hordes against you in open areas. It works much better as a claustrophobic corridor shooter where you never know which direction the aliens will pop out from.

    • diebroken says:

      I’d love to see/enact the ‘bug hunts’ (if they did involve actual ‘bugs’ – mutant alien bugs?) that Apone and team were involved with. Prequel to Aliens perhaps…

    • Jad says:

      Spaceship Troopers cross over?

      EDIT: Yes, I mean Starship Troopers. I’m an idiot.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Lol, Starship Troopers you mean?

      I don’t think fans of the Aliens franchise are going to like extreme cross-overs. The AvP one works and makes sense, I’d leave it at that. :-p

  23. Turin Turambar says:

    Good campaign, multiplayer with possibilities but not enough polished.

  24. JeCa says:

    Without having read through all of the comments (I did do a ctrl+F search though) to see if someone else suggested it, here’s a possible, if unlikely solution to your problem:
    Shut down Task Manager.
    If you’re the kind of person who always has tskmngr running in the background on Windows 7, try shutting it down whenever starting a new game and just watch the world become a bit smoother. I haven’t played AvP so I can’t say if it has any affect in this game, but it does cause the game too freeze for a few seconds at regular intervals for me when playing for example the Just Cause 2 demo, League of Legends and Red Faction: Guerilla.

  25. Malagate says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Other genres briefly crossed into FPS with very good results. I’m thinking Thief. So why not horror? Maybe because the Alien & Predator franchises has been so darn explored that they aren’t taken seriously by their own IP holders anymore.

    Have you never heard of Penumbra or something? If not, go check those out, then come back to me regarding horror in first person. Not a first person plus guns game, but first person none-the-less.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Yes, I’m fully aware of Penumbra. To everything there is usually an exception. It’s hard to come by an opinion if I need to insert disclaimers everywhere. It’s hard not because it’s difficult, it’s hard because posts can become gigantic. Readers are expected to see past what is being written and adopt a more lax attitude, not taking every word as the final result of the writer opinion.

      In general though, my statement is true. Penumbra is also another piece of evidence that one can usually only rely on independent studios to risk in this business. And the game itself relies too much (not that this is a bad thing) on the adventure elements to be considered (by me) an FPS. It’s an FP. Not an FPS.

      What instead I would like was for an FPS that introduced a very strong story element, backed by a main character who is nearly powerless towards most of the enemies he faces, with gameplay elements akin to penumbra’s Fear effects on the main character, and that needs to be played at a slower pace, relying more on stealth and that puts the player on a constant survival mode.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Penumbra’s strongest point is in how it uses physics though, it’s really not excelling in first person combat. Meaning it’s sort of a different kind of game. More like a stealth horror experience.

      The AvP series obviously is more an action type game experience and rightfully so. I think no one would like a game that’s scary but no fun to play whatsoever because the marine walks around like his boots are glued to the ground. To some extent Rebellion has already made sure the marine can’t run or walk that fast.

      They could have perhaps done more with level design, but basically the Aliens vs Predator atmosphere is there.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Did anyone seriously think of the last Aliens vs. Predator movies that it was ‘scary’? In a way these types of experiences simply tend to wear-off their scariness.

      We already know just about everyone will die anyway…

  26. sigma83 says:

    I thought the Marine campaign was the shiz, imo. The pulse rifle felt meaty and the smart gun rocks. I lamented the lack of squadmates but I do get where they’re trying to come from as a horror game.

    Alien campaign was good, with the self-imposed challenge of trying to get all stealth kills it became Arkham Asylum with wallrunning.

    Predator campaign was utterly boring until you got the combo stick. Then some actual skill became involved.

    Just me.

    • BIG D says:

      The Pulse Riffle was so underpowered it was not even funny. Direct hits by the grenade launcher onto an Alien only knocked it down for me playing on hard. I hate games that just ramp up the Hit Points for the fodder as you increase the difficulty.

      Not a good game at all

    • PHeMoX says:

      @Big D: At closer range it’s an instant kill actually, even on hard. Perhaps your aim is off.

  27. sigma83 says:

    Also: GO COLONIAL MARINES. WHERE IS IT AHH

  28. Heliocentric says:

    The marine campaign should near the start offer an option to nuke from orbit. If you take it you get to see the missiles impact and then the credits roll.

    You’ll likely reload and say no, but you’ll always know every dirty bad thing that happens is because you didn’t employ extreminatus.

  29. Aphotique says:

    All I have to say is that the Marine campaign was epic when I threw Starship Troopers 3 “Its a Good Day to Die!” on in the background.

    “It’s a good day to die, when you know the reasons why. Citizens we fight for what is right. A noble sacrifice, when duty calls, you pay the price. For the Federation I will give my life!”

    It hurts so good.

  30. BIG D says:

    Had high hopes for this game but was disappointed with it. The marine campaign was far to short, i played on hard and clocked it inside of 2 hours. The Alien I liked but it got so repetitive and the controls for the alien running over surfaces was awful, it really broke the illusion when your started to shake about. I’ve not completed the predator campaign yet and I dont think I will, overall very disappointed and can only hope that Sega’s next instalment of Colonial Marines is better, I won’t hold my breath…

    • DrGonzo says:

      2 hours my arse.

    • PHeMoX says:

      2 hours is not possible for sure. It’ll take about 3,5 to 4 hours at least, even if you’re really fast.

  31. Malagate says:

    Heliocentric said:
    The marine campaign should near the start offer an option to nuke from orbit. If you take it you get to see the missiles impact and then the credits roll.

    You’ll likely reload and say no, but you’ll always know every dirty bad thing that happens is because you didn’t employ extreminatus.

    Burn the heretic, Kill the mutant, Purge the unclean! Suffer not the xenos to live.

    More games do need Exterminatus as an option, like Defcon but on a bigger scale and with the choice to go in all guns blazing instead.

  32. Premium User Badge

    mrpier says:

    With some modifications Batman Arkham Asylum would have been a good Predator game.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Very good shout. Get those guys to make a Predator game. They got the feel of being Batman spot on. In fact let them do Batman vs Aliens, or Batman vs Predator. They would rock.

    • PHeMoX says:

      I’ve only recently began to play Batman Arkham Asylum, but I agree that game is excellent.

      It has some glitches ( apparently you can access level parts you’re not supposed to), but the basic gameplay is plain awesome.

      It’s easily more playable than the Aliens vs. Predator game, but 99% of the AvP gameplay just takes getting used to. Especially in multiplayer this is a good thing though!

  33. Magic H8 Ball says:

    I don’t even know why Kieron kept writing after admitting that he had to change the music to Lady GaGa. It’s like those things people say, “this movie is great when drunk” or “playing Wii Sports is great when stoned”. If you need to alter it to be good, it’s not good by itself. End of story.
    Maybe he was just worried saying the multi-million dollar game is bad as a semi-official semi-journalist of a semi-PC exclusive blog would get him in trouble.

    • Diogo Ribeiro says:

      Its Alec, not Kieron.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Or: maybe I just it enjoyed it more after I put Lady Gaga on. Nah, couldn’t be so simple.

    • Nick says:

      Alec you forgot to put KG at the bottom of your comment.

    • PHeMoX says:

      “Or: maybe I just it enjoyed it more after I put Lady Gaga on. Nah, couldn’t be so simple.”

      With all due respect and regardless of taste of music, it did awfully sound like what was said above;

      ‘better when drunk’ or something similar.

      When it comes to the actual Lady Gaga song, that’s more something I would listen to whilst playing UT3 or something similarly fast, like a race game.

      It’s way too happy for it to realistically contribute to the atmosphere of a game as well. It easily ruins the more serious vibe of the game, which is really there.

      It really says more about the fact that you simply like that song (I don’t think it’s too bad myself actually), than anything about the AvP game.

    • PeopleLikeFrank says:

      I’d hate to think that a reviewer couldn’t say something to the effect of “The game fails in it’s attempt at creating the tension that it’s horror trappings suggest, but I found it a lot of fun when I decided not to take it too seriously”, and find a way to do so creatively, without a bunch of people ragging on them because they took it too literally.

    • PeopleLikeFrank says:

      Ugh. It’s /its. My kingdom for an edit button.

    • Vinraith says:

      @PeopleLikeFrank

      No kingdoms need change hands, just make an account and you’ll have an edit button.

    • Premium User Badge

      PeopleLikeFrank says:

      @Vinraith

      Why, I had one even! Logged in now, thanks!

  34. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    It has nothing to do with nostalgia and everything to do with pacing and a raw, uncompromising focus on movement. The Alien, in particular, is gruellingly subdued in movement the moment you’re prompted for the silliest things like entering a vent. In 1999, I was zip-zapping across levels at incredible speeds, hitting Marines from the dark only to scurry quickly onto vents. In 2010, I’m QTEing a Marine from the back and spend around 2 and a half seconds just to get inside a damn vent or hiding spot. There’s no reason why this happens. It’s a wrong notion of “variety” spliced in with a terrible idea of “balanced”. Neither Marines nor Preds are affected by what is, on any conceivable level, the basic ability to transpose a goddamn door. This is one of the most fundamental reasons why the first AvP worked – flow and consistency. You were given the tools and the playground. Anything out of reach could be reached, anything closed could be opened (barring mandatory locked doors and that’s something else entirely). You whip-tailed a grate, entered a vent, emerged on the other side, chewed off someone’s head and ran up there before someone could tag you with a Smartgun. Nevermind the Alien here has more to do with going back to Descent in terms of crappy navigation: here, you’re basically cock blocked from the most basic aspect of the Alien – hit and run.

    The Marine’s campaign is downright lacking in momentum, and is zombie gaming of the worst kind, going as far as presenting an Alien Queen surrounded by exploding barrels. The “challenge” is to run up to a console, QTE the thing, watch the barrels pop up and shoot them. The room sees a stationary queen, eggs and spawning Aliens. In the same room, weapons and healing kits respawn as well. You can dance around all of them, all the while shaking your head to the Aliens that charge as you like mothafuggin’ Son Goku while laughing at the very simple fact that a Marine walking backwards goes faster than an Alien charging you.

    On the Marine campaign, there’s this moment where the main character is grabbed by Aliens and taken away. The next level seems him waking up while being dragged by the Alien, and sees us seeing him automatically producing his pistol and shooting the xeno at point blank range. Nevermind that 1) you lost a terrific opportunity to emulate one of the best aspects of Dead Space, the QTE-that’s-not-a-QTE, you also 2) showed the Marine to have exceptional accuracy in a cutscene when he has almost none in the remainder of the game and 3) managed to shoot a xeno point blank without getting scarred by acid.

    One level in a temple sees the path ahead being lead by a fellow Marine as both you and him check out the surrounding walls. For a couple of minutes it’s somewhat tense, until the moment he is grabbed by an Alien and begins to be dragged away. You can try shooting the Alien but it’s intangible. Good job: by trying to create “immersion” you’ve just ruined it.

    Lance H. comes up sporting more hit points than any Alien, Pred or synthetic human. Ok, let’s try the Smartgun which – mechanically and based on in-game lore – pumps out so many bullets at such speeds you basically can’t hear them being fired. Aliens, Preds and synths are trounced by this. Lance keeps walking towards me, unnaffected in movement, while hitting me with a shotgun from several meters away. Ok. I take out a Shotgun. Nothing. I take out the PulsePea Shooter and land him grenades. He goes spastic (which kind of describes anything that’s an enemy: launching grenades sees enemies going down on the exact spot, without even the decency of a “I can see my house from up here!” impact), wherein I realize that to kill him you need to ignore the most effective weapons in your arsenal and go for the 2nd worse, then take advantage of him dropping on the floor like someone unplugged him from the Matrix, shoot him, then wait a couple of seconds for him to get back to grenade launch him again, etc., rinse and repeat, until you’re prompted for a western duel in slow-mo with someone barking the order of “SHOOT HIM IN THE HEAD”.

    The Predator seems like the only time Rebellion had any fun working with a character, but even then it’s hamstrung by some of the same cripping issues of the Alien, with the game arbitrarily deciding your jump ability works in some places, doesn’t work in some places, is too effective in some places, it’s not effective in others, etc.

    Why, with some of the best weapons in the game, do the Aliens and Preds need to deactivate turrets by QTEing a control mechanism that’s sitting RIGHT NEXT TO THE TURRETS? Rather than shredding the turrets themselves, like in (hey!) the first AvP? It’s not nostalgia, people: it’s basic good design.

    • PHeMoX says:

      The Quick Time Event style controls takes getting used to. At some point I barely even really got annoyed by it anymore.

      But I agree that it was a big mistake to add that. The Marine having a lot less need for QTEs and button pressing to move around and same for the Predator, also makes it a different experience to play with those different races.

      The balance is there though. It just takes getting used to a different gameplay style. Obviously the alien should be faster, but more vulnerable in close combat.

      In my book, all that is still very much a good thing. I hate games that just have the exact same units for different races, only changed visually. I don’t mind a good healthy rock-paper-scissor formula with a little more depth. Again.. the actual balance is there, even in multiplayer.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I fired a double shotgun round into Lance’s face and he went down. Didn’t realise he was so hard. Your right about the other points though. The moments you had other humans alive with you were by far the most fun. They were also kinda scary, you wanted to keep them alive, I feared for their safety, reminded me of Half Life.

  35. Casimir's Blake says:

    Well, it looks nice I suppose. Doesn’t sound too bad either, it’s pretty authentic I suppose – I’m no Aliens vs. Predator “buff”.

    Mouse is erratic. Interaction is minimal. The plot is predictable, as are the scares (although the first major human vs alien fight is in a club!?), and it suffers for dumbing down: not only is there a permanent quest arrow, a floating box highlight shows precisely where you need to walk to progress to the next checkpoint. There’s almost nowhere to explore to, it’s highly linear and the only hidden stashes you find are audio tapes: and the acting isn’t anything special. After playing Mass Effect 2, this really brings one *cough* down to earth.

    Sorry, I can’t resist saying “dumbed down for consoles”, but it is. And this is the same Rebellion that created the scary-maze-em-up that was the first game!? What a joke!

    And I would have gone for Anthony Franklin personally, or Falco… Ken Laszlo, heck, anything except Lady Gaga. Geez.

  36. DXN says:

    @qrtr:

    Lady Gaga is performance art.

  37. The Colonel says:

    What’re the controls and relative speeds of the enemies like considering this is primarily designed to be played with a pad?

  38. DarkFenix says:

    I think ‘ordinary’ is actually being rather generous to this game. Awful would be overstating it, but it is a poor game.

    The marine campaign was actually scary for me. Was it scary because of the enemies or environments? Hell no. It was scary because in any given fight my framerate may well give out and get me killed. And trying to wrestle with these frankly terrible controls as a horde of aliens descends on you? Not an experience I’d wish on the faint hearted.

    The alien suffered awful controls too. In making the environments more geometrically interesting they’ve made walking on walls an utter mess. Same goes for modelling the player’s body, this results in unwanted changes in perspective too when the game decides you want to be on a wall, when in fact you just wanted to back into a corner.

    What was wrong with the original AvP? The controls were fine, the species handled well, the game mechanics were as complete as they needed to be. Same goes for AvP2, which introduced the frankly excellent class system to multiplayer and excellent game modes to boot (not to mention a far more interesting three way singleplayer campaign).

    Did they deliberately ignore everything that made the previous games good? Or were they simply trying to add a square fifth wheel to a car? Either way, the game turned out badly. It sold plenty of copies under the pretence that it would have anything close to the quality of the series’ other games, and has probably lost the developers a lot of trust from fans. I know my faith in the series has been destroyed, and I’ll be a lot more cautious before I hand over my money for any of their future products.

  39. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    What this game lacks:

    Manliness. The “fuggin’ awesome”.

    Remember how, in Contra, all you had was The Guy, the Spread Gun, and the unwritten mission objective of “survive” and “blow shit up”? With your manliness only described by the number of lives you had left? That’s raw and manlike. Then by the time of Contra Spirits/Probotector, it was elevated by a single, numerical display of awesomeness: the score counter.

    The first AvP understood this. It had to be based on the same kind of logic: only that describes the last level of the post-Marine campaign, when the black screen only produces this fantastic mission objective:

    “Go out there and kill things”.

    In a game that, up to that point, was about killing and surviving, this comes off as a flashing thumbs-up from the developer. “Keep on rockin’ in a xeno world!”, said the dev, and you grinned and knew that, even if that’s what you had been doing up to that point, the dev knew that more than an ending movie, more than a score, you were having fun. In 1991, AvP told gave you the tools and confidence to let you say “let’s do this!”. In 2010, AvP spends nearly all of its time revolving around characters going “you can’t do this! do this instead!”, which is the same thing you would be doing in the first place if the game’s obnoxious excuse for racial diversity (“Tek-QUI-lllaaa!”) wasn’t shoving your face into it.

    I’ve been reading comments about MP. It’s great people are having fun. Really, it is. It’s just that “fun” either falls into:

    1) It’s just like the movies!
    2) I’m a master of stealthy kills!
    3) I’m getting TONS of achivements!

    I got my achievement early on when the game presented me with two Marines side by side. I go behind the one to the left with the Alien, “engage” with the Tango and sit watching several seconds worth of snuff. The Marine to the right doesn’t notice anything, which is probably saying a lot about why these people use Smartguns: because it’s users aren’t. Either that or peripheral vision in the future is seriously bad.

    When the same situation repeates itself in SP and MP, the “fun” of watching dangling cartilage and bone fades away when you realize you’re basically powerless to run away or retaliate if someone sees you taking a chomp out of anything. “Diogo, you suck: you need to draw the Tango away from the eyes of other Tangos”. That I suck isn’t really important: the important is, the system will – at any time, for any level of player – suck from time to time.

    “You just don’t know how to play!”. Sod off. Imagine that in the first Super Mario Bros., stomping a Goomba would have Mario perform a little dance that would take up the same time it does to perform a stealth kill in AvP. Pictured it? Good. Now start that game, go past the third pipe, and see two Goombas walking towards you. You stomp the first but, in the time you’re doing a little dance, the second – by virtue of being very close to the first – touches Mario during the proccess. Spoiler: little Mario dies whenever he’s touched by enemies.

    That’s how AvP online tends to work: because of the way this is wired, MP is best described as an assembly line of instakills, because the second you’re activating the kill, you’re basically left open to a back attack. A Marine doesn’t see you, you move in for – and initiate – the kill. While you’re doing it, a Pred comes up behind you and initiates the kill. While he’s doing it, an Alien comes up behind him and initiates a kill. And so on.

    The question isn’t whether I suck at playing AvP or not. The question is, even if I was an expert, why would I bother with this trashy design?

    • D says:

      The answer is obvious, you jump on the last goomba first. You’re really not supposed to be using insta-kill in MP. Its for humiliation purposes, evident by being able to talk to the other guys team for a few seconds (i think, right? Could be fun in LAN i spose). Your logic is like one of those reviewers that trashed Dark Messiah for having a single really overpowered boot, when the rest of the game was exquisite.

    • Diogo Ribeiro says:

      Not the issue. Even if you jump on the second goomba, both are trapped between pipes and if their patterns leads them to touch the pipe and move to the opposite side, you still have to contend that, on those rebounds, the same problem happens.

      Also, still not an issue. You can apply the same reasoning to games working with similarly dynamic systems of timing and reaction: Space Invaders (your ship doing a celebratory whirl leaves it open to being hit by an invader), Gears of War (Marcus doing a jig over a fuggly alien corpse in the middle of an intense firefight), etc.

      My logic concerns the notion that, in a game centered around movement and positioning – fast movement and positioning – taking away control like that severely damages the flow of the game. Which it does. That a game is “exquisite” doesn’t mean its problems are any less notable.

    • PHeMoX says:

      “My logic concerns the notion that, in a game centered around movement and positioning – fast movement and positioning – taking away control like that severely damages the flow of the game. Which it does.”

      Yes, I totally agree. The finish-moves or insta-kill moves in multiplayer definitely do show this design flaw. It would have been better if player would become temporarily invulnerable.

      Many people seem to ‘steal’ kills by just being the third person to attack. If timed properly you can kill two that way, even though you weren’t ever in a fight.

      That indeed is a design flaw (I’ll easily admit this game is not flawless). But it also makes you a bit more careful about when to strike for the kill. The game is not ALL about speed, but much more about stealth.

      In my opinion it’s therefore also an attitude thing. Some players will try to go in all guns blazing, which won’t be as effective.

  40. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I’ve not trusted critics about rebellion games since last year, when i played rouge trooper and it blew me away, i don’t understand where all the intense negativity about rebellion has come from, but this is the first honest assessment of the actual game I’ve read, although I’d say it’s better than doom 3 and the critical perception of that game is somewhat inflated.

    if given the opportunity to take back one of my purchases from recent memory it wouldn’t be avp it’d be borderlands, which is to my mind an example of why an excellent shooter with nothing else going for it isn’t enough anymore at least for my tastes.

    i also agree with alec that lady gaga is horror incarnate.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I’d say it’s better than doom 3

      Why?

    • PHeMoX says:

      I’m pretty sure you’re one of the few that really liked Rogue Trooper. But I do agree this game is better than Doom 3.

      Truth be told though, Doom 3 is an old game and had little going for it when it comes to variety in gameplay and even weapons to some extent.

      I do think it had slightly better level designs than AvP though.

      In the end I like the Aliens vs. Predator universe best of those two, so perhaps I’m slightly biased overall.

  41. Jakkar says:

    Alec – you have no soul, man. I suspect the issues with your inability to feel the atmosphere of this one are more to do with your own nerves being abraded to nothing than the game lacking the edge to scare.

    It’s action more than horror, but the atmosphere is pleasantly thick – and smells mostly of authenticity, faith to the source.

  42. manintheshack says:

    And you’re certain it wasn’t the other way round – that the relentless bloodletting made the noise of that ubiquitous lady-man bearable?

    This is almost as ripe for over-reaction as that incident of the game that wasn’t really a game and then it was but it wasn’t and so on and people weren’t told and didn’t figure it out until much later, by which time it had transpired that we were too fragile for such japery…

    Can I request that, in future, you include explicit warnings in the article tags that her name and subsequent details of her noises are likely to be announced?

    Thank ye.

  43. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Ok. The Aliens look like Aliens. The Predators look like Predators. The Marines looks like guys in ragtag armor in space, which is exactly like they did in movies.

    Other than that, what authenticity?

    Face-huggers deplete energy bars. Aliens subdue colonists to have face-huggers latch onto them for no reason other than achievements. Predator language floats on screen before its glyphs are translated into plain enligh, which is like having Simlish “translated” or hearing Jade Empire’s NPCs speaking in sorta-japanese and have english subtitles. Thick atmosphere? Rightly so: only that justifies how a sense of the characters’ lore is so appropriately snuffed out by a desire to appeal to “fans”.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Yeah, not saying I totally agree with certain design choices, like the QTEs, but they have definitely tried to keep it as playable as possible without removing too much of the authenticity.

      “Face-huggers deplete energy bars. Aliens subdue colonists to have face-huggers latch onto them for no reason other than achievements.”

      I hate achievements probably as much as you do (they add NOTHING to games), but I think the idea of being able to have face-huggers latch onto colonists is awesome nonetheless.

      The fact that they deplete energy bars is as logical and makes as much sense from the perspective of realism as pressing spacebar to jump or any random other gameplay orientated thing in games.

      That really has nada to do with ‘authenticity’.

  44. Calabi says:

    I cant believe how badly they messed it up, I agree with Alec.

    They remove all the potential fear elements. The have aliens moving around constantly in your view in haphazard stupid way to avoid making it easy to kill them. But then it just makes them look stupid and only a game enemy would move like they do. They take a load of hits to kill.

    Then when they do get into your face your basically into an extended cutscene where that scary face or what once was scary isnt anymore, because its always in your face. And that powerfull force in the films, that basically if they got too close meant you were dead is entirely removed. They could break down metal doors, and with just a wave of your feeble limbs you can shove the aliens out of the way.

    The only thing I found scary in the game was the quiet moments when nothing was happening and the jingly music was playing I was hoping the game would surprise me really kick my arse, but it never did.

    Nothing in the game at all was original, exciting it was entirely mundane, boring even. You’ve got to commend them for that, how did they turn all that potential gold into copper. Its like they’ve learned nothing from the past or any of their competitors.

  45. l1ddl3monkey says:

    I really liked AVP2’s marine campaign (and it goes without saying I liked AVP as well) so I had high hopes for this. It’s really all about the Marine campaign for me.

    I’m not overly bothered about being a Predator or an Alien but I do like a good bit of crawling around in the dark being scared poo-less by the pinging of my motion sensor and knowing that even though I am armed to the teeth with my nukes no flukes, sonic electronic ball breakers etc etc etc that I’m still likely to get my face pulled off and shoved up my backside in short order.

    Make more Alien stuff and stop this silly cross-franchise nonsense.

  46. Durkan says:

    This game reminds me of a pub meal combo – you know – the ones you’re supposed to share with someone else. There’s bits of chicken and maybe some onion rings and the battered brie things that would put a shuttle tile to shame by being invitingly cool to the touch but hotter than the sun on the inside.

    It’s got some nice bits to it, the flavours are okay but even though you’ve filled your face it never quite feels like you’ve had a full meal.

    By trying to squeeze all three stories into the one game there’s just not enough room for any decent story or gameplay to develop. The overall feeling is empty and a bit sloppy.

    Also, as seems de rigeur at the moment, its also infected with the usual console player friendly “press X button” type messages which completely breaks any flow to the game.

    I wonder if it would have been better to focus on one of the races for the single player campaign and leave the 3 races to the multiplayer – a la starcraft 2? Leaves the other 2 single player campaigns then ripe for expansion packs.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Starcraft 2 does the very same.

      Don’t be fooled, it’s not going to influence the story or quality at all. It’ll very much be one game for the price of three. Just mark my words. :)

  47. theSAiNT says:

    I stab my voodoo console doll every time I see a ‘press X button to’ message on my PC monitor.

    The genius who invented that mechanic should be lobotomized.

  48. xrabohrok says:

    For a while, AVP was in a sort of position similar to system shock: when people said that they have played “AVP for PC” then that meant they played AVP gold, the sequel to rebellion’s done by monolith. Somehow, Rebellion retconned that game out of the history books, which is a shame. Having played both, I prefer monoliths version for so many reasons: the game had an actual story as apposed to the “tour of movie locations with guns” thing the first one did, the mood actually worked, and the aliens got to play as a facehugger. The facehugger is a third of the equation for the aliens!

    My hope, and this is slim, is that they take the assets and do a sequel similar to something like AVP gold. While I’m at it, I’d like a new XCOM please.

    PS: AVP gold did the intertwined story thing too, and rather successfully, I might add.

    • GameOverMan says:

      I think you are referring to AVP 2, AVP Gold was a special edition of the first game that included some extras, multiplayer levels, a couple of weapons and the savegame feature introduced in the first patch.

  49. Taillefer says:

    I’ve heard only bad things about this from various people. I got a quick go of the alien and felt like the clumsiest alien to have ever burst out of a poor man’s chest. Constantly shifting from wall to ceiling by accident because I misjudged the size of my body, having to adjust my position all the time just to look at the spot I wanted, looking everywhere except where I’m going when I’m moving, quickly back-stepping into darkness because the light meter doesn’t actually match the lighting, stealth kills which don’t seem that stealthy…and what’s the bizarre harvesting thing about?

  50. GT3000 says:

    Did everyone forget Call of Cthulhu?

    • Nick says:

      I loved that game, in spite of the terrible stealth sections.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Despite having been a great attempt, no game with outstanding game-stopper bugs which were never fixed and thus still lack a patch, should deserve any kind of praise.

      We pay for what we expect will soon be a finished product. And this is saying much already, 30 years ago a single bug on a game could mean loss of sales. Patches is a 90s invention. But it’s alright. However Call of Cthulhu wasn’t alright. I payed for a game that was never properly patched.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Incidentally, it was my last Ubisoft game too.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Mario is right. It was sort of broken.

      I’m not one of those guys that buys a game when I know it still contains show-stopper bugs though.

      Developers (or more so publishers) should make sure their games pass a healthy Quality Control, so we don’t have to complain about very nasty bugs.

      It’s one thing to patch games after release, it’s another to pay for a product that’s not actually finished enough to release in the first place!!!