Aliens vs. Predator Xbox 360 Review

May 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

As crossovers go, Aliens vs. Predator is a huge brand: first came the comic, and then followed the games and the films. Obviously, though, I’m not here to talk about any of the comics or any of the films, but rather to tell you my thoughts on the newest game: developed by none other than Rebellion, the team behind some of the most well received Aliens vs. Predator games.

Indeed, Rebellion is responsible for the Atari Jaguar and PC versions of Aliens vs. Predator, both of which were very well received. Their previous AVP release was that of Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, which turned out to be a shoddy, third person film tie-in for the PSP. With this new game, the developer was likely looking to redeem themselves in their return to the FPS genre.

This latest AVP game once again has three very different campaigns (each with their own shallow stories), with marine, alien and Predator missions assuring plenty of variety. The marine is a normal, well, marine who may as well have come off a production line which produces gaming marines, coming complete with machineguns, shotguns and flamethrowers. Alien and Predator are more unique with their various otherworldly abilities.

To counteract the speed and threat of the alien species’, the rookie (it’s a real bad time to be new to this) marine has a device that emits warning sounds when enemies are nearby, and, as they attempt to claw your face off, you can also knock them away from you. The game produces plenty of panicky moments in which you know there’s an enemy (or enemies) close by, but you don’t know exactly where – they could be crawling along walls or roofs, or rushing towards you. The marine also can sprint, has blocks of recharging health and has torchlight and flares to light up the very dark levels.

Moving on, and the alien Xenomorph is fast on her feet, can crawl along walls, roofs and through vents, which allows you to drop down and surprise any enemies, picking them off without being noticed. The alien is also able to hiss to distract enemies, attacks with her claws and her tail (of which, in a nice touch, you can sometimes see swinging behind you when you’re running around the levels) and has recharging health.

Finally, we come to one of the Californian Governor’s best movie foes: the Predator. Obviously without the classic cloaking device, Predator just wouldn’t be Predator, and fortunately it has been included here to make yourself near invisible to your prey. In other actions, the masked alien can jump from one place to another with incredible speed and height, has all his signature weapons, and finally can switch vision modes to spot any hostiles.

The controls cope fairly well, although you obviously have to adapt to the differences of each of the playable characters. I admittedly found a few things more awkward than they should be, primarily Predator’s leap which requires the placement of a marker before the jump is made, and the Xenomorph’s climbing ability, in which I sometimes found myself on walls when I didn’t really want to be crawling along them.

For fans of gory entertainment, the two alien species are definitely going to satisfy your hunger for the red stuff more so than the marine. The two can grab hold of their prey and literally rip their heads off, and the fear that comes across each of the victims faces almost makes you feel for them in their final moments. Indeed, that 18 rating is well suited.

Obviously with three campaigns, none of them last for an age. Each individual campaign has a handful of missions to work through, and also share level themes, although each one feels worlds apart from one another, thus, whether you are playing as the human marine, the wall crawling alien, or the stealthy Predator, each one does actually feel like a unique role – and that’s just the way it should be.

Besides some of its other niggles, the main problem with the campaign is that there are better ones out there, although that’s not to say that it isn’t highly playable, because it is. The atmosphere and swift enemy attacks keep you on your toes at all times, and the variation in the three playable characters is something that you’ll struggle to find anywhere else.

Visually, the game does capture the dark look of the films, although sadly, whilst it does have moments of brilliance, it looks rather dated for a game released in 2010, looking nowhere near the quality of the screens on this page. The audio fares much better, with sound effects that bring about a fantastic atmosphere.

Outside of the campaign, Aliens vs. Predator also has an online multiplayer mode that delivers the goods. For up to eighteen players, there are the usual Deathmatch (team match variety included) and Domination modes, although the lucrative licence has also been used to good effect, as well. The Infestation mode is definitely one of the most memorable and enjoyable, as here the game begins with a single alien against a number of marines, if said alien manages to kill a marine, that player will also become an alien as well. It’s a fight for survival when playing as a marine, with comrades beginning to get picked off and turned into those ugly creatures, although as an alien it’s all about making those inferior beings instinct.

Another great mode is Predator Hunt, this has one player controlling the Predator, and if he manages to kill another player his hunt is extended, on the flipside when another player manages to shoot the Predator down, they then become him for themselves. The Survivor mode on the other hand has you and/or up to three other players surviving as long as possible against waves of attacking enemies, think the Horde mode from Gears of War II and Firefight from Halo 3: ODST and you have the right idea. It’s great stuff and fittingly tense. Like the single player, multiplayer is varied and unique, although sadly there’s only six maps included on the disc. More severe, though, is the lack of maps for the Survivor mode: there’s currently only two available, which is a shockingly small amount.

For the avid FPS fan, Aliens vs. Predator is a game that is well worth a play. There are three varied campaigns to work through, which all offer enjoyment, are very distinctive and are as atmospheric as you would hope such a game would be, and the multiplayer is perfectly fine with its interesting modes, as well. The entire game just unfortunately doesn’t ascend to the lofty level that superior FPS titles have managed to reach, but if you’re just looking for another one of those gory shooting games, then Rebellion’s AVP revival is one that should do enough to please.