by Chris Davis
reviewed on X360
I Ain’t Got Time to Bleed (cntd)
The Alien campaign is chronologically the first in order of play but should be approached last if you are mainly a shooter fan. You start out as specimen #6, being experimented on and studied by Weyland-Yutani scientists. After reaching maturity you escape from your cell and free your cellmates and begin your search for your queen. You venture through the same levels present in the two other campaigns but stop short of going to the pyramid itself. The feeling of being one among a horde of xenomorphs is both very enjoyable and something that you do not get from the other two campaigns. It’s a necessary feeling however; your character is just as weak as the other xenomorphs and without the element of stealth you’ll quickly find yourself at the game over screen without a backup.
I Like to Keep This for Close Encounters
A problem with both the Alien and Predator campaigns is going to give shooter fans trouble. Both species are almost completely focused on melee combat, with the notable exception of the Predator’s secondary projectile weapons. Even then, almost all of the combat is melee-centric. For the most part, the game does a good job of making the combat succeed where only a handful of titles such as Namco’s Breakdown on the first Xbox have done so. When going up against a group of Marines, however, you’ll find yourself quickly mowed down if you attempt anything but a stealthy approach; frontal assaults are near suicide as either species.
Another problem with all three campaigns is the anticlimactic fights present in all three. During the human campaign you face both a xenomorph queen and a Predator, but neither fight is as epic as could be. The Predator’s campaign has a battle against waves of Aliens culminating with a special fight highlighted earlier in the story, but this fight ends up neither exciting nor memorable. The worst fight of the three, however, is a fight against a trio of Predators as an Alien. This fight, simply put, is one of the most annoying sequences to date, with players having to whittle away at their enemies’ health while they jump all around an arena all the while fearing getting too close due to the Predator’s ability to deal massive amounts of damage. This fight takes entirely too long and should have been altered for the final product.
None of the three campaigns end in any sort of a satisfying manner. The ending for the human campaign is lackluster and leaves the player disappointed. The Alien campaign ends far sooner than the human one, and Predator one ends shortly after an event that occurs early on in the human campaign, leaving out entire levels to explore as the xenomorph. The most satisfying of the three campaigns is the Predator one. Still, the game feels like it is building up towards a sequel, something that Rebellion is strongly hinting at just days after the release of the game. Rebellion should have taken care to get the single player right before talking about a sequel hours after it released the game to the public.
What the Hell are You?
Aliens vs. Predator also includes a multiplayer mode, with the choice of playing as all three species. Unfortunately, this newest entry into the franchise disappoints, at least in the adversarial multiplayer department. The game has the usual assortment of competitive modes such as deathmatch and territories, none of which are anything special in an age where Modern Warfare 2, Halo, or Uncharted 2 continue to dominate the online play charts. Though the factions are fairly balanced in the single player campaigns, in multiplayer the humans, given their motion detector and large assortment of weapons, are heavily favored and are most likely to be the victors.
The cooperative modes, however, are tremendously fun. There are three settings: Survivor, Infestation, and Predator Hunt. Survivor mode is essentially the game’s horde mode, with a team of four Marines facing off against progressively harder waves of Aliens. This is a great alternative to those who have been playing Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty World at War. Infestation mode is essentially the game’s zombie mode, and has a squad of Marines facing off against constantly respawning Aliens. If a Marine falls, he becomes an Alien and must hunt down his former comrades. Predator Hunt is to Aliens vs. Predator what Juggernaut mode is to Halo; a team of Marines faces off against a player who is the Predator. If you kill the target you become the Predator, which balances both the cooperative and adversarial aspects of the mode. Unfortunately only two cooperative maps for Infestation and Survivor are available, so players are going to have to live with the same two environments until the inevitable DLC.
Best use of melee combat since Breakdown, strong cooperative modes
Lackluster mutliplayer system, weak singleplayer