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SummaryAlien Movie. Predator Movie. It's all Weyland-Yutani's fault that I'm so scared!
The GoodFirst off let me mention that I have never played the first Aliens VS Predator game. I did however watch 4 Alien movies and 2 Predator ones... but I've never tried pursued any comic books, breakfast cereals or other spin-offs other than the movie and this game. Now, on to the review...
I basically picked this one up because it was on sale and I was in need of a FPS thrill. Well, I got it. The single player campaign opens up in three ways... a Human Marine... a hunting Predator or a ravenous Alien... each of the three choices comes with it's own plot (which intertwines and makes references with the other two plots), levels, situations and most importantly... gameplay. Playing as an Alien is completely different from a Marine. Having to rely on ammunition may be a problem for the humans, but the Predators recharge their energy.... you get the idea. I'll summarize it with this: Whomever you pick it will be COMPLETELY different than the other two...
Okay, once you start the game, you'll feel like you are in an Alien movie (specifically Aliens (2nd movie) and Alien3). The same familiar undertones are there.... a station unprepared for the Alien menace, the involvement of the Weyland-Yutani corporation, the failing machinery and equipment, the Exosuits, the large ominous looking cranes... and you'll be scared like one too. Quite simply, the action switches very quickly from "nothing happening, where *are* they?" to being attacked at all sides and having your heartbeat racing. Occasionally you can prepare yourself a second or two beforehand by listening to the music... but often it's quite sudden and Aliens particularly can come from any angle...
I've talked all about the Aliens so far because atmosphere-wise... this is their game. They could have left out the Predators entirely and it wouldn't have made a dent in the "feel". But they didn't... the Predators are like active killers that lurk just out of sight and hard to kill when you finally find one (by that same token, *playing* as a predator is usually a game of cloak and dagger... or more appropriately, spear gun). Whereas the Aliens often appear in swarms and attack hastily... the Predators are cold, calculating and just waiting to get a good shot off. And the Predators do get a some "familiar" setting (referring to the movies) a couple of times with outdoor jungle and rocky areas..
The BadWhat didn't I like about this game? Not very much. It succeeds where it is supposed to.
One complaint... while Playing as a Predator, you have three vision modes... 1 of them (Spectral) is simply too dark to navigate with and light optimization makes too many enemies transparent. As a result, simply not seeing things in time has resulted in my death more than anything else. These limitations are used to balance out the Predator (who has some great technology!)... but it's still a frustrating point
The level design is right on... however IMO there are just too many 'vertical shafts'... I think this might be a personal preference however, since I don't mind the horizontal ones and I'm pretty sure I've run into just as many of those if not more.
This is one of those games where you don't want to play in the dark, and yet at the same time... don't want any excess glare to spoil the darkness of the game and levels.
The Bottom LineLet me tell you, I tried Unreal 2: The Awakening a few months ago... and this is a LOT more fun and well-designed. Even better it doesn't suck the life out of my videocard to do it.
But onto the real point.... If you're a fan of the Alien movies... GET THIS GAME NOW!... If you're a fan of the Predator movies... YOU PROBABLY WANT IT TOO... If you're a fan of FPS in general, this is as interesting as Half Life was... and the game itself is going to make you a little more afraid to enter dark rooms...