Written by  :  Gatekeeper (310)
Written on  :  Jul 02, 2014
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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One of the true legends in the FPS genre.

The Good

If you thought that a game could never capture the horrifying atmosphere of the Aliens and Predator movie series, this game will change your mind forever.

The first thing you will notice about AvP is the way it recreates the look and feel of the classic Alien movies - the dark metallic corridors, the nervous beeping of the motion trackers, the unrelenting onslaught of the xenomorphs, the treachery of the Weyland-Yutani megacorp, the panic when you realize you're surrounded and will be dead in a few seconds... it's all there, and it is all accurately recreated and delivered in the form of a rock-solid FPS.

The game's first awesome feature - three species, three unique modes of gameplay.

The Colonial Marine (poor hapless human) is fragile and easily killed, however he possesses the most fearsome arsenal of all, capable of grinding Aliens into tiny bleeding pieces and powerful enough to bring down even the most seasoned Predators. You will get your hands on the iconic M41A Pulse Rifle and the Smart Gun, along with a few new delicacies (such as a rocket launcher and a minigun). Playing with the Marine gives you the experience closest to the classic FPS gameplay, yet with considerably more adrenaline.

The Predator experience depends on the enemies you face. Versus human marines, you will use your cloak to sneak up on them and take them out before they even realize you are there. Aliens can see through your cloak, but that's not a problem - you will have a handy plasma pistol to instantly fry every last one of them. Once again, you will use this species's iconic weapons - wristblades, disc, etc. The Predator is the most durable of the three species, yet he has a weakness too - Energy. The cloak, the healing and all weapons depend on it. If you run out of juice, you are in trouble.

The Alien gives you a special gameplay experience that was unlike anything seen at the time of the game's release. Increased field of vision and the ability to climb on any surface will truly make you feel like you are one of them while you stalk your unsuspecting prey. Your foes will never be able to hide from your sight (even in complete darkness), as you can see the pheromones they emit.

Each of the three species has its own campaign with a specific storyline. The levels will take you to various planetside bases, orbitals, space ships, and large space stations (like the Gateway station seen in Aliens). The common element in all three is that you will be all alone against seemingly overwhelming odds, yet you have to somehow come on top.

The second awesome feature of the game - Bonus missions, which become available after beating a species's normal campaign. The cool thing about these missions is that they take place in the other two campaigns' maps, allowing you to experience them in an entirely new way, and even visit unique new areas that were inaccessible to the other species (e.g. the hidden Alien nest in the "Invasion" map).

The third awesome feature of AvP - the challenge. The game is fairly hard, and even FPS veterans will feel the pressure. The hardest difficulty ("Director's Cut") is a fearsome experience, on par with the actual Aliens/Predator movies. Not only does it make enemies harder, but it also drastically reduces the number of useful pickups. The thing that really impressed me, however, was the way the game motivates you to play the harder difficulty levels - they unlock Bonus missions. In fact, the only way to unlock all bonus missions for a species is to beat its regular campaign on Director's Cut. And yes, it is worth the effort.

The "Gold Edition" of Aliens versus Predator adds a few new features to the game. First - the ability to save your game in a level. This was originally absent from the game, which contributed even further to its difficulty. To maintain the challenge, you will only have a limited number of saves per level, fewer on the higher difficulty settings. Second - a few pretty good bonus maps for skirmish or multiplayer. Most of them are based on locations from the movies (e.g. the slaughterhouse from Predator 2). Last but not least - two new weapons for the Marine: dual-wielding pistols and the rare but powerful Skeeter launcher.

Last but not least - the game likes to challenge you with some optional secondary objectives found in most levels. Completing them rewards with you with unlocking the so-called "cheat options" - this feature allows you to activate some radical (and often insane) gameplay change and then replay certain levels under its effects. Have you ever wondered how your favorite level would look like if it was underwater... or if it had no gravity... or if all enemies in it were on fire? This is just a small taste of the cheat options.

The Bad

The only thing that bothered me about this game is that it feels short. I am aware that when you put all three species' mission together, they form a game of normal length, however the three separate experiences feel pretty unique and thus a player is left with the impression that the campaigns were short. Just one or two extra missions would have been enough to remedy this.

The random nature of enemy spawning can be frustrating at times, as you can effortlessly pass through a room the first time, but be brutally swarmed by aliens the next time.

The Bottom Line

Aliens versus Predator is one of those titles that define the FPS genre and is a definitive classic. The Gold edition is an even better way to experience it.

This game can appeal to all FPS players - especially veterans looking for a challenge, or fans of the the oldschool gameplay.