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SummaryA 2020 Review - Aliens vs. Predator (PC, 2010)
The Good- Well-paced campaign. Doesn't slow down much and seems appropriately long. - Spectacular level and quality of gore. So violent it was banned in Australia. - Predator thermal vision is amazing looking to run around while flipped on. They really improved this in all the right ways. - A lot of action and great combat moments. Marine campaign feels very similar to modern DOOM releases.
The Bad- Some really bad voice acting mixed in there. Some of the audio diaries sound like the voice actors were having a laugh. Tremendous overacting and too many "colorful" characters in the cast. - Singleplayer is not long enough. It could have been much longer per each campaign. - Marine weapons sound very weak, especially the pulse rifle. - Map re-usage is a drag and makes the game feel far too repetitive. - Albeit a minor complaint, the UI/Menu is really dated looking even for 2010. It looks pretty sloppy.
The Bottom LineConcept: Similar to the original '99 release, the game pits Colonial Marines, Aliens, and Predators against each other in a cat-and-mouse deathmatch. Each playable race has their own campaign which intertwines with the others, all sharing an overarching narrative. Multiplayer consists of various competitive or co-op game modes. Unfortunately online multiplayer is dead. Also, don't go in expecting a quality story. It's pretty average and even notably campy in parts.
Graphics: Once again comparing it to the '99 original; the improvement in graphics, AI, and atmospheric particle effects like laser beams and smoke/fog make for a more involved and exciting experience. By 2020 standards it's of course dated, but still holds its own and works well enough. Lighting, wind blowing leaves and branches, fog, clouds, light rays, waterfalls, and general atmosphere look great. I don't like the menu UI. I think it feels dated. More like 2005-2007 than 2010.
Sound: Very mixed quality and a mixed bag overall. Too much of the voice acting is either over-acted, very cliche. or just bad. Some voice acting seems good and totally appropriate, while others are practically caricatures or living memes. NPC marines will constantly shout "DON'T RELAX YET MARINES" along with other canned statements making for both an incredibly annoying and hilarious experience. Many weapons sound weak, especially the pulse rifle. The ambient audio, especially in the jungle, sounds very layered and helps with immersion.
Gameplay: Gameplay is mostly fun - rather you play as a marine launching a bulletstorm assault against your foes or even if the bullets are coming from the marines while you play as an Alien or Predator. The marine campaign plays very similar to the modern DOOM games, or even somewhat like the first modern Shadow Warrior game. Don't expect much scares apart from the occasion jump. The vibes overall pale in comparison to say Alien: Isolation. The Predator has far more big combat moments than either of the other two campaigns. The controls alone have left me substantially disappointed. Re-mapping the keys was hugely helpful in making things feel way less awkward. It was still clunky and unnatural feeling. Appropriate amount of cut-scenes.
Entertainment: Certainly more fun than I had with Aliens Versus Predator from 1999. Don't play expecting any terrifying or horrific emotions. It's not particularly scary outside of a few jump scares. Even those are pretty predictable. Nonetheless, it makes for a fun romp around shooting things as a Colonial Marine. Really, really enjoyed that campaign. Unfortunately, the others did not provide the same entertainment, although they arguably had some of the better boss fights. I found the Colonial Marine campaign to be a lot of fun and left me wanting more. The Predator and Alien campaigns left me hoping they would end sooner. Not a good vibe.
Replayability: I see no reason to replay any of it. The multiplayer is dead outside a private game. Better games out there to spend my time on, not to mention replay.
Cheats??: Nothing I came across required cheating or seemed like it would benefit from it. None checked or reviewed.
---Elaborations & Extras---
Violence & Gore: Aliens vs Predator is particularly violent and gory; earning it an initial ban in Australia at its time of release. As Australia's [games rating] Classification Board describes it, "Characters can be stabbed with a Predator's wrist blade or an Alien's tail in depictions reminiscent of impalement. The Predator collects 'trophies' by explicitly ripping off human heads, their spinal columns dangling from severed necks. Heads can be twisted completely around to break a character's neck. Eyes can be stabbed through or gouged, leaving empty, bloodied eye sockets." It's graphic, but if it weren't fans would be super displeased, as would gamers in general. I think the level of gore is fitting for the theme. It's great.
Marine Campaign: The Marine missions are fast-paced and play similarly to modern DOOM games. Constant gunfire and fast-paced movement. Also similarly, It doesn't impart terrifying or horrific emotions outside of a few jump scares. It may be creepy or horror elements and themes, but it's not done in a particular or even purposefully scary way. Aliens do flock at you while you spam bullets at them, which can be a bit emotionally overwhelming at first - I'll admit! Nonetheless, it makes for a fun romp around shooting things. Fights against the Predator are way cooler and more fulfilling than the previous AVP game. The improvement in graphics, AI, and atmospheric particle effects like laser beams and smoke/fog. It makes for a more involved and exciting experience. Disappointed that the Marine campaign is almost entirely player versus Aliens. The Predators' appearance is just shy of being a cameo. The overall story for the Marines is nothing too special, but fit in well enough to keep the momentum going.
Alien & Predator Campaign: In complete contrast, the Predator's campaign was not nearly as fun or exciting as the Marine's. The Predator's controls are awkward and do not have a natural feeling to them (I might describe the controls as feeling, 'alien'). For such a fast and powerful being, it sure feels sluggish and slow. I recommend re-mapping some of the more awkward controls. I did find the end boss battle to be far more rewarding and fun. The Predator had far more big combat moments than either of the other two campaigns. It too strongly depended on spamming wrist-blade attacks. Unfortunately for as unwieldy as the Predator is to control, the Alien is even worse. The controls alone have left me substantially disappointed. The final boss battle was bad (could literally be button mashed to death). Posed no challenge at all. What a shame.
Multiplayer: Could not find any multiplayer games the few times I tried. Not sure if there really were no other people queuing, or if I was doing it wrong, or maybe matchmaking was broken. In any case, I could not test and review multiplayer - although, from the sound of it, it was dead anyway and not too spectacular.
Conclusion: I hate to say it but the bad cancels out a lot of the good here. I still think this is a 5/10 game, but it's disappointing as the Marine campaign was such a good lead-up but the Alien and Predator campaigns dropped the ball. They recycled a lot of the content again and again between the campaigns. While I get the concept of what they were going for, in the end, it means the player gets less content. It suffered from a lot of the same issues as the previous AVP installment. Especially with controlling the Alien. I did find that re-mapping the keys was hugely helpful and felt way less awkward. It was still clunky and unnatural feeling.
Ultimately, the feeling I am left with after completing the game is disappointment. It seemed so promising at first and gradually got worse after the Marine campaign. There were some great moments still to be had, one favorite of mine is the final boss fight in the Predator campaign. It was in a cool setting and provided for a fun experience. It's a way more polished and complete release from Rebellion, which was a primary complaint of mine with their last AVP game.
If you can find it at its lowest price of $1.49, then I'd say it is worth it for the Colonial Marine campaign alone - especially if you are a fan of how the modern DOOM games play or even the modern Shadow Warrior. I found Aliens vs. Predator to be an improvement on the original but only slightly above mediocre overall. If you can't find this for under $5 I would not spend the money.
Thanks for reading!