Published on November 16th, 2009 | by prime0
Aliens vs Predator – Preview
Merging two of the most iconic sci-fi franchises of all time and spinning them off into their own game franchise is a no-brainer. At least it was in 1999, when Rebellion released the original Aliens vs. Predator. But since then we’ve had a mediocre sequel from Monolith, not to mention movies that have turned H.R. Giger’s iconic creations into little more than schlock horror bad guys.
Fear not. Rebellion has turned to continue the good work they started all those years ago, and whatever’s happening in the crazy world of Hollywood is a million miles away from this all-new incarnation.
As you might expect from a noughties first-person shooter, multiplayer is the main focus this time around, but Rebellion has also seen fit to include a single-player campaign, one that threads the three species together on a new planet, designated BG-386. Set 30 years after the events of Alien 3, we’re assured that the campaign will retain the original’s famously hardcore difficulty, whilst providing a tutorial-like experience that carefully details how to play each highly unique class.
Playing as a Predator is more of a strategic experience, with the added benefit of full body cloaking device promoting a more stealth-based approach. There’s also the shoulder-mounted cannon, which still has the signature three red dots to indicate your target, while an enhanced focus mode enables players to jump from platform to platform very quickly. There are also razor-sharp discs available, which can ricochet off walls and continue, much like Ripper from Unreal Tournament. You’ll have to replenish your energy constantly, however, as the ranges weapons eat through ammo quickly.
The Marines play much like any shooter you’ve played before, but with one major difference – the motion tracker. Just as in the original, players are dependent on the arc of movement-sensing directly ahead. With the tracker only covering the radius between nine and three o’clock, you’re either lulled into a false sense of security or sent into blind panic. One change to the system is that different dots and beeps indicate whether a foe is an Alien or Predator, which feels a little unethical to us. It was better when you weren’t sure what was around the corner.
And then there’s the Alien. The raw power and speed of the Xenomorph needs to be respected. Faster here than ever before, it can quickly get to any foe and rip ‘em to shreds.
18 multiplayer levels will feature in the final release, and the three we sampled were well designed to play to the abilities of each species. The Aliens had plenty of dark hiding places and the Predator numerous opportunities to snipe, while the Marine was left cowering and shooting at anything that looked organic. Also on show was the new melee system, which facilitates instant kills when approach an enemy from behind as an Alien or a Predator. Understandably Marines aren’t able to cut a Predator’s throat or decapitate an Alien, but you can floor them for a swift shot to their sensitive areas.
For fans of the series, this is a long overdue reboot. And while it’s still very early in AvP’s development, our brief time with the game suggest the franchise is back in safe hands.