Reviews by KQL1N

85

Under-rate awesomeness

KQL1N | May 21, 2014 | Review of Aliens vs Predator

The first thing to say is: I'm a big fan of the Aliens series and the Predator series, so this game is a natural choice and while expecting a very average game, I instead got what became one of my favourite Xbox 360 games to date. The single player campaign features three separate campaigns that run parallel to one another. One for the human marine, the Alien, and the Predator, but to me this game is all about the experience of playing as the marine and fighting against the Alien nasties, so I'll start with the marine campaign. The story begins with a cut scene of a small drop-ship above a planet, communicating with a larger warship, the 'Marlow'. A predator vessel then uncloaks and destroys the Marlow. Your character (simply referred to as 'Rookie') is then knocked out by a falling box during the journey down to the planet, where you have intermittent flashes of seeing most of your team die. You awaken and follow the instructions of one of the team members, and so being your Alien burning fun! The reason I love the marine campaign so much is that it isn't just a typical crudely made marketing ploy, exploiting a popular franchise (Ahem. Modern James Bond games), but a genuinely excellent representation of the universe and style from the films. The interior decor is made up of steel shutters, warning signs and chunky metal boxes. Angular bulwarks, girders and thick panelling; the fairly grim vision we expect to see coming from the Alien franchise. The hive section features the glossy black organic resin structures that are excellent renditions of the original art by H.R Giger. But as you progress further through the game, you approach a jungle and several ruins at which point you begin a transition into a Predator-style environment where you are eventually faced with a sort of boss battle, in a one on one fight with the predator. In terms of gameplay, the atmosphere is perfect for a game of this genre, with fairly lengthy periods without combat that allow you to simply survey and enjoy the surroundings, or perhaps fire off a few rounds of your pulse rifle just to enjoy that sound effect. The level design as well as being ideal with its art and presentation is also just right in terms of core gameplay with tight dark corridors and flashing warning lights and then large open areas that give you and your eyes a break from the constant search for threats. The music used in the game in simple, ambient, atmospheric music that doesn't really interfere with the sound effects and allows you to slowly follow targets on your motion tracker with that iconic blip...blip...blip. The music also throws in occasional string stabs that are used during shock moments, even when there are no enemies around. This use of fearful music helps to add to the game's atmosphere, and when you hear the string stab, you'll be spinning around searching for an enemy that might not actually be there. It is also worth noting that during the scene early on in the game where you go to investigate a night club, the loud club music comes on unexpectedly when the power is restored while you defend yourself for a short period. This is one of my favourite moments from any game, ever. Now, the other two less intricate campaigns follow roughly the same series of areas as the marine campaign and as you play the campaign ones after another, it is interesting to see them all tie together. The Aliens campaign follows a captured drone in a Weyland-Yutani test facility but at your Queen’s command, you break free and go and kill all the poor little scientists. The Alien gameplay is a fun stealth experience, hiding in shadows and destroying lights to remain hidden, and then pouncing to impale some poor guy on your tail. The wall-climbing and high-speed running is great but can be fairly sickly since you’ll be running up and down walls at blinding speeds, with an off slightly panoramic vision. The predator campaign's story is just that you are a predator, so go and hunt some Aliens. The problem with the Predator missions is that against marines, there's really not much threat. You turn invisible and then back-stab for silent kills or you can just run at them and stab them, or fire plasma, spears, and frisbees of doom all over the place without much fear of dying. Fighting against the Aliens mostly involves just blocking and slashing with your wrist blades and the campaign overall is my least favourite of the three unless you want a random relaxing sessions of killing things. The multiplayer for this game is entirely online, with no offline elements. It features your standard team and free-for-all death matches along with point capturing but what makes this multiplayer experience more interesting than other games is that in place of perfectly identical team of completely balanced players with the same weapons, you instead have three very different races with very different equipment and play style that overall leaves the marine slightly under-powered but gives the gameplay just that little bit extra character. Of course the only issue with it nowadays is that so few people play this game that there are next to no ranked matches available without prior planning amongst friends.

Overall, there are no major flaws in the game and everything runs smoothly without bugs or glitches. The art and design of the entire game is Aliens and Predator perfection and while the marine campaign exceeds the other two in design and gameplay, the Alien and Predator campaigns are still well worth their salt.