The Alien vs Predator series of films are downright terrible. They might just be one of the worst crossovers in a long time. It should have been good, but the films were just too poor to let them work. The comics weren’t too bad but the franchise has not carried over so well, except in terms of games. There have been a number of AvP games released in the past and this one, with the addition of multiplayer and three split campaigns, looks to be promising; in execution it doesn’t work so well.
The single player is actually surprisingly decent, despite a number of drawbacks. When you get over the glitches and not so good Predator campaign, you can have a lot of fun with it. The single player is split into three different campaigns that seem to interweave, as they all occur around the same time. Your characters will never meet but you will see a path of destruction led by one of the others.
The first campaign, and my personal favourite, is that of the Marine. As opposed to taking the generic first person shooter route, the Marine campaign puts you in the shoes of “Rookie” who, having been separated from his team when a colony is attacked by Xenomorphs, must fight his way to the Xenomorph Hive in order to save humanity, or at least himself. It takes the form of a very nice survival horror. It mainly relies on atmospheric scares with a few jump scares here and there, but it all works so effectively. The corridors are very dimly lit with a lot of nooks and crannies. There are moments when you will walk down a corridor when a gas pipe hisses; you will probably jump out of your skin. The constant threat of a Xenomorph perhaps popping out of a vent, combined with your weakness as a human makes this campaign pretty creepy. I found myself randomly shooting at the roof because I thought I saw something move. The problem with this campaign, however, is limited ammo. When you don’t need any, it’s there in abundance. When you need some badly, you find tiny bits that are of no real use.
The second campaign is sees the player take the role of the Alien. You take control of test subject “Six” who escapes from a facility which aims to test and research the Xenomorphs. This takes the form of a more stealthy campaign. You crawl through vents, slither across the roof and walls, hiding in the shadow. You really do feel like a bad-ass when you lure a Marine into a dark corner, hop down and cut off their head with your razor sharp tail, muffling their screams. It is a pretty bad idea to stand out in the open against a squad of Marines as you will be cut down fast. The whole “predator/prey” feeling of the Alien movies, especially Aliens, is very apparent when your silently taking out a squad. Moving around the walls and ceilings can take a bit of getting used to, but once you figure out the basics of sticking to walls and moving between them it becomes much more fluid.
The final campaign is probably the weakest. This belongs to those lovely Predators. With their advanced technology and general bad-ass-ness you would think that playing as a Predator would the best campaign. Unfortunately, it lacks that bad-assery that you expect. While taking down Marines, luring them away then sneaking up on them whilst invisible is awesome, as is bounding between trees and ledges with a wolf on crack, the problem is with the Xenomorphs. The Xenomorphs are ridiculously overpowered and it’s not like they only arrive separately every so often. They arrive quite frequently in groups of about ten. It can become very annoying, very quickly when you’re constantly dying having been outnumbered. This takes away the idea that Predators are the kick-ass species, destined to take over the galaxy, that they claim to be. Alongside this, the Predator’s blaster type weapon is also pretty useless. While it can take a Xenomorph down pretty nicely, with acid and blood spraying everywhere, it can barely ever be used. Literally one shot will cause it to run out of juice causing you to have to recharge often.
All three campaign are fun to some extent but there are niggles here and there making it really frustrating at points. It’s a pretty short campaign in total as well, so you won’t get much mileage out of the single player alone. But I wish you could.
The reason for this is the multiplayer is awful. So awful in fact that I never even got into a match to test it out. The matchmaking is pretty appalling. Every single time I tried to get into a game it would spend over five minutes look for a match. If I felt patient enough to leave it and actually got into a lobby, the host would usually leave or some connection error would occur. I really wish I could’ve played multiplayer because a number of the modes sound a lot of fun, but it appears that a Facehugger has attacked the matchmaking system and sucking the ever-loving crap out of it. With a few patches I’m sure that the multiplayer of AvP could be a lot of fun.
The single player does well enough to make you feel like the iconic characters and I’d hope that being pitted against other real people with their own strategies would really bring the “predator/prey” mechanic to it’s peak, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case as it stands.
Aliens vs Predator is a very mixed bag. Whilst the single player is fun and a surprising change to what we’d expect, it just seems a bit lazy. The re-use of environments and the overpowered and underpowered characters in the Predator campaign make it seem like it was put together a bit haphazardly, as though the production team were actually under threat from a Xenomorph attack. It’s also as if the lead designer was incapacitated by a Facehugger because some of the textures are a bit ugly. The multiplayer may as well not be there presently, because it is virtually unplayable, at least for me. It is worth checking out if you are a fan of either series and it is definitely worth a rent, just don’t expect anything “out of this world”.