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Review: Aliens vs. Predator - Xbox 360

by Steven Williamson on 26 February 2010, 12:43

Tags: Aliens vs. Predator, Sega (TYO:6460), Xbox 360, FPS

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Gameplay Impressions

Gameplay Impressions
Visually impressive and creepily atmospheric, Rebellion gets some things right in Aliens vs Predator but ultimately it’s the basics that let it down in this Xbox 360 version.

Playing as a Marine and creeping through dark and gloomy locations with only the beam of your flashlight for company can be extremely tense and exciting. As can spotting a shadow out of the corner of your eye as you brace yourself for the oncoming aggressively-charged attacks from these violent creatures. Indeed, it’s these edge-of-your-chair moments that make the single player campaign just about worthy of a playthrough.

The clever use of lighting and shadows, coupled with the haunting soundtrack, make for a decent production, but it’s the Aliens and Predators that provide the thrills and spills throughout the campaign as they launch themselves at you with speed and ferocity. Gruesome animations, visually gratifying finishing moves and multi-tiered levels that leave you vulnerable to attack from every angle play their part in creating a game that certainly starts off being quite exciting. Sadly, that excitement dwindled for us after the first hour or so of gameplay as we wrestled with the clunky combat mechanics and become fairly bored with some repetitive gameplay, bland level design and uninspiring boss battles.

The worst example of bad mechanics and repetitive gameplay is during the Marine's campaign. Throughout the Marine's campaign you just follow the same – shoot, melee, shoot - action over and over again. There are no real tactics involved other than you having to back-peddle frantically while shooting, and then trying to crack the creatures over the head with your rifle before shooting them again. Combat feels slow and clumsy, particularly melee attacks, and some of the weapons feel totally unbalanced, for example, the pistol is more effective than the rifle. After the initial few levels are over, you’ll have experienced the best that Aliens vs Predator has to offer. Many of the locations that you'll find yourself in, such as jungles and temples, don’t have the same atmosphere, level of detail, or impact as the opening sequences. In fact, the whole single campaign feels like it’s merely a training ground for the multiplayer portion and a chance for you to get to grips with each race's abilities.

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It's a bit more interesting in the other two campaigns, particularly the Predator one and in fairness they do provide some variation and give you the chance to get to grips with some excellent abilities. There's certainly some fun to be had out of the mix of stealth, melee attacks and finishing moves. But, even in these two campaigns you’ll have experienced the best levels in the first hour of gameplay and seen all of the gory animations that loop continously throughout the campaign. Each campaign mode starts to fizzle out and die the further you progress and even the boss battles fail to create much excitement. It may seem strange to say this after being so negative, but it’s still worth ploughing through because there are some decent set-pieces and bouts of gameplay that show glimpses of what the game should have been like as a whole -- exciting, tense and challenging.

The multiplayer mode is a million times better. Survivor mode is brilliant. You team up with three players and have to stand in the middle of a dark room and fend off waves of aliens that attack your from all angles. There are another six modes to choose from so there’s plenty of variety. Among standard match types, such as Deathmatch and Team DeathMatch, the likes of Infestation mode stand out, but the option of being able to switch races and use the whole range of abilities against human opponents is where its entertainment and replay value stands. Multiplayer is certainly the best thing about Aliens vs Predator.

Aliens vs. Predator does lack in quite a few departments, yet it’s clear that the developer has tried hard to create a varied experience by blending FPS gameplay with stealth, while throwing in a range of interesting abilities. Though it is let down by some clumsy game mechanics and the overall bland single player campaigns of all three races, there are moments of satisfaction and glimpses of brilliance. The robust multiplayer component is certainly worth a look.

Final Score - 7/10

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