Jeremy Jastrzab
30 Jan, 2010

Aliens Vs. Predator Preview

PS3 Preview | All hell is about to break loose. UPDATE: New multiplayer modes revealed.
Aliens. Predators. Pathetic pansy meatbag humans. What more does a game need? Well, it’s hard to say, when the perennial battle in the shadows of mankind has been so underused in recent years. Many a PC gamer has fond memories of nervously trudging through the infested corridors, ready to jump at the drop of a pin, through not one but two Alien Vs. Predator games. An ordinary strategy title, a sterile movie tie-in and a number of failed action attempts later, the guys who started this war, Rebellion, are back to try and rekindle the battle on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC with a reboot of Aliens Vs. Predator.

If you’ve seen Rebellion’s recent track record with games, you'd feel entitled to be worried about Aliens Vs. Predator, particularly after their effort on the PSP. However, having spent some time with the multiplayer recently, some of our concerns are eased. Not too much is known about the story this time around, but you will get a chance to play as all three races: Human (Colonial Marine), Predator and Alien (known as ‘Xenomorphs’). From what we’ve gathered, humans – namely the Weyland-Yutani corporation – have set up shop in a sacred Predator site, which has some remnant Alien eggs leftover. So humans have come for the Aliens, Aliens go about their massacring ways and the Predators are unhappy that their sacred site is being desecrated. Fun times.

Survive this!.

Survive this!.
However, it seems that no more story information will be available till the final release. Instead though, we’ve got some detailed hands-on impressions of the multiplayer. All the multiplayer modes have now been revealed, and as you'd expecte, most of them are franchise adaptions of a lot of common multiplayer modes. Still, we got spend a good deal of time with each of the races, and the results are rather interesting. It seems that no one race categorically has an advantage over the others. You may have thought that the Colonial Marines would have just been making up the numbers, but this is not the case. Pathetic pansy meatbags they are not.

Each race has their distinct HUD, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, such as who can see and do what, and the ‘weapons’ at their disposal. Colonial Marines seem to have the biggest advantage at range and can even hold their own in melee. However, they come off the slowest, especially after playing as the other two. Despite their speed and technology, if you caught either a Predator or an Alien early enough, you’re packing enough fire power to make things even. Aliens had the speed and the scope to move over virtually any surface, but they were also difficult and disorientating to handle at times. Predators have the cloak, which makes them ideal for stealth and ruling high places. The cloak is subject to all the disadvantages, such as water and loss of cloak after an attack, and as a Predator, you always have to go searching for the weapons outside of your blades. Overall, the relationship between the race’s strengths and weaknesses is somewhat rock-paper-scissors.

This is best epitomised by the melee system, which works off a block, light and heavy attack. You can block light attacks, but not heavy, while light attacks can disrupt heavy attacks. Colonial Marines don’t have a heavy attack, but this is implicitly replaced by your shotgun, which seems to be heavy enough. Overall, probably the most remarkable aspect of the gameplay was the balance that was achieved in evening out all of the races. In an example of this, while you can do one hit 'trophy' kills in multiplayer (which are great to look at), the animation sequence for this leaves you open to other attacks. Also, in games where the teams were uneven, the side with more players had an obvious advantage.

No one is safe in this war.

No one is safe in this war.
While it may have been a simple matter of adjusting the control sensitivity or spending time with the game, it didn’t seem that the PS3 controller was ideal for playing. Using aspects such as the melee, learning about how the predator can move and adjusting to the alien’s speed and walking on walls are just some of the intricacies that will probably take time for players to adjust to. Until then though, the jury is still out on whether it’s a game or a player issue to overcome, and on just how endearing the multiplayer will continue to be. There are still a lot of questions to be answered.

The multiplayer maps on show were quite interestingly designed, and had a nice variety. There were Predator temples, ruins, a refinery and even a Pyramid that changed shape as you played. Of the three modes we were initially allowed to talk about, Infestation was the most interesting. Here, you start with one Alien and several Marines. Each time the Alien kills someone, they become an Alien as well. From there, the game becomes an interesting see-saw as the human numbers dwindle. Predator Hunt had potential, with one Predator and several humans, essentially playing tag. However, it will be frustrating for those who don't manage to find the Predator. And lastly, a good old fashion Deathmatch was on offer.

Of the four remaining modes to have been revealed, Survivor was the most interesting and intense. Admitedly, it's pretty much the same as Horde from Gears of War 2 and Firefight from Halo: ODST. However, what Survivor did but the others did not was create a claustrophobic feeling through darkness and use of lighting. Not to mention, we can't wait to see the different alien species that you're going to come up against. Of the remaining modes, there are Domination and Mix-Species Domination, which are pretty much like King of the Hill, but with different team configurations. And finally, Species Deathmatch is a minor twist on the traditional Team Deathmatch.

Just waiting to pick up the leftovers.

Just waiting to pick up the leftovers.
From a visuals perspective, the game looks like it will be a mixed bag. On the plus side, most technical aspects were fairly solid, the biological characters moved and looked good, the overall style was very faithful and probably best of all, the game is scarily gruesome and violent. All in context though, of course. On the downside, it seems that build environments look much better than the natural (a common issue in this generation), the overall tech is slightly aged and the scenery in the multiplayer maps gave off a bland and unappealing vibe. As for the sound, this looks to be spot on with a creepy and tense atmosphere guaranteed. There is still nothing worse than hearing an Alien hiss in your ear in a narrow corridor.

It’s going to be tough for Aliens Vs. Predator to live up to its reputation. Furthermore, it will be tough for Rebellion to prove themselves after a long lull between hits. However, the game has been hitting a lot of the right notes, and in the least, will very likely provide a faithful and nostalgic experience that will have a distinct difference to most other FPS games currently available.
Even if it doesn't live up to its reputation, Aliens Vs. Predator will be quite a fresh entry into the FPS genre.

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4 years ago
Nice review, thanks.

Will probably get this when I get to the States.
4 years ago
Foaming rabidly at the mouth. Will be a day one purchase for me.
4 years ago
Man I want this game bad. I have very fond memories of AVP2 Multi.... and running to the smart gun to cover all bases!
4 years ago
I've just hit Aliens versus Predator 'Classic' HARD. It's soo much fun! Gawd, I can't wait for this..
4 years ago
many a fond memory of AVP2 LAN action. that squeal from the corner as your Alien drops on some marine who hasn't gotten used to looking up.

good times.
4 years ago
Day one here also. It's going to be great stalking people legally again.

Lock and load, I'm coming for you.
4 years ago
The multiplayer modes sound like a lot of fun, I'll probably end up getting this. But I don't know what on, shame there is no mods for the PC version.
4 years ago
From the screenshots, the graphics look pretty damn amazing. I hope the actual in game will look good too.
4 years ago
Wonder why they previewed what will be the worst version of the three, I think this game will be pretty rocking on PC
4 years ago
The hands on was pretty good but at usual I suck at FPS so I died a heap of times, definitely looking to be a great game especially in multiplayer. The good thing is that each race has it's own advantages so no race seems to be superior. Definitely worth purchasing, especially if you're a fan of the series.
4 years ago
Playing the demo on PS3 and wasn't sure at first but now really enjoying it. Getting used to each species powers takes time but fun once you do.

ohayes: Why the negative ps3 comment? Is it really necessary?
4 years ago
robtion wrote
ohayes: Why the negative ps3 comment? Is it really necessary?
No it wasn't necessary.He has has NO way of knowing the PS3 version will be the worst version.

I thought we all knew now that most games these days are 99% identical on the 360 and PS3.They both usually have one thing better than the other and one thing worse than the other.
4 years ago
tbh, the XBox 360 button mapping seems to suit the PS3 controller more than the XBoxes, which makes me wonder if, for a change, the console versions are PS3 -> XBox for a change.

it's really only the nature of using the XBox's bumper buttons for attacking, instead of the triggers, which on many PS3 games, the "1" buttons are used for attacking rather than the "2-triggers".

i could be hugely wrong, but just my impressions (and since i've not played the PS3 version, perhaps that assumption made an ass of me.)
4 years ago
So I've played this some more and despite the so so first impression it really grows on you. I have now won a match with all three species so I think they're pretty well balanced. Also, I think this game will be fun regardless of what system people choose to play it on.
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Australian Release Date:
  18/02/2010 (Confirmed)
  SEGA Australia
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