Aliens and the first Predator movie stand as two of my favourite movies of all time. As a B movie on an epic scale, the original Predator has few peers and Aliens, James Cameron’s sequel to the equally fantastic Alien might just be the perfect action movie – both films share unforgettable locations, a great cast of memorable characters and arguably the two most iconic movie monsters of the past 50 years.
The thought of bringing the two together made perfect sense and was done so to great effect in both the long running comic book series and Rebellion’s own Aliens vs Predator videogames on the PC.
So, despite two God awful movies being released in the time since the last PC release, with Rebellion at the helm once again, I had every reason to believe that Aliens vs Predator on 360 and PS3 would succeed where the movies failed – I mean all they had to do was get the feel right. There was no pressure for a great story, they just needed to nail the atmosphere and everything else would fall into place, right?………right?
Well, no actually. Rebellion may have done a decent job at recreating the universe but honestly, where do they get off thinking they can rip the basic mechanics out of a 10 year old videogame? Did they really think that was going to fly in today’s ultra competitive FPS market? No crouch, no iron sights, extreme linearity……and that’s just the Marine campaign (arguably the strongest aspect of the package). Things get even worse when playing as a Predator and Alien.
The Alien campaign, well, that’s ruined by poor controls. Full stop. But the Predator campaign, which had every right to be awesome – wow, what a shocking disappointment. A terrible jump mechanic and an overly strict energy gauge somehow combine to make the Predator, supposedly the universe’s biggest bad ass, feel like a bit of a pussy. Toning him down for the multiplayer makes sense for balancing issues but come on, don’t let that ruin the single player campaign.
Don’t get me wrong, Aliens vs Predator is not a complete disaster – the Predator stealth kills are gruesome and hugely rewarding, the atmosphere, especially in the earlier Marine missions is spot on and the audio is fantastic throughout……somehow though, these minor triumphs make the games many failings all the more difficult to bear.
It may not be the worst game of the year but no other gaming experience in 2010 came close to Aliens vs Predator for sheer disappointment. This should have been great – it certainly had no right to be anything less than decent. Sadly, what we got was a boring, dated, often flat out ugly game that completely failed to capitalise on such a potentially fantastic license.
A truly brutal disappointment.
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