Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Aliens vs. Predator on PS3 Impression

Aliens vs. Predator PS3
Licensed properties don’t always translate well to the gaming front, no matter how perfect the source material. The Aliens and Predator movies are two such cases, excellent on their own but even when paired on the silver screen they fail. Overall on the gaming front the experience has been the same, with a few, very few, exceptions. Sega recently threw their publishing hat into the ring with Aliens vs. Predator created by Rebellion, the studio responsible for that one exception back on Jaguar. Using a future based story and not the crap present day settings of the recent movies, Sega and Rebellion look to bring the franchise back but the question is did they? Will gamers get a game true to the excellent source or more poo that continues to destroy such great creations? Let’s take a look …

Gameplay – Three storylines, three races, three different experiences. This first-person romp puts gamers in the role of Marines, very standard feeling FPS weapons and objectives, heck they make the gamer a rookie, how typical. Next is the role of a lone, young, Predator looking to prove itself, more a one creature army and finally one of a number of experimented on Aliens that don’t have weapons outside their speed, movement and body. Gamers follow intertwined stories or jump online to play in a variety of online modes where each character class has unique advantages, disadvantages. The Marines as mentioned control as so many FPS before while the Predator feels more like Master Chief on Red Bull. The really unique control for the Xenomorphs can throw gamers off as it reminds of old games like Tron with all the spinning and movement, but like any ‘character class, getting used to the control offers unique advantages in scaling walls, ceilings … the things aliens do. So pick a class, run around, follow objectives, kill, and survive.

Graphics – Lighting is done very well to spark tense fear and the levels are as detailed as any trashed space lab but it’s the characters that have great looks. The Aliens are the best looking this side of Hollywood as are the Predators and Marines. Yes, the Marines look robotic and there are much better looking humans, but their scream animations are spending when seen from a first person, hunter, perspective. The levels do expand out to jungle settings, but again nothing gamers have not seen before. There are military bases, old ruins, jungles and a ton of Aliens, Marines and few Predators thrown in. It looks good and watching this is much better than any recent movie.

Sound – The Marines sound forced and do nothing to prompt saving by the gamer but otherwise the iconic sounds are all there from weapon discharge to Alien screams and Predator spin ripping. From a sound standpoint there is nothing to complain about. The motion sensor offers up creeps, but dang it beeps a lot and the sound of a Marines rifle is just beautiful.

Design – Blah, bland and predictable. The levels look like any Aliens movie already made and the characters are already set to nothing new there. Sadly there is no real design creativity as these are franchises and characters that are already established. It’s not easy being iconic.

Miscellaneous – Why is Dark Horse so ignored? The comic company has been putting out excellent stories and comics expanding on these two franchises for years, both separate and combined. Their stories are excellent and worthy of a fully fleshed out game and movie. The direction of both Aliens and Predator need to follow what Dark Horse has set forth and this game gets close with its setting, but not quite there.

Overall, this is the best Aliens vs. Predator title in years. This may not be high praise but here is what gamers get. A solid FPS with three unique gameplay character classes and fun online modes. The graphics and sound evoke memories of movies done right and will help franchise fans to forget some of the recent silver screen sins. Most FPS titles try something new and unique in unfamiliar settings. Aliens vs. Predator makes modest FPS adjustments and wraps it in a very familiar package that fans of both the franchise and genre will enjoy. Is it the best title of the year? No. Is it a solid purchase that will entertain and offer up some scares and good online gameplay? Yes, yes it will.

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