|System: X360,PS3,PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Rebellion||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 16, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-18||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
October 19, 2009 - In space no one can hear you scream. Why is that? Because it's a vacuum. I once played a game in a vacuum I guess you could say I got sucked in. Writing previews is like writing in a vacuum. There is no immediate response. I'm all alone and faced with the knowledge that in a vacuum no one can hear me type. So am I about to get sucked in to getting all excited about the upcoming Aliens vs. Predator game? Yes, there was a game by that same title a decade-and-a-half ago. An undeniable classic, but unfortunately it spawned a series of less-than-inspired sequels.
I must say that my investigation into this new offering has indeed got me excited. And with the addition of an online component that will accommodate up to 18 players, you won't feel like you're in a vacuum. So go ahead and start screaming because everyone can hear you.
Aliens vs. Predators has several months before it's released, so some features of the game that I report may change. This is the most recently updated info I've got, so don't shoot the messenger if the developers decide to leave something out. However, the game is loaded with action and features, so it's doubtful you'll miss anything, although I'm really rooting for the multiplayer modes.
In Aliens vs. Predators you will actually be able to play as the Aliens, the Predators, and humans (in the form of Colonial Marines). So right off the bat you're getting more than the title suggests. Each of the factions will have an entirely different feel. While the objective for all is to kill the enemy, the methods and scenarios will vary significantly for each faction.
Aliens are powerful and primal. They are fast, furious, and merciless. Aliens are the perfect killing machine. With orders from the Queen, they must seek prey and return it to their hive where it will be harvested. Aliens have the ability to climb a variety of surfaces, suspending themselves upside down. Their attacks are quick and unexpected. Masters at close range combat, they have retractable teeth that can extend to grasp their prey. Tails are used to poke eyes out. Aliens are also very resilient, as they will continue fighting with severed limbs, crawling after their attackers if rendered legless. Fighting in packs, they will attempt to flank their enemy, distracting them while other Aliens attack from different sides. They also have acidic blood that will burn through steel. So if you're faced with the prospect of blasting one's head open, you're going to get burned, possibly to death. It's quite a deterrent. The Aliens do not use weapons, so they are ineffective at ranged combat. The further away you are from the Aliens, the safer you are.
The Marines actually started this whole mess. They desecrated one of the Predators' temples, and accidentally stirred the Alien Queen who was living beneath it. The Marines are equipped with an incredible array of cutting edge technology and weapons. And they need it, as they are no match for either the Aliens or Predators without their toys. In a unique twist, when playing as the Marines the perspective of the game will slightly shift genres to a survival-horror scenario. This perspective is similar to that of the original Alien movies. Encountering these dangerous species during your regular patrol, you will find yourself in typical survival-horror situations and locations. Long, winding corridors may contain a shock at any time. Lights will suddenly go out, plunging you into total darkness where the only illumination will be from the muzzle of your gun. A radar system will help detect the presence of Aliens, but as the beeping intensifies, so does your heart rate. Turrets are capable of detecting Predators that are cloaked in invisibility. But regardless of the Marine's technologies, they will always be the hunted and not the hunter. That's the title bestowed upon the Predator.
You might say the Predator is calm, cool, and collected. He's the ultimate hunter, making stealth his favored method. The Predator has many unique tools at his disposal including numerous blades and blasters. Employing a cloaking device at the push of a button renders the Predator invisible. He is not silent, however, so it must be careful not to alert enemies in close proximity. The Predator can also make use of infrared vision to see enemies in the dark. Using the unique and incredibly useful Focus Mode, the Predator is able to glean all kinds of information on the surroundings including the location of enemies. As a hunter, the Predator attempts to divide his prey into smaller groups as he is unlikely to survive a melee. All of these weapons, tools, and systems come at a price for the Predator. Everything he activates will cost him energy. Although he will receive boosts for trophy kills, he will also have to find other sources of energy renewal on the planet.
Cross-species play is being developed for the online multiplayer component. Up to 18 players can take part in all three platforms. The developers are busy attempting to balance things. Playing as the Marines, a four-player co-op mode will have you and three other friends defending yourselves from hordes of enemies. Each wave of attack will increase in difficulty as you progress.
The storyline it tight, with the gameplay following a linear path to maintain a fast pace and keep things in order. The developers are mindful to keep the missions and locations varied to avoid any sense of loss of freedom that could be caused by such linear gameplay. The graphics are looking fantastic, getting closer to movie-production standards, and for a game this ambitious, it would be disappointing if it didn't set new standards.
CCC Senior Writer