You’re going to love Aliens vs. Predator, or you’re going to hate it, say a handful of conflicting reviews of the game, released today for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. Aliens vs. Predator puts you in the role of both the eponymous creatures, plus an unfortunate human caught in the middle of their interstellar war. The result is a shooter that could cure your nostalgia for the original Alien and Predator films, but it could bore and frustrate you. PC Zone calls the game “deliciously gory, unwaveringly confident and spectacular fun,” and a “brilliantly authentic and cinematic experience.” But GameSpot says “three mediocre games are jammed into a single package,” and “the result is still mediocre.”
What’s the beef? Crave Online’s Erik Norris says Aliens vs. Predator starts with a bang thanks to eerie presentation and a heart-pounding marine campaign, but it all falls apart the deeper into the game you get.
Basically, [Predator] melee combat feels reminiscent of a boxing game’s fighting mechanics, but without the same sense of depth and diversity. I found myself hammering on the light attack button and occasionally throwing in a heavy strike to finish off my foe over and over again.
I also had a hard time getting the Alien to do what I wanted in combat, usually resulting in my death. If the only weaponry an Alien is going to have is its claws and tail within close proximity, then I should feel comfortable getting the jump on a target, not terrified. I just never felt comfortable playing as the Alien in AvP.
IGN UK’s Martin Robinson acknowledges the clumsy controls, but gleefully enjoyed the carnage anyway:
For the Predator, it’s a stealth that’s powered by gadgetry: the famous cloak is bolstered by a variety of vision modes to stalk down prey from the heights he’s able to reach, and when it comes to the kill he’s not under-equipped either.
The Alien gets the most creative options, using its tail to poke someone’s eye out, thrust down their throat or give them a vanilla decapitation depending on which mood takes them.
It seems that Aliens vs. Predator definitely has problems, in that it lacks the professional polish of a AAA-title. If you’re a big enough AVP fan, the flaws won’t matter much. If you’re just looking for a good shooter, and you’re not bleary-eyed with nostalgia, there are plenty more fish in the sea.