Aliens vs. Predator • Page 3

Killer bites.

Visually it's all nothing special. There are some appealing lighting decisions, particularly the use of shadows to amp up the creep factor, but textures are muddy, human character models are stiff and unconvincing and animation often seems jittery, as if frames have been chopped out to get the skittering bugs up to the required lunge speed.

At least the audio is bang on the money, effortlessly evoking the movie atmosphere, even if the use of random music stings to put you on edge is overused. Eventually, you realise the game is just crying wolf and wait for the telltale screech of an Alien to tip you off instead.

All of which adds up to three short and uneventful solo campaigns, blighted by stodgy control and with little to offer beyond inherited iconography. There is the multiplayer side of things, of course, and it's here that the game claws back some of its credibility.

The standard Deathmatch, as inexplicably used for the demo, is rubbish. Completely missing the point of both creatures and concept, it quickly devolves into laughable conga lines of Aliens and Predators performing one-hit stealth kills on each other.

Domination is equally perfunctory, trying to cram a base-capture mechanism into a game where two thirds of the characters have no real reason to defend a meaningless glowing MacGuffin. Team Deathmatch is a lot more fun, in that it allows the sort of freeform teamwork that enables each species to play to its strengths, but even this pales alongside the other modes available.

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Lance Henriksen does one of the voices. That's not him though. Obviously.

Survivor, for example, is Aliens by way of Left 4 Dead. Four human players, one relentless swarm of AI Aliens. Last for as long as you can. With only two maps, neither of which are very exciting, it's a tantalising taster but is automatically more fun than the solo game purely for the human factor.

It gets better though. Infestation sets a small group of Marines against a lone Alien. Each player picked off by the xenomorph becomes an Alien. Whoever gets wiped out first loses. It's deliciously simple, yet digs right into what makes both monster and movies so popular.

Predator Hunt is pretty much the same thing, but with players taking turns as a Predator on the prowl for trophies. Again, the Ten Little Indians format is absolutely ideal for the licence and the thrill of the hunt, even in this truncated form, provides a solid example of the more interesting avenues left unexplored by the rush to copy a 10-year-old game template.

Strong multiplayer just isn't enough to make Aliens vs Predator a worthwhile endeavour though. It still struggles with the same fudgy controls as single-player, the rudimentary lobby offers only limited options (there's no host migration, for example) and with only six maps, all of which are locations you'll have explored thrice in solo play, it won't take long for dedicated players to reach saturation point and start craving some DLC map packs.

The online portion is enough, at least, to rescue the overall package from the utter mediocrity of the rest of the game but it remains, on balance, a deeply disappointing effort. Scrappy where it needed to be polished, clumsy where it needed to be nimble, the game wears its iconic characters as a shield, happy to serve up scripted shocks but offering nothing that might actually surprise.

6 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy Aliens vs. Predator Dan Whitehead Killer bites. 2010-02-19T14:00:00+00:00 6 10

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