It sees original UK-based developers Rebellion return to the franchise that made them known in the first-place. Aliens vs Predator was a massive hit when it launched on the Atari Jaguar - and later the PC - in the mid-late 1990's.
With three completely separate single-player campaigns, Aliens vs Predator stays extremely true both stylistically and audibly to the original Aliens universe; with the hiss of the aliens, and charge of the pulse rifles really well adapted into a video game setting. Everything from the locales, to the weapons feels and looks right; which should make the title a hit for fans of the franchise.
Aliens vs Predator's three campaigns will take roughly six hours to beat, with the multiplayer being the real star of the show, and lasting element.
If there's only one thing Aliens vs Predator does well (hint: it's a smidgen better than that) then it's the game's use of lighting. Which is brilliant. Aliens vs Predator may not be the best looking Playstation 3 game around, but the lighting is fantastic, casting mystery and secrets around many of its locales. Playing as the Marine especially, you'll get a huge sense of vulnerability as you scope out AvP's dark corridors with a weak flash-light and short-lasting flares. Because of the brilliant lighting, you'll never feel secure in your settings, making much of the Marine portion of AvP's campaign exceedingly tense. Sadly, that's somewhat countered by the melee mashing of the other playable characters: the Alien and the Predator. Both insist you play with stealth, but this is largely unnecessary, particularly on the lower difficulty settings.
It's pretty evident that much of Rebellion's focus crafting AvP relied on the multiplayer mode. And why not? This franchise as a video game is synonymous with great class-based multiplayer, and it's no different here. In many ways AvP feels like a throwback, and that's largely thanks to its origins. Despite the coming and going of bigger multiplayer franchises such as Halo and Call Of Duty, AvP has stayed true to its roots. That's not to say it doesn't feel relevant next to the likes of Call Of Duty - it just feels like a throwback. Which in many ways is a good thing, especially when practically every other game seeks to be just like CoD these days. Y'see, AvP's heart is in death-match and its balanced classes. There are other modes on offer of course, but that's not where the game's heart lies. With the three different classes thrown into Quake-like arenas, you'll need to take time learning the strengths of each character in order to be successful. Winning matches awards ranks and unlocks, so in many ways it's worth playing through the single-player campaigns in order to learn the individual abilities of the three main factions and not get hammered from the outset. Learn the game, embrace the throwback nature of it all, and you'll have a lot of fun here. In multiplayer, AvP almost does enough to make-up for the lacklustre single player campaigns.
If Rebellion's focus was to work with the nostalgia of previous Aliens vs Predator games, then they succeeded when it came to multiplayer. Why? Because they mixed enough of the old with the new to marry an interesting throwback-come-modern experience. The single-player however is just not acceptable anymore. On a platform that hosts the likes of Modern Warfare 2 and Killzone 2, Aliens vs Predator is simply a bore. Mission objectives are drab and the combat is dull. Shooting as the Marine feels weak, and the melee abilities of the Predator and Alien leave a lot to be desired.
Staring at a twitchy Alien who doesn't seem to know where to move next kinda breaks all the illusion and vulnerability of AvP's setting. Why go to the trouble of crafting a mood and then have it all ruined by hideously stupid AI?
So, kudos to Rebellion, you managed to give us a playable character who can walk on the ceilings and speed through tunnels in the Alien. That's cool and all, and we know it must have been hard, but it's not much fun playing a game where you get a headache after a few hours. Maybe it's the motion-blur or maybe it's a subjective case. Either way, we know we felt dizzy after playing as each of the three factions in AvP. Particularly the Alien.
You know what's annoying in video games? When you complete an objective it sets you and nothing happens. That's really annoying. It happened a few times during our time with AvP, one instance not pausing the game, but instead removing all voice-over work. Great.
Much of AvP's gameplay, regardless who you're playing as, revolves around the idea of throwing and blocking melee attacks. The system's actually fairly well thought out, but watching an Alien go all Muhammad Ali can be a bit jarring.
A compelling multiplayer mode practically saves Aliens vs Predator from its repetitive and lifeless single-player campaign.