IGN Review of Alien vs Predator: Requiem
I'll be honest, I expected Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem to suck. I had played it a few months ago, the framerate was terrible and the graphics were jaggy, colorless models. So, when I came up in the review schedule to tackle the latest interspecies battle, I came in expecting the worst.
I was wrong -- AVP doesn't suck, but that isn't to say it's good.
Basically, a Predator spaceship has crashed to Earth and you -- a Predator solider complete with wrist blades and shoulder cannons -- has been sent down to investigate the crash and clean up the mess. See, this particular cruiser was carrying a cargo hold full of facehuggers. By the time you get to Earth, the huggers are free and have already spawned a whole mess of evil aliens. Your mission is to scour the area and kill the creatures. Of course, the army's already been dispatched to the area and you look pretty creepy, so expect resistance from those you're trying to protect.
Sounds neat, right -- especially considering you get the nifty Predator weapons such as hand cannons, throwing discs and more to upgrade and kill with as well as vision modes such as thermal, alien and tech -- however, that initial "I'm a Predator!" excitement only lasts so long.
There are two main failings of AVP: it's super-simple and super-easy. Each time you enter a new environment -- the game is setup in three branching storylines that cover the underground, industrial and suburban parts of town and all come to the same ending -- a wave of enemies will come out for you to kill, you'll need to dissolve some spaceship parts and dead facehuggers, and you'll have to keep repeating that process as you make your way across the levels.
The game tries to spice it up by giving you "Honor Points" for killing the baddies and dissolving contraband as well as the ability to upgrade your weapons. It's a nice try, but it just doesn't add anything -- there aren't leaderboards for Honor Points other than your best score on each mission and the upgrades are automatically done by the game. It's not like you're choosing anything.
Not having a choice is part of the ease of this game. You don't have to worry about upgrading, and you really don't have to worry about dying. I have beaten the game, continued to play and have yet to die. Your health is a sectioned-off bar in the top left corner of the screen. If you get hit by an alien, your health will deplete. If you survive the attack and kill the alien, your health will regenerate to fill the last partial bar you have.
You have a similar meter for energy except it's in the right corner and will eventually regenerate to full power. However, the bar will never run completely out. Even when I was on E, I could still put out shoulder cannon blasts that incapacitated my foes.
Combat in AVP is both simple and frustrating. Basically, aliens will stream out of a level and you can just stand there, lock on by holding the shoulder buttons and blast these things to death with your cannon. If you wanted to, you could run up and slash them with your wrist blades, but that's going to take longer than the cannons and end with you getting hurt.
Where the frustration comes in is the camera. You can rotate the POV with the shoulder buttons, and it works for the most part. However, when you come around a corner or get an alien behind you, things get sticky as you try and pan to the enemy who is getting a bunch of free shots in. It's also a pain with my particular strategy of locking on to the bad guys and walking backwards as they come at me. I'd be blasting, killing and moving backwards when I'd suddenly bump into something and get stuck.
There's a first-person mode for shooting and looking, ladders with huge arrows on them to climb and two types of aliens to fight, but none of it's worth mentioning anymore than I already have. They're nice features, but in a game this simple, you probably won't notice them.
So, the 15-mission part is the bulk of your single-player option, but there is another mode called Skirmish. In this follow up to the story mode, you get five minutes to go through one of five game levels and kill as many aliens as you can. In the end, you'll get an Honor Point total, but it won't be saved anywhere.
As if that shallow of a mode wasn't un-fun enough, multiplayer is just a two-person Skirmish. You and an ad-hoc bud run around the map as one of four different Predators and kill as many aliens as you can -- not each other. There's no winner in the end. It just ends and tells you your score. It does not tell you your opponent's score. This mode was so boring I made up my own story. I was the Mommy Predator and Ryan from the IGN News Team was the Daddy Predator. We were protecting our children -- the cars in the large empty lot we were running around -- from the aliens ... for five minutes.
So, remember how bad I said this game looked when I first saw it? It's easily better than that first impression, but it's still not amazing. A lot of the environments are dark, the textures tend to be bland and I saw my cannon blasts get stuck mid-air after hitting an enemy. The predators and aliens themselves look okay, but everything breaks down a bit in motion. Basically, it looks alright, but it could've been so much more.
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