Aliens vs. Predator (PS3 Game Review)

PS3's Alien vs. Predator (Game Review)Straight out of orbit and into your PS3 is the new Aliens vs. Predator (AVP) first-person shooter.  Rebellion, the same company that brought us the very successful PC version of the game over a decade ago, is back with their 21st century overhaul.  In AVP, you have the option of playing any one of the three single-player campaigns as a Predator, Alien or human Marine with four levels of difficulty that include easy, normal, hard, and nightmare.  There is also a multi-player online feature where you can go toe to toe with players from around the globe.  As discussed below, you will find the strengths and weaknesses of each species.  For instance, both the Marines and Predators can accumulate stim-packs to instantly recover lost health.  While the Alien does not have this ability, it can rejuvenate health on its own without the use of items. 

Onto the solo campaigns!  There is a story that remains consistent across the board with all three species and you will find that each will infringe upon the other at some point during gameplay.  Things start to get hazardous in a hurry when corporate behemoth Weyland-Yutani forces open an ancient tomb-like structure with Alien and Predator markings.  Not too long after, the plasma hits the fan and all three races start crossing paths with one another.  What I thought was absolutely brilliant was the fact that the Marine and Predator opening cinematics contained the same unfolding events, but from different perspectives.  This extra bit of work in storytelling goes a long way in setting the mood for the adventure you are about to embark on.

Trying to remain competitive with other first-person shooters out there, AVP comes up short in online play.  There are a variety of multi-player games available with deathmatch likely to become the most popular.  The single player game is where this title truly shines.  The controls are just too herky-jerky when chaos ensues online that this proves to be more a flaw than a style to get used to.  This isn’t always the case, but when a sprinting Alien is charging at you with other enemies nearby, good luck trying to dispatch them while tending to other threats.  The same applies for trying to do melee battle on a narrow platform high above the ground.  It’s just too easy to slip and make a rapid, undesirable descent while focusing on multiple targets.

PS3's Aliens vs Predator


Which species is the strongest of the three?  Is there even a strongest species?  Preliminary reports of the game late last year claimed the Predator to have an unfair advantage over its two competitors.  I can tell you that simply is not the case in the final version of the game.  While they do have the very revealing thermal vision capability, it is rendered useless on Aliens since these vicious creatures do not give off a heat signature.  The shoulder-mounted plasma caster of the Predator, while arguably one of the most destructive weapons in the game, is very limited in its use.  You can send a white hot ball of inhumane technology across a map to some unsuspecting poor soul, turning him or her into human confetti, but don’t expect to do it a lot.  Your Predator character has limited energy and as a result, only allows three or four shots from this weapon.  While it takes out the fun of trigger-happy bliss, it does level the playing field so you’re not smoking everything in sight on one shot.  There are one-time use generators on the various maps that allow you to recharge your energy level.  It is important to note that these are often guarded so they can be a challenge to get to. 

Another plus/drawback is the Predator’s cloaking device.  Since Aliens do not have eyes, you’re just wasting precious time turning invisible while that razor-sharp tail is closing in on you.  This trick will work on the humans, but only to an extent.  Just like in the Alien movies, the humans have those very handy location sensors.  So, whether you’re transparent or in plain sight, you will get picked up on their Garmin-esque toys. 

The Predator has the largest range of weapon types in the game which include wrist blades, plasma caster, smart disc, proximity mines, and collapsible spear.  They all have their place raining destruction down on the enemy, but I found the wrist blades most difficult to use.  The quick attack is simple and mildly effective (appropriate for its speed).  The heavy attack is nearly useless.  If you connect, it does a fair amount of damage, but this maneuver is so delayed that timing is a bigger challenge than aiming.  It shouldn’t be this difficult to land a basic melee attack, yet this move accomplishes exactly that along with a mild case of frustration.  It just takes too long to carry out from the time you activate it with the push of a single button.  The Predator raises his arm, thinks about life, reads War and Peace, does the dishes, then extends his arm in a one-time slashing motion.  Meanwhile, the humans emptied a clip in your torso and the Aliens carved you faster than a Thanksgiving turkey. 

There is one very cool new feature that the Predator has in the single player missions that can only be used on the humans.  While hiding, you can select a patrolling Marine you want to distract.  Once confirmed, the screen will prompt you where you want to set your distraction point.  After that has been selected, the Predator plays a random human audio file.  The Marine you chose will then head over to the distraction point to investigate.  Sneaking up behind them will enable a trophy kill.  While the Predators aren’t the only species with this gratuitously violent ability, they do have some of the coolest.  A trophy kill will earn you extra points and shows off the graphics of the game.  How about body-slamming an Alien over your knee?  Maybe pulling out a Marine’s head and spine is your shtick.  Whatever doom you shall wrought, AVP is your playground.

As far as maneuvering the Predator, you will find the controls to be pretty solid at times and a little too loose other times.  With its wide range of weapons, it can be a slightly confusing when it comes to switching between equipment.  However, after a few hours of this, it should become second nature.  Finally, the galactic hunter does have one last trick up its sleeve.  Because of its strength and physical prowess, the Predator has the ability to make very long and very high jumps.  The jump cursor will let you know if the selected area is a location that your character can reach.  This comes in very handing when setting up an ambush or trying to escape one.

PS3's Aliens vs Predator


Leave it to humans to make a mess.  Once again we’ve stuck our noses where they don’t belong.  Now it’s time to play janitor-with-a-gun and mop up the mess.  The human doesn’t seem to have a really noticeable advantage over its unearthly competitors, save for a shoulder-mounted flashlight and a seemingly infinite amount of hand-tossed flares.  Both will light your way but each has its drawbacks.  The flashlight doesn’t run out of juice, but has a narrow path of luminescence.  The flares, however, are good at lighting up a room, though they burn out rather quickly.  There is the motion/location sensor located in the lower left corner of the screen that will reveal vague blips of nearby bad guys, but it is exactly that…vague.  It’s difficult to get an enemy’s bearings with this thing, yet it is helpful in letting you know that you’re not alone.  As for controlling the Marine, they move pretty fluidly for the most part, though aiming took some getting used to when running.  The controls seemed a little a too loose and giddy when it came time to run and gun.       

When it comes to human armament, the Marines are well-equipped.  Though they do not possess the variety of toys the Predator has, they do have an impressive arsenal of firearms including a pistol (which is sometimes as effective as a pea shooter), shotgun, pulse rifle (as featured in the Alien movies), smartgun, flamethrower and a scoped rifle for sniping.  As for melee combat, yes, you are able to do this.  I advise running instead.  You’re a fleshy bag of bones.  Why try and take on the black chitinous Alien skin or muscle-pounding mass of the Predator with your hands?  I had to laugh at one point when I was being clawed to death by an Alien and the screen prompted me to block the relentless attack.  Block with what?  I couldn’t find a titanium wall to hide behind so I blocked with my arms against those big old claws.  I think this action extended my life by a few seconds.  While the Marine may not have any grand pluses over the other two races, the environments they patrol and the single-player storyline adds a very eerie and Resident Evil-like feel to the campaign.  Though I found varying aspects of fun between all the races, the Marine’s role was a much more enveloping experience than the other two, largely due to the tension-filled aspects of the levels you walk through. 

PS3's Aliens vs Predator


What?!  No gun?!  Well, what would an Alien do with one anyway?  The fact that they only have what Mother Nature or some lab experiment gave them is part of the charm of playing as one.  They are by far the fastest character in the game, able to cover lengthy hallways and other distances in mere seconds.  Their vision, for a creature without eyes, is also impressively functional.  Any lifeform is easily noticeable from the hazy outline that surrounds them, and as a result, can be spotted from fairly long distances. 

The Alien’s agility is also a strong point of the race as you can scale walls and ceilings with the simple press-and-hold of a button.  The only issue here is your perspective will become really disorienting in a hurry.  I’ve found this ability to also be a hindrance at times as I’ve lost sight of my prey, only to be sniped while clinging to a ceiling grate.  Still, a few more hours logged as this character should settle any player in comfortably with this race and its insect-like ability.  A related ability is to be able to see a ventilation shaft and make a single leap towards it, through the opening.  I can’t say how often this comes in handy when you need to make a hasty escape or a quick exit from someone’s line of sight. 

When it comes to attacking, the Alien keeps it simple but deadly.  There’s no ammo to run out of, no enhanced vision or flashlights to turn on; you just dash and slash.  The game also gives the Alien the option to lock onto an enemy and make a rabid sprint and swipe attack.  With multiple Marines or Predators patrolling an area, this style of attack quickly takes one of those bodies out the way in the blink of an eye.  And if stealth is more your game, which is kind of necessary for the Alien, you can coax an enemy towards your location with the use of your hissing sound.  It works similarly to the Predator’s distraction ability, just with less accuracy and complexity.  

PS3's Alien vs Predator

Graphics & Sound

The game is beautifully rendered with a variety of lush colors to fill a jungle landscape or dark, dreary grays and blacks to elicit the harsh, scary moods of space and powerless rooms.  The animations are realistic and sometimes jaw-dropping though there was an eye-catching glitch I noticed during the Predator’s training level.  The frame rate came across rather unimpressively during a scene when the camera panned from ceiling to floor.  Fortunately, though I have not finished the game, I have yet to encounter this distracting flaw a second time. 

Alien vs. Predator makes the best use of surround sound that I have encountered in any video game.  This of course only adds to the environments, creating a realism that quite honestly, just freaked me out on a few occasions.  I’m used to playing games, not actually feeling like I’m the one walking down that tattered corridor.  The random Alien hisses and Predator crackles become welcomed enhancements to the game’s experience, even offering a more exciting ‘concert’ than many movies I’ve come across.   

PS3's ALiens vs Predator

Final Thoughts

In closing, Aliens vs. Predator is not the best first-person shooter out there.  If that’s what you’re after, I suggest Modern Warfare 2.  However, AVP does offer a deeper, better story and more varied single-player experience.    There are some minor details in the game that should have been worked out before being released, specifically with the Predator.  These include your invisibility turning off when performing a trophy kill (why would it turn off??), getting attacked while performing a trophy kill (the animation continues while taking damage so you’d think you’d just drop the dramatics and move on to the next target), and having humans alerted to your presence as soon as you lock onto them with your plasma cannon.  These are mildly frustrating occurrences that could have easily been sorted out before arriving on store shelves.  Nonetheless, the game is better than average on the whole and worthy of a 7.5 out of 10 rating.  There is an addiction being able to play as these really wicked characters we have watched on the big screen.  That addiction is easily satisfied in Aliens vs. Predator.      


Bring home Aliens vs Predator today!



PS3's Aliens vs Predator



3 Responses to “Aliens vs. Predator (PS3 Game Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Wow! What a massive review! No wonder you have been so quiet as of late.

    I love the cover of this game. If I had the time to play, this would definitely be a title I would pick up!

  2. Gerard

    Very cool!

    I may just buy this one.

  3. Gerard

    Okay, this is in my Amazon shopping cart. I’ll wait a bit until the time is right.