Aliens vs. Predator (versus Humans)

Darryn Bonthuys reviews the latest of the Aliens vs. Predator shooter/stalker games.
Aliens, Predators and Colonial Space Marines, all thrown together on one remote planet. What could possibly go wrong?
Back in the hands of able developer Rebellion, the overall story of AVP revolves around three different viewpoints. The Predators are angry that their holy hunting ground has been invaded by the humans, the Xenomorph are angry that they‘ve been used for experiments, and the humans are blissfully unaware of the bad karma that is about to befall them.
With differing stories comes differing play styles. The Marine campaign plays like a survival horror game mixed in with standard First Person Shooter mechanics. It‘s nothing special, and feels quite average in comparison to the other campaigns. You‘ll still have access to your mobile radar, with the iconic ping sounds guaranteed to raise a few hairs on the back of your neck.
With that said, players would be forgiven for thinking that the Xenomorph and Predator missions would provide more excitement.
While play styles for the Predator and Xenomorph are radically different, so is the learning hurdle. Xenomorphs play mostly like their celluloid counterparts, fast and sneaky, as well as being more fragile than porcelain.

Head massage: a relaxing way to go.

Mastering their movement might result in nausea at first, but once their abilities have been honed, the lethal killing machines can take out most enemies with ease. Xenomorph attacks consist of using their entire bodies, from impaling people from behind with their tail to the sweet sound a victim makes when Xenos bring out their second mouth.
The Predator experience is a mixed bag on the other hand. You‘ll still have access to your cloaking field, and players can cause distractions that make soldiers go out on patrol on their own, but the actual combat isn‘t as well implemented.

Predators favour their wrist blades, and when engaging enemies by slashing at them, the screen rocks violently enough to cause a seizure. The iconic shoulder cannon is under-utilised in favour of these blade attacks, as the energy it requires leaves little left for the cloaking field, resulting in quick death by trigger happy marines.
One aspect of the game that won‘t disappoint however is the gore. From the brutal dismemberments of marines to the actual act of ripping a man‘s head and spine out of his body so that you can pass a retinal scan, AVP goes the whole ten yards when it comes to violence.
While the graphics are nothing special in AVP, they do an adequate enough job in representing each characters unique viewpoint. From the standard HUD of the Marine to the eerie Xenomorph vision that hunts targets by scent, or even the inside of the Predator mask that keeps track of damage and ammo, each player can be certain of which race they‘re playing as.
It may seem like a step backwards for the series, but its still a solid game that will appeal to the fans, despite the flaws.