Genre: First Person Shooter Developer: Monolith Productions Publisher: Sierra Classification: M15+ Release Date: Unknown Platforms:PC
Average of 30 Ratings
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Aliens vs Predator 2 is the sequel to the original game, which came out after a long absence of any offical games in the Aliens or Predator universes. Old timers will remember several game modifications that came out, developed by enthusiastic people that wanted to use these exciting worlds to base some games on - projects like Aliens Doom, which was (for its time) one of the most exciting and tension-filled games I've ever played. Unfortunately, these projects were quickly squashed by the legal departments of Fox (hence the term 'Foxed'), and have since not been available. Fox sat on the right for a while, before releasing the original Aliens vs Predator game, which was - somewhat suprisingly - very well received.
Aliens vs Predator 2 picks up shortly where the movie Aliens left off (Aliens of course was the second in the movie series, directed by James Cameron). A scientist has established a research facility on an Alien-infested world to observe and study the creatures. However, the Aliens soon rise up and attack the facility. A platoon of Colonial Marines is despatched to take control of the situation and rescue any survivors. Further chaos ensues though when it is discovered that the world is frequented by the Predators, who have been hunting Aliens on the planet for their sport.
One of the major features of the game is the ability for gamers to play as all three species - Marine, Alien and Predator. The integration and balancing of the game to take this into account has been one of the major aspects of the development process, both to ensure the single player game is fun but also that the multiplayer games that feature all species are as even as can be. Each of the three different classes have their own special features - the Predator has its enhanced vision modes and its laser blaster, the Alien has speed, agility and the ability to scale walls, and the Marine has the best in Earthly military technology and weapons.
A demo version of the game has been released, which shows off the gameplay from the persective of one of the Colonial Marines. The demo consists of a few levels of the Marine component of the single-player game. There's only a few weapons and items in the demo, but enough to get a good idea of the way the game looks, feels and plays.
The demo kicks off the with player alone in a dark corridor, instantly reminiscent of the scenes in the Aliens movie. Passages stretch off into the dark, with broken lights flickering and broken pipes leaking steam into the air. The environment in the demo is very impressive, and bodes well for the full game - there is a strong feeling of immersion. Many gamers might feel it is too dark, but it is very important to remember that this is the intention - the dark, oppressive atmosphere is one of the major features of the movie series and is carried well over into the games.
Built using LithTech engine technology from Monolith - used in another popular Fox game, No-one Lives Forever - the game feels very solid. The graphics are impressive and up-to-date, but will almost certainly soon pale in comparison as soon as some of the big new first-person shooters come out over the next few months. There's some good usage of high-resolution textures here and there which really add to the environment. The models of the Aliens are fairly well done and well animated, and all the in-game objects are well done. There's not as much in the way of environmental substance as in a game like Max Payne, but the atmosphere more than makes up for it.
The controls are adequate; I was a bit disappointed to not see some sort of popups or anything in-game to remind you what the keys are - the Marine has a bunch of items that need to be used in certain events. The full game might have a tutorial mode or something that would be very useful. Another thing that was slightly problematic was the lack of a decent mouse sensitivity adjustment tool - even at the lowest setting in-game, my mouse was way too sensitive, making it very hard to play. A fairly minor issue, but one that would be good to see fixed.
The tension throughout the game is very high - the constant ticking of the motion tracker and the occaisionally bleep as it detects something will have you on the edge of your seat. Aliens hide in dark corners, and leap out at you with a scream, and burst out of ventilation ducts, many times when you're least expecting it. Radio chatter from teammates in other areas of the building adds to the drama, and a James Horner-esque soundtrack keeps the beat to the action.
Overall, the demo looks very impressive. The full game, if it can keep up the pace, should be excellent, and the added fact that it is really three games in one when you consider the other species is a big bonus. Multiplayer offers some very different gameplay styles because of this as well. Definitely worth a look when the full game hits.