GOONL!NE Advent Calendar: #6 – Aliens vs. Predator

By James Love.

Alien, brilliant. Predator, brilliant. Put the two together and what do you get? A forgettable set of films that aren’t worthy of remembrance. However, stick them together in a game as Rebellion Development’s did back in 1999 and you get one of the best shooters of that year.

Just over 10 years later, those guys at Rebellion are at it again, with another AvP FPS on the way. Can they work their magic once again and keep fans of both Alien and Predator happy?

The new Aliens vs. Predator is essentially three games in one. You’ve got campaign’s for the Marines, Aliens and the Predators, all with their own distinct way of approaching the game, and their own storyline. Each of the three storylines could be a game in their own right, however, weaving them all together gives you a much more overall picture.

When playing as the Marines, it’s almost like a survival horror. You know you’re physically inferior to the two other races, you know they could strike from the darkness at any moment, you know you could die. “You’ll feel very vulnerable most of the time – you won’t be wondering around Serious Sam-style with loads of armour and 30 weapons stashed” said AvP project Tim Jones, highlighting how unsafe it is to be a Marine wandering around.

Tension is further ramped up as a Marine with the motion tracker that’s attached to your assault rifle. Remember in Aliens how Hicks had his rader and the Aliens rapidly closed in on him? Remember the tension? Well, prepare to feel that all over again, as you’ll never see them coming, you’ll only know that they are.

Whilst using a Marine will be a familiar survival FPS, using the Alien will be a totally unique experience, with the potential to be sensationally good. Your weapons are your teeth (and that other mouth thingy, you know the one), claws and that mighty sharp tail. Gameplay with the Xenomorph will be a more strategic experience. You can’t exactly go gung-ho against the Marines, they’ll just blast the hell out of you. Instead, you stalk them, you hunt them, you wait, wait until you see an opportunity, and then, you pounce.

As an Alien you’ll be essentially blind. Having no eyes though doesn’t mean you can’t still hunt. The Aliens use sonar and pheromonal tracking to hunt down their prey and mean of getting around, such as ventilation shafts. To whet your appetite for the Alien part of the game. You actually get to stick a facehugger down the oesophagus of Marines. Awesome.

Lastly we come to the Predator. As with the Alien it’s all about the chase. Using your cloak and thermal vision, you’re a stealthy and agile hunter, leaping from tree to tree in search of trophies to add to your collection. The game also gives you an “incentive” to collect trophies from your prey but as to what those “incentive[s]” are it’s so far unknown.

The Predator has two ways of going about attacking. He can have a long-ranged assault using his shoulder-mounted canon, he can leave mines around to set traps, or he can get right up in the face of a Marine/Alien and engage in a bit of good old fashioned hand-to-claw combat.

Also included is a multiplayer mode, including modes which pit Predator against Predator. The lighting of levels will play a big role online. If you’re an Alien, you can hide in the shadows to pounce on unsuspecting Marines, but such a tactic won’t work against a thermal-equipped Predator, so tactics are just as important online as they are in the single player.

For now, we have to wait until February until we can get our hands on Aliens vs. Predator, but the wait will be worth it, as this is shaping up to be one of the most unique and diverse games to come along for quite some time.