I have to admit, I was giddy from the first moment I started opening the package. It was a feeling of excitement and fear. Fear because I thought to myself "I hope to God this game doesn't bomb!" Well I soon found out. Basically, Aliens vs Predator for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC is a first-person shooter where you play through three different campaigns, one for each species; Aliens, Predators and human Marines. Also included is a multiplayer mode where players can choose their favorite species and go all out in online deathmatches.
Each species in AVP controls extremely differently. The Marines are the most familiar to FPS players having an array of weapons such as shotguns, assault rifles, pistols and the like. Standard FPS controls apply here. The Predators are much stealthier. The can jump to extremely high locations using the trees and structures around them as their mode of covering distance. Predators have all the standard utilities from the movies; the claws... the shoulder cannon... heck they even got the voice mimicking tool to throw off your enemy and set them up for a kill. Aliens are the most melee heavy character of the group. They rely on their claws, spiky tails and their tiny internal jaws. Aliens are the most versatile when covering distance because they can jump from wall to wall and walk on walls and ceilings but, as a balance, they are the easiest to take down. That's the name of this game... balance! Especially in multiplayer. Every species has their strength and weaknesses and there is a strategy to approaching each one. Incorporating those strategies in the chaos of online combat is the thing to master.
One of the first things I noticed is the recognizable voice acting from Lance Henriksen who reprises his role as tycoon Karl Bishop Weyland. Voice acting in VP is not extraordinary per se but it's not atrocious either. Some of the more common Marines however will spout out generic voice work. As the game progressed, I was happily treated to watching an Alien tear my Marine buddies to pieces. I didn't have any back-up anymore but at least I didn't have to listen to them any longer. Thankfully, main characters like Tequila provide believable voice work which moves the Marine story along quite nicely.
Art & Animation
This is truly one of the best things about AVP. Everything is beautiful. The texture mapping, the lighting, the color palette... everything! Thankfully so too! Certain aspects of the gameplay wouldn't hold together had the graphics not hold up properly. For example, there are areas of the game where Aliens are lodged into the walls. They don't look like Aliens at first but rather statues of Aliens sculpted into the walls. It's not until they lunge out at you that you realize that you now need to blast the holy hell out of the Alien and then go change your shorts. Had the lighting been off in this game, elements like that would have been difficult to pull off. Facial animations are beautiful. Very complex looking human facial models convey perfect emotion and feeling for each circumstance; though mostly, the circumstance is almost always fear.
I don't know why the hell this game is getting such a bad rap. It's probably one of the best shooters I've played in the past year with the exception of Left 4 Dead 2. Each of the storylines are a good challenge and they each take anywhere from 4-6 hours to complete; that's three times the amount of campaign gameplay of Modern Warfare 2. The multiplayer is outstanding; more and more players are falling in love with this game once they get the controller in their hands. As usual, the PC version looks the best and is thankfully moderated by Steam. Aliens vs Predator is already on my list for one of the best shooters of 2010.