Saturday, March 13, 2010

Aliens vs Predator: Progress

This is not a review, but a status update.

I'm playing through the Marine campaign right now. While most of the review sites complain about this campaign the most, I find it to be the most fun. After some thought, I've decided it's fun because it actually works the way it is supposed to.

Marines have guns and aren't agile. They aren't stealthy, they don't have camo, and can't see in the dark. They have the tools to do the job: shotgun "for close encounters", a sniper for distance shots, a pistol as a last resort, a standard machine gun with complimentary noob-tube, a flame-thrower, and a bad-ass auto-aiming smart gun. All those weapons do what they should, with a possible exception of the grenade launcher on the pulse rifle. Aliens will matrix jump over grenades all night long.

The Aliens are fast and strong enough to knock down steel doors. Why is it so hard for them to kill a human with melee? Why isn't pouncing from the ceiling an instant kill? Why is it so difficult to grab someone while hanging on the wall? The Aliens rarely do as intended, making them frustrating to play.

The Predators fair better, although I find the controls functionally wonky. I expect to feel like an near unstoppable ninja that can tear through anything. Instead, most of the time is spent feeling vulnerable and wondering why I can't make jumps to the desired location. At least the shoulder cannon does everything expected; turning humans into pink mist.

After moving past dipping my toes in the cold water of AVP, I'm finding reviewers a bit harsh on the game. I think their problem is that the game is functional, but it cannot hang in the big leagues with Modern Warfare, Battlefield, and Halo. With more effort into presentation, graphics, and playability I think it could have been an upper tier game, but the opportunity is officially missed.

In a 10 point rating system, I'd probably give it a 7.5. In my rating system, I'm thinking about $45 of value. This leaves me hoping that Colonial Marines will make up where this game lacked.