Developed by Rebellion Developments and published by SEGA in 2010, Aliens vs. Predator continues the three-way intergalactic war between humans, the Aliens and the Yautja. While practically a reboot, it includes strong elements from both AVP movies. The game is available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
BG-386 is a lush planet colonised by humans. However, in addition to housing a mining colony, there is also a Weyland-Yutani research facility, where the corporation performs illegal experiments by essentially farming Aliens with unwilling humans used as hosts. When Karl Bishop Weyland attempts to unlock a Yautja pyramid, he triggers a massive EMP that causes a power failure, allowing the Aliens to break free and infest the whole colony. Colonial Marines are called to contain the outbreak, but the human activity has also drawn the attention of the Predators, who destroy the marines' command ship upon their arrival, making the already hellish situation even worse for the marines.
This conflict is experienced from the point of view of three characters: 'Rookie', an inexperienced recruit from the marines, 'Specimen 6', a Xenomorph Warrior raised in captivity who displays an unusually high intellect for an Alien, and 'Dark', a Predator who has recently reached the rank of Elite and is investigating a distress call from a group of younger Predators coming from the planet. Like with earlier Aliens vs. Predator 2, the three campaigns interact with each other, influencing the events in other campaigns.
The gameplay has changed relatively little throughout the series, though there are some minor differences. As the marine, the game is like a standard first-person shooter. You can carry your standard pistol along with two other guns at a time. You can use flashlight or flares to rob the Aliens from their advantage of darkness. You also have stims for healing injuries and a motion tracker that indicates the presence of hostiles, but doesn't point their direction very well, adding to the suspense. A minor new feature is that you can actually block light attacks from the Aliens and even slam them with your weapon to give yourself some room. However, it's still recommended to keep your distance in order to keep yourself from being swarmed and you can easily die from the acidic blood of the Aliens. There are some factors that add to the unsettling atmosphere. If you take too long to advance, you'll be attacked by a lone Alien or even killed by a Predator on a certain level.
As the Alien, you'll have to take advantage of the creature's ability to blend into the darkness in order to kill your enemies swiftly and stealthily. Also, you must often move slowly, as the marines can be alerted to your presence thanks to their motion trackers, even if you try to approach them from behind. Alien's advantages are being the fastest character in the game and the ability to scale on virtually any surface – walls and ceilings are open ground for her. Alien can also hiss to lure individual marines away from others, though this only works if they haven't seen you. In combat, Alien can strike either with light or heavy attacks. If you manage to strike an enemy with a heavy attack, you can grab them for a brutal finishing move, though this takes some time and leaves you briefly vulnerable. When encountering unarmed civilians, you can lure facehuggers in to impregnate them.
Fighting with wristblades in both hands, the Predator has a bit larger focus on melee combat than usually, with the ability to block and counter attacks. However, you'll still have access to several other weapons, such as proximity mines and the signature plasmacaster, making Predator the most versatile of the characters, as well as the only one who can effectively kill both from long and close ranges. If one tactic fails, you can try another. However, many of the weapons drain your energy, which can only be replenished by draining generators scattered throughout the levels. Though not as maneuverable as Alien, Predator can perform an aimed power-jump in order to reach higher locations. The bio-mask naturally gives different vision modes for tracking either humans or Aliens. Similarly to Alien, Predator can also draw enemies out with vocal mimicry and perform stealth kills and finishing moves. Avoid killing civilians, however, as it's considered a violation of the Yautja code of honor and will result in game over.
With modern graphics, the bloody gore is far more brutal and detailed, and whichever species you choose to play as, you'll get the feeling you truly are a member of the chosen species: a survivor against all odds, the ultimate organism or a stalking, lethal hunter. Personally, I can think of only two flaws: the campaigns are rather short and the game's focus on action might mitigate the suspense, meaning the atmosphere isn't necessarily as scary as in the older titles. Nevertheless, the game is a worthy piece to continue the series and even faithful to the original movies in many ways.
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