When the first version of Aliens versus Predator burst on to our PC screens some five years ago, the word on everyone’s lips was of fear. Rebellion, the games developers had managed to create a First Person Shooter (FPS) that broke boundaries. For starters it was the first time anyone had dared to create three different species with such varying skills - after all you tell us of another game where a campaign was based entirely around the lead (played by you) not actually having any weapons but merely a tail.
Since then there has been AVP2 and then Gold versions with additional missions and levels to complete. Breaking away from the FPS mould, EA’s latest take on the AVP universe sees the gameplay transfer to a Real Time Strategy (RTS) format. The game still offers the chance to play Aliens, Predators and Marines, but this time rather than live it through the eyes of the character, you are charged with ruling many across a map.
The concept in itself sounds something that we would all want to play - huge battles with multiple armies of predators fighting it out with aliens and marines all on the same battlefield - Wow.
The main crux of the game is based around 21 missions - seven for each race - and within these missions you discover that each race has certain strengths and weaknesses. The predators have the ability to cloak, heal themselves and deploy weaponary. The marines can call in each supplies and men via a drop ship while the aliens have the infamous face huggers.
In reality however the game is far from the idealistic dream that the concept should suggest. Gameplay is slow and the AI abundantly poor. It’s been a long time since we have seen a game where one minute you are winning and the next minute you’ve lost all your men because they have decided to walk off into a canyon full of the enemy with no other reason than to get around a mountain that is sort of in the way.
As in previous titles the concepts are still the same - the marine levels offer a gung-ho approach, the predator and all out domination (as long as you can manage your energy resources) and the aliens is still the hardest of the three. That’s great I hear you cry - surely that offers a great learning curve and gives my mates a chance when I chose to play them. And here is the biggest problem of all. There is no Multiplayer, no X-box live support and no network capabilities.
In today’s gaming world it is again strange that an RTS title would consider launching without multiplayer support. Yes you could argue that as the title has been designed for a console the rules are slightly different, but with both the X-box and PS2 offering (the only formats this game is currently available for) online gaming it seems strange that this game hasn’t bothered to include a “get online” feature but then again it shows you clearly that this game lacks any real depth.
When the original AVP game out, it was one of those games that made you jump, playing it in the dark late at night was not a good idea if you planned to go to sleep soon after. Even still after all this time (some five years) the two AVP FPS’s are at the cutting edge of gaming. EA have been brave to move the genre on, to try something new and for those looking for an RTS on a console - something that the X-Box lacks - this will fulfil your requirements. The problem is though is that it just doesn’t cut the mustard. The AVP range is supposed to scare and this just doesn’t do that. For the money that you’re going to spend on the X-Box version you could buy both AVP and AVP 2 on the PC and have a fair better if not scarier time.