I don’t know what it is about Rebellion’s new AVP game that has me so anxiously inpatient over its release. Recently there has been a lot of coverage for the game and I’ve been digging up as much dirt on it as I could. And with all the info now available, I’m able to finally give you guys a more in-depth look at most anticipated alien invasion Earth has had in a long time. So sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the show.
I’m not entirely sure what is it about pitting face-ripping aliens against space bounty hunters that seems to work so well. But the latest installment in the long-running Aliens vs. Predator series from the creators of the 1999 PC classic of the same name seems to have discovered the secret, and nailed it to the bone. A recent multiplayer demo at SEGA gave players an inside look at the new Aliens vs. Predator’s fast-paced combat, and man does it look amazing.
SEGA has released some info on the plot of the game, and the story is as follows: “On planet BG-386 a colonist mining group discovers an ancient pyramid containing a dark and horrible secret. Across the stars a race of warriors is alerted to the discovery of their pyramid and a hunting party is dispatched to ensure that it remains sealed at all costs, whilst deep inside the ruined pyramid a malevolent intelligence awakes from centuries of dormancy.”
Also, SEGA has stated that while each species will not only play very differently from the other and have their own story-driven single-player campaign, each character’s story will eventually intertwine with that of the other two species at some point in the game.
In AVP players take the role of either the Alien, Predator, or a Marine in a world where everything seems to only being interested in your head (detached from your body that is). As the fan favorite Predator, you’ll have access the classic “disc-blade” projectile weapon that after locked onto an opponent, can destroy them in just one single hit. However, your weapons won’t have an unlimited amount of energy; players will have to find and use charge stations scattered throughout each level to stay powered up. Fortunately for you however, invisibility mode doesn’t drain any power, so once you’re cloaked, you can stay hidden for as long as you like. And as we’re all already aware of, with Predators being far stronger than humans, they can easily leap heights that would be impossible for the average human to reach, and use their helmet’s different visors to see their enemies through walls.
Playing as an Alien will give players incredible agility to move in only the way a creature such as the Alien could throughout the level. Players will also be able to walk along walls and ceilings to catch their opponents by surprise. Plus, your vision allows you to sense enemies through walls and see Predators even when they’re cloaked. However, I have to warn you that taking on the role of an Alien restricts from all long-range attacks, which may not necessarily be a bad thing for those looking for a more stealthy approach to the game. Playing as the Alien basically means sticking to the shadows, striking fast, and getting out even faster. However, the Aliens do have one ability the other races don’t: Intimidation. With the press of a button, players can let out that oh-so-iconic rasping hiss. Can you imagine the panic you’ll cause?
Your last and final choice is the helpless and defenseless human Marines. Marines will pretty much feel a lot like other regular humans in any FPS. While you won’t have any awesome jumping abilities or be able to wall-climb, as a Marine you will have access to an arsenal of easy-to-use long-range weapons, and you can also pick up grenades and a shotgun somewhere on each multiplayer map. Also, the Marine’s mini-map uses sonar, letting you keep tabs on moving Aliens and Predators no matter how well they’re hidden. So there, the little sonar makes up for all the other species advantages.
AVP offers a variety of multiplayer modes, ranging from the standard deathmatch mode, to more unique ones, such as Infestation and Predator Hunt. In “Infestation,” everyone is forced to start off as a human, then the game chooses one person randomly to become the Alien. It’s the Alien’s job to “infect” the remaining Marines by killing them, and each time a human falls, they are than forced to join the Alien ranks. The player who scores the most kills gets the most points, thus giving the advantage to the humans, so long as they can hold off the unending Alien assault.
The second multiplayer mode, “Predator Hunt,” takes a similar approach, however this time only one person at a time is the Predator. If that player doesn’t kill anyone within a set amount of time or if they get killed, the Predator role goes to someone else, but if the Predator is able to keep killing Marines, they rack up points and get to remain in Predator form. While It’s not as fast-paced as Infestation, it does creates a fun balance between working as a group (and surviving), and going out solo to earn more points for yourself.
Finally, I have to say this one thing. The game looks like it still has some tweaking and balancing to go through: the player was obviously having major issues controlling the Alien and it didn’t seem to automatically climb walls, –he had to keep jumping on them first, giving the appearance that getting around at his faster pace was a little frustrating. Another thing I noticed was that the game allowed Predators and Aliens to sneak up on their opponents from behind for one-hit Stealth Kills, which then starts a needlessly long animation that actually leaves you completely vulnerable (similar to the knife kills in the recent Turok). In hectic mulitplayer matches, that almost always meant a chain of killing one enemy, only to be killed by another player as soon as the player started his attack. AVP isn’t slated to come out till early next year, so Rebellion Studios still has enough time to polish up AVP. Despite the age of this series, it’s already looking like an exciting over-the-top, original shooter. I sure as heck can’t wait to finally creep up on some unsuspecting Marines.