Aliens vs. Predator - Cheat Happens Game Review
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Aliens vs. Predator
PC, Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

Developer:
Rebellion
Publisher: Sega
Rated: "M" for Mature



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     

I’m a new recruit Space Marine walking through tight, lowly lit corridors shaking with fear. Suddenly, I hear tapping noises above me. There go the lights. I’ve got to see what’s above me. Then I find out that I can’t look up. Crap.

The Space Marine’s inability to perform even the most basic of movements serves as a symbol for all of Rebellion’s Aliens vs Predator; a symbol of broken promises and disappointments. You’re going to want to love this game, but a series of botched basics and questionable gameplay design decisions will leave you wanting oh so much more.

On paper, Aliens vs Predator should not only work – it should be a hit. Take two awesome movie monsters, pitting them against each other and put humans in the unfortunate middle. Add to that the fact that Rebellion Studios is responsible for the franchise’s cult 1998 hit and you have a game that seemingly can’t fail. Ermmm…

The game’s biggest strength is that it employs three separate campaigns for each of the battling species. Its novel, and different – imagine playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s different stories in separate campaigns – but the problem is that none of these campaigns feels completely fleshed out.  Each of the campaigns uses a slightly different gameplay mechanic – as an alien you’ll use stealth, as a predator a ton of melee combat and as a human you’re going to be playing a standard FPS.  The problem though, is that the level design in each of the campaigns is so uninspired and repetitive that you’re going to lose track of just where you are in the game.  Take the marine levels for instance – at the beginning they’re quite creepy and are fitting for the game’s universe but once you get to the later levels you trade in that ambiance for temples and forests that could be in any other shooter.

 
   

I know most people are going to enjoy the Predator campaign the most, it’s got the most weapon options and the story of a young predator trying to prove himself is interesting enough – but I found myself having the most fun with the Alien levels. As a xenomorph, you have free-roam of just about any surface, a mechanic that takes some getting used to but when you do master it there’s just so much you can do with it. The coolest thing to do is find a room with a bunch of marines and then systematically destroy the lights on the wall, sending the humans into a panic. It’s reminiscent of (but admittedly not quite as cool as) Batman: Arkham Asylum’s fear mechanic from last year.

The game’s longest (or maybe it just seems that way) chunk is the Marine campaign, which sadly is about as third rate FPS as you can get.  The developers attempted to borrow several mechanics from other successful titles but didn’t manage to use them right. There’s the flashlight from Left 4 Dead, except this time it seems to be stuck on a low setting as it’s so unhelpful it may as well not even be there. Perhaps the developers thought to themselves that most gamers won’t even bother spending much time on the human campaigns – why should they spend much time making them?

This may not surprise anyone, but Aliens vs Predator is a pretty violent game. The game makes no bones about the fact that as a predator you’re going to collect heads as trophies or use humans as a nest for alien babies. Now I’ve played my fair share of violent games, but there’s something a bit unsettling about the latter, until it happens over…and over….and over. This is one of the game’s main problems, even the aspects that come off as cool early in the game become incredibly tedious by the end.

 
   

Thankfully, Aliens vs Predator employs a pretty robust online suite that comes close to, but doesn’t save the game entirely. The key to the suite’s success is clear – options. There are enough modes and tweaks to play to any player’s strengths here, and Rebellion has done a great job creating a system gamers will want to play.  There’s survivor mode, which thankfully returns from the original PC title – think of it as Gears of War’s Horde mode, just more tense. You and up to three friends stand in the center of a room and try to survive against a number of Aliens that come out of the darkness, off the walls and down from the ceilings. I also enjoyed the infestation mode which turns every killed player into an Alien – whose sole purpose is to hunt down the remaining marines.

Aliens vs Predator isn’t a horrible game, it’s just poorly executed. The right ideas are there, and there’s enough nods to past games, movies and comics for fans to appreciate but it’s too hard to get past the game’s clunky controls and layout to thoroughly enjoy. Unless you’re a diehard fan of the series or its creatures, Aliens vs Predator is no more than a weekend waster. 

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Unlimited Ammo, No Reload, Easy Kills

Some say cheating isn’t fair – to them I say go ahead, take on that alien colony without unlimited ammo.

Having unlimited ammo to dump into the game’s legendary monsters while playing as a human is surprisingly rewarding and makes some of the game’s lengthier areas go by faster.  Just a tip – if you’re using this cheat, you’re going to want to use the no reload cheat as well.

What I didn’t like was the easy kill cheat – as an alien and a predator the best part of the game is hunting down your enemies. Using this cheat takes that away and often makes the kills feel cheap.

 

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