It’s hard being a gamer. You pay a lot of money for a game that can last from six to sixty hours and hope it entertains. Picking a game relies upon using the advice of a reviewer to guide you and yet you may love a franchise so much you ignore reviews and take the risk of severe disappointment. The latest Aliens vs. Predator was one such risk.
I have just completed the Colonial Marine campaign in a game that received really average reviews from magazines citing gameplay and graphics. Reading some reviews, you’d think fans were in for a major disappointment and whilst I agree with some of the points involving controls and over-familiarity, I was reasonably impressed with what I had played to consider it time well spent.
Aliens vs. Predator was a game I greatly anticipated because I love the Alien film franchise. What I wanted from the game was for it to capture the experience of being a colonial marine complete with camaraderie and the atmosphere of being holed up in LV-426 with Hicks, Hudson and Vasquez, manning the barricades in a last ditch attempt to stave of waves of Xenomorph long enough for a drop-ship rescue.
In essence, I wanted the game to capture the full-blooded action, claustrophobia and terror that the film Aliens unleashed.
The game managed to get this in parts as what unfolded was a series of follow the marker missions and some fetch quests whilst a disembodied voice and some data-diaries filled in the story – overly familiar gameplay mechanics for anybody who has slogged their way through Bioshock. But when the atmosphere was captured it was glorious, which is what fans must want right?
I had not come to this game for anything new or revolutionary, I wanted to experience the increasing tension brought with every ping of the motion tracker, the sound of pulse rifles and smart-guns, the waves of enemies falling to my squad-mates and I as we threw out harsh language and standard light armour piercing rounds.
I found that experience. Every gun fired, every human encountered, every furious dash through dark corridors with bugs coming out of the walls reminded me of the film, how much I love the world the film created and why I love it.
Sure the game lacks the polish of Halo, the AI is lacking and game-play is familiar, but fighting my way through atmospheric parts of the game buoyed up by the sound-effects and the presence of Tequila with her Latin-lilt made the four-hours entertaining, which is what games are meant to be regardless of review score. Money well spent.