Impressions: Aliens vs. Predator

Screenshot from Rebellion's upcoming Aliens vs. Predator

I got to see Aliens vs. Predator at Sony’s holiday preview. The game is being developed by Rebellion and published by Sega. It is Rebellion’s third first-person shooter with the title Aliens vs. Predator: the first was released for the Atari Jaguar in 1994, the second for the PC in 1999.

You play as either a human Colonial Marine, alien xenomorph, or predator, and, uh, well, go around killing other marines, aliens, or predators. Marines can carry a number of different guns and equipment, aliens can climb walls and crawl through tight spaces, and predators can leap around and have a number of vision modes in which to track prey.

The demonstration I saw was of an alpha build of the game: the features were there, but the levels and art were not complete. Nonetheless, the game looked pretty good, particularly the execution sequences. In addition to running and shooting or slashing at enemies, players can get up close and perform brutal executions. Aliens smash open marines’ faces with their inner mouths, slit their throats with their tails, or hold them down for a facehugger to clamp onto them; predators grab aliens by the throat and rip out their inner mouths, or slam their blades through marines’ heads. These sequences play out from the first-person perspective, so the gore is right in your face. It’s not for everyone, but these can be a perverse sort of pleasure.

The game will include both single- and multi-player modes. Aliens vs. Predator will include three single-player campaigns, one for each of the races. I enjoyed the single-player of Aliens vs. Predator 2, made by Monolith and released in 2001, and would like to play through similarly varied environments (planet surfaces, ship hangars) in the upcoming AvP. Unfortunately, it is too early to tell just how the single-player will be.

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Multiplayer is one of the biggest strengths of Rebellion’s 1999 PC game, and is the focus of this upcoming game. Rebellion has said that they are taking a lot of time to balance the three races to create different styles of play for each race without allowing gaps that favour one over the others.

Sega plans to release Aliens vs. Predator sometime in early 2010. (Keep in mind Gearbox’s squad-based game, Aliens: Colonial Marines, is also set to be released in 2010.)

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