Today I hit the road for a day out in the big city. SEGA kindly invited 7outof10 to checkout Rebellion’s soon to be unleashed Aliens Vs Predator over at Bunker 51, but before the hunting began, we were despatched into the bowels of the Raceway for a few exhausting games of laser tag to set the mood. We were bundled into the bunker, the surrounding scenery dark and desolate; barbed wire and cracked stone lining the dimly-lit blood-red walls. The place really looked in keeping with the game’s image, and even the marshals were trained to give us a pep talk. “We are Weyland-Yutani employees soon to become an elite group of soldiers; the best of the best”. The Halo theme tune and visions of becoming my favourite Spartan bounced around in my head, but were soon quashed when we were told to wear hair nets – protecting our follicles from our helmet and turning every potential Spartan into partially-armoured dinner ladies.
Yes, the doctors were right, too. You really shouldn’t run around an apocalyptic underground wasteland when you’ve had knee surgery only two months prior. But, hey, these are the lessons of life. My movements were more Robocop than Spartan, but fun was had all the same. After three exhausting rounds of standing in corners, leaning on things, and getting shot a lot, the games came to a close. We retreated back to the barracks to de-hairnet and then headed back upstairs for some lunch and a cheeky cider before settling down with the game that had gathered us all together.
The guys from Rebellion gave everyone a thorough walk through as to how each character works, the differences and features of each type, and how to basically kill things in awesome ways. Thankfully a control list was provided at each booth, and I successfully spent the first five minutes figuring out how to jump down from the roof as an alien. The controls are drastically different for each unit and it’s hard to remember which is which, particularly the predator; he’s tough to use, a little clunky, and all of his weapons are spread randomly throughout the map. You’ll need to pick them all up before you can start slicing foes in half with plasma cannons. However all his assets remain true to the films; his invisible cloak allowing you to gallivant around the map mostly undetected, and fast movement creating that blurring effect synonymous with a predator’s presence. His vision modes look fantastic and are tailored to easily identify each of his foes.
Marines keep the balance by using assault rifles and scanners, allowing notification of any approaching enemy. You may presume a marine is as good as cat food when it becomes a melee battle, but balance is firmly restored by each unit’s ability to block and parry incoming attacks. In the marine’s case, this allows time to stagger a flailing alien to the ground, buying enough time to put it down for good with bullets.
Aliens got my vote for just being the most fun to play with. There’s nothing better (and confusing) than being able to run upon pretty much every surface and in any direction at a blistering pace. The orientation may make you feel a little giddy, but the nice touch of a horizon level and a release button will see you fall to the ground, no matter which direction you may be looking.
The game prides itself on super gory ‘kill moves’. A sneaky alien or predator will be able to approach their prey from behind and perform various brutal dismemberments of the opposition. However, this does leave the attacking unit open to other attacks and I found this out the hard way whilst playing as the predator. My stealthy approach was rewarded when I happened upon an unsuspecting marine and executed a kill move, which saw claw blades rip through his torso. As his eyes rolled in the back of his head, an alien tail punched through my stomach. The screen began to fade to black as my dying body headed floor bound, catching the glimpse of the alien’s elongated smile as he ran past me; the cheeky scamp.
Multiplayer-wise there were plenty of different ways to mix things up, from standard death matches combining all the different races, to race-specific variations and a domination mode where two teams of aliens and marines battle it out to control several points around the map for the longest period of time. It was good fun, but I found it much more difficult storming into a room full of aliens than marines. It’s probably more a psychological thing- but damn those tails are HUGE!
I struggled in predator mode. Basically juggernaut from Halo, one player will spawn as the predator, his mission is to kill as many marines as possible. If killed by a marine however, that player then becomes the Predator and the roles are reversed. It didn’t take long to realise all the marines can stick together, thus making it nearly impossible for the predator to swoop in for the kill. I spent the majority of the match either bundled within a group of trigger-happy marines, or perched, cloaked on a branch, waiting for one of the pack to fall behind.
However, the Infestation mode really stole the show. Seven marines spawn against one alien and if a marine gets killed they become an alien too – cue an absolutely terrifying closing few minutes as I fought alone as the last man standing. My radar making more noise than a broken bleep test, aliens swarming my screen from every direction. The lighting in the game really is fantastic too, amplifying the scare factor with near pitch-black contrast. This was certainly the most entertaining game type of the afternoon for me. I can’t wait to be playing it with several friends chasing each other from room to room with the sole intention of tearing my larynx in half… much like a night out in Gloucester.
All in all it was a brilliant day and the game certainly has some real potential. I appreciate how it pulls the positive elements from previous games and allows them to flourish within the HD environments – which look stunning by the way – and a decent variety of maps and game types will breathe life into the longevity of multiplayer. I didn’t get chance to touch on the single-player game, but if what I have seen is anything to go by, it could be a very entertaining title to look forward to next month. I can’t wait to get my claws on it once more.
Thanks to SEGA and Rebellion for the chance to check it out.