Aliens vs. Predator Multiplayer Hands On: The Battle of the Species
Written Thursday, January 28, 2010 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Come this February its backs to the walls time for the majority of gamers out there. No, we’re not sending Elton John round for a game of hide the pickle, Rebellion and SEGA’s Aliens vs. Predator will be hitting stores with a multiplayer mode with a difference. Last week we jetted (and by jetted we mean travelled coach class on the train) off to London to go hands-on with the title and test whether Rebellion could bring that magic from 11 years ago across to current-gen technology.
Taking a leaf out of their 1999 Aliens vs. Predator book, the multiplayer looks to bring the nuances and unique attributes that made the original so successful and instil them into their 2010 title. In the build we went hands on with there were 7 multiplayer modes with 6 different maps. The 7 different modes included varying mixes of deathmatch, Predator Hunt (1 Predator versus a squad of marines; kill the predator to become the predator), Infestation (the single Alien has to infest the group of marines one by one), Domination (capture and keep hold of key objectives) and Survivor (wave after wave of progressively harder enemies). The maps ranged from a Refinery and a Jungle to a Pyramid and a Temple.
Balance was always going to be key in the Aliens vs. Predator multiplayer arena and it’s safe to say that Rebellion has achieved that with its blocking system amongst other things... but mostly the blocking system. The system allows any species to defend themselves against melee attacks from any other species, whether you’re a Predator blocking an Alien attack or a marine blocking a Predator’s attack, you won’t be left short. It’s hardly a realistic nod to the franchise, but the fact remains it works and that’s the main thing. Unfortunately, whilst they may have achieved a solid balance in terms of overall gameplay, the problem still remains that being a human totally sucks and pales in comparison to being the ultimate Predator or a Xenomorph with incredible speed.
The controls in Aliens vs. Predator to start out with are as confusing as snow in July and it’s safe to say that there is a relatively steep learning curve. The problem comes down to having to use simultaneous button presses to achieve your end goal. Blocking is a matter of holding the two shoulder buttons. The Predator will have to use two button presses to jump – first select with the left trigger and jump with a face button. The same with an Alien jump attack. It might not sound too complicated on paper, but in the thick of combat it can get a little confusing. “How do I jump on this guy’s face again?” was a question I heard asked all too often. Once you get over the hump though and master the controls, the multiplayer comes into its own.
Depending on the mode you’ll get the choice of three species to use, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, but all on a fairly level playing field.
The game not only controls well, but also looks fantastic and that’s what makes the multiplayer such an enjoyable experience... if being scared out of your wits is what you find enjoyable. Actually, yes, we quite enjoy that around these parts. Rebellion have done some great things with light and dark, to create a moody, eerie, “I want my mommy” experience. The environments are so suitably detailed that as a marine the fear really kicks in and you’ll have plenty of double-take moments as you shine your torch across the many metallic surfaces.