Aliens vs Predator Single Player In-Depth Hands On Preview - Just The 3 Of Us

Dan Webb

There are certain unwritten laws in the “Gamer’s Guide to Gaming” (pending trademark by the way), especially when you’re talking about the horror-survival genre. Three of the most important of these conventions as far as this particular genre go are: lights off, curtains closed and crank the bass up to 20. Of course if you’re me – which you’re obviously not (I hope) – then there is a fourth as well, and that’s “no pants,” but we don’t ask everyone to do that... especially if there are kids around. This week we turned off the lights, drew the curtains in the middle of the afternoon, took off our pants and cranked up the bass, as we went hands on with Aliens vs. Predator’s single player campaigns. Three species. Two missions on each. Three totally different experiences.

The Marine

The marine’s campaign thrusts you into the shoes of the unsuspecting rookie who takes part in the traditional survival-horror chapter of the game. The opening 30 minutes of the marine campaign is a slow and arduous jaunt to learn the rather simplistic mechanics of the game. If anything, as well as introduce you to your toys and the controls, I think it’s safe to say that the opening 30 minutes are there to capture the mood by creating this feeling of isolation; a feeling that the marine is constantly trying to shake throughout.

Your first objective is to make your way across the colony and restore power to one of the generators. Along the way you’ll navigate through claustrophobic, low-level lighted corridors with a hint of danger in the air, with nothing but a hand-gun and a flashlight to help get you through the perpetual darkness. If it wasn’t for the constant blipping of the radar - which can’t be turned off - the mood would be perfectly set. Shortly after the rookie restores power to the colony of Freya’s Prospect, he encounters his first taste of what it feels like to be the hunted as he is left to fight off the advances of a solitary Xenomorph with his hand-gun.

The real action kicks off when you’re instructed by your contact to investigate the goings-on and whereabouts of a marine patrol in the colony’s night-club; a night-club that appears to have been transformed into a Xenomorph's breeding ground. The Xeno mucus drips down the walls and the bass of the club echoes around its empty shell. All that exists in this deserted club is a computer generated pole dancer. No marines. Nothing. After making his way up to the second floor, here the marine encounters his first Xeno onslaught with wave after wave of blood thirsty Xenos appearing out of nowhere. Being armed with a pulse rifle with grenade launcher attachment makes the Xenos easier to take down here, and making use of his trusty flares means that you can cast a much needed light source on the proceedings.

From this point on the battles in the rookie’s campaign seem to rise in scope and more often than not, have you firing aimlessly assuming you just saw something in the shadows. In the next 10-20 minutes alone you’re left to fight a swarm of incoming Xenos alongside a heavy duty turret; fend off a pack of them whilst you wait for an elevator; and holding point as a group of them pile out the mines across a nearby bridge on the planet’s dusty surface. The only thing that changes seems to be the environments though which doesn’t say a lot for mission variety. The opening few chapters consisted of typical clichéd set-pieces that really stay true to the roots of the franchise.

The Alien

From the very first mission you can tell that the Xenomorph’s campaign is going to be the shortest out the lot. In contrast to the marine’s campaign where you’re constantly striving to lighten up the environment to give yourself a fighting chance, the Xenomorph seeks out to do the exact opposite. Having the ability to take out lights with your tail is one way the Xeno can get an edge. The emphasis here though is on speed and stealth as you use the simple controls to circumnavigate armed guards using vents and sticking to the dark.

You’ll kick off the campaign finding yourself strapped up in a giant clamp inside a laboratory as scientists throw live bait in to test the Xenomorph’s unique capabilities. As it always is the case with the Alien films, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, but in this case, you’re a Xenomorph, so that spells freedom for you.

After you’re sprung from your cell, your objective is quite simply to make your way through the facility using vents, the ceiling, sticking to the dark and also devouring guards along the way, to free the Queen. Unlike the other two species, the Alien has regenerative health, but that won’t save you if you decide to take on the guards head-on. Suffice it to say, they can’t take an insane amount of punishment and you have to play to the strengths of the species if you’re going to survive. They are organic melee monsters after all.

The early levels are fast paced, with the Alien able to move at considerable speeds and transition from surface to surface in the blink of an eye. In fact, the chapters seem to be all over in the blink of an eye also, which will certainly be a shame if it translates that way across the whole campaign in the final version. You know, considering the Xenomorph campaign is something fresh that Rebellion can bring to the first person genre.

The Predator

Like its Xenomorph counterpart, the Predator’s campaign also relies on becoming the hunter and using the element of surprise to get an edge over your opponent. More so than the Xenomorph though, the Predator will have to rely on tactics. If you’re going to stand toe-to-toe with the marines, you’re going to lose. Simple as that.

Using invisibility and isolating marines play the biggest role in the Predator’s campaign. If you’re going to run into a group of them and think you can blast or slash your way out, you’ll be in for a shock. Even using the one-hit-kill “killmoves” in a group is not the wisest idea, even if there are only two of them to take care of. Those two seconds where you’re ripping off someone’s head can leave you incredibly vulnerable.

The Predator’s campaign kicks off with a similar tutorial section, and like the other two, it stays true to the roots of their respective franchise. In a test of spirit ritual, the Predator must prove themselves before they’re sent out into the open on their own. This will mean grasping the ins-and-outs of the melee and blocking system, learning how to use the shoulder canon and also how to move around quickly. Out of all the species, the introduction to the nuances of the Predator species are probably the most important as it’s the fancy gadgets that will save you more often than not.

After all is said and done and the Predator has proved himself worthy enough, his adventure (is it a him?) starts in the jungle. His objective is simple; locate fallen comrades and self destruct their remains to get rid of the Predator technology that can be used against them. Each comrade in this opening “story” mission is found in progressively trickier areas, with the first being found out in the open jungle, whilst the second is nestled under the watchful eye of a patrol of marines in a building adjacent to a swamp. The swamp actually throws up a few potential stumbling blocks however, as when you get wet, your invisibility cloak will no longer function, so it’s essential to stick to the trees. A nice little obstacle that actually makes you think about your action-plan a little more before rushing in.

Your tools are fairly limited in the opening few sections with you progressively getting more as you advance. Starting with just the invisibility cloak and a shoulder cannon (that needs charging at certain points throughout the maps very regularly), you slowly pick up the trademark tools of the trade, starting with the proximity mines. Combine these with the Predator’s lure ability and you have a devastating attack combo at your disposal – the distract ability allows you to replicate a human voice and lure a marine to a location of your choosing.

The Predator campaign in all seems to be the most unique of all three and offers something that many first person shooters don’t... and that’s gadgets and a little bit of strategy. Again, variety was a little lacking and there was maybe a bit too much melee combat in the early stages, but otherwise it was quite enjoyable experience.

All in all, the three campaigns offer three totally different play-styles and the ability to switch between them, when and as you see fit, will surely be welcomed with open arms by gamers. A few interesting design decisions have been made including the constant beeping of the radar and having no iron-sight in the marine's campaign leave us scratching our head, but they sure got the survival-horror aspect nailed there. The Xeno's controls are fairly simple once you get used to them, but the whole experience can be nausea-inducing as you constantly bounce from one surface to the next.

Having sampled the opening chapters of each campaign, if there is anything that will let the game down when it ships, it’ll be the mission variety. We assume that will change as you get further into the game and the three species start to lock horns with one another - well, at least we hope so - but in the opening few chapters, everything was a little bit samey. We won't know for sure how that pans out until the retail game ships, so check back then for our final word. In the meantime, check out the multiplayer demo on Xbox Live.

Aliens vs. Predator is out February 16th and February 19th in North America and Europe respectively.
  • I think i'll wait until it's out for a bit before purchasing. I'm not entirely 100% sure about this game, but i loved the original(s)
  • I'm on the edge on whether to pass or gamefly/rent. I thought the multiplayer was a little on the mediocre side but I think the campaign wouldn't be too bad. I'll just wait and see
  • Looks pretty good
  • I can't wait for this game. Looks great. The experience in the three campaigns will be very interesting.
  • Any decent game is worth renting, just to set your standards if not for any other reason. on topic, I'm looking forward to this, and hope it's better than what the above reviews say :/
  • I thought the demo for this was awesome, and I've only played as the alien so far, not to mention getting owned by the humans. Better then the BC2 demo, whose graphics couldn't even top MW1. Sorry..just saying.
  • I was on the fence about this, but the fear that I felt hearing an Alien hiss in MP, before I emptied a clip into any shadow, so I am definitely going to give it a go.
  • Have preordered, really looking forward to this, the demo's good just need to get used to being the alien, should have finished Bioshock 2 by the time this comes out.
  • This is my feb title. I really like the demo, a bit tough to get used to in the heat of battle, but the campaign seems like the way I wanted to always play as Predator, the MP is an afterthought to me, hopefully it wasn't the other way around in the dev's mind. I really hope they didn't make a MP game with a tacked on SP, that would be a let down. Well, either way would be a let down, but the demo proved I'll like the MP. Can't wait for this one.
  • Looks great, but after reading some disappointing Dante's Inferno reviews, I'm going to wait a few days before possibly picking this up. I need to know that singleplayer is solid, because I don't see myself playing MP much.
  • After spending nearly 20 hours on the demo, I cannot wait any longer for the retail copy. Bought and paid for, hurry up Feb. 16th. It just can't get here soon enough for me.
  • @6 - are you serious? BC2 looks miles better than MW2. To me most shooters feel samey after youve played enough of them anyway, so i dont see that as a negative point, more of a fact of the genre. I know im getting this release day anyway, i just cant resist it.
  • This game got a pretty bad review from gameinformer. It got a 5.75.....
  • The demo really brings a new way of game play to FPSs
  • @#13- Just because the fine folks at GameInformer didn't like doesn't mean it's a bad game. Everyone has different opinions. Haven't tried the multiplayer cos my xbox is broken, but the screens/videos have all showed massive promise. Probably gonna try out the demo at my friend's tomorrow. Still, this could be the new "big thing" if the multiplayer is a hit, and the campaigns go over well. Fingers crossed.
  • this thing could be popular online sure but once Bad Company 2 hits and the legions of people still playing MW2, might not be a massive MP but could still be fun
  • Hmmmm the multiplayer demo wasn't what i hoped, may wait for a while to see all the reviews before i deside to buy this...
  • The only review that matters is your own, stop letting other people tell you what to do with your money and decide for yourself.
  • The Predator was so massively underpowered in the demo. It's pretty obvious the developers are Alien fanboys.
  • @19 All of the species are well balanced as long as u know what you are doing and what to equip, it all depends on the situation.
  • @19 the predator wasnt underpowered... you just gotta learn how to use him right.
  • @20 Oh really? So every idiot spamming the x button for kills is balanced? Bullshit, it reminds me of the retards in GoW trying to get chainsaw kills. Of course, as you say... if you know what your doing this isn't a problem. The weapons of the marine & predator are deadly when used properly. It's just a pity that hardly anyone doesn't know how to use them. It's all sprinting down corridors and smacking the X button.
  • I don't agree with how they setup the demo, you're thrown into battle with a quick "this button does this" but what does that mean? What does it do? What can I expect? Right yeah I'll try it out, oh wait the people I've been playing with know what's what already so I don't have a fighting chance to test it out & play on "level terms". They're all killing each other & I'm faffing around trying to figure what's what & at times getting suckered into battle, yeah great, nice one, I got more important stuff to do like testing BFBC2's demo & playing other games that I own. A demo is meant to lure the player in to "want to buy the game", not push away, especially fans of the Alien & Predator series. I'm not the only one who's disapointed either.
  • @ 22 - Oh right so that's what they were doing, huh figures, now you've put it that way, I don't think I'll bother redownloading the demo. Had high hopes for this, curse photoshop for making the screens look so good, sorry & over high spec PC's ;)
  • Definitely sounds like I'll be checking this out via rental. I didn't much like the mulitplayer demo and from the sounds of this article the single player will be pretty short. And no, I probably won't be trying to play it on Uber Marine or whatever the hell the highest difficulty is called.
  • In the article it sounds like he didn't like the beeping but I think it helps with the fear effect. It's just like the Aliens movie when it's beeping and you get the line "Their above us." ...or something along those lines anyway.
  • Yeah there's nothing wrong with the bleeping of the motion sensor, for the marines its your life line & is freaking cool. It adds to the suspense & as #26 said. It's not Alien if you don't have the bleeping from the motion sensor.
  • Wasn't incredibly impressed with the demo, the aliens were fun to play for a bit, predators I have not tried yet, and the humans gave me headaches due to the constant beeping noises. Will likely end up renting first.
  • I didn't get a chance to play the marine but I didn't care for the alien in the demo.
  • @6, either you have a crappy TV or you are blind in both eyes. BC2 has much better graphics than both MW1 and MW2 (cartoon graphics ftl). Considering the amount of on screen action there is compared to other fps games, destructible environments etc, it shows how much better BC2 is. Who cares about 60fps when all you can do is shoot through walls while everyone runs around with akimbo shottys? The console version of BC2 looks a little washed out compared to the pc version, which on high settings is one of the best looking games ive seen. Back on topic, I loved the demo of this, but if the campaigns do turn out to be quite short, then i'll wait for a price drop.
  • @13, where did you read that? I haven't gotten a new issue in the mail yet, and there's no review of the game on their site. Actually, I can't find any reviews for the game yet. Just did a couple searches and checked some sites and I couldn't find one site score for the game. You know what's fun? Not making up stuff.
  • The demo gameplay was mediocre, likewise was the graphics. It's all about waiting for someone to use the x button to kill someone before doing it to them whilst they are vulnerable.
  • can't wait!!!!
  • The multiplayer is where the game is focused anyways so I don't care about singleplayer mission variety or length. Demo is amazing. Can't wait. And #32 I don't know what your talking about graphics being mediocre and I used the kill-moves alot for all of 2 matches. They are nice but they make you really vulnerable so only extremely stupid people use them non stop in the middle of a fight.
  • man, i wouldn't want to be those marines....... can't wait for the game, though.
  • @#30 Maybe BC2 would be more well recieved if they had changed the bad things from the first one and not added more bad things on top of it. Graphics do not matter as much as gameplay. MW2 sucks balls and it's still a better game than BC2.
  • I'll be disappointed if the Alien campaign is really that short, that's what I'm looking forward to most. But the game still looks quite good. I have yet to try the demo though.
  • Um #30 what does the action on screen have to do with graphics. Graphics have nothing to do with gameplay and while MW2 has a few annoyances with its gameplay, like hit detection at times and missing the knife it still plays smoother than BC2
  • I could've sworn this was a aliens vs predator article. But I guess I'm wrong since a lot of you are talking about modern warfare 2 and bad company 2....
  • Alien campaign "fresh"? This is not my first AVP game, I've played basically the same Alien campaign twice now (2.5 times if you count Primal Hunt). Looking forward to the predator's campaign more than anything. They've changed everything that was wrong with the predator's perspective and it's become nearly identical to how it's shown in the 2 predator (not AVP!) movies. The fact that you can lure humans by using your voice recorder is amazing, hopefully you can record your own like the pred from predator 1 does. And yeah, it's a male predator. Females are larger and are obviously...female. Lol.
  • #39 very very true... but other than that im getting this game on release no matter what
  • I personally thought the demo was utter shite so I'm hoping that the single player campaigns make up for it.I'm a big fan of the films so that will be one saving grace to me.
  • I got really really lucky on the multiplayer demo and got a 17 kill streak
  • @6 u talk shit the graphics on battlefield were 1000% better than modern warfare and ther only demo graphics avp demo was crap but a might get it for single player
  • Jumping from ground to wall to ceiling as Alien is pretty sick! I like how they've evened off the fact that it's kinda cheap with the fact that it's also disorienting. I am really looking forward to this game.
  • Meh well i though the multiplayer demo was very weak. Bunch of X mashing and sub-par graphics. Was hoping the single player would be better but from reading this, that doesn't seem to be the case. Might pick it up in the bargain bin once it comes out and gets 6-7 average reviews.
  • @ 31, you know what's fun? Not being an asshole.
  • @31 That also :D
  • The demo for this was amazing, had tons of fun with my friends so I'm really looking forward to this.
  • i hope there is a Schwarzenegger skin you can download :)
  • I enjoyed the demo. It looks to offer something fresh in FPS's, it'll be a great distraction to my COD sessions.
  • this is a must buy, the campaigns will be good, nice achievement list, just hope the other mp modes are better cuz deathmatch is rubbish
  • I have always loved the franchises including both the original films and the new AVP ones, no one is gunna put me off this game as Far as I am concerned it will be a big change to cod which is draining on me now :D
  • The guy who reviewed it at Game Informer has obviously never seen the Alien or Predator movies. He complains about the heartbeat sensor bleeping all the time & the Predator's campaign being too stealthy...HE'S A NOOB!!!
  • @#54 - The heartbeat sensor is annoying =P
  • Cannnot WAIT for this damn game, anyone who loves the Alien/Predator/AVP movies will deff like this game. i played 2 rounds of the demo, then went and pre-ordered the game! ive loved these movies since i was a little kid, played the pc games, loved em, Ive been waiting for this game for quite some time, soooo, COME ONE FEB. 16th!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Does anyone else think it is odd that the people who do not want to spend fourty extra bucks on the game are not getting the extra maps. i have the extra money its just going toward bfbc2 and if they have these maps done they should not be put in marketplace or be special offer they should just be in the game. confused me a little bit perhaps a market strategy buy any how if i do not get these maps will i still be able to play all game types online. i know you couldn't in halo 3 thank you.
  • I have news for all you MW2 fanboys. If you go into MP on this game expecting to own ppl or expect it to play like MW2 you are sadly mistaken. Prepare to get mouth-raped.
  • I played the demo of this soo much, my xbox 360 got the red rings of death
  • looks shit
  • lmao at red rings of death!!!! bet u feel foolish now! red ringing ur xbox over a demo lol
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