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Aliens Vs. Predator 2 review
Posted: 6/12/01 by No longer Trippin | Comments (17)

Aliens vs. Predator 2 is pretty much the same game as one. Only with a storyline and those fun things us gamers without budget’s call long load times. For those hoping for a scary game, which leaves you on the edge of your seat, well, you got it. There is now a quickcheat - I mean quicksave feature. For all you bitchy purists who want to never complete the game, there is a hardcore mode with no such feature. Thankfully I’m not a purist, or I’d be writing a review based on the maybe the second level.

The game captures the mood of the first quite well. It’s dark, enemies can appear out of nowhere, and most of all, you can die remarkably fast. Quite a few times I died wondering how I died, as I never saw what killed me. Well, I never wondered with the marine, as everything kills the marine, and kills him remarkably fast. This is a game where adrenaline replaces the need for caffeine for a late night gaming session. One thing notably different from the first, is that this one has a storyline. It’s your typical Aliens storyline with the Predator’s storyline thrown in as well. So the human’s get doubly shafted. It’s not a remarkable storyline, nor does it have any real plot twist, but it does the job.

As for the graphics. They are beautiful, there is a lot of attention paid to detail which is why I believed they brightened up the levels. It’s no use having great graphics if you can’t see them. The only shortcoming of it all is that the engine that powers it all is much more demanding than the Quake 3 Arena engine. Lithtech, lowtech, sounds too close of a resemblance to be a coincidence. At least the engine shows something for all the resources it sucks up, some games don’t. The graphics don't match Wolfenstien, but they are still great. The sounds of the game are done well. Everything sounds exactly like it does in the movies, really helps to capture the sense of dread that is associated with the game’s namesake. The music is nothing special, and at times can tip you off before the motion detector, but it’s not bad either. It captures the mood well, but I'm not about to want a CD of it. It is better than many games of late though. One thing I can’t say about the sound is placement, being deaf in one ear doesn’t give me that opportunity. Judging by the quality put into the sounds themselves though, I would assume they would be dead on.

Playing as the marine is truly where one gets that sense of dread. The motion detector lighting up a mass of blips ahead, then falls silent. You know your walking into a trap, but you have no choice. Seeing a predator on a ridge kill single-handedly a small army, and you have no cover if it decides to shoot at you. One never gets the support of a team, not even a single partner. Every time you meet up with a fellow marine he will either turn up dead or he will be gaurding something. One thing that detracts from the fear is how plentiful ammo is. The only way to die from ammo problems is getting caught reloading in the middle of a firefight. Still, the sense of dread and fear prevails which makes for a memorable gaming experience.

If one species really plays different than any other FPS character I’ve played, it is the alien. You get to play as the facehugger, the chestburster, and the runner/drone. As the first two, your generally helpless and have to avoid humans as just one can kill you. You play the vast majority of the game though as a runner/drone. With the pounce ability, even far off enemies can be reached and killed quickly. Whatever you pounce on generally dies immediately, allowing you to take out you biggest threat and fight the others conventionally, or pounce on them as well if your taking too much damage. Enemies you pounce on though give you no health and are gibbed, so you can't eat them off the ground either. So you have to limit your pouncing if you want to stay healthy. Wall walking is highly disorienting, but if mastered adds a whole new dimension to the game when fighting. The alien’s missions generally are fast paced with plenty of targets. The times you do run into fellow hive drones is generally for them to distract sentry guns or guards while you perform a particular action. Just don’t count on them lasting too long, as they die quickly leaving you in the middle of a hellstorm of gunfire. While you get damaged easily, whatever damages you, if you kill it, you can heal from it. The aliens missions, while capturing some sense of fear, are more amusing and fun than anything else.

Lastly, but certainly not least, the predator. This one I have mixed feelings about. While more durable than the marine, but less so than the first game, you come equipped to regenerate to full health and energy in about ten seconds whenever you feel the need. Really makes you invincible being able to heal and recharge after every fight. While this detracts from the predators gameplay, other things make up for it. Having the full range of the predator’s weapons in the sequel is great. I believe 9 weapons in all. Out of it all though, being able to cloak has to be the best, leading to the most memorable kills. As the predator you also go from being the hunter, to the hunted, and back around again. Really brings different gameplay styles from mission to mission for the predator. You have four sets of filters for vision. One is unfiltered, the other three are set to other species. One for humans, one for aliens, one for predators and sentry guns. One has to flip through modes constantly, as being lazy can get you killed by not seeing something. So while making one set of targets more visible, it makes others far less visible. You will probably be the most active on missions as the predator, since you have so much to manage. Multiple weapons, cloaking, vision filters, healing, and energy recharging.

One thing I cannot comment on is the multiplayer system. Being on a 56K connection isn't fun. There are several multiplayer modes: deathmatch, hunt, survivor, evac, and overrun. Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch is pretty well known by now, if you don't know it, then you really don't play multiplayer, so you can skip the rest of this paragraph. Hunt is to rack up the most kills as the hunter while eveyone else tries to kill you. Survivor seems to be some sort of last one standing deal, though when you get killed you hunt the rest of the survivors until there is only one left. Overrun is where each side plays attacker for a set period of time, then defender, Whoever kills the defenders the fastest wins. Evac is where a team has to reach a certain point without dying. I'm not a LPB so I can't comment on how these modes are in actuality, or if they work. The game does come, I believe, with an in game server finder.

Overall, I’d have to give the game an A-. The only detractors being it’s overdemanding engine, long load times (even quickloads) and the predator’s nearly unlimited resources. They could have done the predator’s energy/healing system better. As it is now, you can almost never die. Still, with restraint, it’s corrected. Beautiful graphics, scary, dread filled atmosphere, and great gameplay make this game near perfect. Just make sure you have the system for it; plus an extra set of underwear.
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