In Aliens Versus Predator 2, you play three overlapping scenarios as a Colonial Marine, the Predator, and the ultimate horrific killing monstrosity from Alien. Although the scenarios are separate, you visit the same locations and see much of the same environments in each, seeing the other characters from unique perspectives. It's a nice piece of continuity that adds up to immersive and exciting gameplay.
The Marine's storyline is the most complete of the three, but all campaigns are very satisfying, and the cinematic aspect makes you feel like an actor in a big budget movie. As in a film, the intense atmosphere provides a series of startling events designed to make you jump out of your seat. For example, playing as the Marine, your team members become quickly separated in true horror style, and the sounds and images leave you feeling totally alone and vulnerable. While the other campaigns are similar in intensity, the natural affinity is for the human character rather than a beast with two mouths and acid for blood.
The overlapping storylines play very differently. The Marine relies on guns, goggles, special tech equipment, and a hacking device to get through doors. Without the strength of the Predator or the armor of an Alien, hit and run tactics and stealth are key ingredients to survival. As the Predator, you can use its cloaking device to hide and set up some serious in-your-face close quarter combat with the Marines and Aliens.
The Alien campaign is truly unique and innovative in that you use both stealth and hand-to-hand fighting as you progress from a face hugger to a chest-burster to a full-grown drone, with the type of alien dictated by whose face you hug! The Predator seems to have the best of it, though, since unlike the other two characters, it has the full run of the floors, walls and ceilings. It's a bit tricky to handle at first, though the main objectives for each campaign are fairly clear and easy to follow.
The AI seems fairly typical for a shooter, with no one really taking cover or backing each other up. Instead, enemies come right at you, guns, claws or spear guns blazing. Although there are instances when your opponent will run away and look for help if pinned down or injured, for the most part it's just run and gun mentality.
Beyond the standard AI, a few other issues detract from this otherwise solid title. At times you get "stuck," requiring the occasional reload, which can be annoying due to the long load times for the cinema-like events. Another problem is that each time the game loads a new area, you begin with your weakest weapon in hand, guaranteed to catch you off guard at times. Generally these situations don't begin with immediate attacks, but it can be disconcerting if you forget to change weapons.
Although the game is geared toward the three single-player scenarios, six multiplayer modes offer additional gameplay. Death Match, Team Death Match, and Hunt are fairly self-explanatory. Survivor is simply the last man standing scenario, Overrun features two races vying for supremacy through total annihilation, and Evacuation centers on one character trying to reach an extraction point prior to being killed.
In multiplayer action, races have unique weaknesses and strengths as well as a number of variants from which to choose that slightly change gameplay. Examples include the super-agile, yet weak, Runner Alien, the powerful Assault Predator and a bunch of Marine specialists such as the demolitions expert and sniper. Although play can become redundant over the long term, game life can be extended through this media.
Despite the minor flaws, Aliens Versus Predator 2 is a solid shooter, certain to entertain any gamer looking for immersive gameplay, interesting characters and fluid action.
Graphics: The dark and dank environments are of movie-like quality with appropriate scary atmospheres.
Sound: Some sound effects seem to be taken directly from the movies, such as the Marines' pulse rifles, Alien clicks and the Predator's roar. The music enhances gameplay by adding tension and making the experience seem more "alive." Voice acting is fairly good. Ambient noise is quite stunning, especially clicks and claws of creatures coming for you across walls, floors and ceilings.
Enjoyment: Being able to play as all three entities with different styles and perspectives makes the game exciting and keeps it from getting stale.
Replay Value: Playing as three different races, and with the Alien's game changing depending on who you hug, replay value is extremely high. Multiplayer options add even more game life.
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