The Aliens were absolutely fantastic. Well…they can be in the hands of the right gamer. I’m not going to lie to you all. I was awful. Downright awful as the Alien. Which was down to controller familiarity (pressing wall-walk instead of claw got me killed more than once) and one other change. It’s only slight but it did disorientate me frequently. The wall-walk mechanics are different to the other incarnations. Some of the surfaces the Alien would auto wall-walk on. Mostly when near edges to stop falling or specific walls. The perspective also becomes locked when walking up stairs too. It’s not a problem, just a chance that will take getting used to.
The Aliens are also very fast, incredibly so when holding sprint. Which is extremely useful to cover the distance between the enemies. The Alien also has a pounce-like ability that can be used to jump up surfaces and short distances.
A cool feature is the focus mode which is a vision that blurs everything other than nearby enemies. It allows you to see your attention focused solely on the bad guys who want to kill you. Like previous AvP games, enemies where also highlighted by an aura which changed depending on the species. A feature I really like is the ability to see enemies behind solid objects. It only occurs when you’re close to enemies though. Their outline is highlighted on the object (wall for example) separating you from them. I found this to be incredibly useful.
Watching others play I saw how amazing the Alien can be. Stalking opponents and getting close enough to use the various trophy kills is quite an effective way to play as an Alien. Especially with the speed and wall walking at your disposal.
And of course, my preferred species: The marines, the underdogs of the galaxy. With my trusty pulse rifle (for those interested the default ammunition is 99/297 and no grenades), I set about hunting down my foe. Slower than the other species, the marine does have the sprint ability which he can use for a limited distance. They also don’t have any sort of trophy kills but they do have block and melee.
Accuracy decreases when simply spraying your bullets. It works best to use burst fire for accuracy. This is visualized by the reticule getting larger the longer you hold down the trigger. Recoil was also noticeable (more so using the pistol and shotgun) and the muzzle glows with the heat as well which was a nice touch.
The motion tracker was useful as ever and quite minimalistic. In fact, the marine HUD over all went for the minimalistic approach which made the screen was never cluttered. I liked it. Grenades for the PR are pick ups shattered around the maps. They’re quite effective but have a limited range. More often than not, they’re not an insta-kill weapon but will knock your opponent flying, disabling them. It gives you time to finish them off or escape if you’re in no shape to fight.
The shotguns and pistols were both fun but I didn’t use them for long or see others using them. That said, it does seem like the shotguns will be incredibly effective in close quarters – especially with its insane secondary fire, a sort of explosive round. I am not too sure on what exactly it was as I only used it once or twice myself. The marines also have 3 stim-packs which boost their health. There are also medpacks (highlighted green) throughout the levels. I’m not sure if these just replenish your stim-packs or heal you as I never saw one being used.
I absolutely loved it. It was so much fun and so fluid. I’m going to end up suffering from withdrawal pretty soon (I’d love a single player hands on. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, Martin).
As I’ve mentioned there are several modernizing aspects that Rebellion have implemented which gives the game a more up-to-date feel. Things such as sprint, focus on melee action, the finishing moves (otherwise known as trophy kills), full auto reducing accuracy and the leaderboard. It complements the throwbacks to the originals really nicely creating a modern yet retro feel. I spent a good few hours at the booth (I’m sorry for bugging you, Dan. I know you’re reading), watching people play the game and I found that quite interesting was that the style of play people seemed to prefer to use was the melee. I saw hardly any Predator players opting for their ranged weaponry – it was all up close and personal.
And it goes to show how effectively Rebellion implemented the system and the ease of its use. Sure, people used the close quarters stuff in AvP2 but with melee attacks being separate controls, it made the CQB flow really well rather than the broken pace of AvP2‘s jumping around. As people learn the controllers and to use the blocks and counters effectively, I can see some really interesting fights on the horizon.
There is also potential for downloadable content. Not much thought has been given to it at the current time other than that it will be solely multiplayer, no new single player missions or anything such as that. There are rumblings that DLC may be tied into pre-order bonuses too so there may be extra DLC content for those that pre-order.
Over all I loved the event. It was well worth the drive. I really can’t stress how awesome the game was. Rebellion has a winner on its hands. I’d like to like thank Sega for the love they’re giving the property and attending the Expo. And I’d also like to thank Dan for putting up with my various questions over the 3 hour period I annoyed him and also to Ben for trying.
Bring on February is all I can say!