One on One
With Gearbox's Aliens game receiving a pretty bad run of reviews recently and gamers finding themselves with a dissapointing version of their favourite movie franchise, there was some hope in the knowledge that Fox Digital's Aliens vs Predator would be just around the corner.
Admittedly, this is a mobile game which can't hope to rival the possible scale and scope of a console title, but at least it couldn't be as bad as Aliens: Colonial Marines, could it? Well, it's here and Aliens vs Predator Evolution is not quite the evolution we were hoping for, but it's not that bad, either.
First impressions are good. There's a story which gives a little motivation for the Alien and Predator rampages that the game provides. It seems that a bunch of high and mighty Predators have been playing around with Aliens in order to kill their rival Jungle Predators (the guys from the movies) and it's your job to put a stop to their plans from both sides of the fence.
What this means is that you'll be playing through a campaign which switches between the acid-for-blood monsters and stealthy hunters, both heading in roughly the same direction with pretty much the same purpose, freeing fellow captives and fighting an awful lot of human marines in the process.
The third person action opens with the Predator and looks mighty impressive, as far as metal corridors can look. Full 360 cameras present both the first glimpse of the impressive graphics and the first issue as well. The camera swings wildly around, controlled by your right hand when it isn't hovering over the jump or fire buttons. It's very difficult to get any sort of granular control over this and, as a result, very difficult to use in the middle of an attack, especially when enemies are coming at you from all sides (most of the time, then).
Control over the main character is also slightly clunky, epsecially when playing on iPad. Movement is juddery and attacking seems a little hit and miss. Once you've done enough damage, enemies will display a skull above their head, which means that they're ready for a takedown. Press the corresponding button and you'll be presented with a Quicktime-style event which requires a swipe in certain directions on the screen. This would work if a) there weren't other enemies firing at you while you complete this painfully slow process and b) the screen actually read your swipes properly every time.
If you can live with these issues, and they do get more bareable as you make your way through the game, then the combat and weapons upgrades (especially for the Predator side) do help to make things a little more fun as the missions progress. Some simple puzzles mix things up a little and there are a few good uses for the Alien's ability to climb walls and the Predator's heat vision and invisibility, though I found myself wishing they'd had more focus on these slower elements over the fast paced action sections.
Upgrades really do add to the mix. Yes, I know it's another excuse for some In App Payments, but it was easy enough for me to upgrade using the points I'd earned in each level and it does make you think about which upgrades to take and which to leave, rather than equiping everything as soon as possible and making the game far too easy.
So Aliens vs Predator: Evolution isn't perfect, but it is playable and pretty faithful to the franchise (bar using a facehugger as a helping hand on Alien missions). With decent graphics and 19 different levels, split between Predator and Alien sections, Evolution should give you a good run for your money.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 6
- Longevity: 6
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