- "Hunter. Survivor. Prey. Which will you be?"
- ―Aliens vs. Predator tagline
Aliens vs. Predator, also known by fans as Aliens vs. Predator 3 or AVP3 to distinguish it from earlier titles, is a 2010 video game developed by Rebellion Developments and published by Sega for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It is a sequel to Aliens versus Predator 2, although it does not have any connection with that game's plot. Instead it charts events on the planet BG-386, where a Weyland-Yutani research team led by Karl Bishop Weyland has discovered a Yautja Pyramid, and is simultaneously studying the Xenomorphs found there and hoping to unlock the advanced technology contained within. The Aliens soon escape, prompting a response from the United States Colonial Marine Corps, while the Predators also send three of their member to investigate.
Aliens vs. Predator is the fifth game in the Alien vs. Predator franchise. As with previous titles, it features three campaigns, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines). These campaigns are separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, but form one overlapping storyline.
- Specimen 6 is the playable Alien character in the game. Displaying intelligence in excess of most other Alien Warriors, Six was bred on BG-386 by Dr. Groves and his science team. Six is responsible for the Xenomorph outbreak, being the first to successfully escape containment and the Alien that releases the Matriarch.
- "Rookie" is the playable human character in the game. As his name suggests, he is an inexperienced Colonial Marine who often finds himself being ridiculed by his comrades for this very reason. He is part of the Marine force sent to BG-386 in response to the Xenomorph outbreak at the Freya's Prospect colony.
- Dark is the playable Predator character, a recently-promoted Elite. He is sent with two other Elites to BG-386 to investigate a distress call sent by several Young Blood Predators, and is subsequently tasked with cleaning up Weyland-Yutani's mess and recovering the Predator technology they have stolen.
- Karl Bishop Weyland is in charge of the Weyland-Yutani research complex on BG-386. He serves as the primary antagonist of the Marine campaign.
- The Matriarch is the Xenomorph Queen on BG-386, an ancient specimen imprisoned by the Predators within the Pyramid. She serves as a guide for Specimen 6 and is the secondary antagonist of the Marine campaign.
- The Abomination, a Predalien created by Specimen 6. It is the main antagonist of the Predator campaign.
- Spartan is the head of the Elite Clan and oversees Dark's training at the beginning of his campaign. Spartan serves as Dark's guide throughout the Predator Campaign.
- Corporal Teresa "Tequila" Aquila becomes Rookie's main contact and source of intel once events take a turn for the worse on the planet. Corporal Tequila serves as Rookie's first guide during the campaign until being captured by Xenomorphs.
- Katya is a Weyland-Yutani android who acts as the administrator for the Freya's Prospect colony. She is the one who calls in the USCM and she later helps Rookie to escape the planet. Katya serves as the second guide for Rookie throughout his campaign.
- Dr. Groves is the head of the scientific team at the research complex, and the man responsible for the Xenomorph research carried out there. He serves as the guide for Specimen 6 during the tutorial section of the Alien campaign.
- Major Thomas Van Zandt is the commanding officer for the Marine detachment sent to BG-386.
- The Young Blood Pack are a group of Young Blood Predators on an initiation hunt who have been caught up in the infestation on the planet. The Pack's members appear as antagonists in both the Alien and Marine campaigns.
- Lord is Dark's ancestor, entombed on BG-386. Although deceased long before the time of the game, his ancient equipment is recovered and used by Dark during his mission.
The Alien storyline revolves around a Xenomorph grown in captivity in the Weyland-Yutani labs on BG-386, codenamed Specimen 6. The scientists at the labs, led by Dr. Groves, observe Six's maturation with interest, none more so that Weyland, who deems it to be smarter than any other Xenomorph he has encountered.
Some time later, Weyland opens the Yautja Pyramid located beneath the research complex and in doing so releases a massive EMP pulse that cuts the power to the labs, including Six's restraints. Six breaks free and quickly frees the Matriarch and its fellow Aliens. Utilizing vents and sewers to avoid detection, Specimen 6 goes to the nearby Freya's Prospect colony and decimates the population there under orders from the Matriarch. Stalking through a thick jungle, Specimen 6 finds more hosts and makes its way to the colony's ore refinery, where it is called upon to protect the Matriarch and the newly established Hive. Once the Matriarch is secure, Six goes to the Combat Arena in the Predator ruins on the planet and fights two surviving Young Bloods, attracting the attention of an Elite Predator who also battles the lone Xenomorph. Six is able to weaken the Elite Predator and then impregnates it with a Facehugger, later spawning the Abomination.
At this time, the Matriarch is killed (by Rookie), an event that paralyses Specimen 6 with pain. Weyland and his team recapture Six, immediately shipping it off-world for further research. Some time later, it is revealed Six has escaped again, matured into a Praetorian and created a new Hive. In the final cutscene, Six is seen to molt into a new Queen.
As a Marine, the game starts out above BG-386. Marine platoons aboard the USS Marlow are preparing for a combat drop when Dark's vessel comes out of cloaking nearby and immediately (and swiftly) destroys the Marlow, leaving only a handful of Marines alive scattered on other small ships. Major Van Zandt directs the survivors to land. The player's Marine — dubbed "Rookie" — is knocked out during the drop, and lapses in and out of consciousness as his comrades are attacked by the Aliens on the surface, eventually waking alone in a deserted part of the colony with only his VP78 Pistol. On the advice of Corporal Tequila, Rookie makes for the wrecked Freya's Prospect colony, with the purpose of joining other Marines already there and getting vital systems back online to help locate any survivors.
Once this job is done, the Marines are ordered to fall back to a new rendezvous point. However, they are ambushed and Rookie is captured by a Xenomorph Warrior in the sewers. Fortunately he wakes and kills it before he can be taken to the Hive. He then discovers from Tequila that Major Van Zandt has disappeared whilst leading an assault on the Matriarch in the nearby refinery. By the time Rookie reaches Van Zandt, his squad has already been wiped out and the Major himself has been impregnated by with a Chestburster; Rookie shoots him at his own insistence. Moving further into the newly established Hive, Rookie encounters the Matriarch, ultimately killing her in an explosion.
Going through the jungle, Rookie is contacted by Tequila from the dropship Typhoon, but the ship is brought down by a Young Blood Predator before a rescue can be made. With Tequila out of contact and no way to leave the surface, Rookie receives the assistance of administrative android Katya from the Weyland-Yutani facility set up around the Pyramid. Following Katya's instructions, Rookie is able to locate other survivors throughout the ruins, and kill the Predator responsible for shooting down Typhoon in a Combat Arena. He locates Tequila, but she too has been impregnated with a Chestburster. Rookie prepares to shoot her, before Katya tells him that she can save Tequila if she is brought to the Weyland-Yutani research labs.
While Rookie is successful in this regard, Weyland prevents Katya removing the Chestburster from Tequila and they are forced instead to put her into stasis to prevent the Alien from birthing. With all of the Marine dropships and the Marlow destroyed, Rookie is sent to confront Weyland himself in order to acquire his data pad and use it to recall Weyland's personal transport. Rookie is successful, killing Weyland in the process, who is revealed to be a synthetic. Rookie, Tequila and Katya escape aboard Weyland's shuttle, and the three are seen in cryo-sleep while the pilots speak transmit the data pad's contents over the radio. The transmission is received by another unidentified Weyland, who studies the coordinates of the Xenomorph homeworld on the screen before him.
The Predator campaign begins with a Young Blood known as Dark, in a jungle on an unknown planet (possibly Yautja Prime), before the presence of his clan leader, Spartan, and several other Elites. They show Dark the basics of fighting and hunting Xenomorphs, using Warriors as prey. After the Young Blood has slain the Warriors, he is promoted to the rank of Elite. Dark is then sent to BG-386 with Wolf and another Elite to investigate a distress call sent by a party of Young Bloods there, and to ascertain what has happened to the novice Predators. The three Elites discover the Young Bloods have been killed, and find themselves in the middle of a battle between the Xenomorphs and the Colonial Marines. Realising the infestation on the planet has escalated out of control, the Elites plan to destroy the Young Bloods' equipment and eliminate the Matriarch.
After disposing of two of the Young Bloods' bodies in the jungle, the trail of Dark's hunt leads him to the refinery, where he finds the Matriarch already dead (having been killed by Rookie in the Marine campaign) and the refinery ablaze. Dark receives orders to search for one of the Elites who arrived with him, who is found dead in the next chamber, his Smart-Disc in hand. Dark collects the disc and escapes the refinery.
He soon finds himself in ancient Predator ruins, where he collects an ancient Predator Bio-Mask with Xenomorph-tracking sensors. Before he can leave, he is trapped in the Combat Arena and forced to fight and kill a Praetorian.
With the Praetorian dead, Dark heads for the Weyland-Yutani research labs, where he plans to kill Karl Bishop Weyland, the man behind the Xenomorph outbreak on the planet. In the end, the hunt leads him to an ancestral Pyramid, where he is trapped by the Abomination (created by Specimen 6), which honor dictates he must kill. The two battle beneath the Pyramid, and their conflict proceeds to bring down the already unstable structure. In the end, Dark is victorious, and with Weyland also dead (killed by Rookie), Dark leaves the planet aboard a Predator ship on a course to the Xenomorph homeworld.
- Weyland .... Lance Henriksen
- Groves .... William Hope
- Tequila .... Laila Pyne
- Katya .... Laurel Lefkow
- Van Zandt .... Glenn Wrage
- Aliens ....
- William Hope
- Ian Dunn
- Ako Mitchell
- Predator .... William Hope
As in the films, the Predator prefers to stalk its prey from the safety of treetops and the gameplay reflects this, the player leaping from branch to branch automatically with the help of a "focus jumping" game mechanic. The Predator has different vision modes, the most recognizable from the films being a thermal imaging scanner that sees other Predators, but the player also has different vision modes for spotting Aliens. Each vision mode only allows for targeting a specific race thermal sees Predators and humans only aliens are immune. For example, the Heat Vision mode renders Aliens nearly invisible, making battles between two or all three species a tactical juggle to prioritize enemies based on their threat to the player.
The Predator’s gameplay is more based on stealth and tactics than the average first-person shooter. The player has to be aware of Aliens, which have the ability to see through a Predator's Cloaking Device, whilst also taking care not to reveal themselves to Marines too early, as the humans' weaponry and numbers are more than a match for the Predator. The palyer is able to utilize Vocal Mimicry to lure out human prey and make them easier targets. For long-range weaponry, the Predator is equipped only with the Plasma Caster, but over the course of the campaign manages to secure a Smart-Disc, a Combi-Stick and the ability to drop proximity mines, all weapons that were "stalwarts from the previous games." For close-range general combat, the Predator has two retractable Wrist Blades on each of its arms.
The wristblades allow for the Predator to perform a "trophy kill," a nod to the movies in which the Predators take trophies, usually skulls, from their defeated enemies to show their prowess in the hunt. OXM labelled the trophy kill mechanic as so "spectacularly violent" that they believed it would be cut from the final game to avoid an Adults Only rating in the United States as it was "several measures more graphic" than any other recent games. The majority of the Predator's trophy kills revolve around dragging its enemy off-balance, before impaling it with its wristblades and decapitating it.
The use of the Predator's most powerful weaponry (like the plasma caster and proximity mines) is limited by the use of an energy system, which is recharged at small power nodes scattered throughout the environment. Predators can also scavenge health shards that allow them to re-charge their health.
The campaign begins as Specimen 6 in the Weyland-Yutani research labs. The player is made to attack human test subjects, armed or not, as a tutorial. The labs, however, gets hit by the EMP from the temple and the player rescues the queen and other captive Xenomorphs and escape.
The Alien campaign forces players to get in close to their enemy, as their only methods of attack are physical: the Aliens' claws, tail, inner and outer jaws. The alien's sight is based around the use of pheromones, which enables it to distinguish between hostile prey and passive civilians (it can also deduce whether the Marine / synthetic is alert and ready to fight, and is also able to see through the Predator's cloaking device). Players will be allowed to climb over every surface in the game as an Alien, but this is counteracted by a slower pace than previous games in the series, discouraging "blitz tactics." Rebellion is reportedly including a game mode which will increase the Aliens' speed back to their "original, often disorienting pace," possibly tied to the difficulty level. In confined spaces, the wall-climbing has been shown to be a slight nuisance and can induce some level of confusion, but once mastered it is a powerful weapon in your Xenomorph's arsenal.
Like the Predator, the Alien also has a sort-of trophy kill system. These mainly revolves around firmly grabbing a Marine or synthetic before commonly either headbiting it or impaling it with the Xenomorph's tail. It is presumed that a head bite on a corpse will recover all lost health, similar to a vampire. Additionally, if Specimen 6 comes across any civilians in its rampage through the Freya's Prospect colony (the colony in which this game is set), it can 'harvest' them to expand the hive, by pinning them down and attracting a facehugger to them.
The Colonial Marine campaign is far closer to that of a standard first-person shooter than the other campaigns, with the focus on ranged weaponry with only a light melee-attack to knock back Xenomorphs and Predators that get too close. The campaign is the only one in the game to include survival horror elements. Weapons available to the Colonial Marine you play include the iconic Pulse Rifle and Smartgun, as wells as pistols, shotguns and flamethrowers, along with the motion tracker made famous in Aliens. The key to the marine campaign is "the sheer terror of facing off against the two movie menaces of the title." Most of the levels are also dark and quite claustrophobic, forcing the Marine to resort to a rather-inadequate torch and a supply of flares to combat the darkness that Xenomorphs are so fond of. Most of the cutscenes take place from the perspective of the player character; Rebellion stated that the point of the campaign is to simply survive. The Marine campaign also contains the most information about the game's plot, whereas the others simply feature overheard conversations between Marines "shortly before you dice the Marines into meaty chunks."
Stealth/trophy kill systemEdit
One of the key features of the game is "Stealth and trophy kills" To perform a stealth kill the player must sneak behind an opponent and press the specified button when prompted, Which will result in a brutal kill animation (and bonus experience points). To perform a trophy kill a player must come directly in front of an opponent, stun them and press the specified button when prompted (note: the victim must be at low enough health to perform a trophy kill, or else they will simply push the player away) and will result in a brutal kill animation.
(Note: the marines do not have stealth or trophy kills, but instead a simple melee move that will knock down the enemy giving the player an opportunity to get an easy kill, also note when doing a stealth or trophy kill you are vulnerable to enemy attacks)
Timeline of PlotsEdit
Chronologically, events in the game begin with the escape of Specimen Six from the research facility (although it is possible Dark's Elite trials occur before this point). Similarly, the Alien campaign is also the first to finish in terms of the overreaching timeline, although the ending cutscene apparently takes place at a later time. Throughout the game, all three campaigns are interwoven, although the main protagonists never encounter each other directly.
Below is a rough timeline of events taking all three stroylines into account.
- Six escapes from the research labs with its fellow Xenomorphs and the Matriarch, while Katya sends a distress call the the USCM. The escaped Xenomorphs promptly establish a Hive in the Freya's Prospect refinery.
- Six helps to expand the Hive by harvesting civilians in the colony, as well as preying on the Colonial Marines that have begun landing on the planet.
- Dark and the Elites arrive and quickly destroy the USS Marlow in orbit.
- The explosion of the Marlow almost causes Rookie's dropship to crash, and he is knocked unconscious in the rough landing. He is tended to by Corporal Tequila but is accidentally abandoned when the Marines pull back.
- Six moves through the refinery and a jungle, harvesting civilians and killing Marines.
- Dark makes his way through the jungle, hunting Marines and Xenomorphs along the way, and finds the bodies of two of the Young Bloods.
- Rookie travels to the colony to meet up with Tequila. He attempts to assist other surviving Marines, but they are all killed. Rookie is dragged away by a Xenomorph and knocked unconscious again.
- Six fights two Young Bloods in the Combat Arena, attracting the attention of Wolf. Six defeats him and creates the Abomination.
- Dark slaughters Marines and Xenomorphs in the camp set up by the Marines in the jungle.
- Rookie wakes before his is taken to the Hive and heads to the refinery in search of Major Van Zandt and his squad. He engages and kills the Matriarch.
- Six is paralyzed by the Matriarch's death and subsequently recaptured by a team of Combat Androids under the command of Karl Bishop Weyland and his scientists and taken off-world.
- Dark heads to the refinery to find and slay the Matriarch, but finds her already dead. He discovers the body of the third Elite from his party.
- Rookie fights alongside the few remaining Marines in the jungle while awaiting an air-lift. Typhoon is shot down.
- Seeking equipment to help him in his quest, Dark finds an ancient Bio-Mask in an underground temple and then kills Marines at the Typhoon crash site.
- Rookie reaches the Typhoon crash site and searches for Tequila. He fights the final surviving Young Blood in the Combat Arena and rescues Tequila, who has been impregnated with a Chestburster.
- Dark disposes of Combat Androids guarding the labs and gains access to the facility, where he retrieves an ancient Wrist Gauntlet.
- Rookie fights Xenomorphs and Combat Androids in the labs and gets Tequila to Katya.
- Dark sets the Pyramid to self-destruct with the ancient Wrist Gauntlet.
- Rookie descends to the Pyramid and confronts Karl Bishop Weyland but soon gets cornered by advanced Combat Androids.
- Dark battles the Abomination beneath the Pyramid and escapes.
- Rookie defeats Weyland's Combat Androids and kills Weyland personally, retrieving his datapad. He narrowly escapes the crumbling Pyramid and leaves BG-386 with Katya and Tequila on Weyland's personal dropship, piloted by Weyland-Yutani employees.
- Dark leaves in his ship for Xenomorph Prime as the Wrist Gauntlet explodes, obliterating the colony and research labs.
- At some point, apparently after the other campaigns have finished, Six is seen to have escaped again, evolved into a Praetorian and created a new Hive in an undisclosed location, where it has cocooned Dr. Groves. Six subsequently molts into a new Queen.
Aliens vs. Predator has received mixed to positive reviews from critics, and currently holds a 64.25% at GameRankings. Metacritic rates the game at a similar 65%. GamingShogun asked how Rebellion could have made such a lackluster title after creating the incredible, first AVP title. Official Xbox Magazine praised the game for its 'Superb atmosphere' and 'Unique multiplayer', but criticized the odd melee system and how the marines could knock back an alien, relieving some of the atmosphere. The most scathing review came from 1UP, who found the multiplayer hard to recommend over the prior game in the series, Aliens versus Predator 2, describing it as 'ultimately thin and awkward'. GameZone's Dakota Grabowski gave the game a 6/10, saying "If the recent films on the Aliens vs. Predator franchise haven’t been painful enough to sit through, then perhaps video gamers worldwide are ready to stomach Sega and Rebellion’s pitiful offering. Delivering poor results and half-baked ideas, it’s my regret to call Aliens vs. Predator the year’s most disappointing title thus far." In a form of positivity, this game did much better than Aliens versus Predator, Aliens versus Predator 2, Aliens versus Predator 2: Primal Hunt, Aliens versus Predator: Extinction and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (video game). Though on the Xbox Live Rating system it is held at the moment at slightly more than 4 out of 5 stars.
Despite its mixed critical reception, Aliens vs. Predator debuted at number one on the UK all formats chart. It is currently the fastest-selling game of 2010 in the UK, a record previously held by BioShock 2. It was also the best-selling game on Steam, as well as on the retail PC charts.
The game was brought into controversy in Australia. An early cut of the game was submitted for review to the OFLC, but was denied classification in Australia and effectively banned for sale altogether. The game's developers said there was not be a re-cut version released in Australia.
Jason Kingsley, the CEO of Rebellion, defended the brutality of the trophy kill system, stating "This is obviously a game based on adult-rated movies, and we want to make sure it’s very clearly an adult-rated game. It's an issue for me; some computer games are for kids – we're not making a computer game here for anyone other than adults. That's very clear and within that context, I think the violence is part of the character and the world – so we're talking about a fantasy world here and fantasy creatures and we're talking about trying to build up a mythos. I remember the first time I saw it, one of the particular Predator kills, everyone went 'Oooh.' But it's what the Predator does in the movies."
As of the 18th of December, Sega have successfully won the bid on the classification of the game in Australia. "It is with great pleasure that we announce the success of our appeal," says Darren Macbeth, managing director of Sega Australia. "We are particularly proud that the game will be released in its original entirety, with no content altered or removed whatsoever. This is a big win for Australian gamers. We applaud the Classification Review Board on making a decision that clearly considers the context of the game, and is in line with the modern expectations of reasonable Australians."
The Board noted that the violence depicted in the game can be accommodated within the MA 15+ category as the violent scenes are not prolonged and are interspersed with longer non violent sequences. The violence is fantastical in nature and justified by the context of the game, set in a futuristic science-fiction world, inhabited by Aliens and Predators. This context serves to lessen its impact. The more contentious violence is randomly generated and is not dependent on player selection of specific moves.
Although there were rumors at the time of the game's release that a sequel would soon follow, as of yet no official word on its production has surfaced. However, Jason Kingsley, CEO of Rebellion Developments, has mentioned discussing a sequel with Sega; he has also expressed a personal desire to revisit the franchise. Little is known about the potential sequel, although it is speculated that it will be set on Xenomorph Prime and that Dark, Queen 6 and Rookie will be featured in it.
- Many of the campaign missions for the different protagonists reuse the same in-game levels. For example, all three characters visit the same jungle, go to the same Weyland-Yutani labs and visit the refinery, and both Specimen 6 and Rookie enter the colony. In reality, there are only six distinct levels in the game (plus the training arena from the Predator tutorial), although occasionally significant sections of each level are only available to specific protagonists in their campaign (for example, only Dark enters the large subterranean temple beneath the ruins).
- Of the game's three campaigns, the Marine's has by far the most "boss fights" (designated by an on-screen bar showing the opponent's health), with four — the Matriarch, an unnamed Predator, a Praetorian and Karl Bishop Weyland. The Predator comes second, with two — a Praetorian and the Abomination — while the Alien has just one — Wolf.
- The Alien campaign also is significantly shorter than those for the Marine and the Predator.
- Many of the multiplayer skins in the game are based on Aliens and Predators seen in the film series.
- If you are able to unpack the "StreamingSounds.asr" file found in the game's files (on PC), you will find a number of dialogues that never made it into the game, including a conversation between Dr. Groves and Karl Bishop Weyland about their success in beginning to control Specimen 6 and what it means for future endeavors.
- Although the three protagonists never encounter each other like they did in Aliens versus Predator 2, you occasionally come across the results of the other protagonists' actions. For example, Dark encounters the dead Matriarch (killed by Rookie) and has to defeat the Abomination (created by Specimen 6).
- The majority of the achievements/trophies in Aliens vs. Predator are named after lines of dialogue from Alien, Aliens, Predator and Predator 2.
- The Predator has no stealth kills against the Xenomorphs; when the Predator performs a kill animation from behind it will result in a regular trophy kill, possibly because in singleplayer it is never possible to grab an Alien from behind. However, this is possible in multiplayer, revealing the oversight.
- Marines in the game regularly call the Xenomorphs "bugs" (because their appearance, habits and life cycle strongly resemble those of insects) while the Predator (in the translated command dialogue) call them "serpents", possibly due to their limbless appearance in their larval stage or their otherwise reptilian qualities.
- ↑ http://www.gamerankings.com/xbox360/958076-aliens-vs-predator/index.html
- ↑ http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/xbox360/aliensvspredator
- ↑ http://www.gamingshogun.com/Article/6250/Aliens_vs_Predator_(PC)_-_A_Review.html
- ↑ http://www.oxm.co.uk/article.php?id=17455
- ↑ http://xbox360.gamezone.com/gzreviews/r37465.htm
- ↑ "News - Aliens Vs. Predator Tops BioShock 2 In UK". Gamasutra (2010-02-22). Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved on 2011-07-20.
- ↑ Batchelor, James. "UK CHARTS: Aliens vs Predator takes No.1 | Games Industry | MCV". Mcvuk.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-20.
- ↑ "Gaming - News - 'AVP' debuts as PC number one". Digital Spy (2010-02-23). Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved on 2011-07-20.
- ↑ "AvP sales cue talk of a sequel". MMOMFG (2010-02-23). Retrieved on 2011-07-20.
- ↑ "Rebellion talks AvP sequel and 'totally sh*t' reviews". Destructoid. Retrieved on 2011-07-20.