When I received my copy of Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem for the PSP to play, I was really conflicted. I’m a big Predator fan and an even bigger Alien fan, but the AvP crossover has varied in quality so much ever since it’s inception. I enjoyed the classic games in the franchise like Capcom’s amazing Final Fight-like beat-em-up and the line of FPS’s starting with the Jaguar’s AvP then moving on to the PC games. The 2004 movie, though, was one of my least favorite movies of all time. AvP: Requiem had the benefit of being part of a video game franchise that has some great games in it, but it worried me that was a licensed movie tie-in as well.
When I was exploring the levels of AvP: Requiem, I found that I was really impressed with the way the developer, Rebellion (developer of the first PC AvP game), took their time in constructing the environments. Unlike most 3D titles on the PSP, AvP’s levels are very detailed and every section is unique. It was very difficult for me to get lost, as there were landmarks everywhere. For instance, broken and unused log cabin was the highlight of a section directly after I traveled from a section with a broken bridge. Even different sections of woods in the outdoor levels are distinct. All of the levels that I played had a unique setting and feel and this attribute is the game’s biggest strong point.
The gameplay, unfortunately, isn’t nearly as put together as the levels. It’s a shame because there are some really good ideas implemented here. Your Predator has some neat tricks up his sleeve including the race’s famous invisibility camouflage, infrared vision, Alien Vision (for spotting Aliens of course), and some other gadgets. They just aren’t used to their full potential, though. The camouflage has a really short time limit and enemies can hear you while you move fast, so sneaking around for any length of distance is impossible, therefore making no use for the ability. The game could have had some really neat sneaking segments using the ability, but the developers just lost the opportunity. The Alien Vision mode is completely useless. Why? Because every single Alien and Alien related object is on the map menu and the game is well lit in dark areas (I can’t believe a good point about the game negates another part of it) so you don’t need the mode to see any of the enemies.
The way you control your character is also disappointing. Rebellion included no jump button and instead only lets you jump at scripted places in the game. In fact, all of the scripted actions are cumbersome and not well coded. For instance, I hit the action button for my Predator to climb a ladder, he got stuck, and I couldn’t move no matter what I did. I had to restart the game from my last checkpoint. Another time I had to hit the action button to dissolve an Alien husk (a major factor in how you earn Honor, but more on that later) and I couldn’t find the prompt to allow me to push the action key. I couldn’t find the physical area in which my character had to stand in order to perform an action I had to perform. I played around and it turns out that I had to move around an NPC that was cowering already 20 feet away from the husk in order to find the prompt.
Furthermore, the melee combat is stunted and unintuitive. Predators are amazing characters with amazing abilities. I should be able to do cool things with them. I should be able to perform amazing combos, block, and fight off several enemies in challenging situations. Instead I get swarmed by Alien soldiers and beat them to death by hammering one button over and over again in no particular rhythm with slow and stupid punches.
The missions also had a lot of potential. The game has an Honor system where you perform extra tasks during the mission (of which the husks from earlier are a part of) and follow directives (such as not killing unarmed humans) to earn your Predator Honor Points. These points can then be used to buy new weapons and upgrade the ones you already have. This is a neat idea because of how much Honor is a part of what Predators believe in. However, the missions themselves are very simply. Most of them consist of just getting from Point A to Point B or destroying easily found items. They aren’t so bad really, but the whole game is mainly these two types of missions and I’d like to see much more variation.
I wanted to like AvP: Requiem. The characters, the environments, and amount of gadgets in the game are very attractive. The game could have been a really neat PSX-era 3D action game like Syphon Filter. However, the developers didn’t use the things they did right to their advantage. They created abilities for your character but no creative situations to use them. They crafted great levels but no interesting objectives for you to complete in them. These faults, along with the fact that I found several serious glitches in the game in my first playthrough, prevent me from recommending this game to both gamers and fans of the franchise.