E3 09: Aliens vs. Predator goes on the hunt

As you may have read from our first look at Aliens vs. Predator, I was incredibly excited at the idea of getting some hands-on time with the game. Imagine my disappointment, then, to find that the game was only being shown, and I wasn’t allowed to touch. Fortunately, however, Sega was showing the Predator campaign, which means I have new things to talk about.

Come with us as we hunt down the latest on Aliens vs. Predator

The demo level begins with a cloaked Predator ship landing in the jungle, from which an elite hunter emerges. The jungle setting is a familiar nod to the first Predator film, and just like the demo I saw yesterday, the environment was very visually impressive. Not quite as impressive as the Predator’s range of skills, however.

I was first shown the Predator’s ability to jump. It’s as simple as looking around the environment and allowing the game’s HUD to locate spots to which he can leap. A press of a button will then see the masked minge-face swiftly jump from his location to the targeted area. Sticking to high ground and watching from the trees is a crucial element to the Predator’s success, as stealth is the order of the day. 

Just like his film counterpart, the Predator can use heat vision to easily spot his prey. He can also scan enemies and get a threat assessment relayed to him via the HUD. He can see his opponent’s weapon, the damage it can do and its range, helping him to work out how best to tackle a group and who to target first. 

A Predator who avoids being detected and gets behind an unsuspecting enemy will be rewarded with a stealth kill. His first victim fell foul of the Pred’s arm-mounted blades, getting his throat slashed. There are also trophy kills, which involve heads being ripped from necks in a beautiful display of brutality. You’ll need to keep hold of some heads, by the way, since you can use them for retinal scans at Marine bases, allowing you access to new areas. Yes, you’re using disembodied heads as keys. That is hardcore. 

The Predator naturally has a few tricks up his sleeve, such as the ability to sample enemy speech and play it back at a remote location, drawing enemies to a desired area. He can also toss mines, and has access to the classic triple-targeting plasma cannon that will charge and then tear enemies into several pieces. In order to stop the Predator from spamming these abilities, however, they have limited use, and the Predator will need to find a charge station and replenish his energy in order to use them again. 

During the demo, the Predator took on not only marines, but Aliens as well. As you’ll have read in our first look post, the Xenomorphs are no joke, able to pose a serious threat to the Predator. Since you’ll be fighting up close and personal a lot of the time, you have to be extra careful of their acid blood. I also got to see the Predator ripping the tongue from an Alien’s mouth in glorious big-screen Hi-def. It was delicious. 

The game is still in the early goings, and a lot of balancing and more abilities need to be added. However, this game is looking like a ridiculous amount of fun right now and should be an incredibly hot property once it’s released. The Predator campaign looked like a totally different title to the Marine campaign. Rebellion is saying it’s three games in one, and so far that seems quite true. 

Now we just need to see the Aliens …

Jim Sterling