I was a little apprehensive at pre-ordering this game for a few reasons. I didn't want to bother with an online-only demo and, seeing as my last purchase of a movie-game tie-in was Terminator Salvation, I was worried that buying a title I hadn't at least rented first would prove to be just as big a mistake... thankfully it wasn't!
The controls took a little while to settle as they're a little different for each of the playable species in the game but once you have played for around 15mins with any of them, you soon start to get to grips with it.
Having never played the previous AVP PC games which Rebellion released, I didn't really know what to expect from the game but the idea of lurking in the shadows as an alien or stalking from the tree-tops as a predator sucked me in and the gameplay didn't fail to disappoint.
The Alien is probably my favourite as the game includes just about everything you can possibly want from a pure killing machine. The speed is absolutely stunning and the traversing of walls and ceilings soon becomes a breeze. A few have complained about the ease at which you can become disoriented and apparently there is an option that aids in how the camera switches when you're on different surfaces but I actually found it unnecessary as seeing it as the Alien would see it is more natural to me - if that's upside down, so be it. The alien also features the games best finishing moves and being able to stalk in darkness after taking out the lights to hide yourself is pure class. Just a shame it has the shortest campaign mode.
The Predator seems to be favoured by most other players and you can see why. Cloaking, two different vision modes to highlight your enemies and an array of methods of dispatching them makes playing as this iconic monster great fun. The game features the predator's plasma-caster, throwing spear, proximity mines and (my personal favourite) throwing discs so decapitating your foes soon becomes par for the course! Again, the finishing moves are suitably gory and grotesque if a little OTT at times but there is a great sense of satisfaction in patiently luring an unsuspecting marine into an ambush from the trees using the 'distract' feature.
Then there's the marine. Whereas I have cleared the campaign modes for both of the previous species already, doing so with a sense of fearlessness that comes from wielding the Predator's superior technology and the Alien's unmatched speed and close-combat skills, the marine missions give you a fantastic impression of what it's like to be the helpless underdog caught in the middle.
Wrong place at the wrong time? It soon starts to feel that way as you find yourself negotiating near pitch black corridors with nothing but a 9mm pistol, a dim flashlight and the relentless 'clicking' of your motion tracker as the only noise to break the deathly silence. It is truly terrifying at times with plenty of jumps and scares to keep you on the edge of your seat. If this is what "Aliens: Colonial Marines" is going to be like when it's released, they're definitely on to a winner with that one. The atmosphere from the Aliens films is captured perfectly and you're just waiting for a set of jaws to pounce out of every vent or shadow you pass - it's fantastically chilling.
Overall, a brilliant game - the best I have played in a long time. It's no CoD with respect to the graphics but the gameplay is good and the monsters are awesome. I'll definitely be playing this for quite a while. The only reason it gets 4/5 is cos there could have been a slightly stronger storyline (as opposed to rehashing the one from the first AVP movie albeit on a different planet) and there could have been more alien levels.