I hold Aliens Vs. Predator as one of the best first person shooter experiences of my early-mid gaming life. I also give Delta Force that distinction too, so grab a salt shaker, and take your grains. What Rebellion managed to create back in that heyday of PC games was practically three shooters in one, if you took into consideration how varied the experiences were, between the Predator, the Xenomorph, and the Colonial Marines. Now, Rebellion is back to create this reboot, and I’m excited about it. On the show floor, the Predator demo was available, but I was lucky enough to be snuck into a session showing the Colonial Marine (lucky, because I didn’t have my own personal cloaking device handy.)
The Predator is bringing the pain much like you’d expect with the wrist-blades, I didn’t get a chance to check out any of the other weapons other than that shoulder cannon (or “plasma caster”) but the demonstrator made mention of “plenty of authentic AvsP weaponry” so he’s hoping you’ll be able to shoot a speargun and nail marine and alien heads to walls. The token must-have things are in there as you’d expect; the Predator can cloak, and he has three vision modes, normal, thermal, and some kind of weird green alien detector mode. And the shoulder cannon has those cool three laser sights, so it’s rad. One thing worth noting was that there seems to be an on screen indicator showing where the predator can leap to, and it changes to denote whether your landing will be stealthy or not. Manoeuvrability in the outdoors always seemed to be a strong point for the Predator which was never accurately represented in the games, so it’s good to see that this is being addressed. Lastly, trophy kills are back, so you can pluck heads off from the bodies of your enemies and save them for later, and this will be possible in multiplayer, but no mention of what this might mean functionally, other than probably being an instant-kill.
Meanwhile, in the behind closed doors session of AvsP two Rebellion developers were keen to show off what the Marine looked like to play. Again, the token expectations have been filled thankfully; the pulse rifle is there, along with the three means of detection the Marine has unique to him. Night vision mode lights your vision up in that familiar green glow, flares can be used to cast scary looking shadows around, and of course, the iconic motion tracker with the pants wettingly eerie “meep meep” noise, are all there. The level on show had various Marine-y type things, like setting up a desperate little camp with sentry guns and despairing about your situation with the other Marines. As expected, things go south quickly and it’s time to move on, with a marine companion following you. The developers confirmed that while AI controlled marine buddies would show up, the majority of this campaign will be played on your frightened lonesome. Acid spray from the Aliens is as dangerous as ever, with ever bullet landing at close range creating a dangerous return projectile. The marine buddy went down not far from the end, with the developer playing it exclaiming “Hmm, I’ve never seen her die like that before…” which seemed unusual given that aliens gorging on marines is exceedingly common in the AvsP universe. As it drew to a close, the level came to a showdown with the marine and a sentry gun vs. a horde of Aliens. The first Alien to make it past the sentry gun actually ended up being the killed, as the dev shot a shotgun blast which appropriately slathered him in acid, fatally. The dev player apologised for dying so soon, completely oblivious to how awesome his death was.
When it came time for the questions and answers part of the show, I was eager to ask about the possible inclusion of Directors Cut difficulty mode and/or levels. “We’re going after a more mass appeal this time around, but we’re confident the range of difficulties available will suit the range of players. However we have yet to consider the possibility of a difficulty mode with no saving and no checkpoints.” Personally, the terror of a lone facehugger scuttling around was always at its highest for me when I knew that if it leapt and caught me, it was game over. After the session was over, the devs looked at me and said “there’s always one in each session, leaving the room like that, grinning ear to ear.” Could they blame me?