First impressions of the AVP demo

Yesterday morning I downloaded the Aliens vs Predator demo. So far I've played a dozen rounds or so, so I'd like to write a summary of my first impressions.

The strongest complaint that many PC users had were the wait-times until you got to a game. It took me ten minutes to find my first game, and the second took abouth half an hour. Other people reported giving up after 45 minutes. But when I first entered the game, boy was I in for a ride: I've mostly been an alien player but since I was alt-tabbed (Just press Alt+Enter. Very handy.) out of the game until I realzied it had already started and Marine was chosen for me.

Atmosphere (aka Graphics and Sound)
The following explains my first two minutes in the game. I started in a dark, narrow corridor with many routes to explore. Flashlight on I walked down a path. My tracker device started alerting me to the presence of nearby hostiles, but I couldn't see a damn thing. Then, on the other end of the alley a saw an Alien swiftly crawling across the floor. I mean, it's a multiplayer-game but that was scary! As the Alien hadn't noticed me and I couldn't reach it's position due to debris I chose another route. my tracker device started blinking some more, and more, and then I heard Alien hissing, some fighting and some people dying. I tried to get there to finally see some action but then I noticed something in my vicinity. A Predator uncloaked just behind me and ripped my head off before I could react! The game has really great atmosphere and I can say, no matter what race you pick you will definitely feel like being in it's shoes/claws, because there are so many things that change depending on the race. Weapons, speed, body awareness, HUD, level illumination (Alien sees cleary, Marine sees darkness expect for where the Flashlight is, Predator sees enemies depending on it's HUD visuals).

Gameplay with the Prey (Marine)
He is bulky and slow, and doesn't see well in the dark, which in my opinion reflects the physical disatvantage this race has very well. I mean, this is no Unreal Tournament. He is not supposed to bunny-hop around and take lots of damage. The Marine can also neither prone, crouch or use Iron Sights. Because, as slow as he may be, he is also no camper. He just walks carefully through the level, picking up gadgets, always taking a look at his motion tracker. And when he sees an enemy he sf fires like there is no tomorrow. But I wouldn't say he is underpowered. The Pulse Rifle and many of the other weapons spread across the level give the Marine a range advantage that no other race has from the very beginning. Also, if you open your eyes and not wander about carelessly you can spot other enemies early enough.

Gameplay with the Hunted (Alien)
My favourite race has been the Alien, since AvP2. I just love neglecting gravity, crawling on the surface at high speed and biting the heads off enemies when they least expect it. So  had high hopes for this race, which weren't met. The wall-transition felt odd. You don't press (hold) a key to wall-walk, you are either in transition mode or you are not, and if you are not and want to wall-walk you have to hold that key for at least a second. Also the alien is fast, if you hold run really fast which often makes you speed past an enemy when you actually wanted to engage him. My first games had me go back and forth between controls menu and game to see what fits me the most. Only today I seem to grasp the controls well enough to like them. I stick to the ceiling, trying to stay hidden, crawl around until I see an enemy and when I see him I try to get to him from behind as past as possible. When your enemy doesn't see you it's a guaranteed insant kill. You just need to press one button, a nice kill-animation plays and that frag is yours. You just have to be careful to not let that happen to yourself, because you stay vunerable for as long as the kill-animation plays. If he sees me I engage in melee combat. With humans it just depends on how quickly they see me. If it's far away it's probably better to quickly hide and approach them from a different direction. Predators are usually a bit stronger in direct melee so you have to be very careful to land at least the first blow, if not you can still outrun them. Aliens on the other hand can't be outrun. It's just a fair fight.

Gameplay with the Hunter (Predator)
Yeah, played him two times or so. A bit dissapointing that he doesn't seem to have any special weapon in the beginning and needs to rely on melee. He can cloak but even Marines can spot him easily. He feels like a bulky Alien to me. Only once I picked up a weapon (Was it a mine?) but failed to use it. I've seen other players perform very well on the other hand. They either killed me in direct melee or sniped me form further away when the only thing I saw was a red laser beam.So, the Predator seems to be good, just not in my hands.

More on Controls and Melee
I was hoping for an AvP2-controls scheme, seriously, but Rebellion changed so many things. Marine is fine, feels like a typical shooter (except that there was no crouch, but I really didn't miss it either). I won't comment on the Predator. Will want to test him in Single-Player. With all races it felt like they intenionally left out some features. The Predator has no light-vision. The Alien can't feast on corpses, can neither bite enemies' heads off, pounce, activate a special light vision. Instead he regenerates when not engaged in combat, uses stealth-kills to perform head-biting and other brutal stuff, and always illuminates the nearby vicinity for himself so he can perfectly see. The controls feel dumped down, but one can see that this was also done for balancing reasons. There is also no lean function, but as with crouch I didn't miss it. Instead the designers added a Slow-Walk function, which lets me say ..."What the fuck is this for?" All races are silent enough without it, and even if they weren't it makes them way too slow.

One of the elemental features of the game is the melee combat, at least as an Alien. In the very early games the matches were dominated by stealth-kills which you could perform once you got behind your enemy and spammed the defined button. But now many players seem to realize that spamming light attacks and stealth-kills leaves them vulnerable too often so they engage in melee combat.There is a light attack, heavy attack and block. Block blocks light attack, heavy attack damages blockers, light attack prevents heavy attacks. Rock-paper-scissors. It feels really good. I've heard you can still pounce on enemies, although the jump distance can't be as far as in AvP2, but again, this is all right with me as long as it serves balancing.

But what is really annoying is the Auto-aim. I mean, it's helpful in melee situations when you really want to engage your foe, but sometimes it feels like it does too much for you. At other times you want to flee from the scene and this prevents you from doing so. Also, the stealth-kills are still too powerful. You don't even have to stand directly behind an enemy to kill him. if he is a few meters away and you press stealth-kill you will automatically jump on him and get that frag. Those two things, along with the transition-weirdness are my main gripes. Other than that the game is great. Nice mixture of slow- and fast-paced game. Demanding melee, rich atmosphere, varied races.

+ Graphics and Sound
+ Immersion
+ Variety
+ Melee
+ Balancing (except Stealth-Kills)
- Auto-aim
- Need to hold key to pick up items or activate wall transition
- Predator starts naked

Other things that could be ciritized but will be changed as far as I know.
- Matchmaking system. Full game will feature dedicated servers, server lists and all the good stuff we used to love when Modern Warfare 2 wasn't around.
- Matchmaking wait time. Already fixed.
- Class balance. Full game will let you choose your race indepented from other people's choices.

I'm quite happy with the game so far. I had high hopes and I was dissapointed after a few games but the more I got used to it there more I liked it. It's not AvP2 but good in it's own way. I'll wait for reviews of the full game on Single-Player campaign, additional game modes and maps before I decide to buy it. Hopefully this game will have a strong online community and mod support.

2 comments:

  1. Hola, yo soy de Argentina...Y mi ingles no es muy bueno. Yo queria decirte que tus campañas son geniales, yo jugue a la campaña The Last Guardian y me encanto, la historia todo...Sos un gran mapeador, Felicitaciones espero que postees mas campañas.Yo tambien estoy en un proyecto de campaña que es la Ira del Rey Lich, no es tan buena como tus proyectos que en realidad se basa mas en Warcraft IV.bueno chau te dejo espero que respondas si quieres mirar mi campaña aqui esta el post http://www.warcrafteados.com/proyectos-f28/warcraft-iv-t368.htm y tambien ese es mi foro bueno...Chau.Y sigue con tus proyectos.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your interest. Please check out all of my three campaigns, they will be updated in some times.

    ReplyDelete

Affiliation

Kinguin Overwatch - 300x250