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Alien vs. Predator 2 - PC
I have to admit to not having been a huge fan of the original AvP, so it was with some trepidation that I installed this sequel onto my PC.
This feeling of suspense was much talked about at the time, and gives some clue as to the direction that the sequel has taken it is, without doubt, one of the scariest games Ive ever played. Once again, the marine levels provide the most terror, but all of them have more than their fair share of heart-in-the-mouth moments. The sense of atmosphere is also raised by the game being presented in an incredibly cinematic way the production values are very high indeed. Music is used throughout to excellent effect throughout orchestral scores sweep in at the just the right moment, and are perfectly suited to the feel of the game.
The structure of the game also supports this cinematic feel. For probably the first ten minutes of the marine level absolutely nothing happens the marines land at a base which has obviously been ravaged by some sort of conflict, by the aliens we presume, but the exploration is initially totally uneventful. The expectation that something is going to happen grows and grows until it finally does. Without giving away any of the plot, what happens is probably not what you expect, but itll still make you jump a mile.
Each of the three games tell stories which interweaves with the other two. The marine levels are probably the most fun to play; certainly very few games have set pieces to compare with it. The feeling engendered by running backwards out of an alien hive, loosing off every bit of ammo you have at a horde of pursuing aliens is one that very few games have attained. However, thats not to say the other games are duff by any means. The predator levels are good, if a little easy. The fact that the predator can recharge his energy, and therefore his health, for free at any point means its all to easy to find a little safe area out of the reach of enemies, and do just that. However, the fun of using the other vision modes and the variety of weapons almost makes up for this.
The alien levels are vastly improved on the original games. Controlling the alien isnt easy at first, as he can climb walls, run along ceilings ceilings etc, which can be confusing to begin with. However, it doesnt take too long, with the on-screen indicators as a help, before the control method becomes almost instinctive. The alien, obviously, lacks any weaponry but its teeth, tail and claws, but can do things such as body rush enemies; it actually becomes very difficult to find easily accessible keys for all of the moves as you can't use the mouse wheel to cycle through them. Consequently, I didnt find myself using many of the different attack options. However, again, the feeling of running full tilt down a shaft towards an unsuspecting guard below you and tearing his head off before he has chance to scream is excellent.
Graphically, the game looks very good indeed (though I did have all the options turned up to maximum), and the fun of playing all three characters really adds to the experience. Its difficult to find screen shots that do the game justice it looks reasonable static, but much better moving. Perhaps the biggest complaint I would have with the game is that the AI is often poor its perfectly possible to take out a guards head from a distance, and as he drops, decapitated, to the floor, a fellow guard will continue to stand there unconcerned.
However, the few small niggles aside, this is a great game. My recommendation: buy it, install it, turn the lights off, turn your PC speakers up, and play it. It doesnt last forever, but its fantastic whilst it does.