Archive for February, 2010

Review: Aliens vs Predator (PC) (2010)

Posted in Currently Playing, Reviews on February 25, 2010 by Matt

Last night I finished the alien campaign. I had to switch over to hard difficulty though, because nightmare was beginning to annoy the hell out of me. The last level is a bit longer than the rest, and with the end battle added to it, I had to replay the level a lot. It was taking up too much time.

Anyway, the following are my thoughts on the game. I’ve been able to play the game’s single player, as well as try out it’s multiplayer modes. This will be my first complete review of a game.

Graphics: A lot of reviews said that the game’s graphics weren’t very good. I am inclined to disagree. In fact, I think that they are some of the best graphics in a game to date. I am only playing it in DX9 on my PC, since I don’t have a DX11 compatible video card, so I am missing some of the features, but it still looks amazing. There are some minor glitches and clipping errors (like when you harvest a colonist, and the face hugger walks through solid objects), but otherwise, great.

Sound: The sound in the game is excellent. Screams in the distance, hissing of aliens, the classic predator sounds, the gun fire, everything is spot on with what I expect. The voice acting could be a bit better sometimes, but that’s minor. The music also lends a lot to setting the atmosphere in the game, getting rather dramatic when you’re ambushed by aliens, and whatnot.

Controls: The controls do take some getting used to, even if you did play any of the other Aliens vs Predator games. Once you have them down, they work well. It all just takes some getting used to.

Story: The storylines in the single player campaigns are rather simple, but seem very fitting. The marine campaign had a bit more to it than the other two did, but that’s due to the actual fact that you can relate a bit better to a human than an alien or a predator. It is fun to run around as the other two though. It’s not as scary, but the different approach to game play is enough to make up for that.

Innovation: The game, by ordinary FPS standards, is slightly different. The alien is really the only part of the game with a unique play style. Crawling on walls, and only having your claws and tail for weapons is a whole different ball game, compared to the marine or predator. The predator has the ability to jump far distances and cloak, which make it a bit different than usual as well. The marine is fairly standard.

There is a larger emphasis on melee combat in this game than in any other games that I can think of. Marines are fairly limited, but can use a rifle butt as a counter to the other species. There’s blocking, light attacks and heavy attacks. In one of my other posts, a few days ago, I explained the mechanics of melee. Use block to block the light attacks, use light attack to counter a heavy attack, and use heavy attacks to break a block. Reading the body language of your opponent is very important in these situations.

There isn’t a crouch button, which is strange to get used to, but it’s not a big deal.

The multiplayer play modes are a bit different as well. Primarily the same, but not quite. Species deathmatch is where you have three teams, and it’s a battle between the different species in the game. Infestation has you as marines and one player is randomly selected as an alien. As marines die, each one turns to the alien team. If the marines live the duration of the time limit, then the marines win. Survivor has you and friends as marines trying to survive as long as possible against AI controlled alien waves. Domination has aliens vs marines in a point capture scenario. There are three capture locations, and you have to have one of your team mates stand beside it for a minute or two to take posession. Then there is team deathmatch where species can be mixed together on the same team. Than there is standard death match.

There are also the trophy kills. If you are sneaky enough, or knock an opponent to the ground, you can hit a key and perform an instant death maneuver. It randomly selects one from a list of a few for both the alien and predator. Sorry marines, but you don’t get these. It can range from the alien head biting you, to the predator totally removing your head and spinal column. It took me a while before I got to see them all. They are brutal, and violent, and that is what you should expect in an alien or predator themed experience.

The trophy kill moves can be done in multiplayer, and it has raised some controversy. Some people hate them, and some love them. If you are good enough, you can block them from the front, or even from behind, but you have to be anticipating it. If they sneak up and you don’t even notice them, you’re toast. I honestly don’t mind them. If you are being lazy, and don’t see them come up behind you, or you get knocked down in combat and enable them to do it and don’t block it, then that’s your fault. To each their own though.

That is really about it. There are a lot of similar elements from the first two games that have been implemented in to this one. It’s not a bad mix, but it’s still not altogether original. Not that it’s really all that bad of a thing.

Replay: With the multiplayer being a lot of fun, once you get in to it, I’d say there’s a lot of replay. There are also Steam achievements to be gained, so you’ll find yourself replaying the singler player to gather all of those. I don’t see myself putting this game down for a while yet, especially since I am part of a good Aliens vs. Predator community.

In conclusion, the game is not completely epic, but it still holds a lot of fun for those who give it the chance it deserves. If you have a good PC to play it on, and can take advantage of the game’s graphical beauty, you’ll definitely appreciate it. Again, once you’re used to the controls, you’ll have a blast, so don’t give up on it too quickly.

I’ll post screen shots when I get a chance, for those interested to see what the game looks like on my PC in DX9. You can find the specs to my PC here.

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Finished The Predator Campaign Last Night (Early This Morning), And Am Now Playing Through The Alien Campaign On Nightmare Difficulty.

Posted in Currently Playing on February 24, 2010 by Matt

As the title of this post says, I finished the predator campaign (on normal) and am now moving through the alien campaign (on nightmare).

The predator campaign was fun, but seemed shorter than the marine’s campaign. This could be attributed to the fact that I played through on normal difficulty, but I have heard that it is shorter from other people. However, the end fight is a lot tougher than the marine’s end battle. I won’t say anymore about it, and save the spoilers.

The alien campaign is quite a bit different than the other two campaigns.

As the alien, you don’t have any ranged weapons (obviously), so you have to be a bit more strategic with how you approach enemies. Running in to a group of marines is suicide. They will mow you down before you can even hit them, most of the time. Luring them off, one at a time, is how to do it. Knock out lights, hiss, lure poor bastard in, kill, repeat.

Nightmare difficulty is definitely harder than normal or hard. The thing that makes it a nightmare is the fact that you don’t get checkpoint saves. You have to make it through each level without dying. This is brutal when you make it really far and then die and have to restart the entire level. I am not a big fan of this, as it really is just frustrating sometimes.

I am currently on the jungle level in the campaign, and I am having fun as an alien, for sure. If it wasn’t for the nightmare difficulty, I likely would have been done it by now. Stalking marines and colonists is a blast, and this is my favourite campaign so far. More on this when I am finished.

Progress In The Aliens vs. Predator Single Player Campaigns

Posted in Currently Playing on February 23, 2010 by Matt

As mentioned in my last post, I finished the marine campaign on hard. I had already started the Predator campaign on normal, but didn’t get too far. I played it quite a bit more today though. I’ll start with talk of how the marine campaign went, and then talk a bit about my experiences with the predator.

The marine campaign is fairly straight forward. You land and find yourself in an infested colony. Shit hits the fan, and you’re on your own with radio contact with friendlies. You’re given objectives and as you move through the game, you figure out what has been happening on the planet you’re on. It has a simple, and expected story line. Just an excuse to blast some aliens.

During your adventure, you run across 4 different weapons, with your pistol with unlimited ammo being your last resort. The four weapons you will pick up are the pulse rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle and the smart gun. The pulse rifle is the weapon everyone knows and loves. Standard issue for marines, it’s an assault rifle with an accessory grenade launcher. The shotgun is what it is. Get close and blow those aliens apart. The sniper rifle has it’s scope, but is more than just a zoom in. The scope can sense living creatures and outlines them nicely for you to better blow their brains out. The smart gun is a big machine gun that takes up all of your carrying capacity. It automatically seeks out targets in front of you.

I played through the marine campaign on hard, and I would say that it was what I would expect a game to be on normal difficulty. There are some spots in the game where, if the difficulty was harder, I’d likely have destroyed my keyboard (praetorians are bitches). It had some tense moments, but it wasn’t too difficult.

You run into quite a few enemies during the game. There are the typical warrior/drone aliens, the spitter aliens that are quicker than the others and spit acid at you from a distance, praetorians that are large, fast and powerful (essentially one step down from queens), and then there’s the queen. There are also androids that you must fight, which can be tough. There is also a predator during the campaign.

The best weapon for killing ordinary aliens is a shotgun up close, but that might just be my preference. The warrior/drone aliens, and spitters go down quick with shotguns, but if you see the aliens before they move in on you, use your sniper rifle to kill them in one hit. The smart gun is limited in the game, but it’s effective. Just be careful using it, because it has a longer reload time and you can be left vulnerable to attack. That and you cannot run while carrying it. The praetorian is tough, but the shotgun is the most effective because it can stun her. Otherwise, spam them with pule rifle grenades or use explosive canisters that may be near by. Run around objects and keep distance or something between you. She’ll tear you to pieces if she gets close enough. The gueen is a special scenario, so I won’t comment. Androids need to be shot in the head and limbs. Use a sniper rifle and get them from far away if you can, otherwise use a shotgun and blow them apart as best you can. If you use the pulse rifle, you’ll use up a lot of ammo. The predator should go down quick with use of a sniper rifle. Don’t let it heal.

As I mentioned, I played some more of the Predator campaign. It’s fairly easy so far, considering I am playing on normal.

For one thing, I don’t know why I chose to play through the predator’s game on normal difficulty. I should have chosen nightmare, because it is very easy on normal.

I just finished battling the Praetorian in the arena area of the ruins, and picked up the combi-stick.

The predator is fairly well done. There are a few things that you have to think about during game play with the predator, such as switching vision modes to see the different enemies, cloaking, and using proper weapons.

You don’t obtain the vision mode to see Xenomorphs until just before the ruins level in single player. It helps a lot in the caves and darker areas where you may not see them as well. When you play as a predator, the horror aspect of the game is gone. I mean…what is the predator afraid of? Nothing.

Cloaking is very important, and I sometimes forget to do it. Even on normal, a bunch of marines will mow you down with gun fire in no time if you’re not careful. Be sure to keep it on until the time is right to strike your enemies.

Now, weapons in the game are fairly limited. You only get four different weapons in the predator campaign: plasma caster(shoulder cannon), mines, disc and the combi-stick. The plasma caster is the predator’s most well-known weapon and is also the best in my opinion. The mines take energy to use like the plasma caster, and can be effective. They act as proximity mines. The disc is thrown, and once thrown you can use your laser dots to guide it to different targets. It takes some gettings used to, but it can be good. The combi-stick acts as a thrown spear weapon, and is powerful, but I wish I could stab shit with it. Oh well. You get these weapons on top of your melee claws. The melee claws are the weapon I use the most.

All weapons, except for the mines, uncloak you, so be smart about when you are using them. Marines CAN spot you during your cloaked periods if you get within a few meters, so be careful. Aliens can always spot you, so cloaking around them is pretty well pointless.

Anyway, that’s about all for today. I’ll be finishing up the predator campaign tonight after work. Tomorrow I plan on starting the Alien campaign. I will likely play it through on nightmare. Expect another post tomorrow.

Have I Mentioned How Much I Hate Dial-up? And A Bit More On Aliens vs. Predator (PC)

Posted in Currently Playing, Rants on February 22, 2010 by Matt

Today, I got home and wanted to play a bit of Aliens vs. Predator before I left for work. I got home, and tried to launch it from Steam, and was not happy with the results.

When I tried to launch the game, it wouldn’t launch. I exited Steam and then tried reconnecting my internet. When I tried logging in to Steam, it would take almost half a fucking hour to log in. I finally got logged in, and had maybe an hour left to play. I tried launching Aliens vs. Predator again, and it just sat there saying it was going to launch. It just never worked.

I think I have mentioned before that Steam gave me this issue, but recently these problems had went away after I installed Windows 7 and had Steam fully updated. I even had all of my games set to not update automatically. This did not solve the issue I guess. I am annoyed.

This wouldn’t be such a big issue if I could just log in to offline mode to play Aliens vs. Predator, but if I don’t have it connected, I don’t have access to my saved game files. For sme reason, someone thought it’d be a good idea to have your saved game progress saved to an online server and not on your PC at all. Strange.

Anyway, enough bitching. I’ll have to figure out how to deal with this issue some other time. Hopefully my copy of Aliens vs Predator for PS3 comes in the mail soon.

Speaking of Aliens vs. Predator, during the weekend I was able to play it quite a bit and I am really enjoying it quite a bit. Once you get used to the controls and the mechanics of melee combat, things get more interesting.

In close quarters fighting, mainly between aliens and predators, there are a few things you need to be aware of. You can block, but only light attacks. Heavy attacks break through blocks. Light attacks interrupt heavy attacks. You have to actually read the body language of your enemy and react the best you can. Spamming light attacks or using a heavy attack at the wrong time will lead to a quick death in most cases. Be smart, and think a bit befor commiting to an attack.

That’s all I will say about Aliens vs. Predator for now. Once I finish the game, I’ll be posting a review. Hopefully that will be soon.

I’ve also been playing a bit of Bayonetta and Datne’s Inferno. Don’t expect them to be finished any time soon. Aliens vs Predator is going to be consuming quite a bit of my gaming time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 Update 2:51 A.M.: I restarted my PC and reconnected to the internet and let the Steam browser fully load it’s pages and control panel. This seemed to allow me to play. Also of note, I finished the Marine campaign on Hard in Aliens vs Predator.

Gamer Eating Habits And Nutrition

Posted in Deep Thought on February 20, 2010 by Matt

I’ve noticed that, while gaming, my diet tends to change fairly drastically. On the average day, I tend to eat 4-6 times, and for the most part those meals are smaller. This usually encompasses rather healthy choices, and is usually purchased at a grocery store. I also try to work out on a regular basis, so my metabolism is generally a bit higher. When I am gaming, I either eat a lot more or a lot less. It depends on weather I am totally engrossed in the game, or if it’s with a group of people and we’re having a gaming session.

When I am playing a single player game, I tend to eat a lot less due to the fact that I lose track of time. If it’s multiplayer, I tend to eat a lot more since I am not at home and it’s more like a party. We’re all sitting around talking during the game and all decide that something to eat sounds good.

During single player, the choices of food are limited to what I have at home, since that is where I usually am when I play by myself. This is generally not a big deal, and I tend to eat healthier choices when at home. No big deal. No problems here, usually.

This all changes when I go over to a friend’s place to play with a group of people or game online (since I am not at home when I play online). Ordering in pizza, or taking a quick trip to the pizza or sub shop is fairly typical during these occasions. I try to think about eating something a bit more nutritious, but it rarely seems to matter. It comes down to what is quicker and easier to pick up. Even if we do end up going to a grocery store, the deli counter will have wings or something else equally delicious.

I am merely making an observation here. I have some gas and bloating from last night’s poor food choices. I was at Laynix’s place, playing Aliens vs. Predator online with a bunch of people last night, thus why I brought this topic up. I made a few poor decisions and am suffering the smelly consequences today.

I am going to make an effort today to break this poor eating habit. I am going to go to the grocery store and get some fresh fruits and nuts and whatever else is good to snack on during gaming. Hopefully tomorrow I won’t have the same issue I have today.

Purchased Aliens vs. Predator on Steam. My Initial Impressions So Far.

Posted in In The Mail/Purchased Items, Initial Impressions on February 19, 2010 by Matt

I purchased the game last night, and finally got a chance to play it today. It was a 15 GB download, thus the delay between purchasing and actually playing. The game has some issues, but I find it entertaining nonetheless. I’ve only played one online Species Death Match and I’ve completed one level of the marine campaign.

The first complaint I had was the absence of a crouch for the marine. It’s only natural for me to hit control or c to crouch and take cover, or to have a steadier aim. It’s very strange to me. I wonder why they left this out?

Next is that there’s a frame stutter. Occasionally, the game will freeze for a second a couple of times in a row, but will then play fine for a minute or two, and do it again. I had to adjust some settings in the nVidia control panel, and it seemed to help the issue (as far as single player is concerned). I haven’t tried multiplayer again to see if the problem is solved. More on this when I see results.

The AI in the game could use some serious work. I couple of times I found that the aliens in single player would just jump wall to wall in one spot, or just run past me sometimes. It was a bit weird, but whatever. Maybe there was some sort of distortion with the queen’s telepathy with the alien drones? Yeah, I’ll use that as an excuse for now.

I hope they release a patch sometime soon to fix some of the issues. I can see a good game under this, and I still enjoy playing it. I am playing the game on Hard, as I heard that Nightmare might be frustrating. The aliens actually do take quite a few hits to kill, so be warned. It’s not like the original, where you hit them and you get that satisfying crackle and their arms and head fly off. These fuckers are tougher.

That’s all for now. I’ll post again tomorrow after I’ve played more.

Again? Really? Aliens vs. Predator (PC) Delayed Until The 22nd In Canada.

Posted in News on February 18, 2010 by Matt

Alright, seriously, what the fuck is wrong with Sega? How can they fuck this up so much? Ship the game to Canada already, or suffer my wraith. My impatience grows with each passing second I do not have my copy, and the urge to kill rises. I don’t really know what the problem is with the game not being out on time, but someone must pay with their life for this.

I’m very tempted to just get a copy off of Steam now. Yeah, I think I will. I did want a physical copy for my collection, but I’ll have the Playstation 3 copy anyway. No big deal. Expect me to have it tomorrow.