Alien vs Predator: Evolution – 6 GPPs
Straight to the point: Alien vs Predator: Evolution is a fun, and easy to pick up game that allows for maiming and evisceration on the go. It’s not without it’s faults (repetitive combat and the usual 3rd person camera woes), but if you’re a fan of either franchise, you’ll enjoy this. If you just like gory action, you’ll also enjoy it. Attractive visuals, quick levels and fun execution gameplay make this worth the (relatively meagre) pricetag. Just be careful you don’t drop your mobile device performing the elaborate executions.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with game adaptations of movies for a long time, mainly because they’ve nearly always been terrible, but I’ve loved the subject matter. Take the Alien & Predator movies, and their crossover titles for example – as standalone adversaries, they’re some of the best Hollywood has to offer… but combine the two, and it ends up a diabolical bastardisation that aims for greatness, and falls flat on it’s face.
The videogames have often followed suit, that is until 1999’s PC & Mac title Alien vs Predator although I really wanted to play the 1994 game of the same name on the Atari Jaguar, and never got the chance. The PC game was a groundbreaking FPS that allowed you to control a Colonial Marine, an Alien (from facehugger to adult) or the ridiculously overpowered Predator. Seriously if you haven’t played this game you need to find it and get it now… it may look a little dated, but it still pounds most other AvP games into the ground until it’s not long before all you end up doing is punching wet chips of bone into the floorboards (points for anyone that gets the reference).
Ok I apologise – I appear to have gotten a little sidetracked in my geeky gushing over an old title… we’re here to talk about something new & exciting – and that new thing is Alien vs Predator: Evolution on iOS and Android.
Now before you all give a collective groan at another mobile-based franchise cash-in, you should hear me out. The game is actually quite good fun, and here’s why.
AvP:E is a third-person action shooter/hack/slash/decaptitate/disembowler game from Angry Mob Games & Fox Digital Entertainment. Like the game’s predecessors, you get the chance to control the acid-blooded Alien from LV426, or the űber hunter Predator. However you’ll quickly find out that it doesn’t matter which species you opt for initially, you’ll get to play as both regardless which prettymuch makes the initial choice redundant, and more just an indicator of which species you’ll control first.
Graphically the game is excellent, putting my Nexus 4’s processer to the test, and the creature animations are great. Combat animations are repeated a lot though. The tone & lighting is very well done, and it really sets the atmosphere for whichever species you’re playing at the time. For example – everything’s a little darker for the Aliens as they use shadows to conceal themselves etc. The HUD for each species gets it’s own unique twists too, with the Predator’s trademark red hue and psudo-alarm clock-like digital readouts. Aliens get a luminous green HUD, with liquid-like highlights to the energy bar and on-screen buttons as a nod to the xenomorph’s acidic blood.
Story definitely takes a back seat as you plow your way through scientists, marines, cyborgs & other alien species, but to be honest, you aren’t really going to give a crap. Aliens: Colonial Marines tried to add story and coherent dialogue, and look how that worked out. Thankfully AvP:E doesn’t try to be complicated, and sticks to what you know you’re going to enjoy – slaughtering everything that moves.
Most quests consist of making your way to a particular objective, be it reaching a certain bit of equipment, or (as a facehugger) finding an unsuspecting scientist to yawn-rape and impregnate.
The initial levels start you off with little to arm yourself with… as the Alien you’re a very vulnerable facehugger, but you make your way through air ducts and such to find your prey. As a Predator “youngblood” you’re only armed with your wrist blades, but that’s more than enough to make short work of prettymuch anything that gets in your way.
The really good thing is that the levels are pretty short… you can polish off a level within about 5-10 minutes, and in that time you’ll most likely have levelled-up your killer of choice and either acquired a new bit of kit to massacre everything with, or have your Alien evolve slightly to incorporate a new method of mass genocide. One interesting trait the Alien uses is the ability to call forth a facehugger to help you in a fight.
Control-wise, the on-screen buttons and joystick are very responsive and easy to use – once you hack and slash an enemy to near-death, an extra execution button will appear. This triggers a quicktime event where you have to drag one, two or three fingers across the screen in particular directions to pull off the finishing move. As a Predator, the basic finishing move is to rip your opponent’s head off – this involves a three-finger gesture going left, right & up simultaneously… so make sure you don’t drop your phone/tablet/iPod while doing this – I nearly did a couple of times.
The Alien finishers are a little easier – the basic “Head Bite” being a single swipe up, but early on you develop the “Harvest” finisher, which is a 2-finger gesture up & down simultaneously.
No, the controls aren’t complicated, and the game boils down to a brawler game where sometimes the camera can get stuck in awkward places (this can be rectified by moving your finger around the middle of the screen to reposition it, however in the middle of a fight it could be problematic). Although these camera problems exist, I haven’t played a 3rd-person mobile game that doesn’t have the same problem – classics like GTA: Vice City included.
The game itself isn’t complicated at all really – some would say it can be repetitive, but in my opinion the levels and character progression are so quick, that before you get the chance to get bored, you’re given a new skill to play with.
All-in-all, I’m really enjoying Alien vs Predator: Evolution – it’s fun and easy to pick up and put down… it looks and sounds great, even down to the marines’ pulse rifles as they feebly attempt to mow you down before you dismember them. Fans of the comics, films or prior games will have fun with this title… and if you’re just a fan of action games, you won’t regret paying the small pricetag to have a crack at this.
For those of you that are particularly irritated by mobile games’ general issues with 3rd person cameras, you may get too irritated to enjoy the game properly, and if you’re looking for a deep and immersing game, you’ll be left wanting.
All things considered, AvP:E is definitely an above-average mobile game, and worth your time & money in my opinion. If you’ve played the game, comment and let us know what you thought!
Check out the game’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/AVPEvolution
Review Version: Android, running on an Google Nexus 4.