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Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem


I remember a time when playing an Alien / Predator title was a joy. My first experience with the series was on the PC many years ago. Walking through the halls of an abandoned military station playing as a human was tremendously frightening and made me wonder at the possibilities of the same match-up in the cinema. Two horrible theater schlockfests later and a gaming series has dilapidated into nothing more than a shell of its former self.

Only released for the Playstation Portable, Requiem was specifically designed for a concurrent release attached to the movie. The narrative loosely follows the storyline of the film and puts the player into the role of the Predator sent to Earth to annihilate a ship filled with those ugly, acid filled buggers. Just as the film opens, Wolf destroys the crashed ship in the forest and sets off to hunt down the Predator / Alien hybrid breed. At this point, the player has a choice of three branching story paths to move along the narrative.

Gameplay

Regardless of the path taken, the objectives typically remain the same. Each level is filled with roving xenomorph creatures and follows a very linear path. There are no secrets to unlock or special objectives to complete along the way. The objectives appear on the in-game display and send Wolf firing along a rigid path. By taking the guesswork out of the equation, moving between levels is often a monotonous experience.

As a Predator, you have access to all that fancy gear made famous back in 1987. You can toggle between modes of sight such as night or heat vision to track down targets easier, but it's just not necessary with the auto aim system in play. Wolf can snipe enemies with the red-light shoulder cannon or get more personal with the speargun / razor blades. Most importantly, our gruff, long-haired friend has access to the stealth camouflage to shield himself from the eyes of the local humans.

Saving or otherwise avoiding killing the local residents will result in a bonus to the Predator in the form of honor points for weapons and armor upgrades. Of course, humans carrying firearms are fair game. The upgrades really aren't that helpful as the Predator is already the dominant character right at the start of the game. Aliens are nothing but gnats to this overpowered anti-hero. The developers should have structured the game correctly by stripping the Predator of his gear and gradually offered a piece back at a time during the game. At least that would have provided a modicum of challenge.

Multiplayer is in the vein of the early Tony Hawk games. You can't actually fight against anyone real, but rather compete for a high score in the alien shoot-em up mini-game. Each 5 minute skirmish mode can be tried on five different maps, all taken from spots in the corresponding movie. The developer didn't include a deathmatch or team deathmatch mode which doesn't make the slightest bit of sense considering the subject matter.

Graphics & Audio

The graphics engine is painfully drab and screams of a rush job. The color scheme blends into itself and doesn't help the jagged, low resolution textures. Ultimately everything starts to look the same; basically a dead landscape. The game also has a variety of framerate problems which doesn't help at all during the heat of the battle. Unfortunately the visual issues are nothing compared to the camera problems. The camera is mapped to the triggers and relies on the auto-aim function for all your shooting needs. It is incredibly clunky to the point of near uselessness. Sometimes I just spammed one of the triggers and twirled in a circle out of pure frustration while picking off the occasional enemy. It's a horrific setup that is immediately annoying once entering the game.

For a town bristling with aliens and humanity, it's a very quiet game. There are no real voiceovers in the game besides the occasional scream. Additionally, the auditory emission from the surrounding environment is as lifeless as the visuals. The musical soundtrack is as forgettable as they come.

Conclusion

While the developers probably wanted you to replay the single player campaign two more times after beating it, it doesn't offer a different ending and seems ultimately pointless. The incredibly simple campaign can be knocked out in a handful of hours and the multiplayer mode is barely worth more than a look. This is a problematic PSP title that probably never should have seen the light of day. I realize Hollywood wants to work with developers at releasing concurrent movie / game releases, but it rarely turns out for the better. Avoid Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem for the entire life of the PSP and immediately sell it on Ebay if you receive it as a gift.