February! Alien vs. Predator and Heavy Rain
You know I had intended to put these up daily, but like all the best laid schemes it did not go swimmingly. Oh well, we’re coming close to the end of February, and it’s still coming out with the heavy hitters. I found myself in a Game store earlier today as I so often do on a Saturday, and I found a big upcoming games shelf all of which I intended to buy at release. I think it was Alien vs Predator, Battlefield Bad Company 2, Final Fantasy 13, God of War 3 and Bioshock 2, all massive Q1 releases. At this rate this year is either going to continue like this and be the best year for games ever, or it’s just going to peter out and Q4 will be totally empty. I don’t really see happening that happening, I’m not even sure why I suggested it.
I was in the local Game with Sam who was trying to get a copy of Star Trek Online offline instead of off online. We both independently had very similar bad experience buying Aion through different digital methods, so we’re currently a bit wary of digital MMO releases and want a damn box. Unfortunately they didn’t seem to have any on copies on the shelf. Sam had to say some sort of weird code phrase to the lady behind the counter in order to get them to admit they were selling Star Trek Online. They said they’d only got two copies in and apparently couldn’t be bothered to bring them up from the basement to sell them in their game selling store. I’m not sure if their peculiar reluctance to let anyone know STO exists is just this store of it’s going to be shunned everywhere. They have recently slimmed the PC section of the store down from a whole wall to one thin shelf, so it might just represent Game’s current attitude towards PC Gaming. They should just replace it with a sign that says Steam.
Anyway, we’re here to talk about Alien vs Predator and Heavy Rain.
Alien vs. Predator – 19th
Rebellion, the developers on this game are the same folks who made the original AvP game back in 1999. I’m really not sure what the hell they’ve been doing this whole time. Considering the number of Alien vs Predator things that have come out in the mean-time, and the fact that it was published by Sierra and everything that happened to them in the years since, it must have been a legal nightmare getting back into a position where they could make another one. This game also continues the recent trend of not having a number or a subtitle. It’s just Alien vs Predator the same way that Wolfenstein, Prince of Persia and Medal of Honor were named in a manner that indicated no ties to previous games. For all intents and purposes we are looking at Alien vs Predator 3, though 2 was developed by Monolith so some might argue...
I watched a trailer of this game a couple of days ago, and it looks exactly like what I remember the original game looking like. Of course consulting Youtube revealed that I was clearly remembering with a rose-tinted mind, and the original did look very much like a game of its day. At its core, this game is still going to be about dark corridors with lots of smoke pipes, and aliens coming at you from all angles because that’s just what the movie Aliens was which was the greatest thing with either of the Alien or Predator licenses on it. In fact I always thought that the Predators were the weak link in the original and not terribly fun to play as. You were always worrying about losing spears by missing shots, doing the tedious busywork that was restoring health and energy, and being spotted by enemies despite being perfectly stationary and in stealth mode.
My best memory of the first game was the Alien single player which was only 5 levels buy comprised you rampaging your way through a spaceship. To start with the captain’s announcement were like "Nothing to worry about, the xenomorph is contained", but as you refused to be contained he got more and more freaked out and eventually tells everyone just to evacuate. I think you might also detonate the ship somehow, aliens are pretty good at messing things up on the whole. Playing the Marine was as terrifying as it should be. You died so very quickly if you let an alien get close, and if the alien didn’t get you the explosion of acid blood and flailing razor-sharp tails flopping around probably would. Or an unnoticed face hugger would do what it does best while you are distracted by the a signal on the movement sensor. Man that game was good.
I really don’t know much about this new game, except that it does have the needed three single player parts. They’ve released a multiplayer deathmatch demo that I haven’t played yet. I don’t really think that deathmatch is the thing when it comes to this game.
Likelihood of buying: Almost certainly
Heavy Rain – 19th
Indigo Prophect/Farenheit was so close to being a good game, but it wasn’t. I’d say that the first five chapters were a good game, but the rest? Urgh. Everything about it, from the terrible places the story went, the worst QTEs ever, and shitty stealth flashbacks... just urgh. Stop remembering stealth missions and get on with it! The best parts of that game were the parts that gave you a lot of choice, and were often about quite mundane activities. Like a part where you get to decide the particulars of what a guy does when he gets up in the morning before leaving for work. Do you listen to some music, shower, snuggle with your girlfriend, etc.
The opening of the game which they used as the demo was also awesome, probably the single best part of the game in fact. You were controlling a character that had found himself in a diner bathroom with a dead body and a knife in his hands. You could do so many different things from this point. You spend ages meticulously cleaning everything up, mopping the blood, stashing the body in a cubicle, washing your hands before leaving, paying the bill and generally getting away scot free. Or you could just leg it, and bust your way out of the fire escape alerting everyone in the diner that something was up with you. In the next scene you were cops investigating the crime scene you had just left, so you could find the evidence you had just stashed. This was all awesome. Unfortunately the rest was absolute garbage.
During the many action scenes of the game, all you were doing was pressing buttons that appeared on the screen blocking the action and distracting you from what was happening. Your character was swinging off of helicopters and stomping on weird Internet bugs, but you were just concentrating on pressing UP at the right moment. These were merely annoying and poorly conceived, but there was a second type of QTE that the game demanded you do that was flat out broken. At times you had to press left and right alternately to build up a meter. In all the time I spent playing the game I never figured out how to do this properly. Sometimes I would press left and it would immediately fail and I die and have to repeat sometimes 3 minutes of the QTE sequence. This is one of the few things that has ever made me truly angry while playing a game. One of the last things you do in the game involves one of these left-right sequences which I failed and got a completely nuts bad ending where glowy robots take over the world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKUCZhePljk&feature=related . I liked the ending so much and never wanted to do one of the QTEs again that I didn’t bother to get the good ending.
Oh wait, this was supposed to be about Heavy Rain. Well, if they can take the bits from Farenheit that were good, make the QTE sequences no totally broken, and write a cohesive story this time then this could be something really special. From reading previews it seems like this is exactly what they have done. So...
Likelihood of buying: Yup