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Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction video game developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by SEGA for PC, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is a first-person shooter based on a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. It was released in February 2010.
There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.
As in the films, the Predator prefers to stalk its prey from the safety of treetops and the gameplay reflects this, the player leaping from branch to branch automatically with the help of a "focus jumping" game mechanic. The Predator has different vision modes, the most recognisable from the films being a thermal imaging scanner, but the player also has different vision modes for spotting Aliens and other Predators. Each vision mode only allows for targeting a specific race. For example, the Heat Vision mode renders Aliens and other Predators nearly invisible, making battles between two or all three species a tactical juggle to prioritise enemies based on their threat to the player.
The Predator’s gameplay is more based on stealth and tactics than the average first-person shooter. The player has to be aware of Aliens, which have the ability to see through a Predator's cloaking device, that may climb up a tree and attack from below as well as taking care not to reveal themselves to marines too early as the marines’ weaponry and numbers are more than a match for the Predator. For long-range weaponry, there's the shoulder-mounted plasma cannon, the glaive-like disc and a spear gun. For close-range combat, the Predator has two retractable wristblades on its right arm.
The wristblades allow for the Predator to perform a "trophy kill," a nod to the movies in which the Predators take trophies, usually skulls, from their defeated enemies to show their prowess in the hunt. To begin the Predator's trophy kill, a "terrified" marine is dragged into the centre of the screen by his or her throat, which the Predator then snaps effortlessly with the accompanying sound of "someone biting into raw celery." The neck broken, the Predator decapitates the marine, a "sizeable portion" of the spinal cord following. Even after this, the marine is still alive for a short period of time, "gasping his last, with nothing but bloodied, glistening vertebra beneath his chin.". Jason Kingsley, the CEO of Rebellion, defended the brutality of the trophy kill system, stating "This is obviously a game based on adult-rated movies, and we want to make sure it’s very clearly an adult-rated game. It's an issue for me; some computer games are for kids – we're not making a computer game here for anyone other than adults. That's very clear and within that context, I think the violence is part of the character and the world – so we're talking about a fantasy world here and fantasy creatures and we're talking about trying to build up a mythos. I remember the first time I saw it, one of the particular Predator kills, everyone went 'Oooh.' But it's what the Predator does in the movies."
Previous games in the AvP series used an "honour system" to prevent the overuse of weapons. In this game, however, Rebellion "appears to have settled for an energy system". This means the cannon can be recharged by using any energy power-up console in the environment. Energy is also used to re-charge the Predator's health.
The Alien campaign will force players to get in close to their enemy as their only methods of attack are physical: the Aliens claws, tail and inner and outer jaws. Aliens live in the shadows and use senses other than sight to locate their prey, which is why the Predator’s cloak is useless against them, and this imply stealth tactics similar to the Predator’s campaign, getting players to search for dark areas to hide the black alien in. Players are allowed to climb over every surface in the game as an Alien, but this is counteracted by a slower pace than previous games in the series, discouraging "blitz tactics." Rebellion included a game mode which will increase the Aliens' speed back to their "original, often disorienting pace," possibly tied to the difficulty level.
The Colonial Marine campaign is to be far closer to that of a standard first-person shooter. Some of the weapons are the "iconic" Pulse Rifle and Smart Gun, along with an image intensifier to light up dark areas and the motion tracker made famous in Aliens . The key to the marine campaign is "the sheer terror of facing off against the two movie menaces of the title.". No cutscenes play during this campaign other than from the perspective of the player character and that the point of the campaign is to simply survive. The marine campaign also contains the most information about the game's plot, whereas the others will simply feature overheard conversations between marines "shortly before you dice the marines into meaty chunks."
An early cut of the game was submitted for review to the OFLC of Australia, but was denied classification in Australia and effectively banned for sale altogether. There will not be a re-cut version released in Australia. However, a recent push by the Australian gaming community and some members of the government to adopt an R18+ rating may allow the game to be released on time assuming the new rating is allowed.
As of the 18th of December, SEGA have successfully won the bid on the classification of the game in Australia. "It is with great pleasure that we announce the success of our appeal," says Darren Macbeth, managing director of SEGA Australia. "We are particularly proud that the game will be released in its original entirety, with no content altered or removed whatsoever. This is a big win for Australian gamers. We applaud the Classification Review Board on making a decision that clearly considers the context of the game, and is in line with the modern expectations of reasonable Australians."
The Board noted that "the violence depicted in the game can be accommodated within the MA 15+ category as the violent scenes are not prolonged and are interspersed with longer non violent sequences. The violence is fantastical in nature and justified by the context of the game, set in a futuristic science-fiction world, inhabited by aliens and predators. This context serves to lessen its impact. The more contentious violence is randomly generated and is not dependent on player selection of specific moves."