The graphics you can see for yourself by looking at the screenshots on gamespot. The game when you play it looks like an improved version of a playstation 1 game. The game allows three zoom settings all controlled by the back button. There is close up which looks the best and shows moderate detail, the medium view which still provides close to moderate detail and the zoomed out view in which your marines, aliens, or predators look very lackluster. I always use the farthest zoom out so I can have a better idea of what is going on and it is easier to control my units. Although when playing aliens and there is a big pile of 40 plus aliens sometimes I need to zoom in all the way to select the unit I want. The sounds are taken right out of the movies. The predator yells and makes the clicking noise. When the predators heal themselves they make the same injection noise as heard in the movie. The aliens make a nice chestbursting sound when they burst fourth from a comatose prey, they scream like in the movies and burst when shot. The acid sizzles and the eggs make a gruesome gurgling sound when they open and the facehugger crawl out. The marines have the least impressive sounds of any faction. They have garbled speech, the synthetics make some digital distortion noise never heard in the movie. When you heal someone or fix a machine (be it sentry gun, evaporator, or synthetic) you get an awful static sound that is suppossed to be electrical crackling and welding. The gunfire is true to the movies but even in the movies I found the gunfire sounds to be poor. The sounds add to the overall experience but are nothing special. As far as value is concerned you can get this game dirt cheap anywhere that still carries it so I gave the the best rating. The game is worth owning for $15 or less. The gameplay would be a ten if they had improved certain aspects of the game. The path finding ability of the game leaves the most to be desired. The units in close quarter situations such as a marine base or inside an Alien hive walk diagonally into walls if told to walk around corners. They find their way around terrain but the speed of the units are heavily compromised as they push against surfaces. Sometime the units will walk around the entire other side of the board trying to take some distant and many times longer route. This is not the only problem of the pathfinding. Sometimes between one and four units will find a path different than the other ten and run off in some random direction. Only to be preyed upon by the computers units. This becomes a very annoying feature when you are trying to beat the time limit in the game and your units run off like stray sheep. Another problem is that some units refuse to stand close to other units so when you direct them to a location they run in the opposite direction. This baffles me and is most prevalent with marines. Marines suffer the greatest because they require the most strategy to play and formations are everything. Marines are super specialized, if there is a job there is a perfect marine for it. Problem is the wrong marines will die without doing any damage. Pathfinding suffers from dispersion problems. Instead of losing a few units like lost sheep you end up having your entire group of units begin to spread out larger and larger into a weakly bound cloud of units. This allows the enemy to attack a few units at a time. A related problem to the pathfinding and sheep problems has to do with the strategy settings for units. In AvP Extinction you can have units be 1) Aggressive, 2) Defensive, 3) Stand Ground, 4) No Attack. 1) Aggressive : Units that spot an enemy will run up to it and fight it. They will stay wherever they are when the unit is killed. What this does to you is the following, you have ten units close together in formation, an enemy walks by at the outside range of three of your units, these units run up to attack the enemy. When the enemy attacks them back the other seven units come charging in to help out. Your force loses formation, your units begin to be spread out, the enemy drags your units into an ambush. This is extremely annoying to be chasing down a unit or purchasing units only to find your exisiting units eagerly ran into a trap and died. The problem can easily be remedied. 2) Defensive : Your units stand their ground until they see an enemy then they move to attack the enemy and return back to their original position once fighting stops. The problem with this is the same as aggressive, they will run right into traps. The added problem is that slow units never make it to battle in time, battle ends, slow units return back, new battle begins where the fast units are and the slow unit has to backtrack and never makes it. Fast units are all killed then enemy comes to kill slow units. The problem can easily be remedied. 3) Stand Ground : THE REMEDY! In this strategy your units will attack anything within range but will not move an inch. They will stay in formation dutifully and attack any enemy foolhardy enough to wander by. There is a catch. The enemy can attack you with ranged units, such as Alien drones spitting at you, Predator cloaked units (Hunter, Tracker etc.), and Human snipers. These units can take pot shots and since they are out of range your units will slowly drop. There is a possible response, it requires that you manually target the enemy and then your units run up to attack the unit. Once it dies they will stay in the exact position they were in when the unit died. This means you need to gather up all your units and put them back into some cohesive formation (Aliens not so much since they are fast and need very little formation). 4) No Attack : This mode only has its value in goal orientated situations. If a goal requires capture and not kill you need no attack mode. Also if you want to sneak by some units and not alert them with ranged attacks this mode is useful. Although most units can't move and attack with ranged weapons which would defeat any need for no attack to slip past. What is it like to play Alien Vs. Predator Extinction? Not very exciting but it is interesting. Basically the game can be played two different ways. The game offers opptional objectives for every mission. One of the optional objectives are always time limit. You can take as much time as you want to defeat a level but if you don't do it quickly enough you fail the optional objectives segment. The optional objectives segment if defeated rewards you with a gold medal next to the level in the campaign level selection menu. That is all you get. Now is a good time to mention there are no cut scenes or ending credits/movie or even a screen when you defeat a campaign. Beat all the levels in AvP Extinction and nothing really changes. This does not affect the gameplay whatsoever but it is a let down to people who take pride in completing everything. Beating a level can be done by anyone, it is extremely easy, the hard part is beating a level quickly. The only exception to easy level completion are the marines. The marines unlike any other faction don't grow more powerful and wealthy indefinitely, well technically they could but at the rate in which they do it hours would pass where only 15 minutes would be sufficient to make any other faction more wealthy. This concept bears more explanation. Aliens gain points by killing enemies, they gain more points per kill than marines and it costs no points for an Alien to make a unit. Aliens simply need a host (any unit you defeat becomes comatose and you can drag its body back to your queen where she is laying eggs) to reproduce and don't have to spend any points to do so. Eggs are free, they produce facehuggers which are free, and in turn the facehuggers produce all but one type of alien. If you can kill one unit per unit lost to the enemy the Aliens can go on indefinitely and build up points, while the enemy spends points to make more units you begin to acrue points. In addition to that on every level there are regerating wildlife units. Aliens can kill defenseless creatures and get points and more aliens. Once all killed these creaturs regenerate and you can do the process again. There is actually a harvest feature where the Aliens will kill prey and then drag it back to the queen without any supervision. This makes the Aliens a very easy faction to play. They can suffer a lot of losses and then come back with little effort on your part. Predators gain points from killing enemies, the harder the enemy is to kill the more points it is worth, and Predators get another 300% of points by harvesting the skull of what they just killed. A 50 point kill has a 150 point skull to be harvested. Predators tend to kill so much and harvest the skulls that even after a bloody battle they come out with more points than it will cost to replace any units they lost. Predators also can self heal and deliver by far the most independant ass kicking machine of any race. Set up some Hydra units around a shrine and go take a nap. Wakeup to thousands of points enough to buy an entire army ten times over. Predators have fast firing, super long range, super long sight units that are immune to almost all types of damage. The marines get points for killing things, but very few points. The marines get massive amounts of points by repairing ATMOs which are atmosphere conversion machines found throughout the board. Basically you use a commtech to repair an ATMO and once it is repaired it has a number value like a gold mine in Warcraft that ticks down as your points used to buy units goes up. Eventually the ATMO is exhausted and can never again produce points. The marines over time can exhaust all the ATMOs on the board and have very little hope of earning more points in a cost effective manner. Marines are on a budget. Back to beating a level is easy. With Aliens you fight some enemies, get destroyed and pull back to capture some wildlife and the stray enemy to make more Aliens. You reach population max and go out after the enemy again. Rinse repeat. Do this until the enemy is defeated. It takes time but animals keep regenerating and your enemy doesn't. Predatirs don't attack in large numbers so they always lose their units and have no time to harvest skulls and thus will run down the points as they fight your aliens. You can also destroy your Alien bodies so the Predators can't harvest the skulls. Beating a level with Predators you simply use long range units in small numbers at first and kill some enemies. Upgrade your tech and buy more long range units and kill more enemies. Avoid Synth units since they can see you. Take some damage you can always heal and keep hunting. Eventually you have tons of points and you can buy units in moments. The enemy can bum rush you but you can have units purchased as fast as they can kill them. Eventually the enemy dies and you harvest all the skulls. You have even more points then when you were bum rushed. You may have lost all your units once but you are ahead after you re-order. Given time the predators can kill wildlife and harvest skulls to buy all the tech and full compliment of units. Then they can go to a bottleneck and sit and beat the enemy by attrition, or wear them down so they are weak enough to head on assault. Beating a level with marines involves finding an ATMO, repairing it, draining all its money and buying units and upgrades. When money or points (same thing) are gone you can find another ATMO and buy more upgrades and max out points. Once your army if max size you slowly in formation work your way towards the enemy. Using medics to keep healing all your units and Commtechs to repair any electronics. No enemy can beat a specialized group of marines all together in formation. You can use Synths and Snipers. Synths have detection and long range sight. The Synth looks for enemies, the Snipers shoot through walls, the ground, a mountain or anything to hit the enemy. Enough snipers can kill anything, even the queen Alien in a single moment. The difficutly with winning with marines are that your Synths get killed and cloaked Predators rip you to shreds. You can't see them when they are cloaked so you could be entirely wiped out by a small band of long range Predators. Also Aliens are very fast and do acide damage which is almost impossible to heal quickly with Medics. As the marines lose unit balance and formation huge weaknesses arise and the enemy can easily over run you. Also making money from all the kills is slow so you basically begin to become poor if too many units die. Also a dead marine makes one warrior Alien. Upgraded warrior Aliens are difficutl to beat and do RAW damage, the most deadly of all damage because no armor protects against it. I found the Predator levels to be the easiest to defeat. Once I got to a high enough level to buy Trackers it became easy to kill humans. Once I got the Hydra it became easy to kill anything, even queen Aliens. I could run in anywhere and kill everyone, all strategy be damned! I found the Alien levels to be a bit challenging at first but once a successful hive is setup it becomes easy and formulaic. I had thirty or so extra bodies lying around the egg chamber so no matter what got killed I could replace my population in a minute. Also when enemies proved difficult on later boards I just built loads of ravager units which do a lot of RAW damage. You make ten of these units and they can kill an army of anything. In the game you never face an army of Hydra units or any advanced military units for the Predators. I never beat level 6 (there are 7 level for each faction) for the marines. I got tired of playing the board so slowly and in the amount of time I got to level 6 in the marines campaign I was able to beat both the Predator and Alien campaigns. Whenever facing marines as an enemy on any board eventually they would run out of units. At first there would be dangerous roving bands of marines but slowly as you killed them they marines lost ground and never could take it back. Once taken you could spend an hour building up units on regenerating animals and then come after the remaining marines. Playing the game can fairly easily be explained but you should try it yourself because it is a unique experience. Aliens: You start off with very weak units and quickly want to upgrade technologies and gather hosts and avoid difficult enemies. Search out and find your first regenerating herd of animals (sometimes humans exist as unarmed miners or Alien cult worshipers) and keep killing them and dragging them back to the queen until you have about 20 or so Aliens. Then you can go hunting more dangerous prey for better Aliens. You convert your force from weak Aliens that died fighting strong enemies, to strong Aliens raised on the corpses of defeated strong enemies. The key is always to use at least on drone to kill an enemy so you can get cystic Aliens. Cystic Aliens are normal Aliens with additional hitpoints. Drones spit parasites that make cysts in comatose units that when an Alien facehugger uses that host the resulting Alien gets between 50 and 150 more hitpoints (25% to 33%). You run around trying to swarm enemies then bring them back to replace the fallen. Eventually you swarm and the game ends. If you meet a lot of resistance early on you use the queen to beat the crap out of any unit (in any level she can kick the crap out of anything you will face). Use the queen sparingly because she needs to lay eggs to keep the life cycle going. If you meet too many enemies that might kill your queen make an army of ravagers and send it four or five and any enemy will die quickly. I nine ravagers to walk into an enemy hive and kill the queen in a single round of melee hits before she could rise off her egg laying sack. Aliens grow, leave nodes everywhere to track enemies and then assault them to the death. You can move the queen closer to danger (which also means hosts) to speed up the unit generation turn around and use less dragging. Or you can drag eggs close to enemy fight zone, or march facehuggers to a bloody battlefield (if its safe because they can easily be killed) to repopulate right where everyone died. Predators : You start off with far too few units. You walk around killing units but avoiding head on conflicts with larger groups of enemies. You turn off cloaking if you are fighting Aliens since they always seem to be able to see you, and use your energy instead to heal damaged units. When fighting marines always target the Synth first with range units (have enough ranged units to kill the Synth before he can get a shot off) and then kill sentry guns. Sentry guns can't run up and spot you so they are low priority. With the Synth and sentry units gone the enemy is blind and you can stand right next to them and murder them all. Marines need sight units to see Predators. They are easily dispatched when you unravel the key elements of their forces. Make your way towards the enemy base and game winning objective slowly. Make sure to harvest enough units to always have all the technology upgrades and max units. Never leave the shrine too far behind your units because it can be killed and then you won't be able to order more units and will weaken over time with points you can't ever spend. When units die in battle order new ones and bring them into the battle from the very nearby shrine. If you enter a battle with more than 2800 points its almost impossible to lose. Pred guns aren't very useful unless you have no long range units available in lower levels. Always make good use of hit and run, then heal and hit again. Predator gameplay is the most monotonous because you always use the same technique. Ranged units rule and you keep away from large groups of enemies until you have max population and spare points. The fastest unit replacement belongs to the Predators. You target units that are only outline due to your Predator vision abilities (thermal, electrical, and Predtech) and you kill them before they ever see you. Stalker units don't even have to cloak, the enemy is dead before they could ever get within sight range. The camper will love player Predators, they camp and potshot everyone. Only with Hydra units can you be so lazy as to walk into a giant enemy base and kill kill kill. If killed you buy another Hydra, repeat buying Hydra replacements until the enemy are all dead. Marines : You live in constant fear. Fear you will be attacked by too many units and unable to have the medics heal all your units before the next attack. Fear that your units will wander off and ruin your perfect balance of units needed to defeat the enemy. Fear that the synth will be killed leaving you blind and vulnerable to the Predators who kill all your men without you being able to fire a single shot. You move marines every so slowly. Using a single fast synthi to draw enemies into your awaiting jaws. You need your units in a perfect square with weak long range units hidding on the inside of the square protected from the edges. You use Flamethrower troops as well as standerd grunts to make the outer square perimeter. You use snipers, SADAR (rocket troops), medics, and commtechs in the middle to heal perimeter troops and repair the bait synth. Also right behind the perimeter are the smartgunner units. When upgraded they have shells that don't let Aliens regenerate and make Predators detectable. Marines dream of having tons of Exo suits that can kill massive enemies, take massive damage and then be repaired by commtechs. The enemy gets no kills this way and the marines spend no money replacing units.
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