Its just a game that works! Very mediocre though! Your regular first-person shooter, that happens to have aliens!
But don't get your hopes up just yet! The fact here is only this: the game works. It doesn't mean its great or that it introduces good new ideas. Its just a normal game that works. Although there are a few elements that are under-developed and that push the overall quality of this game down. So lets take a look at each of the elements of it:
- Gameplay 6.3/10
The game plays the same way you would expect any first-person shooter out there. In each difficulty there is a more efficient way to play this game. On Easy you can just go out there and shoot everything with your regular gun without having to worry much about cover and your health (which is a regenerative health by the way, on every difficulty). On the other hand as you play the game on Hard you are inclined to stay at a distance from the Aliens and attack using a Sniper Rifle. Normal is just a mix of both styles, using a regular weapon on most areas and the Sniper Rifle on more action packed arenas. But the real difference between the difficulties is non other than you having less health and the enemies more! There is no difference on the A.I. or the amount of enemies. In fact, there is always the same amount of enemies and they will appear on the same places. Each enemy has a target assigned, meaning that some will shoot your companions (that also have their enemy targets assigned) and others will shoot at you, and it doesn't matter where you are, they mysteriously always know where to shoot. If you're behind some object they will shoot the object non-stop, and will follow you with their guns wherever you go. After looking at those factors you realize there isn't ANY A.I. at all! This is a heavily scripted shooter!
It doesn't have a cover system at all, but you can take cover just by crouching or standing behind certain objects or barriers, that may or may not be destructible and force you to chance position. And there are only 4 types of weapons that you can use during the the whole game: An AK47 type of gun, a Sniper Rifle, a Rocket Launcher for the Boss Battles (Infinite ammo crates are scattered all around the game and provide ammo for those three main weapons) and a Mounted Turret (that is always located on a tank, but you're never able to use the tank, only its gun). The Enemies aren't really varied either, with only three types of them: A normal alien with regular futuristic guns (that are actually their left arms), An Alien with a mobile turret, and a Space Ship (which serves as the game's Bosses). The boss battles are very satisfying by the way. They're not long and not hard, but it feels good to battle a Space Ship!
- Graphics 6.8/10
This game has good graphics with good lighting and explosions. The graphics quality may remind people of Battlefield Bad Company, but a little less technically proficient and without the destructible buildings (except the ones that are supposed to be destroyed). It's not very distinctive either, as far as the artistic style goes. Just another shooter, that just happens to have aliens on it! There is not much frame-rate drops (just some very isolated ones that don't detract from the experience at all). The only thing that is kind of bad is the animation, characters seem wooden and when you see them saying their lines its kind of laughable!
- Presentation 5/10
This is the area where the game has its biggest flaws! The cutscenes are presented in a comic-book-ish kind of way, with limited (very limited!!) animation on the cartoon-like parts. This area of the game is just awkward and very distractive! The cutscenes seem to be part of something completely different than what you play, they just don't fit! The Story isn't really bad actually, since I haven't watched the film yet I can't really tell if its part of the main storyline presented on theaters. It seems to me though that its either a reduced version of the film's story or one of the points that compose that bigger narrative. But what brings the immersion down is the way this story is presented: bad cutscenes and cheesy dialogue that is very subpar.
The audio isn't too bad though. Just as most of the game, its normal and it works! The voice actors' performance is actually descent, even if they're not the film's actors' voices they are believable... Provided the writing were better it could have delivered some great moments.
- Replayability, Length and Value 6/10
Your first play-through shouldn't take longer than 1 hour and a few minutes. Yes! Its that short! But considering this is a Downloadable game from Xbox Live Arcade, it wasn't really expected that it would be much longer! There are unlockables, but no collectibles, and those unlockables are only videos, game modes (tougher enemies and filters), and pictures either from the game or the movie. The game only gives incentive to play through it three times, one for each difficulty. And that incentive isn't very gripping either, just the unlockables I mentioned and achievements. If you decide to actually play through three times and unlock everything you - like me - will only need 3 hours, tops. And thats it! Nothing more to do here!
What draws me to this game is actually its price! Even if its a short experience, its very cheap! You'll only spend 800 Microsoft Points (or $10) to buy it. Its a reasonable price considering what it offers, but nothing with spectacular value!
Oh, and there is NO Multiplayer! Something quite expected from most FPSs out there! The only online interaction is the Leaderbord, which measures your accuracy with the weapons, and thats it!
- Overall 6/10
As I said before, this isn't a revolutionary experience at all. Its just a game that works! Very mediocre! Your regular first-person shooter with nothing special about it! But the fact here is that its actually better than most film-based games out there. It doesn't have bugs or crashes, and actually provides a bit of fun that may keep you entertained for 3 whole hours (tops)!! Never mind the cutscenes though.
The selling point is actually its price and this new approach to film-based games being released on Xbox Live Arcade (and in April on Playstation Network and Steam). If you have time to spare, nothing better to play, an itch to shoot some weird-looking aliens, and 800 MS points sitting around, its worth a try!