Yes I'm still alive...
AvP2 was one of the most successful shooters of all time. Sure, it had a large array of bugs, glitches and terrain exploits, not to mention balance issues that were never addressed before being abandoned by its creators; but it still served as a very popular online base for the years following its release. I was there during AvP2's prime, and there when it finally died. Sooner or later cool Aliens and Predators weren't enough to overlook the game's aging graphics and ignored host of issues and problems. I was just going to review the game itself, but I found myself only actually wanting to talk about the multiplayer. There isn't much to say about the SP. It's good, but I'm sure it won't say anything Dead Space or Call of Duty or Halo or Bioshock or [Insert Name Here] hasn't already done for you already. So I decided to just blog post about the issue I wanted to focus on instead.
For most of us, the hopes of a decent AvP multiplayer died when that game was abandoned by its creators, and finally expired, becoming a ghost town. I always kept hope that there would one day become a sequel... but then something happened, AvP3 rumors flared up, and our anticipations soared. Would AvP3 live up to everything we ever hoped? Would it fill our AvP lust? Would it be the AvP with next generation graphics that we've spent years waiting for? The answer is yes... and also sadly, no.
AvP3 hit the shelf, and much to our disappointment, it lacked nearly every feature AvP2 had, such as different classes, number of weapons, gameplay modes, large maps, number of maps, etc. The list is so long it's one big tragedy. It didn't even ship with Dedicated Hosting, and when they released that, it was in its command line only, beta version. A game we waited for all decade couldn't even ship with a finished dedicated host client. It's also extremely complicated to use compared to practically any other game's client, largely due to being command line only. Everything about AvP3 feels rushed, unfinished, and obviously not designed by people that actually play video games. They even put in a matchmaking system, which is always a fail with video games. People don't want to sit in a damn que, they want to jump right into a game and get to shooting. I'd never play such, but I did anyway just to see the que times, and as you could expect, they're terrible. Half an hour in que just to get a game with 1-2 other people. I don't want 1vs1s or 3person games, I want huge 18 player frenzy battles. Luckily we get that with dedicated hosting... but our hopes are shot down by every problem imaginable soon found afterwards...
This pile of fail begs the question, why did AvP3 ship when the game obviously wasn't finished? In fact, why do most games do this? Why is everything rushed? Why can't people finish stuff? I could end this report right now... but I'm only really getting started...
So we give it a fair shot, take one big bite of the fail sandwich, and try to enjoy what we waited years for. We jump into a game, prepare our pulse rifles, and hope it'll give us something worthwhile. We are immediately hindered by the fact that you can die before your screen even loads, even while in game. You can join a game dead, then die again during the respawn before your screen loads. This is due to 3 reasons. First the maps are way too small. AvP2 had large maps, where you could repop in an isolated area that's closed in and hard to see inside, or just far off from most of the action. This offered you a good chance at actually loading before dying to another player. It wasn't always the case, but it did much to help stop such a problem. AvP3 does nothing of the sort, maps are too tiny, too open, and feel like they were thrown together. There's no room for 18 players, they are all just a tiny pit of hell where you usually don't live for more than a few seconds before dieing. There's FPS, and then there's this, where death comes so fast you usually can't do anything about it and it is just plain unfun. That's not to say that death doesn't come fast in other shooters, but at least most offer some sort of safe respawn where you have a chance at survival. I played Call of Duty 4 and I rarely ever got ganked respawning, even with game's full of people. Maps were huge, and with tons of closed in areas to put respawners.
The second reason is that players are too weak. Health values in AvP2 were higher. Granted you could instantly die from a grenade or rocket launcher or disc throw, here you die almost instantly from almost anything. Finally, there's no short lasting invulnerability when you respawn to ensure you actually get to move before being killable. Most games don't have that, but it isn't always needed because they are usually generous enough to respawn you in a safe area that you can't just be killed instantly at, such as AvP2.(See Reason 1)
So we get over that pile of nonsense(Which took 2 paragraphs to choke on), and what do we get next? Serious lack of gameplay modes and no classes. Using a certain gun means you have to hunt for and find it. You can't spawn with anything beyond your normal gun, despite any game mode setting. Why can't I spawn with the sniper rifle, or a flame thrower? Or the Smart gun? Granted the Smart gun is OP, but choices should still exist, even if that one isn't on the list. The other guns aren't overpowered, why aren't they a choice? Predator has the same issues, the shoulder cannon is crap but yet you have to hunt for it. The disc is "ok" but is a swing and miss most the time. Why do I have to hunt for junk or "questionable" weapons? Aliens don't have this issue, they don't have to hunt for their ability to wall crawl, run fast, or pounce. So the game feels handed to Aliens, but the reality is, everyone is screwed by this system. Original game allowed you to choose between classes or be like this where you have to find them. Here it isn't even a choice.
The lack of choices in the game goes even further. No classes is bad enough, but it then tells you that you don't even get model choices either. You have to look like every other newb in the game. Only way to get more models is to participate in the game's terrible "ranked matches", which take forever to find in the matchmaking system and are often 1vs1 bore-fests. No one but losers with too much time on their hands would want to do this crap. Thanks for insulting us by expecting us to do this for the models. Just give us the damn models, or let us get them from ANY game like CoD does with its levels. What a joke and slap to the face to players.
Failed game settings add onto the fail. You can't switch races once a game has started, meaning a bigger team is STUCK bigger unless people join and are forced onto that race. Why can't I just switch myself to the smaller team and be done with it? There's suppose to be an auto balance but I've never seen it work myself. In AvP2 you could switch teams at anytime, why not here? Why this locked BS? Speaking of which, you can't control a team's size either. Why can't I have a game of 6 Marines and 12 Aliens then go crazy? Why are the teams locked as even? Why the game balanced around a 1vs1 setting instead of bigger numbers?
Brings me to the next fail. The game is balanced around 1-1-1, meaning every race is balanced around even numbers with every other race. In reality the Alien race should be weak and fast, valueing superior numbers, while the Predators are strong, with the best weapons and health, but few in number. So logically a fair game, least in a world that made sense, would be something like 3 Predators, 6 Marines, 9 Aliens. But in this joke of a multiplayer, it's 6 on each. Why are Predator's not stronger and more advanced than Marines LIKE THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO BE? The design makes no sense. Even AvP2 had this issue, but at least you could still set the team sizes for that and play it how you wanted. Here they are all locked to a max of 6, with no way to turn the cap on one up or down.
Think I'm done? Getting there, but the game modes can't be left out. Predator hunt is a joke because the Predator is not as strong or powerful as he is suppose to be. They didn't even bother to boost him for this specific game type like they should have. It makes no sense. Mixed Species Deathmatch is the biggest insult the game has made. Team Deathmatch doesn't let you adjust team sizes, hindering its fun. Infestation is fun but not as fun as it could be due to tiny map sizes. All suffer from inability to change race in game. You shouldn't be able to in Hunt or Infestation obiously but in the Deathmatches you should be able to.
None of the game maps are appealing. Remember Hanger from AvP2? Map was HUGE. Giant boxes you could run inside of. An entire second floor with catwalk that Aliens could run underneath and see through, seeing you on them while you couldn't shoot them undernearth. A giant hanger area with a ship Predators could stand on or jump across. The map was amazing. Remember the camp level? Huts in a fenced in area with large open spaces and an underground tunnel. Remember the Hive level? An outside level with a movie classic Humve parked next to an infested building, nearly fully devoured by Alien growth, with wall vents for them to climb in and navigate through the level faster by using? That was awesome! Here all we get are tiny pit levels that may as well be boxing rings. My hopes soared at one level, it had buildings with an outside level and a crashed ship. It was big, unlike the rest, with buildings to get on top of. But my hopes were crushed when I found out you couldn't go inside a single building. Why are they shut off? Even in the SP they are open and you go in them, why'd you shut them off from us in the multiplayer?
The weapons suck. I mean pretty much all of them. The pulse rifle spawns you without grenades, and the grenades are nearly non-existant. The sniper rifle takes too long to use with its scope and doesn't scroll fast enough while in the scope. The smartgun is ok, OP in fact, but so rare that you'll likely never use it. The flamethrower does next to nothing at all. The shoulder cannon is an absolute insult to any Predator fan alive, it does next to no damage and is so inaccurate it's just sad. The netgun and speargun didn't even make it to the gun. The disc rarely hits its target. I guess this is their idea of "balance", make every gun suck so the Aliens aren't underpowered. An Alien can easily cut you off before you make it to a weapon spawn and kill you, but they suck so bad it doesn't really matter; so yay for balance. Aliens eat it too though, as they are all identical, absolutely no difference between Aliens.
Since they naturally don't get weapons, and the game blessed up with no classes either, Aliens got it the worst. Why no Predaliens or Praetorians? The ability to wall walk in this game, like you'd expect since everything else sucks, is also terrible. In AvP2 you could hold 1 button and let go to fully determine whether your character wall walked and hung, or fell and stayed on the ground floor. It was extremely simple and easy to use. That allowed you to focus on traveling and hunting your prey. Here it's confusing as hell. You hold a button to start it, you let go, and often you won't fall. It can also wall walk you when you aren't holding it and don't want to do it, even despite it not being told to have done it. It just does whatever it wants and you rarely end up where you want to be. It, like the rest of the game, it's all messed up. They also broke the ability to freely pounce, now making you require a target to use. But the target icon never shows up when you need or want it to, meaning you can't pounce. When it does let you, it's as innacurate as you were as a newb trying to pounce in AvP2. The difference here is that it's stuck that way and you've no way to improve it by getting better with targetting. Playing an Alien in this game is one big luck fest, mainly due to the terrible controls and whether or not they decide to do what you are trying to do. Trust me, it isn't too exciting, at least compared to to how fluid and perfect the controls were in AvP2. AvP2 had a ton of problems, but at least they were all technical, and just not by short sighted design. Controls were not one of its problems, in other words.
In summery AvP3 is one of the biggest letdowns ever. We hoped that waiting all decade and enjoying the terrible AvP games over the years such as Concrete Jungle, and Requim on the PsP would finally afford us a decent game. But what we got was this cheap unfinished rip off that is fully priced at 60$. I got mine for 25$ and I don't even want to play it. I recommend you pirate it for the SP if you lust AvP action, and stay far away from its terrible Multiplayer. All you'll get is ripped off. Play a real shooter that doesn't feel stripped down of everything it should have had. AvP3 is so bad that it's worse than AvP2 was during its early years, and that's while taking every single glitch, bug, flaw, and issue into account. It is a terrible game in every way and it's multiplayer is an absolute joke. It never should have been released in this form. It isn't even close to being finished.
Why do companies do this? Because it's a profit. You can puke any pile of junk onto the shelf and it'll still sale more than what it costed to produce. Until people learn to stop buying this stuff, game quality will never increase. Why should they make something if you are still paying them for the junk? I will sit on my CD key and hope that someday that they fix this terrible rip off of a multiplayer I was fooled into buying, but I doubt that will ever happen. Consider this the end of my rant. If you could actually stay awake to read it all, I hope you found it educational about game quality standards, among other things.