Alien vs. Predator: Requiem Hands-On Impressions

We fire up the shoulder cannon and get hands-on with the latest addition to the Alien vs. Predator franchise.

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We last had a look at Alien vs. Predator: Requiem back in August this year at a Sierra press event in Palm Springs. This week we received an updated build of the PlayStation Portable title, and for those who were already amped at the thought of slaughtering aliens as the Predator, good news--this game is for you.

For those who haven't been following its development, Alien vs. Predator: Requiem is a third-person action tie-in game designed to go on sale alongside the cinematic release of the film in the later part of this year. In the game you'll take on the role of a lone Predator, with the sole purpose of wiping out aliens and their remains in Gunnison, Colorado.

Our hands-on code included part of the single-player campaign, multiplayer, and a five-locale skirmish mode for quick play. The single-player in our code was broken up into a flat-view branching level system, allowing you to choose the location of your next chapter from several options. After a little alien spring cleaning at an alien crash site, you'll move on to areas like forests complete with farms, sewers, a high school, and a cemetery.

Each location offers challenges specific to the area. For example, in the sewer zones you'll need to find and activate power substations to pump water out of walkways in order to continue along your path--in addition to fighting off waves of aliens, of course. Completing tasks is as simple as approaching an objective and then interacting with it by hitting the X button to get things moving. You'll spend a lot of time walking around looking for tasks, but once you find and complete them you'll just need to backtrack to continue on your merry way to the end of the level.

Developer Rebellion is no stranger to the Alien vs. Predator concept, having created the well-received 1999 AVP title. While this current game is a handheld exclusive with only the Predator playable, it retains some of the original's charm. Your Predator character features a variety of weapons and abilities, including the token hand blades, spear, shoulder cannons, and throwing disc. But you'll also need to use his other skills to advance, namely the thermal, alien, and technology vision modes to spot prey, find remains, and solve basic environmental puzzles, such as downed power cables.

We'll reserve final judgment until the game is finished and on shelves, but currently it looks about on par with the visuals of other PSP games. The character models are reasonably detailed, and the environments are varied. It does look like a modern-day graduate of the Quake School of Colour Palette Creation, relying largely on browns, olives, and darker colours, which makes it difficult to see, if you're playing in a well-lit place.

The game uses a floating over-the-shoulder-style camera, which in itself is not a problem, but unfortunately it's not a fixed perspective, meaning that as you turn you'll need to manually adjust it with the left and right triggers on the PSP or tap both at the same time to snap back to centre. The system becomes particularly frustrating when you're attacked from behind by aliens, and while you can attack straight away by pivoting with the analog stick, you leave yourself open to attack on your blind side.

Due out before the end of the year, Alien vs. Predator: Requiem may be a tie-in game, but camera system shortcomings aside, it's shaping up to be a fun third-person action romp if you've been hankering for another game based on the popular sci-fi universe.

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