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E3 2009: Aliens Vs Predator eyes-on impressions

Sega's decision to put two games based on the Aliens movie franchise on permanent hold to create a new Aliens Vs Predator game took the industry by surprise earlier this year, but at E3 2009 we got to see how the game is coming along. Created by UK-based Rebellion (who made the first AVP PC game in 1999) the first person shooter title got a double demo treatment at the show.

On the show floor itself we got to see a tiny part of the Predator single player campaign (hands-off unfortunately) as our favorite alien sport hunter found itself in a jungle portion of the planet ready to infiltrate a compound filled with armed Colonial Marines. The Predator in the game had all of the abilities of its move counterparts; camouflage; heat vision and the laser mounted on his shoulder. You can even listen in on conversations and then "throw" their voices as distractions, yet another elements from the Predator movies.
The demo showed the Predator using all of these abilities to enter the Marine compound and making short work of some of them. Like the movie versions you can sneak in and kill humans and pull out their spinal columns out as your trophies (something that we were told players will want to get in the full game). Once inside the compound, the Predator decides to shut down its defenses which lets a ton of Aliens inside. Those pesky creatures keep most of the Colonial Marines busy but the Predator still has to deal with a couple of them.

At the end of the Predator E3 demo we got to see the hybrid "Predalien" and those of you who saw the movie AVP Requiem know what we are talking about. This creature mix will likely be a big part of the final game.

Over at Sega's meeting room we got to see a behind-closed doors AVP demo that was all about the Colonial Marines. The scene seemed to be a kind of remake of James Cameron's Aliens in that it took place entirely in a human compound that looked like the base in that classic 1986 movie. You and a squad of Marines have to defend themselves against a horde of xenomorphs that are all over the base. You have your slightly modified pulse rifle along with a shotgun (other weapons are supposed to be revealed later) to defend yourself.

The Aliens begin their attack and start crawling on the walls and ceilings. They like to stay in the dark so shining a light in their direction while they are still far away makes them scurry into the shadows. Yes, the Aliens can crawl on walls and ceilings so there's basically nowhere to hide and at the end of the demo it didn't look good for our Colonial Marine character as he got swamped by Aliens.

Visually the game looked terrific in both demo with the Aliens getting the best treatment; their modeling and animations were spot-on with what we have seen in all of the films. Level design and visual effects, all from Rebellion's own in-house engine, were right in line with the movie franchises.

Rebellion and Sega are keeping the Alien single player campaign a secret and are also saying little about the game's multiplayer features. However the demos of the first two single player campaigns were certainly a lot of fun to watch and Rebellion's previous experience with the franchise is also a plus. Hopefully we will get a chance to play a more complete version of the game before its scheduled ship date of early 2010.

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