Aliens and Predators are fighting to the death and you're a marine who's stuck in the middle. Or rather, you're an Alien trying to survive against those who would hunt you and use you as a test subject. Maybe that's not your cup of tea? How about this: you're a Predator on a very important mission, and to complete this mission you'll have to use your unique technology and skills to not let anyone, or anything, stand in your way. Sounds good, right? An instant win, as they say? One would think throwing together two legendary sci-fi franchises, ones that defined their respective genres, would make for an excellent mash-up, right?
In many ways, it works, but in even more ways it fails miserably. Most of my problems can be attributed to Rebellion being the developer behind this game. I never want to attack companies directly, and I'm not doing that here, I just don't think Rebellion was the correct choice to make AvP. Sure, they did the original AvP for the Jaguar, but have you looked at their recent shooter titles? Rogue Warrior was just god-awful, but as bad as that was Shellshock 2: Blood Trails still remains as one of the worst titles I've ever had the misfortune of reviewing. Rebellion doesn't always make bad games, they have plenty of solid titles under their belts like the surprisingly good Simpsons game back in 2007. They just don't do shooters well.
That being said, AvP obviously has its fair share of flaws. The combat is lacking in balance mostly, since in the right hands the Marine can be a true death machine. The machine gun's ammo clip essentially allows you to just riddle a hallway with bullets endlessly for a good 10-15 seconds, killing anything and everything that was trying to sneak up on you (which they can't do because of your handy radar). Cut the clip size in half. The melee attacks, consisting of a light and strong attack, could've used some polishing as well, but my real problem lies with the execution attacks. The length of time it takes to pull one off almost always ends up forming a Kill Train where someone kills another, then someone else comes up behind them while they're in the middle of their move, and on and on. Sure, it's funny, but it's also rather ridiculous.
The idea of three separate campaigns sounds great on paper, but it would only work if each story got an equal share of creativity invested in it. The Marine campaign is by far the most generic of the three since it’s basically a pseudo-horror game that's way too short and full of intensely annoying dialogue. However, all is not lost, since the combat is fairly solid and the “ping, ping, ping” sound of a nearing foe emitted by your radar is one of the more memorable and terrifying gaming experiences in recent memory.
The Aliens campaign is maybe a bit longer and slightly more entertaining (but still lacking in the interesting story department) primarily because of the Alien's abilities. Running around walls and ceilings to confuse your prey before knocking out all the nearby lights and killing them off one by one is very fun. You can even use the Alien's ability to emit a loud screech that will send a dumb individual out to investigate said noise, giving you easy prey as you wait deep within the shadows.
The Predator's story is by far the most entertaining (and the longest), also mainly because of its abilities. Long jumping, cloaking, switching between the various visor modes, and choosing from a very cool arsenal of advanced (yet oddly ancient) offensive and defensive weaponry helps create a very fun experience. I should also mention the amazing gore (yes, I said 'amazing gore', because I am a freak) in this game. Tearing off the head of an unsuspecting Marine is rather fun. If anything, these three campaigns give you a good amount of variety in the single-player experience that many similar games don't provide. If you're not terribly fond of one campaign you can see if another tickles your fancy.
If you're buying this game, the most important feature is its multiplayer, which for he most part is very well done. Sure, it’s basically all taken from other online games like the Infestation Mode (see Horde, Survival, or Firefight modes), or Death Match (do I really need to provide an example of that?), but it's been given the AvP twist. Having three races with very different abilities all fighting alone or together makes this game's multiplayer different enough to stand apart from the plethora of other online games.
What might sound like a rather harsh review is actually just my way of saying this game could've been better. AvP has some great moments, good action, and some very neat ideas, but they're all held back by a ton of balancing issues and dull gameplay. The sound effects are fantastic and will definitely leave you in the mood to watch either the Aliens or Predator films (though I suggest skipping the AvP films). Despite the much talked about three unique campaigns, this is a game that puts its multiplayer in the spotlight, but there's very little innovation and even less of a reason to choose this game over the myriad of better online experiences out there.