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Game Over Online ~ Aliens vs. Predator 2: Primal Hunt

GameOver Game Reviews - Aliens vs. Predator 2: Primal Hunt (c) Sierra Entertainment, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Aliens vs. Predator 2: Primal Hunt (c) Sierra Entertainment
System Requirements Windows, Pentium III 450MHz, 128MB RAM, 500MB HDD, 16MB Video Card, 4X CD-ROM
Overall Rating 60%
Date Published Tuesday, September 3rd, 2002 at 12:12 PM


Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Aliens and Predators are both products of the film industry, created wholly from scratch for the sole purpose of cinematic entertainment. But unlike most things created in Hollywood, these had depth. Enough depth was endowed on both franchises to spawn comic books, fiction and games. Aliens vs. Predator 2: Primal Hunt continues the saga of the two Hollywood beings coming to loggerheads again with humans lurking in the background. While Primal Hunt works off the stellar Aliens vs. Predator 2 foundation, it's unable to captivate the sheer on the edge of your seat terror that the franchise is known for, ultimately coming off as a mechanical and rather derivative expansion pack.

The first complaint people will have with Primal Hunt is the campaign length. It's separated into three races: humans, predator and alien. With nine missions divided by three, that's three missions per race. In this day and age, I'd hardly call a campaign three missions and perhaps it would have been better if the missions were structured linearly like recent RTS trends, where you get to go through the story from the perspective of each race. Primal Hunt tries to stay with the original Aliens vs. Predator 2 concept of connected campaigns. What do I mean by this? There are certain inflection points during the course of the missions where the scenes play out exactly the same, except, depending on which campaign you're on, you'll be playing it out in a different role.

Primal Hunt's main story pits the aliens against the predators this time, rather than the aliens versus the humans. There's a quintessential flaw with that and it involves the nature of the two beasts. The aliens, for example, are much more adept at capturing mobile prey. It is fun to stalk a bunch of clueless and lost humans but not fun when you're stalking a bunch of armed to the teeth predators whose only vocation in life is to add you to their trophy room.

Customary with expansion packs, Primal Hunt's developers add new weapons for each race. None of them are particularly spectacular, save for a self-destruct bomb that can be attached to a suicidal predator. Although it sounds great, perhaps it would have worked better if it was the exploding acidic alien who depends on swarm tactics. The humans get a double pistol, no doubt to drum up the action. And you'll be seeing a lot of action as Primal Hunt's levels are merely a set of action sequences strung together with a storyline. The developers have put a lot of emphasis in the cutscenes and story. They're not phenomenal in voice acting or in presentation. It uses the in-game engine, which by this time is showing its age but is still able to conjure up some scenes of sheer terror, provided the action doesn't get in the way. The storytelling gives context to the missions but I wished equal care was put into the actual mission designs themselves. Playing as the corporate humans, this title felt more like an alien turkey shoot (punctuated with spells of quick saving/loading) than the survival horror depicted in the film franchise.

Therein resides the crux of Primal Hunt. It simply uses its marquee characters too willingly and wantonly in situations that are, in my opinion, inappropriate. Remember the film franchise and how it was able to use lighting, camera direction, set, music, and audio cues to summon scenes of horrific tension? This happened even when the only antagonist present in the scene was a mere facehugger. In Primal Hunt, full-grown alien adults will drop in on you at the turn of every corner. Once you see a full adult alien dozens of times, it begins to lose its menacing luster.

There are improvements to be found besides the obligatory maps and weapons. Primal Hunt is able to make some strides in the incorporation of friendly characters working in tandem with the script. That's something that takes it up to speed with other FPS titles released this year, most notably Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. It's a step up because in the last outing, you were often tasked impossible objectives like going through an alien infested complex alone to open the door for your personnel carrier while the rest of the crew chat and play twister inside. Here, the humans at least have a fighting chance.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Primal Hunt is the new focus. With aliens preying upon predators, it becomes brute force upon brute force, making it less about finesse and more about action. That in itself does away with the horror and terror that the franchise, both film and game, is known for. Primal Hunt also adds some multiplayer action but with such a shallow outing, it's going to be tough to find players even with GameSpy support. Primal Hunt is primal in the sense that it takes a step back from its predecessor. After a few days of play, you can't help but hunt for more.

 

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Rating
60%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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