AvP: Fouling Up A Sure Thing

doug_thompsonBy Doug Thompson

I knew that because Keener returned to the university last year when he and his wife were honored along with Gov. Mike Beebe as dis- tinguished alumni. I have no excuse for not mentioning him in my recent raving about Mass Effect 2.

If you don’t want to buy the game to listen to Keener’s work, check out YouTube. Keener does a superb job and has some of the best lines in the production. If you play the game or know somebody who does, you really should watch the “Garrus Loy- alty” mission. It’s quite dramatic and so good, it was given specific men- tion in the very popular web comic “Penny Arcade,” at www.penny- arcade.com/comic/2010/2/8.

Now, for today’s topic.

Honestly, how can you foul up “Aliens vs. Predator”?

I’m not a big fan of the series, either the movies or the video games. To clarify, I liked the first “Alien” movie and grew to appreci- ate the second one. It’s the mixing of the “Alien” and “Predator” movie franchises I’m talking about here.

I’ve played enough of “Alien vs. Predator 2” to know that it was one scary shooter of a game. The tension was palatable. It was intense.

All you had to do was update that 2001 game with Xbox 360 graphics and you’d have had a winner.

Now I read Gamespot giving a 5.5 out of 10 score to the new PlaySta- tion 3 game and to the Xbox 360 ver- sion. “Game Informer,” a magazine, gives the PS3 game 5.75 out of 10.

Somebody needs firing. This is — or should have been — a can’t- miss franchise piece.

You play as a Marine, an alien or a predator. An underdog or one of two scary monsters; How could you miss? You have three tries to get it right.

I haven’t played the new game yet. Judging by the reviews, I won’t. The big problems, according to Games- pot, are lousy control mechanics and phone-it-in level design. Check out the video review at www.gamespot. com/ps3/action/aliensvspredator- workingtitle/review.html. You’ll see a generic shooter with the same old running backwards and firing tactic you see in any simulation where you carry an assault gun.

Good shooters are a very highly evolved game form. We are well into the 21st Century, after all. No one should have to settle for a glitchy, clunky shooter in an age where you can buy “The Orange Box” for $30 or less.

The computer AvP isn’t reviewed yet, but I’m holding out little hope

that these basics flaws can be fixed in a ported version of a game released simultaneously on three platforms.

This disaster follows the nota- ble “thump” of “Dante’s Inferno’s” critical reception. While sales of Dante’s are OK for now, IGN web- site’s review gave it a 75 out of 100, but that was mainly for the game’s very nice artwork. Gamespot flat- out called the game a “God of War” ripoff. The “Onion” audio visual reviewer called finishing the game a relief for the reviewer.

These are two big chances to revive flagging video game sales that have been wasted in the same month.

The only blockbuster release that’s also been a critical success since Christmas has been the Xbox 360/PC release Mass Effect 2 — once again costing the apparently cursed PS3 platform hard-won momentum. The Xbox 360 again passed the PS3 in console sales and ME2 gets a lot of the credit for that.

Sony is hoping “Heavy Rain” will restore what’s been lost — again — but this game of PS3 catch-up would be a lot easier if there was some con- sistency. At least “Bioshock 2” is get- ting good reviews and sales.

I wrote late last year that the PS3 has finally rounded a corner and gotten some decent exclusives. I never expected that the big, tentpole multi-platform releases that are sup- posed to keep the flow of sales going in between those exclusives would sputter so badly.

Categories: Features