Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem PSP
Published by: Sierra
Developed by: Rebellion
Release Date: Out Now
Having reviewed Aliens vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator 2 for the PC several years ago now, I was interested to see how Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem for the PSP would turn out. Those two earlier games on the PC were actually quite challenging and were very atmospheric (the sequel is still one of the most atmospheric FPS games I've played). It was quite a surprise then to find Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem to be completely different in that it never managed to grip me with a sense of fear and also that it was very straightforward from start to finish without really offering anything like a challenge.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is based on the film of the same name. You'll play as a lone Predator who has been charged with wiping all traces of the Alien presence from the sleepy town of Gunnison, Colorado. The story plays out over fifteen missions. One of the more pleasing aspects of the game is that you can pick your way through the bulk of the story by choosing which missions to take. The missions largely involve you killing Aliens and getting rid of their technology. You almost always have a choice of a few missions you can take until the latter missions, which you have to take. It would have been better to have had a few alternative endings which would have added some replay value to the game. The game also offers a skirmish mode and a multiplayer mode that supports ad hoc play.
Oddly enough for an Alien vs. Predator game, Requiem is far too easy. The combat never poses any difficulty and as such there's never any question that a situation can ever be dangerous. Of course you can avoid combat at times by enabling your cloak, which will make you temporarily invisible. The thing is that you'll rarely need to take a cautious approach because of how easy the combat is. Your health bar is split into segments and providing a segment doesn't completely empty, it will refill. Should your health ever fall perilously low you can simply press the select button and press the square button to gain a 'Health Boost' which will completely refill your health bar. This is one heck of a safety net to have and takes any challenge away that the game might have had.
Probably the biggest disappointment with Requiem is that you can see with a bit more thought and a lot more challenge, the game could have been far more satisfactory. I like the idea of the three visions: Thermal, Alien and Tech. Each vision has its own purpose and allows you to spot certain things. The idea behind the game is sound too and the idea of having to eradicate all Alien traces within a town should definitely have been far more enjoyable than it has turned out to be in Requiem. The problem is that the game feels like an action game by numbers, as you're led from objective to objective and there's no room for figuring things out for yourself. The game offers an interesting twist with the Honour Point system (awarded for not killing humans and your general performance in a mission) and with these points you can upgrade your weapons.
Graphically Requiem doesn't look too bad. Before you actually notice how decent the graphics are however, you'll notice how bad the camera is. In fact, the camera is pretty awful and needs constant attention (you'll control the camera by pressing the L and R buttons), if you're to keep a sensible view of the action. During combat the camera angles are potentially disastrous. Thankfully, with the combat always being straightforward, it's never too much of a problem. The models for the Predator and the Aliens look quite good but a good deal of the environments that you'll find yourself in actually look quite bland.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem won't cause deaf gamers any real problems. Before you begin one of the game's fifteen missions you're given a text briefing that explains what needs to be done. All of the tutorial messages within the game are text only. During a mission you can press the Select button to pull up a map that gives you the location of your current objectives. There isn't any speech in the game apart from a few screams so there's no need for subtitles. There are no captions in the game but this doesn't cause any problems.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is one of those rare titles that's simply right down the middle in terms of quality. There's nothing here that's bad but there's nothing here that's especially good. At no point does the game ever come across as a travesty but likewise there is nothing memorable about it and it's likely you'll forget all about it as soon as you've finished it. The game never really grabs you. There's no sense of terror in the game, which is unusual for an Aliens vs. Predator title. The difficulty level has been set far too low. I'm all for games being accessible but this is easy to the point where it becomes tedious and that's a real shame.