Aliens vs. Predator Demo: First Impressions

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 9th, 2012 at 9:15 pm,

alien vs predator - predator demo

So tonight I really wanted to sit down and try a few demos and top of my list was Aliens vs. Predator. The demo dropped this Thursday and I hadn’t heard anything about it at all. I’ve been playing more PlayStation lately and the TV the Xbox 360 was on was in use so I decided to download the demo from the Playstation Store. The download went quickly even for a nearly 2 gigabyte file and it installed as fast or faster than any PlayStation demo.

Once I started the game however, everything came to a stand-still. The menus ran fine but when I chose the only open, “Quick Match” I began the infinite loop of searching for games. After letting it run for 20 minutes I found it was a common error afflicting the PC and a patch had been released. A similar problem had also been seen on the Playstation but since there was a PC fix I decided to try it out on that platform. I hopped on Steam and let the 2 gigabyte download waste another chunk of my monthly bandwidth and in a few minutes I was off, and this time I actually got into a game. Who releases a demo that doesn’t even let you play the game on two out of the three systems that it is playable on? This was strike one.

The demo offers eight-player death match games. Before the game begins you join a lobby in which you can, or in my case are forced to, voice chat. My microphone was hooked up and laying next to my speakers so upon joining the lobby feedback echoed over all eight players speakers. Who enables voice chat by default without a way to turn it off? This was the strike two. After everyone chooses their species (and if it were the full version, their skin/class) they are given the option to flag themselves as “ready” which apparently does nothing because the game started before I had even thought about selecting my race. My race defaulted to alien, which I wasn’t all that angry about because alien’s are pretty kick-ass in general and their reputation holds in this game. Their ability to crawl on walls, and “sprint” huge distances at great speeds makes them my favorite species to play so far.

With no tutorial or help pop-ups to learn the controls I decided to do what any PC computer player would do and hit escape and find the “controls” set up to see what the controls were. There were control settings eventually but nothing alien specific so I was left to figure it out myself. This was strike three. So now that the demo has already thoroughly got me peeved before I’ve even played it let me tell you about it.

Eventually I learned you could sprint, jump, and for some reason screech. Some of the controls seem to apply only to certain races but as expected the two mouse buttons were the most similar between them. Left click was regular attack, or light attack for both predator and alien, and right click is secondary attack, or in predator and alien’s case, heavy attack. Heavy attacks are like haymakers with a little bit of a wind up.

The only real on-screen instructions that do show up are when you are behind another player and it says “Press E to grab”. Doing so performs one of the overly hyped “kill moves”, leaving you wide open for attack but killing your enemy fairly quickly and without a fight. The weapons available to the soldier were placed lazily around the level in corners, in an unreal tournament style, hovering about the ground while the predator weapons were actually pretty well hidden in locations that were relatively difficult to get to forcing the predator to make a few large jumps exposing themselves to attack.


Tips on the loading screen tend to not apply to the demo as half of them talk about experience points which you cannot earn in the demo. Apparently the kill streaks, wins, and other achievements in game will earn you more experience points which can then be spent to buy skins and possibly other upgrades. The menus and load screens are rather straight forward and fairly pretty, but I can’t say the same for the in-game graphics. Even on max settings on the PC the environment looked plastic and flat. The alien growth growing over the walls was perfectly flat, and the character models were were barely up to standard, appearing to be about the same quality than Half Life 2 characters, if not worse.

The alien moves with some grace with a snake like flowing body, sometimes standing erect to battle, and the predator has some bulk and accuracy, but the cloaking system texture absolutely fails. I’m not sure if it’s just the game mechanics but when moving at all it is very easy to see the predator as his cloaking device crackles. I expected more of a Halo 3-esque cloaking device until he attempts to strike. Maybe this is meant to keep the game balanced, which is important because he already has much more health, and does alot more damage than the other races, plus the ability to find ranged weapons throughout the level.

The one map available in the demo was poorly designed, lacking any feel of reality or promoting strategy. It feels like they just put together a multi-floor map with alien movie style textures, found some interesting places for predator weapons, randomly scattered human weapons and were done with it. Hopefully the map was designed for a different game type and they simply included it in the demo with death match placed weapons.

After playing the Aliens vs. Predator demo I’m not really looking forward to this game anymore. It’s not even vaguely pretty, the demo map was poorly designed, the game mechanics work but don’t seem to be very polished. Unless the full version has some higher quality maps, and makes the game play a little easier to follow I don’t think this will be worth the $50 they’re asking for it.

What do you think of the graphics and gameplay? The demo is on the Xbox Live Marketplace, Playstation Store, and Steam. Go pick it up and tell us what you think.

Aliens Vs. Predator is released February 16th. Who ever wins… We Lose.

TAGS: Aliens vs. Predator, PC, PS3

  • Eggman

    If you begin to use even the slightest hint of strategy the marine is incredibly weak….As for not being able to find the alien controls….wow…Just wow.

  • Barney

    i honestly hate the pc version of the demo. I played it on my xbox and was like woah…the diffrence is quite shocking. I just hate the fact that the graphics on the xbox are nothing like the ones on the computer.

  • Aaron

    In regards to the low-quality graphics, well, their more recent build of the game seems to look pretty detailed to me:

    Full 3D alien-flesh on the walls instead of the 2D ones featured in the demo, more advanced lighting coming from the flares, and the character models look higher poly (likely from the DirectX11).

    EDIT: (Uh, this is an Xbox 360 version, so nix the DirectX11 bit).

    • hudson

      yes the graphics are much better there. the games graphics look like a 8.5 out of 10 there. thats up from the demo which is like a 5.5

  • hudson

    the graphics for the final game will be better, as the demo is like a year old, same with overall gameplay. but i cant belive they did deathmatch. that was a horrible idea. they should have done species deathmatch. the reception would have been much better.

    also on xbox live the demo has 4 n 2/3 stars out of 5. same as BF BC2

  • Alex G

    The first AVP for PC was the first game I got into as an online FPS. It was a 5 star game that lived up to the movies. The second game was good, and deserving of the title but the multiplayer was weak. In the 8 years since a last AVP FPS we have seen only one AVP game to my knowledge and the movies were mediocre at best. I have been looking forward to a new AVP FPS for years so naturally I downloaded this demo.

    I am thoroughly unimpressed. The graphics are dated, as in 3 years+ dated. The level is a piss pore design that doesn't even manage to be as good as that of the first games. You are defaulted to what I would call a boring weapon selection off the bat. A pulse rifle with no grenades, and the predator hand claws. Those who remember the earlier games will recall that your class as marine was SELECTABLE. You didn't have to scavenge a shitty map to find a decent gun. (which is a huge burden as a marine to get to the smart rifle). Fitting with the predators technological advantage in the movies the previous games started you with the major weapon systems.

    Movement is very difficult to get used to. marines cant even manage to jump a foot or crawl up onto higher stairs. The aliens movement is the opposite of fluid and spider like which the previous games condoned very well. The predator has a strange jump ability that only seems to work for certain locations. The default speed is slow and cumbersome, forcing you to hold down the sprint button which is stupid and ridiculous to hold a hand on another key.

    The combat is weak, and feels poorly designed. When in melee as predator or alien, it feels unnatural and as a player you feel removed, the block ability feels more fitting with a street fighter game. as a marine tracking the enemy seems overly difficult. As predator targeting with weapon systems is slow and difficult. Targeting with the laser is especially difficult and completely unlike that of the movies and comic books where it was integrated into your mask. the aliens tail is a one click affair and doesnt include the previous windupability to make a more damaging strike. A critical hit with double jaws requires a grab, a stupid finishing move that leaves you vulnerable to other enemies.

  • OTWarrior

    What crack were you smoking? I can understand the game loading issues, but the controls are clearly marked on the options screen (one for each species), and the graphics are stunning. I can barely run the game on my rig (forcing me to upgrade unfortunately) but when I got it running fairly well it looked awesome (I can run Crysis on medium at 1900×1200, just to give you an idea of PC spec).

    Granted, not the best choice of map and game mode for a demo, but I suspect this is their chance to test network performance (as seems to be the norm these days with demos).

    I for one am looking forward to the full game, even though it will hit my budget heavily to upgrade.

    • alex_sebenski

      Although I disagree with your graphics comments, I did eventually find
      the controls. These were much more obviously located and shown before
      the game started on the console versions, but they're there in the PC
      settings as well. Is it beyond the realm of possibilities to show
      controls on the load screens especially in the demo where most people
      will not have played a single game before? It's not quite as hard to
      find as I made it out to be but there's a ton of controls all
      different for each race and without teaching a player how to play it's
      tough to make them like the game. It becomes a more strategic game
      once you learn controls, but I still think they're clunky, slow, and
      not very intuitive.

      • hudson

        that guy who reviewed it was a idiot. he said the pred was to stealthy,alien sucked because you can climb on walls,marines campaign ruined because of the noice the motion sencer made. he barley mentioned multiplayer the games main focus. dude look at all the reviews. its getting in the mid 80’s

      • OTWarrior

        Just look at your screenshots on your review. How can you say the graphics are bad?
        I am a graphics whore, and think the graphics are stunning. I really don't understand what your problem with them is. It's a multiplayer demo. multiplayer environments are often more baren than the singleplayer, one due to performance issues (more simple = less lag), and functionality. I thought the player models were excellent and the textures were great (even when I turned the graphics down). What game would you say has great graphics? and I do disagree with the cloaking texture point. It ties in with the films and makes it easier to spot (but I did find myself going “was that the predator?” when there wasn't one there, so it helps in the fear factor), without making the predator too obvious.

        I agree the controls are complicated (I couldn't work out how to fire the plasma caster as a predator), but the controls were not hidden like you said in the review. Due to my PC struggling with the spec, I did give up at that point and play it on my 360, but I did find the integration of the melee system into the non-human classes to be a great idea. Like any new system, it takes some getting used to (you could argue that Street fighter 4's ultra and super system is too difficult, and that FULL game has no tutorial at all)

  • furious1116

    Fair enough review, Alex. I found the demo to be rather unimpressive, but I kept in mind that it was only that: a demo. And the disclaimer at the beginning that warns you that it is based on older coding is comforting. For a demo that is supposedly not reflective of the final product, i'm still keeping my hopes up.

    However, Game Informer apparently rated it 5.75. That is quite alarming. Game Informer has, in my opinion, risen to be one of the better gaming mags and thus i'm a bit worried if they're slamming it with a 5.75.

    In the end, remember that basing a review on a demo is a bad idea. I'm gonna wait til the full game is out until I make up my mind. Frankly I love Alien and Predator, so no matter what, i'll be there on launch day (or midnight release). We'll see what happens then. As unimpressed with the demo as I was, I still play it lol.

    No matter what GI or any other mag/site says, one man's garbage is another man's treasure.

  • Will [Wolfman]

    The demo is from very early beta code. (10+ months old) The finished product will be far better.

    To find the Alien and predator controls you need to click the left or right arrows. There are a few threads and videos online showing you basic and advanced controls online. Such as focus attacks, combos, etc,

    Check the online videos and screenshots. The full PC version makes use of Direct X11 graphics.

    IGN UK scored AVP 8.5.

    Give it more of a chance.

  • Jim

    I found the gameplay quite addictive once you clear the learning curve for the Alien and Predator controls. And I know it's a demo, but are the graphics that awful? After a while I didn't really care about textures or polygons. It's about gameplay IMO.

  • morgan

    what r u talking about u couildnt find the controls they pop up when u start a match and before it begins, and u dont get ur species picked randomly u can pick urself u retard, and the graphics are great 2. i also found a match on my first try and i just waited only 2 min. so u must have like a rlly terrible internet connection or something. but other than that ur review was terrible.