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    Aliens vs Predator 2 - Page Three

    The atmosphere created in AvP2 is amazing, produced though the use of the graphics, sound, and in game events. Put simply, its damn scary. There were times in the game where I jumped when a mere roach popped up onto the screen inside the dark sewer tunnels. It brings a chill down your spine to enter a room just in time to see a marine getting dragged through a vent, or to use thermal vision as a predator and having a low-level heartbeat accompany the soundtrack. Some scenes will take you next to a predator kill zone with numerous skinned bodies hanging down, or a room where several layers of steel have been melted through by alien blood.
    The highpoint of AvP2 is that the sound effects sound exactly like they did in the original movies, bringing in the blood curdling cries of the alien and predator (and human). You can hear nearby gunfights fought by your fellow marines who are doomed to death, or the triumphant howl of a predator who has just made a kill. The vocals are also well done, and the speech realistically matches that of the character.
    The musical track also accompanies the game with distinction. Whether you are inside the alien hive, or along a treetop hunting prey the music matches the scene perfectly. When a swarm of aliens suddenly approaches the volume and types of instruments suddenly gets more intense, adding further to the great horror atmosphere created by the graphics and sound.

    The graphics in the game are also of an excellent standard. The LithTech engine successfully creates a vast range of scenes, including large outdoor areas, as well as great indoor buildings and rooms. The only problem is that the textures in some outdoor areas make it hard to distinguish where you are and to navigate through, and more than once I found myself walking in circles through the caverns in the outside world. The settings are generally very dark, and each species has their own unique way to overcome this, the marine has a shoulder light, flares, and image intensifier (night vision), the predator has thermal, electromagnetic, and PredTech modes, and the alien has navigate mode. Additionally for the alien, every species displays a coloured aura when looking in normal (hunt) mode.

    Characters within the game are rendered in correct proportions, and they run, crouch, and cower realistically, except for a faint amount of jerkiness in limb movements. They also react to external events, such as seeing the shape of a moving predator in cloaked mode, as the distorted light gives away his location. The designers also made attempts to improve realism in terms of moving lips and blinking eyes, and the large, blocky effect of character body parts familiar with past games is still there but further reduced - I remember in Daikatana an attempt to show a talking character resulted in no lip movement but a bobbing head instead.

    You will also find that damage to specific body parts cause accurate reactions, such as your enemy folding forward after being shot in the stomach or crumpling down as their knee caps had been shot off. Even an alien shot in the legs may still attempt to crawl towards you from the pool of acid that is spouting out where its legs used to be. One problem though, is that there is a glitch sometimes where if an enemy is killed on a slope or near a wall, the body will disappear inside the terrain. This is most irritating as an alien in which you rely on bodies to regenerate.
    Various parts of the environment can be interacted with, including exploding barrels, shattering glass, and cracked TV screens.

    AvP2 is a very CPU and graphics intensive game, and while the minimum recommended specifications are a 400mhz CPU, 128MB RAM, and 16MB Graphics, you will be doing yourself a disfavour with anything less than a 750+ CPU /w 256MB RAM and 32MB graphics card with high detail settings enabled. Personally I have a P3 733 @ 880, with 256MB RAM and a 64MB GF2 card, and running the game with max graphics settings was still smooth in 800x600@32, but in 1024x768@32 the game would occasionally pause in intensive moments such as just before ripping up an opponent in a pounce, or turning to face a horde of aliens scurrying towards me.

    The GUI of the game is impressive, and compliments the gameplay and atmosphere well. Each race has a different system to suit its class and inventory. The AI is quick to react and deadly accurate in higher difficulty levels. There are however, a couple of problems with the gameplay. For one thing, the motion scanner for the marine does not seem to pick up enemies right next to you, this became problematic in some scenes where an alien dropped out of nowhere and I didnít not realise till my screen flashed red and I saw my HPs dropping somewhat rapidly.
    Also, while many parts of the original movies have been replicated in intrinsic detail, the alien blood/acid in the game is much less damaging. It is no longer a threat to kill an alien at point blank, and walking over a corpse will only do minor damage to your health.
    Antialiasing is another problem on occasions, with jagged edges on some objects, and it would most likely be too severe a detriment to the game performance for most people to turn on 2x or 4x AA via the graphics card.

    The game extends replayability through its multiplayer mode. Here several subclasses of aliens are created, to blend in a mixture of speed, armour, and health.
    There are 6 modes of play, including several types available due to the unique perspective of the game. The variations include standard and team deathmatch, hunt, whereby only the hunter can score, and survivor, whereby there is one hunter (mutant) and everyone else must try to survive, and when you are killed you morph into a mutant. The last 2 are similar to each other - overrun, whereby the attackers must destroy the defenders in a set time period, and evac, whereby the defenders must retreat to a point and stay alive from the attackers.

    Overall AvP2 is a great addition to the Horror/FPS genre, with spine chilling sound effects, great graphics, and a cohesive, immersive storyline. The atmosphere is first class, as good a job as with the original movies. Along with an enjoyable multiplayer option AvP2 earns itís position as my favourite FPS since Half Life.
    Final score: 95%

  • Page 1 - Intro
  • Page 2 - The 3 races
  • Page 3 - Atmosphere, graphics, gameplay, sound, conclusion
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    Zalman: ZM-DS4F Headphones

    An affordable, ultra-portable headphone set.

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