Aliens vs. Predator (2010) – A Fun Game That Could Have Been More

     There have been quite a few games in the “Aliens vs. Predator” Franchise. The one I played was the one that came out in 2010 and is the most recent in the Franchise. “Alien” and “Aliens” are two of my favorite films and I have watched the first “Predator” film. I have not seen a full version of any of the other films or any of the films in the “Aliens vs. Predator” Franchise. I do enjoy this world though. The Xenomorphs and Predators have great designs and the humans in this series are flawed. This game does a decent job capturing all of this, though I wouldn’t call the game good, which I’ll get into below. It is fun though, so if you like this world you should check it out if you can get it on sale for cheap.

The game was developed by Rebellion Developments and produced by Sega.

The story follows a marine who arrives on a planet during a Xenomorph takeover, a special Xenomorph who escapes from a lab and a young Predator who is arriving to prove himself to his warrior people.


The Pros:

Tension in Gameplay – One things this game does well is that there is always tension in gameplay. Whether you are an alien, predator or marine you feel vulnerable and it is easy to get overwhelmed by enemy forces so the game forces you to be smart. You can’t just walk through the story and not have any strategy.

The World – You have an ancient Pyramid built by the Predators that hold their history. You have  a corrupt corporation Weyland-Yutani trying to steal technology and experiment on Xenomorphs and you have Predators trying to clean up the mess humanity is making. It is a really interesting story that just needed deeper development of all 3 of the factions.

The Campaigns – The campaigns are all a pro but I’m going to give each an individual score depending on how each of their stories was handled. All the stories are interconnected which makes the narrative a lot of fun.

Marine Campaign – The marine campaign is the most basic. You are a rookie marine who soon becomes the only survivor besides your commander Tequila who has a chestburster injected into her at one point in the story. You take out a few Xenomorph Queens in the story and a Predator as well over the course of the story. Your story starts with survival, working with a scientist named Katya who betrays Weyland-Yutani and finally confronting Weyland who it turns out is an android. You call in his escape craft and your story ends as the pilot says they’ve secured a “live specimen” and discovered the coordinates of the Xenomorph homeworld.

Final Score: 7 / 10 It could have been more if the marines or Weyland was fleshed out more. They exist for the plot and there isn’t any depth beyond that. It is still basic enjoyable.

Predator Campaign – The Predator campaign involves you destroying dead Predators who were defeated prior so their technology doesn’t fall into enemy hands and ends with you walking the path of your ancestors as you take on powerful Xenomorphs and finally destroying the Pyramid to keep the humans from getting your technology. The campaign ends with the Pyramid destroyed and you rising to the top of your Pack as your ship sets off for the Xenomorph homeworld.

Final Score: 7.3 / 10 I’m rating this story a little higher because you are witnessing the history of the Predators and the arc of you becoming leader makes sense. My main issue on why I wouldn’t call it good is there is still no nuance or depth to the Predator characters. More lore but there is nothing to the characters.

Alien Campaign – The Alien campaign is the most fun. Aliens are the weakest out of all the 3 factions you play as. You start out as an experiment but start a breakout from your lab and free the Queen. You and the other Xenomorphs have control over the planet until the Pyramid and prime Queen are destroyed but you are saved by the original scientist who was experimenting on you in the beginning. In the last shot, you Experiment Number 6 has now become Queen and the scientist is your prisoner. The implication is I think you are an intelligent enough Xenomorph that you are probably going to return to your homeworld like the other 2 campaigns.

7.5 / 10 Your character is vulnerable and it is a completely alien perspective. The same can’t be said of the Predator whose honorable drive could still be based in human cultures. The Xenomorphs are fully alien and that is what elevated it. Still wasn’t good as it is a really short campaign and how you end up captured at the end just kind of happens. Nothing you do in the campaign logically leads to your capture.

The Cons:

Weyland-Yutani Motivation – Weyland-Yutani seems to be seeking immortality and technology but even with the Weyland Android that isn’t well explained. The entire organization is full of mad scientists and androids who are evil for the sake of being evil. This is such a shame as the idea of seeking greater technology and power could be used to better humanity but the organization discards people and barely functions.

The Predator’s Human Voice – The predator says “Fuck” a lot as a distraction and it struck me as childish. Was this supposed to be badass? All it did was made me not take the young Predator whose campaign I was playing less seriously. It was crap writing and was hardly needed. If anything it made the Predator’s less alien when exploring the alien aspects of them is what made them compelling (their technology and code is cool). I would have rated their campaign higher if not for this awful edgelord distraction.

As someone who has only seen “Alien” and “Aliens” and the first “Predator” film, I had an enjoyable time with this video game. The factions play different enough that no campaign feels the same and though the story is basic, it is fun. If you are looking for a cool way to explore those universes than I would check out this game if you can get it for cheap. I bought it cheap on Steam for a nice escape during Covid-19, I had a lot of fun.

Final Score: 7.3 / 10 Enjoyable but could have been more.

Dawn of War III: Solid Campaign That Began in a Buggy Game

   It has been a while since I’ve done a game review, and this seems like a good way to kick off the year. I only review games after I’ve completed the campaign as I’m a hardcore completionist and can’t see the review as valid unless I have. Cheats don’t count, it has to be from ability and me learning how to play the game. The “Dawn of War” Franchise is also one of my favorite series. I’ve been a fan of Warhammer 40K and the universe it is based in for a few years now. My favorite factions being the Orks and Tyranids closely followed by the Tau. Xenos (the term in the game for aliens) are best.  The game was created by Relic Studios with Sega in partnership with Games Workshop.

So, how does “Dawn of War III” hold up compared to the ones who came before? It isn’t nearly as fun as the first game (and there are less starting playable factions) the game started out really buggy and used to crash everytime I tried playing the campaign when I bought it in a sale last year but the campaign has one of the best stories and enriches the characters and lore in interesting ways. What this means for my final score and overall appraisal I get into below.

The story follows the arrival of a giant Craft World (Eldar Planetship) that arrives out of the warp leading to Blood Ravens led by Gabriel Angelos, the Orks lead by Gorgutz and the Eldar lead by Macha vying for control of what is within as their competitors within their own faction (be they leader or same or similar rank) try to usurp them for the Spear that lies within.


The Cons:

The Bugs When I First Bought the Game – When I first bought the game I’m glad I bought it on a sale and for cheap, so to anyone buying it this what I recommend. This game will never be worth full price, especially not as it is currently. I was excited to play given I knew the characters from the first game, but the campaign kept crashing. This happened for a full week before I uninstalled and it took reinstalling months later for them to have fixed the issues. For those who are so devoted they beat the game with that bug, I have no idea how you did it. It doesn’t matter how beautiful or fun a game is if you can’t play the game.

Over-dependence on Hero Units – This is a game where you depend too much on Hero units but the build time isn’t as fast as “Warcraft III.” I pretty much had to adapt to playing the game more like “Dawn of War II” which is primarily units, heroes and upgrading them and applying that to a game that I enjoyed as an RTS. If they took more cues from “Warcraft III” this wouldn’t be a problem. In “Warcraft” your heroes help but they can lose on their own, it also takes more to bring them back to life so the cost is higher. If you aren’t giving them enough support, they will fall. I saw this in “Dawn of War III” but so much of it was waiting. If you could hold off long enough in any map you’d be unstoppable and in endgame that really shows. Heroes are fun, especially in the final mission but a company should never build a game off them. Even “Warcraft III” and “Starcraft II” knew the importance of your hero supporting an army.

Lack of Factions Compared to Earlier Games – The very first “Dawn of War” game had 4 factions. 4, reskin but different play-style of “Space Marines.” This game has none of that. You fight demons, but they are never playable. There isn’t any reason for this, given you can see units of the different factions being re-skinned to be the Demons being an option later on in the campaign. This was just lazyness. We at least got Chaos Space Marines through all of the first “Dawn of War” series and this game won’t even give the basic of the last 2 games where in each 4 were at least playable in multiplayer. This is cheap, I don’t care how beautiful the game works if you can’t even do the basic of the series that started your franchise in the first place with at least something to counter it that matters.

The Pros:

The Graphics and Cinematics – This is a beautiful game. I’m putting this as a pro because even though it is small I do enjoy how this game works. Hell, a better version of this game would be a re-vamped version of the first game. So I will give credit where it is due. The graphics in this game look like how I imagine the characters to look. It is “Starcraft” versus “Starcraft II” in appearance and I do appreciate that. It also leads to better graphics in regards to storytelling and the story is the strongest part of this game. I think they were going for what “Starcraft” and “Stracraft II” had with 3 factions but they had already set base expectation of 4. If 4 was even in multiplayer and the Daemons or another faction were included more that would have made this game go from enjoyable to good.

The Overall Gameplay – The gameplay is solid. Hero units are key to fighting (I can see them trying to be “Warcraft III” and “S In “Dawn of War III” the heroes drive the narrative and that creates a lot of fun for the missions. I liked what happened with playing as the heroes and what you unlock as they level up (it is much more slowly so when I play the game further in the future curious to see what that means). I like this got back to the RTS roots of the “Dawn of War” franchise in the end. This was why I finished the campaign. There is still strategy in how you use your units to defeat the mission and I really enjoy coming up with strategies to complete objectives in these types of games.

The Campaign – The campaign was my favorite part of the game. I’ve enjoyed this series since the first “Dawn of War” and the expansions that came after it. I’m still trying to get “Ultimate Apocalypse” mode to work but once I do I will eventually have a review for you there too as I get more enjoyment out of an RTS than the squad based combat of “Dawn of War II.” Without giving too much away the 3 faction leaders mentioned above (Macha, Angelos and Gorgutz) face off against a Daemon Lord as they (in the case of Gorgutz) or the faction leaders (Macha and Angelos against the ones who had brought them to the Craft World where the showdown takes place) lead to the feeding of the Daemon’s power and awakening it. This is Warhammer 40K so it goes all in on how crazy things get. This leads to some amazing gameplay in the later missions and a final battle between Macha, Angelos and Gorgutz against the weakened Daemon Lord. Defeating it felt amazing and as someone who has always loved the Orks, I loved seeking Gorgutz take the Speer that triggered it all when it no longer had power. The campaign made the game worth it for me as I enjoy the lore so much.

This is a game that could have been so much more. There is a reason I keep recommending it as something to buy cheap. To fix the most basic of problems they could have solved all the bugs first so someone buying it months after the fact wouldn’t have the campaign crashing every time and they could have added the Daemons as a factions. All you have to do is reskin some Orks and Eldar and add some Daemons and hero units and you are set. Beyond laziness I can’t imagine why they did that. I still love RTS games and this is the last RTS game that was “Dawn of War” since the first one. “Dawn of War II” was all about the squad which I’m still getting used to (reason you haven’t seen it reviewed yet). I appreciate building armies in an acocalyptic universe and giving my all. This one had this with the heroes and the last half of the campaign and I did enjoy it…but this is a game only for fans who are a part of this universe. It doesn’t rise above the fans of 40K and even cheapens them out. Buy this game cheap and you’ll have a good time but NEVER buy this at full or even half price. This was Sega and Relic going basic and giving the most basic of fans of wanted who have been following the series. Still enjoyed the game, but it never reached good. This game is enjoyable and nothing more. I would only recommend as a sale for fans of this universe. The campaign made the game worth after the bugs were finally fixed.

Final Score: 7 / 10. Would have been a solid 8 if it hadn’t been so buggy and they had a 4th faction like the last 2 “Dawn of War” games.

The House of the Dead: Making “Resident Evil” Look Good

“The House of the Dead” is a corny game that enjoys stealing your money. It is also a lot of fun when you don’t have to worry about cost as the writing is so terrible that I found it hilarious and the enemy and boss variety are great enough that there is an actual challenge to get through the different chapters of the game. Before I get into the details of my experience, I recommend this for any fan of rail shooters who has time and money to spare, cause you will need both if you want to beat this game. This is a game that I was only able to beat with my fiancee because we were at the Coin Jam when it was free to play.

The game was developed by Wow Entertainment and produced by Sega.

The story involves Agent Thomas Rogan who learns his fiancee Sophie Richards is kidnapped at the Curien Mansion and arrives with his partner “G” to investigate and take on Roy Curien and his creations, as well as rescuing his fiancee Sophie Richards.

SPOILERS – If anyone cares, this game is old.

The Pros: Enemy Variety – The enemy variety is really good in this game. You fight bats, slugs, jumping zombies, water zombies, fat zombies, dragon dogs and many of the zombies have a variety of weapons from things that they’ll throw at you to varying degrees of melee weapons like axes and chainsaws. This part of the game was really creative, especially since there are only a few chapters.

Boss Battles – The bosses are stressful and also one of the best parts of the game. There is the Chariot who you fight in armor and in his flesh form, the Hanged Man who sends bats at you and is responsible for killing Sophie given it brings her deeper into the Mansion, the Hermit which is a giant crab spider thing and finally the Magician who is a major coin sink and I assume can’t be beat in arcade mode without at least dying once. The Hanged Man was my favorite as it looks like a giant gargoyle and it was a fun and difficult fight without being nearly impossible like the Magician.

Okay: Replay Value – The replay value is decent if you aren’t expecting to beat the game, but because it is a game where you expect to lose money I can’t put it as a pro. Maybe you are really good at rail shooters and don’t have this problem, but this is a game I only beat because it was free to play and if I am going to spend money I at least want to have a chance at completing said game.

Gameplay – This is a rail shooter and unlike some rail shooters where you have more of a chance to block incoming attacks, this one gives bosses unblockable attacks and sheer quantities of enemies that in situations will hit you. This is an arcade game so it was made to fight cheap so I’m putting it as okay. I did have more fun with “Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles” as far as rail shooters went as I found the story better and the fights a lot more fairer. But “Resident Evil” as a whole is a superior game and series to this fun garbage.

The Cons: Fridging Sophie – You see Sophie at the beginning of Chapter 1 and she is dead by the end. We have no relationship with her we just know she’s Rogan’s fiancee and she dies. She is fridged so our heroes will seek revenge against Roy Curien, when that isn’t needed. She could have easily been your partner in the game but bad writing has nameless “G” be your partner instead.

The Plot and Characters – Roy Curien wants to conquer the world with his creations (Cliche mad scientist!) the one female character is fridged and your characters are driven only by revenge. The characters and plot are awful in this game and the only real entertainment that comes from it is the fact that the tropes are so obviously awful and the game was made completely seriously. I want to call it “So bad its good” but it is a quarter stealing game so really should have had a lot more effort put into it. There were obvious solutions that were never taken, like giving Curien a relationship to the agents beyond fridging Sophie and of course replacing “G” with Sophie so that you play as someone who matters in the story.

This is a terribly written game that is full of the worst cliches (fridge the one woman, mad scientist who mad sciences for reason, two tough guys saving the day) but does manage to not be a complete train-wreck by the variety of enemies and bosses that actually force you to strategize. The game is worth playing for a little bit if you expect to lose and just want to kill zombies but if you plan on beating the game…bring a lot of quarters or go to an arcade that has free to play days like the Coin Jam. This game is a classic but it isn’t a good classic, it manages fun, but not much else.

Final Score: 6.5 / 10