One Aliens game already tanked at the stores last month, but out of its acid blood, will another Aliens game rise to take up the Xenomorph mantle and delight gamers? Possibly, but with Predators around to challenge their dominance, they might not be the only big bad alien causing chaos inside your iPhone. Let’s check out AVP Evolution and see if Aliens can claw back some credit or if they are immediately, once again, confined to the bargain bin.
On the surface, AVP Evolution shows some promise. You get to choose from two different campaigns. You can slaughter Colonial marines as either the Xenomorphs or the Jungle Hunters. Both of you are out to end the new threat of Super Predators who are trying to weaponize the Xenomorphs.
Each campaign has its own set of levels and you get to progress through the lifecycles of each species. The beginning Xenomorph levels are particularly interesting since you have to wobble your way out of a petri dish as a facehugger and impregnate an unsuspecting crewmember. But, when you grow into the full-sized alien, then things go a bit wrong. Predators have the same problems as well.
Both campaigns have the same problem -- the controls are awkward and unresponsive. Having a free roaming camera that defaults directly behind the character, obscuring anything in front isn’t ideal when you have a marine with a knife looking to slice open your alien neck. The controls are laggy and it barely feels like the attacks connect at all. In fact, much of the time, the collision detection is way off the mark and your attacks slide right through any of your enemies with no damage at all.
There are also finishing moves that allow you to dismember your opponent, but the touch input is so scattered in sensitivity, you won’t even be able to hit the prompts in time before being tossed off and lit up with machine gun fire.
The other major problem with the game is its presentation. Not only can it become confusing as to where you should be going and what fleshy meatbag you should be dismembering, there are some strange touches that don’t really make sense. In one of the Xenomorph levels, you have to use computers to free your alien brethren. That just seems a bit wrong. And a bit stupid.
On the up side, the game does look pretty good and the RPG-like level system makes it feel like you are making progress even though you might never be landing a hit. The upgrades do help and combat does become a bit more manageable, but not so much so that you’ll forget slogging through the beginning levels. It also sticks close to the Aliens and Predator roots which is something that should be commended.
Sadly, Aliens fans are going to be slightly disappointed once again. This overpriced game feels somewhat unfinished. If it had gone through a bit more design and quality control it could have been much better. Hopefully with an update or two it'll feel much more taught and responsive. AVP Evolution should have been wildly better than Aliens: Colonial Marines, but instead only exceeds it by a few marks. But it isn’t nearly enough to make it a great game.