Tuesday Feb 09, 2010
Ahh, the Alien. I’ve said pretty much everything I could in a previous blog post about their history, mythology, and my fascination with them. But now that we have a demo of Aliens vs. Predator to play, and will soon have a full game, it’s time to take a look at actually playing as the wall-crawling, face-eating xenomorph.
Paging Number Six
So what goes into playing as an Alien? As a xenomorph you’re part of the hive-mind; it’s your duty to serve the Queen — kind of like being a warrior ant in a big, really scary ant colony. The Aliens are a kind of biological force, a seething mass of destruction that moves through a cold & unforgiving universe as a literal hive-mind. So how does this translate to a single-player story-based campaign? Well, if you’ve seen Alien: Resurrection you’ll have a hint at the story from the Alien’s perspective. It plays magnificently off the hubris and greed of humans, which has been a cornerstone of the series since the original Alien.
You play as Number Six — you will have to wait to play to see just what your purpose and the reason for the number is, but you are introduced into the story in such a way that makes it incredibly satisfying once you finally have a chance to chase down some weak, squishy humans.
Aliens vs. Predator is refreshing in that you need to really play to the mindset of your chosen class. Predators need to be master of stealth & Marines need to work together — and Aliens need to be masters of sneaking around in dark, wet places, hunting down isolated members and killing them quickly & silently. In multiplayer this requires both teamwork (especially in the non-deathmatch modes) and a lot of patience. You can’t just charge a marine and you can’t leave yourself open to a Predator’s stealth attack — keep on the move against Predators and find a good dark spot to lurk, preferably on the other side of a ledge where they can’t sneak up and kill you from stealth.
Taking out lights actually helps you, too — Aliens can use heavy attacks to knock out all kinds of light sources, and it really will make you harder to spot, at least to Marines. Predators really are a different breed and in my multiplayer experience, the best thing you can do is wait for them to expose themselves while going after someone else. You can’t overpower them, and you can’t knock them out of stealth the way the Marines can.
Above all — in the single player campaign and especially in multiplayer — learn to use ceilings and learn to use ledges. Retreat to them often — other players will give chase, and once you’ve drawn them from your cover is the best time to go after them. I’ve already mentioned staying still to avoid and vanish from the Marine’s motion tracker; the flip side to this is that if you’re holding still you better not be in a spot that’s easy for the Predator to sneak up on you.
Other classes have the clumsy duty of picking up and using weapons. This is what you have to do when your entire exoskeleton is not itself a lethal weapon. And while Aliens don’t get any kind of ranged attack, AvP relies on a lot of melee combat, and aliens are incredibly fast and agile — and it is worth noting that claws and teeth don’t run out of ammo.
Heavy Attack: Uses your tail to out-and-out clobber your prey. Marines are squishy and this will bring them down quickly. The tail has a slower windup but exceptional reach for a melee weapon; enough that if you’re on a ceiling low enough over an enemy it will reach them. Heavy attack also will give you a brief stun on your opponent. Depending on your situation, you can either try to follow it up with another heavy attack (if you think you’ll have time), or follow it up with a flurry of light attacks.
Light Attack: You’re more maneuverable than Marines or Predators, and I’ve actually found the light attack useful in a situation where I can out-maneuver my opponent — dash around something, get behind your enemy, and let out a flurry of quick attacks. Following up a successful block with a flurry of light attacks is a great way to handle a close-encounter melee threat.
Focus Mode: Enter focus mode to zero in on a particular foe — especially one that’s fleeing you. This will lock you on, and even better, if you tap “light attack” while in focus mode you will leap towards your opponent; you can either attack unsuspecting prey from above in this way, or quickly close the gap on a fleeing opponent.
Stealth Kill: If you’re good at what you’re doing, this will be the norm for you. Aliens are not designed to be caught in toe-to-toe melee. On the other hand, this is nothing more satisfying than sneaking up behind another player and delivering a brutal and gory stealth kill — especially if you’ve just managed to pick someone off from the group, and are able to slip back into the shadows. Some things to note: You can’t get the kill while you’re sprinting, even if you’re right behind your target. Just position yourself, stop moving for a split second, and hit the stealth kill button. Be careful doing this, too — it takes a few seconds to execute the move, and during this time you are vulnerable. Conversely, this was my favorite way to take out Predators: Wait for them to execute a special kill and then dash up behind them. You will be able to execute your own stealth kill before they even turn around. For good measure, eat their head before retreating back to the shadows, which will restore any lost health. Now you’re thinking like an Alien!
SEARCH BY GAME
|No public Twitter messages.|
VIEW THE GALLERIES