One creature is metallic, shark-like, and has evolved to use its teeth, claws, and acid blood to kill its enemies. The other is a massive hunter who equips itself with advanced weapons and armor. You get a chance to play as both in the upcoming Alien vs Predator: Evolution, but we wish the combat controls made these iconic creatures feel more aggressive and lethal.
Alien vs Predator: Evolution splits its storyline into two concurrent campaigns. In one, you’ll follow the lifecycle of the alien xenomorph, from facehugger to juvenile. In the other, you’ll play as the Predator, who is at war with different members of its species. The preview build we played only offered a few missions with each character, so we didn’t see how these two storylines fully tie together.
The alien lifecycle missions start off well. You begin as a facehugger in a specimen jar, the subject of some scientist’s foolish research. By tapping on the screen, you can knock over your jar, escape, and try to find a human to infect. You’ll have to locate ventilation shafts to move between rooms, and the camera moves quickly to keep up with your scuttling.
We didn’t find the grown-up alien sequences to be quite as interesting. Your adult alien leaps and slashes with just two buttons, A and B, which limits the amount of carnage you can cause. The humans that you have to eviscerate don’t seem very terrified by your abilities– they’ll run up and swipe at you with small knives, but they’ll never act fearful, even when you start biting off their heads one by one.
The Predator is similarly uninspiring in combat. Like the alien, the Predator uses two buttons to attack, but you’ll also gain a blaster midway through one level. Enemies will stand and shoot at you without concern for their own lives, which makes both of these monsters seem less imposing.
From our experience, the combat in Alien vs Predator: Evolution feels a lot like last year’s Dark Knight and Spider-Man games. You just run up to a group of enemies, mash the attack buttons, and finish them off with a quick directional swipe. Aliens and Predators shouldn’t just stand and trading punches with space marines– they should be using their unique skills to dispatch them in much more interesting ways.
Alien vs Predator: Evolution could still turn out to be a decent game. There are plenty of missions, and your customizable characters can be equipped with new claws or masks. The graphics are sharp, and the frame rate kept up well with the reflective spaceship interiors. We’re just concerned the combat system won’t do justice to these legendary monsters. Alien vs Predator: Evolution will be on the App Store within the next few months.