Mini-Review: Mirror’s Edge – DICE – 360

So 6 years after it came out and over three years since I asked if I should play it, having been given it as a gift. I finally started it as I’ve been wanting to play through a few short games before going back into longer ones. As already blogged, I did Force Unleashed II over three days, and started this today. Wow. This game is just so fucking awful. Controls are horrible, and as more than a few people have said, the game makes me feel ill. (and I don’t usually get motion sickness from games). It’s just.. painful and boring. The story is weaksauce even by the low standards of videogames. I don’t even mind the pacifist thing, though I understand that even that becomes more challenging in the late game. But man, the parkour is bad, the game is ultra-linear, you can’t see shit all too often – either because it’s too dark to play in a normally-lit room or because your face is flat against a wall and the head-turn (ie mouselook with a stick) is painfully slow, and the controls are just arse. Press the button to jump and the idiot Faith just lets go of a pipe or whatever. Basically, they work when they feel like it, but they’re far from smooth or refined – and don’t work properly at all far too often. I haven’t even gotten very far into the game. Apparently I’m about 2/3 through the second level (after the prologue) and I have no desire to play through any more of it. Playthrough times quoted on the net give it anything from 5-10 hours, and since my play times for games tends to be on the slow side with plenty of breaks, there’s no way in Hell I’m going to suffer through another 7-8 hours of this crap.

There are some ok ideas here, but the game is very much less than the sum of its parts. I’m not sure if traditional first-person can even work for a parkour game, since you lose almost all of your spatial awareness and have to guess on what’s around you. I know some people enjoyed this game, but then, some people enjoy …well, insert that thing that you hate but other people inexplicably like. Rather than pick on Miley or Britney, I’ll use Meetings. What a fucking waste of time, space and potential.

Now I’ve got to figure out what to do with the disc. I doubt I could even successfully give it away, but maybe that’s the answer? Put it in the box of “take it” software that I keep for my friends when I cull. And hope they don’t read this first…

Verdict: Avoid.


Now I need to find a couple of other short games that are worth my time to play. Like FUII they don’t have to be the greatest games ever, but ideally they have to have a few redeeming features and be a bit of fun. I’m thinking next up might be Heavenly Sword on PS3. I really need to cleanse my palette after this one. If anyone has suggestions for worthwhile short games (preferably on console at the moment), feel free to leave suggestions in the comments. I’m not likely to run out to buy anything that’s not on Steam Sale, but I have a significant backlog with a lot of different stuff in it.

Review: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II – LucasArts – 360

A bit of an almost-retro game review here today. On the eve of 2015, I’ve just played 2010’s Force Unleashed II, which is of course the sequel to 2008’s Force Unleashed. I’ve had this game sitting in my backlog for a couple of years (at least) now. On checking my receipts, I see I bought it in June 2011, for 16 quid, which would have been around AU$22 or so at the time. So not too bad a price. One might wonder why the first thing I’m looking at is the price – the reason for that (aside from it being in the invoice with the date) is because I was wondering if I got ripped off or not. Seeing that I paid what amounts to AU bargain bin prices (typically AU$20 or less) I’m ok with it.

I’m going to skip recapping the story in any detail, as it’s a convoluted and uninteresting mess featuring the emo clone of Starkiller from the first game looking for his girlfriend across the galaxy and whining more than Anakin and Luke combined. (Or is she his ex if she was his original’s girlfriend?) Whatever. And to quote my television’s sport-channel advertisement about 20 seconds ago “Such drama, such terrible, terrible drama.” (How’s that for serendipity?) The story as it matters is that you have lightsabers and force powers and motherfuckers are standing in front of you.

The game’s highlight: Carving up Stormtroopers with lightsabers in the rain. I’m not being ironic.

The thing about FU2 (heh) is that it’s a real mixed bag. The 3rd person gameplay is pretty bog-standard. The graphics look good (a friend who arrived at one point remarked that it looked like a movie at the point I was in), and the cutscenes are actually reasonably well done, with those featuring space battles and the like being pretty impressive indeed. The variety of Force Powers available to you pretty much from the get go do a good job of making you feel powerful – in fact your character is pretty incredibly overpowered compared to anyone in any of the films. Still, the powers are pretty satisfying to use, and despite the lack of challenge, the quality of the visuals helps immensely somehow.

The bad – well, there’s only like 4 levels in the game. Five if you count the return to the opening one. And back down to 4 if you don’t count the 2-minute interval to Dagobah, that seems mostly like it was put there so they could feature Yoda on the back of the case. Kamino looks pretty good in its exteriors, and they do a good job with the atmospheric effects/rain. The ship levels are ok, but very very samey, and the one level that’s not blue-grey is the reddish-brown Not-Geonosis/Tattooine level, which is at least a bit more varied, while being incredibly derivative of both planets and featuring a really tedious and ridiculous boss battle ripped off from/inspired by the God of War series that inspired so much of the poorer parts of FU2.

The number of enemies seems to have decreased from FU1, the length of the game has definitely decreased from FU1, the number of mini-boss types seems to have decreased from FU1, and (I think) the variety of (painful) quicktime event boss kill methods for those mini-bosses seems to have dropped as well – pretty much down to one canned animation for each. Speaking of painful quicktime, the final battle is an exemplar of painful and tedious quicktime events interspersed with bad and tedious gameplay. In order to get to that final boss fight, you need to play through two (!) sets of near-identical incredibly tedious and boring platforming levels.

Quick! It’s Time for a quicktime event on the Red-Brown Level

My initial plan was to play through it twice – a second time to pick up the holocrons for upgrades and such that I missed the first time around. Sadly, the end game was so unsatisfying that I’m simply not going to bother. I played through the Endor DLC a couple of hours ago, and while the change of scenery was very welcome (green!) – it was incredibly short and linear, and featured a final boss fight that was only “better” than the main game’s final fight in that it was shorter (and easier – so it was over faster!) I bought the DLC a couple of years ago for either free or next to nothing. Not sure if it’s still there for that price. Really, though – the DLC should have been included in the base game for all the value that either of them have.

The game also features a bunch of unlockable costumes, some you get as you play through the story, some you get if you have a FU1 save on your console, and some seem to be unlocked either from the shitty challenge modes or from cheat codes. I played through using a few different costumes, and a chunk of the mid-game as Obi-Wan and the final chunk of the game as Boba Fett. The challenge modes unlock additional lightsaber crystals, but I doubt I’ll ever be arsed doing those after the tedious test I did.

But is it Fun?

Well, sad as it is to admit it, I still had fun with this game. Given that it cost as much as a couple of lunches, and lasted a little bit longer than a couple of lunches (I finished it in three short sittings, four if you count the DLC). It would be fair to say that I enjoyed it mostly because slicing Stormtroopers up with lightsabers and force lightning (and making them fight one another with mind trick) is fun, despite the many, many other shortcomings in the game. There were enough off-putting things about it that I’m unlikely to play through it again to max out the powers and achievement whore, but it’s possible that I will. If I do, it speaks to the fun in the aforementioned slaughter combined with the short length of the game.

It’s not what I could call a good game, but it’s far from the worst game with this licence slapped onto it. Make no mistake, I’d have much preferred a longer, better game with less tedium in the boss fights, more variety in enemies and locales. But as a deep bargain bin discounted way to spend a few hours slicing up and electrocuting Sturmtruppen, it’s kinda-sorta recommendable, if you’re a bit of a Star Wars tragic. And apparently, this makes me one of those too?

Verdict: Rent it – or buy it only from the deep discount bargain bin – and only if you’re a big SW fan. Otherwise skip it.

Review: Timeshift – Saber Interactive – 360

Another shooter that got decent-to-good reviews which doesn’t actually deserve decent-to-good reviews. I picked it up cheap both on PC and months and months later for like $12 on 360 (yes, I’m a sucker), and have ended up playing it on the 360, partly because big screen and can’t be arsed installing, but mostly because I was looking for something semi-disposable I could put on and shoot away through while watching DVD commentaries for Goodfellas on the other TV.

Sometimes it takes a game like Timeshift to show just how well done something like Treyarch’s shooting mechanics are done on a game like CoD:WaW, which were criticised somewhat at the time. Seriously, this game’s shooting is shitty compared to WaW. A not-especially-intuitive control scheme doesn’t help either. The plot, such as it is, is told initially using some confusing and badly-paced and written cutscenes involving a magic suit, some scientists, a facility that becomes exploded, and you putting on the suit and being sent back to an alternate-reality 1939. Once there, you’re greeted by Orwellian viewscreens of the glorious leader guy doing his best Half-Life 2 impersonation while you hook up with a resistance group (how do I know they’re not the terrorist insurgents?) and proceed to begin to murder your way through about 9 million near-identical guys for the rest of the game.

This looks pretty unique, doesn’t it?

Yeah, there are only about a half-dozen different enemies. Soldier Guy (with and without helmet, in a few skintones). Worker Guy in jumpsuit (in a few skintones – identical to soldier guy but dies faster), then much later you meet Speedy Guy, Electric Shield Guy, Flying Guy and that’s it unless I’m about to meet some other slight variation on a theme. It’s pretty repetitive.

The 1939 thing is clearly to invoke an allusion to WW2 and the Nazis, and the bad guys you kill a lot of occasionally have a banner with a single Sig Rune on them, so that makes them clearly as bad as Hitler, though tyey also appear to be American, and have full racial integration in their army. Their gear in this alternative-1939 is a mixture of Starship Troopers armour (Verhoven version), Modern M4/203 type rifles, plasma guns, Chewbacca’s Boltcaster which fires explosive sniper bolts, jet packs, laser shields, giant walkers, quad bikes and so forth. You know, just like they had back in ’39. There are a couple of badly-designed airships and a silly looking seaplane, so I guess that’s the Steampunk nod.

Anyway, the gameplay. It’s mostly just a long-feeling very linear repetitive shooter. The game has 24 levels, and I have 6 to go. There’s repetitive shooting in tunnels, industrial areas, that warehouse that’s in every FPS game, several interchangable endless building complexes, some outdoor areas, and some train tunnels. There are pretty frequent puzzles that utilise the game’s point of differentiation, or gimmick – the timeshift device. Basically, you can use it to freeze time, slow it down, reverse it, or heal yourself (!?) Since your character isn’t some indestructible Marcus Fenix-type, you need to pretty much constantly use the slow and freeze abilities while in shootouts, or die. The puzzles aren’t too hard, and range from “Ok that was decent” to “Oh god, boring but tricky but painful.”

Brown, with some grey and some grey-brown to round things off..

Anyway, this is a bog-standard, completely-forgettable shooter with a dog’s breakfast of a plot (I turned the sound off after awhile to better hear the commentary tracks). It’s not short, but due to it’s generic nature, I’m both finding it overlong and wishing it was long-over. This is married to an interesting idea that has potential if it were done by someone like Valve. It’s not a terrible game – I did actually finish it – but by the same token it’s really not worth your time to bother playing when there are so many better things out there. For me, it’s served it’s purpose, as I’ve gotten through 3 DVD commentaries with it. Now it’s done, I’ll probably never look at or even think of it again. In a year or two’s time I might see this post and remember “oh yeah, I played that thing.” Ah well, at least I can say that I started and finished it within a few days!


Verdict: Don’t bother. There’s better stuff to play.

Review: 007: Quantum of Solace – Treyarch Invention, LLC – Xbox 360

My wife picked this up for me out of the bargain bin at an opening of a new branch of a well-known Australian Hi-Fi, music, games, computers, etc chain. What I knew about it was that it was built on the COD4 engine, but wasn’t nearly as good.

But hey, it was cheap.

Awhile back, someone asked me why I play trashy games instead of the good stuff, and while what I said then was valid, he did have a valid point. After all, I’ve got a pile of games I know are better than QoS sitting unplayed. I guess it’s in part because I’m “saving” the good/best ones, while the less good ones can be played and disposed of without caring if I really savour them properly. So anyway, I threw this on today since I’ve been in a bit of a Bond mood recently, and, yeah, a short, disposable game was what I felt like playing, since I can probably/hopefully finish it over the weekend, inbetween a couple of DVDs and WoW-dailies.

So anyway. Based on the plots of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. CoD4 engine. Treyarch – before they got good with Black Ops. Slightly-crappy Gears-wannabe cover-shooter mechanic bolted on. Bond plays through a series of vaguely-based on the films scenarios, mostly using a series of various high-powered weapons just like he didn’t use in the films in an odd sequence vaguely related or not to the actual plots of the two films. I guess many of the weapons did cameo in the films while other people were using them. And James has the famous cover shot with the HK UMP-9.

This is what Parkour looks like. Apparently.

I’ve in fact just paused the game after having acquired an M60, and shot up a building with it, while slowly fighting forward while taking cover against waves of heavily-armed goons armed with AKs. You might remember this scene from Casino Royale as the parkour chase from the beginning of the film. Which puts me at the 1/3 of the way through point according to GameFaqs.

There are cell phones scattered about, which fill in little bits of intel. They’re vaguely interesting, but nothing to worry about if you miss any.

Anyway. Is it fun? It’s alright, actually. It’s nothing like the films, of course. But it’s an alright shooter. I’m not even going to bother checking out the multiplayer, since it’s an older game at this point, and let’s face it, every FPS/3PS of the last decade has a half-assed MP shooter aspect tacked onto it, but most people just play one of the better/more popular ones, and anything shy of that tend to be a ghost town.

So, yeah. As I said, CoD4 engine. Treyarch. Slightly-crappy cover system. Still a decent enough game. Not an awesome one to pick up at full price, but perfectly okay as a weekend rental, or something to fish out of the bargain bin and then either inflate your games collection or pass onto a friend.

Gears of Bond.

After another hour of play, including the exciting rooftop helicopter battle and exploding elevator shaft sequence that you may not recall from Casino Royale since they never happened in the film, I do have to reiterate it’s definitely not a bad game. I’m enjoying myself well enough, with of course the bargain-bin price caveat. The cover mechanics aren’t bad either, they just don’t really add anything to the FPS formula or this FPS title. At least they did make an effort to replicate the final section of the parkour chase, and while it wasn’t awesome, it was playable.

Final remarks – finished it. Had fun enough, though the I found the wild deviations from the film(s) to be annoying. It also features one stage where you get to play as drugged-cardiac-arrest-Bond from CR, which is almost as little fun as the Nightmare stages in Max Payne. At least it’s faster and you can see. Overall though, it’s still an ok game. Better as a rental rather than a bargain bin buy, since there’s not much to do with it once you finish it in 10 or so hours, unless you want to play through all the difficulty levels or achievement whore, since the MP is a ghost town.


Verdict: Rent it. Or buy it cheap. Or don’t – It’s all good.

Review: Call of Duty: World at War – Treyarch – PC/360

File:Call of Duty World at War cover.png

While I picked this up more or less on release, I really only got to play it some time later. Hence this review was written in January 2009. What do you mean there’s a newer Call of Duty game out?!?

Part 1 – PC version.
Onto the game! The review is written from my experiences with the PC version. The later MP thoughts are based on the 360.
The story is.. well, you’re a soldier. American and Russian at different times, and you have to kill Germans and Japanese. Because they’re bad guys and really the story is the same as every other WW2 FPS shooter, ever. So we’ll skip that.

Peripheral stuff, like loading intro screens and such are very well done, though the audio on mine suffers from some pretty bad stuttering, even after I upgraded my NVIDIA drivers. But while the presentation and such is excellent, pretty much on a par with CoD4, the problems with the game are the same, and even exacerbated. Lots of sudden “oh…  you dead now” moments that require you to die the first time so you can know what to avoid the second time.

Amusing caption goes here.

My squadmates seem to have taken a step back from useful and competent as in previous CoD games and are back to being decoration, and in many levels the enemies only seem to shoot at me (except for the occasional 1-shot kill on my decorative squadmates. And I’m only playing on the second difficulty setting.

While it’s an overused term, the game does have consolitis in that the emphasis is SO much more on the action rather than the playing – firefights are non-stop and frankly, a little too intense. As you simply can’t avoid being shot (not shot at), because they all go for YOU. As mentioned above, most of the time your vision is impaired by the “bloody vision” that the game uses in lieu of a wound meter/HP bar. You sprinting to the checkpoints is once again more important than actually fighting your way through, thanks to the endlessly-respawning enemies, who make attempting to fight your way through an exercise in futility anyway. It’s all about sprint-while-being-wounded towards the next gold star on your map.

In the inevitable 3rd-person view tank level, you’re once again at the helm of a T-34, and it’s much like previous CoD games where you’ve been at the helm of a T-34, (and maybe some MoH instalments as well). Except this time, there’s huge clouds of dust. All the time. All the time because your tank is constantly being pounded by enemy armour, panzershreks, bunkers, 88mm artillery. Your fellow Soviet tanks disappear without a trace pretty quickly, so again you have so solo the whole lot. Through the dust. Of course, this is helped by the fact that just like when you duck behind a wall as an infantryman, your tank regenerates it’s, erm, “health” whenever it’s not getting the shit shot out of it. This allows you to take out at least a platoon of Tigers, and probably PzIVs as well. (Hard to make out their profiles through all the dust, you see.)

I feel like I’ve been here before…

I really enjoyed CoD4, despite many of the same or similar flaws, but that may have been largely in light of the modern setting. This feels even more scripted, and at the same time both less realistic and less arcadey-fun. As it is, and despite both the annoyances and the great visuals, I feel very much like I’ve played this exact game before. Many times.

I mean, I’ve definitely assaulted the Reichstag building and planted the Soviet banner on the roof there before. And though it’s definitely prettier this time around, it’s not any more fun, partly because I’ve already done this, but mostly due to the endless rain of homing bullets and respawning Nazis.

Another annoying aspect of the consolitis are the “death cards”, scattered around in hidden places in the SP mode to unlock cheats in co-op. They’re this year’s version of the Laptops in CoD4. In a game that discourages “exploration” by virtue of endless-respawn enemies, rush-to-checkpoint gameplay, and large areas made up of pretty much identical debris/jungle/etc, it’s a very weak attempt to extend the game’s longevity. This is especially so as their unlocks are overwhelmingly just more ways to increase the game’s difficulty with only a couple of “fun” ones. I mean, even if I cared about them it wouldn’t be hard to play through the individual levels again with a walkthrough, but I have no urge to do so.

Parts of the SP campaign are reasonable fun. The Soviet campaign I enjoyed a lot more than the US Pacific  campaign, which is probably due to preferring the urban battlefronts over the jungle ones where you can’t see the enemy, and the German Stahlheim helmets being a more distinctive target to shoot at than the Japanese. The best parts of the US campaign for me were the first section of the Aircraft-gunner sequences, (“Black Cats”) and the levels where you operate a flamethrower in the jungle, though those still suffered from not being able to see a damn thing due to “bloody vision”, flames and dust’n’dirt everywhere. The Soviet missions were I suppose blander but more solid.

Multiplayer seems to be pretty much exactly the same as CoD4, only with dogs and recon planes instead of attack choppers and UAVs. I got sick of the spammy combat and loudly stupid playerbase after one round. I enjoyed CoD4’s MP for awhile, but eventually got bored with it. As I’m still bored with CoD4 MP and this is exactly the same, I was sick of it about 5 minutes after firing it up for the first time. To be fair though, if you still enjoy CoD4 MP, then you’ll likely enjoy this iteration’s MP.

Overall, it’s like CoD4. It’s not a great game. It’s a cinematic experience that you play through. But it’s WW2, again. And I’ve already done all this. I’ve played this. I liked CoD4 a lot more as it was a fresh take. This feels like a mash-up rehash of CoD4 and every other CoD/MoH you’ve already played. Beyond that it doesn’t make me want to play more every time I take a break, and the best FPS games do that. Instead I had to make myself play it through to the end to unlock the Zombie-Mode carrot. Zombie mode looks good on paper, and the combination of wanting to try it and wanting to finish this review was pretty much the main reason I made myself slog through and finish the campaign.

All games must have zombies. Apparently.

Once I unlocked that carrot I found that it was pretty fun. In SP zombie mode you can see that it’d be an awful lot of fun with 4 pals and voice chat (hmm… sound like another recent Zombie-themed game?). Nonetheless I tried it online, and found that there were unfortunately not too many games going, and more importantly, the calibre of players in it is pretty much the same as the random idiots in CoD4/5 MP, or your average trade channel discussion in World of Warcraft. Still, it’s a simple but worthwhile addition to the game.

It’s a solid rental. If you love the CoD-style multiplayer and you’d rather use WW2-era weapons than modern ones for a change it’d be worth the purchase. The SP mode/campaign is like CoD4: Worth playing through, but not necessarily worth buying or owning.

Part 2: 360 and Multiplayer thoughts.

So 3 years after release, and 2 years after writing the above review of the PC version, I got around to playing the 360 version. Why? That’s a reasonable question. The simple answer is simply that I wanted to try the co-op campaign and play through it with my wife. I’m also halfway through the SP campaign, mostly because I thought I may as well play through it since I bought the thing. I’m also interested in seeing how it looks on the big TV screen.

So anyway, my thoughts on both modes are generally much the same. Still can’t see a damn thing with all the bullets whizzing around and your bloodied vision – especially in the Pacific missions. The Flamethrower still (almost) makes up for all of it with it’s sheer mindless fun (time to reinstall RTCW for MP?). Endlessly-respawning baddies still make everything a sprint to the checkpoint. So no major changes. As a co-op piece, it’s okay. I figure that playing almost anything co-op with a friend is usually going to be fun, often fun than solo, so there is that. The co-op campaign omits several missions – the more Singleplayer-oriented ones. Black Cats (the one in the seaplane), the introductory cat-and-mouse Russian sniper level. Possibly another 1 or 2 that I can’t recall. I’m not finding the SP campaign to be “sticky” at all, wanting me to play more of it. It feels a lot more like a chore actually. Something I have to do to “get my money’s worth” from the game. So I might not finish it if I can let common sense and logic win that particular argument. (6 months later, I still haven’t gone back to finish it – so there you go…)

There are no Achievements given for the co-op campaign, and you just play them from a chosen selection of standalone levels, though it does queue the next one automatically when you finish the previous. There are Death Cards in here, so you can collect those for various MP cheats. I pretty much ignored those in the PC version, sine I had no intention of playing through it again, but I may go back for them on the 360. Partly as achievement whoring and partly “just in case” my wife wants to (or is willing to) replay through a level or two with various silliness turned on. Nazi Zombies mode is also unlocked from the beginning, though I suspect that’s been patched in sometime int he past 2-3 years, as I recall needing to finish the game on PC to unlock it.

I did have a muck about with the multiplayer. I actually enjoyed it more than I did on PC for some reason – and more than CoD4 on 360, though the game does have a habit of putting you into a game, then kicking you if you don’t have the DLC map packs, so you have to queue again.

Multiplayer Madness. Ok, so it’s not so mad.

The 2 copies I got for MP were bargain bin pickups, and the MP was fun enough, but unless I can get some major MP use out of Nazi Zombies, it’s not something I could recommend. Regardless of platform, the SP game is still “like CoD4, but not quite as good, and hard to see anything.” and the co-op, while servicable, is nothing to write home about.


The Verdict:

If you’re looking at picking up a PC or console FPS for Singleplayer, there are so many better choices out there.

If you’re looking at picking up a PC FPS for Multiplayer, again, there are so many better choices out there.

If you’re looking at picking up a console FPS for Multiplayer, it’s actually quite decent but now quite underpopulated, so there are better choices. Decent if you can get it for cheap.

If you’re looking at picking up a console FPS for co-op, there are far better choices out there.

It’s ok as a bargain bin pickup, especially if you enjoy WW2 shooters.

Review: Saints Row 2 – Volition – 360/PS3

With the recent announcement of Saints Row: The Third in all good gaming media sites, I thought It might be time to pull out my old review of SR2, put together for another site awhile back, give it a bit of a simple once-over with sandpaper, and throw it up here. I’ll get some more images of figures and such up soon as well, so I’m not going to entirely neglect the modelling world for videogames…

Continue reading

Review: Aliens vs Predator (2010) – Rebellion – 360/PS3

Warning: (Im)Mature Language!

I started playing this quite awhile ago, then put it down for a long period. Picked it up awhile back and finished the Pred campaign, started the Marine one, then put it down and forgot about it again for awhile. Just picked it up again last weekend for some casual play, and a theoretical idea of finishing some games before starting too many new ones. I’m not sure how well I’ll do at that after playing some more of it…
There are 3 Campaigns: Aliens, Predators and Marines. The campaign length is in the same order, with the Alien campaign being quite short, the Marine one being reasonable, and the Predator falling in the middle. At least it has more SP content than any recent Call of Duty titles…

Nice graphics, well done sound, animation is fine (though my system started stuttering the second-last time I played, and I couldn’t work out if it was the game being badly programmed or my 360 on it’s last legs.. not sure. It played fine again this evening. I picked it up 2 copies from Ye Olde Bargain Binne in order to play “Horde Mode” since it looks like fun. Have only managed to play it a couple of times, and the online MP (what little of it there is) is dominated by badly-played Predators.

The Predator campaign is probably the best of the three, followed by Aliens as they both at least have some interesting views and modes. Marine one is a bit of a slog.  That’s the problem with it really. It’s not a “sticky” game that makes you want to have One More Go. The Pred and Alien campaigns were playable, and overall decent if not awesome. The Marine one is wildly uneven – Atmosphere in the Marine campaign is great at times, very creepy while many other times it’s just whatever in a series of recycled stages set in dark tunnels or jungle foliage. Sometimes it’s very well done, other times you just want to get the level over with. The game really does look at it’s best and most atmospheric in parts of the Marine campaign where the walls are just totally covered in Giger’s biomechanical artwork-cum-game-scenery. When the place you’re in looks like the bowels of somewhere out of Alien or Aliens. Overall, the Alien and Pred campaigns actually weren’t that bad. The Marine campaign has some good moments – pretty much all as a result of atmosphere and the Art Dept, but gets bogged down in mediocre gameplay.

It looks better than it plays, unfortunately...

The shooter mechanics are unfortunately sub-par. At one point I got stuck for 20 or 30 minutes of retrying in a series of back-to-back bullshit fights (aka getting swarmed by waves of aliens in wide open close quarters at night – three times, one after the other). I eventually got through, but sheesh. I just don’t have the patience for this kind of crap anymore. And since (I think) I’m playing on Easy, I’m going to blame the game and the console-shooter controls. Though they’re far from the best console-shooter controls I’ve encountered anyway (Borderlands, Calls of Duty are both far better). At this point, I think I’d rather watch both AVP films back to back than play any more of this game.

Chances are I’ll still go back and make myself finish it out of bloody-mindedness, though.

If you’re a massive Aliens fan, pick it up on the cheap.
if not, rent or skip it. You won’t be missing a whole lot.

UPDATE 1: A reader opined that (amongst other things) there were some annoying ammo issues in the Marine campaign. I think it was done deliberately to add a sense of tension, but it’s not really conductive to the atmosphere of an Aliens-themed game, which really needs to be much more about firing off the the pulse rifles than “fuck, I’m almost out of ammo. again. Oh shit! Another endless swarm of aliens I can barely see and can”t target properly”.

UPDATE 2: (Finally) Finished it. Had another pain in the arse bullshit fight of about 3 dozen bugs, but I guess it was the (anti-) climactic one before the finale. It was okay, I guess. Glad it’s done, though. Meh.
Now I’ll get back onto something else with a shortish on console to finish… Uncharted 2? Brutal Legend? We’ll see if the PS3 is still stuttering…