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PSP  header logo

Aliens vs Predator: Requiem

For: PSP

In space, no-one can hear you snore

Product: Aliens vs Predator: Requiem | Developer: Rebellion | Publisher: Sierra Entertainment | Format: PSP | Genre: Film/ TV tie- in, Shooter | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
Aliens vs Predator: Requiem PSP, thumbnail 1
When we enjoy fiction, we engage in what Coleridge called the 'willing suspension of disbelief', which is to say we happily ignore the fact that what we're reading, watching, or playing is impossible.

Sometimes, however, the balloon of disbelief soars too high. If you've been following the development of the forthcoming sequel Aliens vs Predator: Requiem, you'll know that it features a 'predalien'. However much you enjoy the Predator films, as soon as you see that daft puppet the balloon bursts amidst prosaic doubts over the viability of interplanetary reproduction.

The game of Requiem is full of balloon-bursting moments like these, when absurdity violates the internal logic of the fiction, but it would be an act of charity to put that down to artistic misjudgement. In truth, this game is so scrappy and dull that it barely gets off the ground.

The plot loosely follows that of the film, with you in the role of a predator whose ship has crashed into a small town, killing the crew and unleashing a fearsome cargo of livestock aliens. Your goal is to contain the incident, killing the aliens and destroying all signs of your presence.

You begin amidst flaming wreckage, and the problems with the game are apparent as soon as you take your first steps. In contravention of every law of third-person game design, you have to steer the camera yourself using the R and L shoulder buttons.

This is a bizarre rather than harmful choice, however, and you soon get used to it. In fact, this device probably rescues Requiem from the perennial danger of the shoddy third-person camera, which, given the general quality of the game, it would almost certainly have succumbed to otherwise.

Controls for your predator are more conventional. You move with the analogue stick and attack either hand-to-hand with Square or by firing your shoulder-mounted cannon by holding down both trigger buttons to lock onto a target and pressing Circle to fire.

It's the second of these offensive moves that you'll spend most of your time using, as the generic aliens that constitute your only real opposition (humans appear from time to time, but you bat them away like flies) have a tendency to swarm, so it pays to pick them off at range. The auto-aim is such a powerful tool, in fact, that you'll find yourself holding both shoulder buttons whenever you enter a new area just to identify any threats.

Being a predator, you have three different viewing modes – Technology, Thermograph, and Alien – which the game repeatedly encourages you to use for spotting aliens, finding weak points in the wall, and so on, but there really isn't any point: a combination of high powered auto-aim and heavy signposting makes them redundant.

As you progress through the levels, you earn several extra weapons – such as shuriken and a spear – and these grow in power as you accumulate optional honour points by dissolving the face hugger husks that litter the gameworld.

Like the different vision modes and the upgradeable weaponry, Requiem's narrative structure is a promising device that comes to nothing. After the first mission, the path to the end of the game trifurcates along the routes of Underground, Industrial, and Suburban, leaving you to choose your favourite.

Once you've reached the last level, however, all that remains is to go back and do the others. There's no clever trick – in narrative terms, you're simply going back in time to re-enact what never took place in order to arrive at a conclusion you've already reached.

Rather than being outright broken, Requiem is just listless, and feels ten years behind the curve. The collision detection, for instance, is appalling, allowing you to hover in your entirety on the air beside a surface and padding walls with a clear foot of impassable invisibility.

And the problem isn't only technical. If you bring your considerable bulk into collision with a line of traffic cones, they hold like bollards, and even though there might be two feet of space between them you can't pass between.

The only deformable pieces of terrain are signposted by obnoxious red triangles, and by counting them you can actually number the moments when you can do anything other than roll like a marble down the helter skelter of the game's levels. Although the action takes place on earth, you never feel remotely like you're in anything like a real place.

Despite its flaws, Requiem is rarely offensively bad. The gameplay is easygoing, and you won't spend any time actively angry with it. If, for whatever reason, you happen to have the UMD in your PSP, you might even find yourself sleep-walking all the way to the end, which takes around two hours.

However, the best that you can say about Requiem is that it's consistently mediocre. When you get around to watching the film, the absurd pantomime phenomenon of the predalien may disrupt the suspension of your disbelief, but in its slower periods Requiem disrupts something far more dangerous: the suspension of your eyelids.
Aliens vs Predator: Requiem
Reviewer photo
Rob Hearn | 4 December 2007
Despite source material that found success on the PC, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem is dull, repetitive, illogical, glitchy, and everything that gives movie tie-ins a bad name
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