Requiem for a Dream
What the games manage to capture -- beyond the surprisingly well-rounded perspectives and powers of all three races -- was the exact same sense of fear that continually built every time it got quiet. Sure, the human Marines had a ton of firepower, but they also had that damned motion sensor that would show you just how many moving blips there were headed toward you. Given that the game was blanketed in an almost constant shroud of darkness, and when something leapt out of the inky black to tear your head off, it was legitimately scary.
Which is why it's such a shame to see that series boiled down into a trite, repetitive shell of its former glory; relegated instead to guiding a lone Predator through a once-bucolic Colorado town, tracking (rarely) and attacking (constantly) the Xenomorphs and face huggers that are turning the human population into incubators for a quickly-spreading infestation. The game more or less follows the basic plot of the movie, which is either a plus or a hit to the overall experience given your love for big screen narratives.
The bottom line, though, is that you'll trudge through the outlying forests, the Predator ship, the town itself, and into a transformed hospital before escaping the inevitable huge ass explosion that should wipe everything out. At your disposal are the usual Predator goodies; different vision modes, a shoulder cannon, a staff, wrist blades... and then things get a little "creative." About halfway into the game, you're given a pistol, which turns the game into a fairly run-of-the mill shooter experience.
Yes, you can zip into first-person mode to "tag" Aliens, which gives you more Honor, the game's upgrade and unlockables currency, but even without the extra honor, it's possible to upgrade just about everything, and tagging really only works in the more open spaces where Aliens are just sitting around waiting to get tagged; as soon as you move indoors, the spawning swarms don't really lend themselves to zipping into a first-person view where you're held in place while you try to hit one of the creatures.
The bigger issue is just that the game isn't terribly fun. It's not offensively bad, either, but the melee combat never feels like it's connecting with a target, and the stealth parts of the game pull the game down as much as they do break up the near-constant combat. Puzzles are reduced to flipping switches and backtracking a little, and there's just nothing here that keeps the game interesting until the end.
It's weird, too, because Rebellion is more than capable of making a solid game Rogue Trooper was a fantastic shooter, and even their treatment of Neversoft's Old West epic Gun with Gun Showdown showed that their in-house Asura Engine could pump out some impressive visuals on the PSP. Instead, AvP: Requiem's graphics rarely do more than provide a passable level of detail or complexity. The framerate is fairly solid, but effects fall flat and the animations for the most part are stiff and lack serious oomph (though I will admit that seeing a Xeno writhe around before dying looks pretty damn nice).
The audio is likewise limp, again providing just enough backdrop thanks to the usual whooshes during vision mode changes and Alien screeches, but both they and the music never really do anything to rope in the player. Not even a pair of headphones and a dark room will make the game all that spooky, which is a shame.
It also means that Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is little more than an average third-person shooter with nothing to help it stay interesting until the final showdown. Had I not been reviewing the game, it's doubtful I would have even wanted to keep playing past the halfway point, and in a game that's really not much more than, say, a half-dozen hours, that's hardly a complement. Rebellion is more than capable of making a good PSP shooter -- Miami Vice, for instance, was actually surprisingly fun, so perhaps it'd be best to ditch Colorado and head for the sun-baked environs of Florida instead.