AvPvZ

Even though I’m not tempted to go out and buy a PSPgo, I admit that the media attention – negative as some of it is – focused on the console has gotten me back to gaming on my 1000.

In fact, I played through 2 PSP games just this week, though that didn’t actually represent a huge time investment, and I thought I’d talk about them a bit.

The games in question are Aliens vs Predator: Requiem and Infected, both of which are 3rd person shooters split up into lots of short missions, both of which give you a score after each mission that translates into points which you can use to upgrade your weapons so you can tackle tougher missions and so on.

On the other hand, Infected is good, and AvP is just, well, there.

Infected is a Planet Moon game, and it’s got a good bit of humor to it; it makes a nice spiritual successor to Giants: Citizen Kabuto and Armed and Dangerous. It DOES lose some point with me for being Yet Another zombie game, but, to be fair, it was released a few years ago and zombie games weren’t quite as cliched at the time.

Gameplay is fast, frantic, and brutally visceral; it likes to splash your PSP screen with blood and, well, less desirable fluids, it gives you a fair number of different mission types, so you don’t get stuck entirely in a rut, and the reward for beating it – apart from satisfaction at conquering the last level, which was considerably harder than anything up to that point – is a ending credits sequence/song that reaches deep into the shameful recesses of 1980s “Aid” concerts and pulls out a spot-on hilarious parody.

To my English teacher: yes, I know, watch my run-ons.

The only shortcoming is a historical one: if I’d bought this new at launch for $40, I’d probably be a little annoyed when it ended after about 3 hours of zombie mayhem. Since I paid $9 for it four years after launch, I’m good with the length.

Aliens vs Predator: Requiem, on the other hand, is slow paced, humorless, and intensely unrewarding. It feels almost like the developers had some good ideas, but were constrained by the movie license; there are small flashes of brilliance.

On the other hand, there’s about six hours of non-brilliance.

Pluses: you get to play as a Predator, you get – eventually – a full collection of cool ways to kill Aliens and hostile soldiers, you get to use the assorted Predator vision modes to solve puzzles, and it retains the whole “cleaner” aspect of the Predator from the movie, which I thought was a neat concept. It also managed to startle me a couple of times, they did a nice job with the Alien attack sound and hearing it right in your ears just when you’re thinking you’re safe is a bit jump-inducing.

Minuses: the environments are pretty dull, the game compensates for being incredibly dark and difficult to see by highlighting all your objectives on the near-omniscient in-game map, most of the later weapons are pretty useless compared to one you get very early on, and the final boss / ending sequence was so mediocre that I had to go look up commentary on the web to make sure it had actually ended.

It did have a bit better control scheme than Infected, though.

Anyway, if you want to run amuck in New York killing zombies, give Infected a spin.

If you’re stuck in a greyhound station in rural Texas with six hours to kill before your next bus and nothing else to do, give AvP:R a go.

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