Aliens Versus Predator 2: Primal Hunt Review

Aliens vs. Predator 2: Primal Hunt is an expansion game for last year's excellent first person shooter, Aliens vs. Predator 2, that adds three new campaigns of three missions each, one for each species.  Also included are some new weapons, multiplayer maps, and new creatures to battle.

The three new campaigns in Primal Hunt follow the same blueprint as those in the original game - the same story told from the perspective of each of the game's three races.  The story is centered on an ancient Pilot artifact which has the capability to control the Aliens.  The humans and Predators want to get a hold of the artifact for obvious reasons, while the Aliens would prefer that no one gets their hands on it.

DunyaIn the human campaign, you are Dunya, a beautiful Russian who just happens to be a Corporate mercenary and an Alien-killing machine.  Although not a Colonial Marine, you'll have access to the same arsenal, with the addition of a few new toys.  The first new weapon is dual pistols, which might not sound like much but actually pack an effective punch.  Also new is the turret gun, a stationary rotating weapon that allows you to spray an area with rapid and deadly fire.  Finally there is the deployable sentry gun, an automated weapon that can be moved and deployed to new locations.

Unbeknownst to Dunya, retrieving the artifact releases an ancient Predator guardian from a stasis field.  As the Predator, you must hunt down Dunya and try to return the artifact to its proper location.  Not to be outdone by Dunya's new weapons, the Predator has a couple of new toys as well.  The energy flechette is a weapon attached to the Predator's forearm that shoots bolts of energy and is effective against attacking Aliens at close range.  In multiplayer games, the Predator is armed with a new self-destruct weapon that will kill you, but take out surrounding players as well.

In the Alien campaign, you are a new hybrid Alien known as a PredAlien.  You must capture the artifact and destroy it so that it can not be used on your species.  Like in the original game, you must begin life as a facehugger in search of a host, moving through the stages of the Alien lifecycle until you grow to be a full PredAlien.  When fully grown, you'll gain a new headbite attack which not only decapitates your enemies, but also restores your health as well.

While the new campaign sounds good on paper, it falls short on execution.  When playing the human and Predator campaigns, Aliens are thrown at you at an astronomical rate, materializing out of thin air to drop on top of you or appear right behind you.  If you are killed and must reenter a room, you can watch the spawn point of the Aliens and actually see them drop through solid ceilings or rock tunnels.  This makes the human's motion tracker just about useless, as very few Aliens actually approach down corridors or through vents.  Add to this problem the fact that the environments in Primal Hunt are very cramped, featuring numerous precipices and narrow corridors, and you'll spend a lot of your time spinning in circles firing madly.  Perhaps at fault is the switch to Third Law as developer of the expansion game.  It's as if the level designers did not understand the elements that made the original game so suspenseful and great to play.  Or perhaps they felt that they could make the campaign seem longer by constantly killing you.