Yahtzee's got some skill with language, but to me, he just comes off too negative - like those guys on IMDB who leave crap reviews for everything. I guess that's his shtick, but it doesn't work for me.
I finally, finally got to play this game this weekend, after having bought it three or four weeks ago. My response:
I think they really got the Alien right, particularly as an enemy. They use stealth, they come outta the goddamn walls, and so on. I didn't care for the spitting one, but I thought the praetorians were appropriately tough and the predalien looked perfect. As a character, I thought their system for wall-climbing was a little more awkward than in previous incarnations, and I wish they would have kept the ability to eat enemies for health, but I really enjoyed the combat. As much as I enjoyed the pounce in AvP2, I'm sort of glad they did away with it, since it doesn't really fit with the way they moved in the films. And there's still the lunging attack, which replaces it nicely.
As a playable character, I think they got the Predator pretty good too. The system of long-distance jumping is much more appropriate for the Predator than the pounce was for the Alien. I'm also glad they disposed with the "charged jumps" of AvP2 and Concrete Jungle. I wish they would have allowed the combi-stick to be used as a melee weapon, and I miss the netgun (and I would have liked to see something like the maul as well!), but I like the fact that you can't really run out of "spear" ammunition.
As a Marine, it's a little weird to be able to knock back an Alien, but I think it worked well. I don't mind the fact that they got rid of the heavy weapons like the rocket launcher and the minigun, and I'm glad they treated the smart gun as a heavy weapon. I also thought the scope rifle was a more useful weapon here than the sniper rifle/railgun in AvP2 (and you actually get it before the final minute of the game), and I didn't think it was overpowered. I was also disappointed to find that grenades are largely useless unless you strike your target directly or very closely. Because of this, I would have liked to be able to carry a few more.
The hives looked beautiful, and I like that they seemed to have at least two or three kinds of textures - the classic "ribbed" texture, a messier texture where aliens could hide on the walls (in a great nod to Aliens), and I think I saw what looked like an older, disused, crumbling hive texture in a tunnel out in the swamps as the Marine. The exterior environments were also gorgeous. I do wish they could have squeezed in some Jockey ruins, though - perhaps beneath the Predator pyramid.
I thought the plot was pretty thin - much thinner than the plot of AvP2, where everything was tied together. I'm still not sure what I thought of the fact that Weyland was an android created using the memories of Charles Bishop Weyland. I'll buy that Weyland Industries may have developed a highly experimental secret technology to record memories - if I recall, information technology and robotics were specialties of theirs, and the original Weyland seemed like a man who feared his own mortality. I could see him investing billions of his own money to preserve his mind. And the technology itself is conceivable, using something like SQUIDs
What I can't see is why Weyland-Yutani would implant these stored memories into an android (presumably decades later; it's unlikely that Weyland Industries had developed a sophisticated android by 2004), and give that android control of the Company. Although that would explain Bishop II's eerie resemblance to Charles Weyland, and the fact that there was in fact a line of androids modeled after one of the company's founders. It raises some questions about the model aboard the Sulaco, though...is it mere coincidence that the android sent to LV-426 was a model which was also used to house the consciousness of the Company's founder, a man obsessed on a personal level with the Alien?
I think they missed at least one opportunity to maintain continuity, though - I sort of liked the "replacement Weyland" ending for the Marine, but suppose there was only one Weyland at a time, and he died on BG-386. The hive and the Predator pyramid were destroyed, along with any evidence that the Aliens or Predators were ever there. (Let's assume Tequila had her chestburster removed as well.) The Aliens are once again gone from human space, one of the chief officers of WY is dead, and the Company is down another
expensive colony and a hugely expensive research project. Is it any wonder Weyland Yutani went under after that? It would also explain why USM had to resort to cloning Ripley to get an Alien specimen.
Three final thoughts. First, the timing of the end of the Predator and Marine campaigns are a little weird. The Predator goes in, sets off the pyramid's self-destruct mechanism, falls into the basement and fights the Predalien, and the pyramid explodes. The Marine goes into the pyramid, and Weyland is already there - where was he when the Predator was there? Did Weyland walk into the burial chamber seconds after the Predator fell into the Zone of Gratuitous Lava? Why? Was he following the Predator?
Second, I've never been a fan of the idea that drones/warriors can morph into queens. It makes the queen embryo in A3 and A:R redundant.
Third, Six builds a hive in the bowels of a spacecraft. Sooner or later, that hive is going to run out of food and air (the use of gas at the beginning of the Alien's game establishes that, in this canon, they breathe). There's nowhere for the Aliens to go. That spacecraft may well enter a decaying orbit and crash. This is not a happy ending for the Alien. Although I suppose you could say that, in 200 million years, another civilization will discover this spacecraft and loads of eggs...I wonder if the crew got a chance to set up a warning beacon.