There's a reason that consumers are generally weary of movie-inspired games: they usually stink. Preying on consumer fandom, many developers opt to make these games cheaply and hastily, hoping that the user's love of the series will overshadow the game's blatant flaws.
With Alien vs. Predator: Evolution being based off of the AVP movie series (a spinoff of the Alien and Predator franchises), I was skeptical of the mobile game being nothing more than a poorly made cash cow. Unfortunately, Angry Mob Games' hack and slash was all too happy to reaffirm my fears with watered-down mechanics, a disconnected narrative, and tasteless cash grabs littered around every corner.
Developer: Angry Mob Games
Publisher: Fox Digital
Platforms: Android, iOS
AVP: Evolution takes place on a distant planet where the Super Predator Clan has enslaved a jungle variant of Xenomorphs. Throughout the game, players will assume the role of both Jungle Hunters and the Xenomrophs, battling countless waves of humans and occasionally one another. There is nothing inherently wrong with the story. The simplistic narrative fits into the established albeit repetitive cannon; however, the more serious issues lie in how the story is told.
Relegated almost completely to a series of uninspired text blocks (most of which show up during loading screens), there is almost nothing within the actual game to connect players to the story. The result is a game that provides players with no impetus or direction. Each level blends together devoid of meaning, as players simply move forward because a green arrow on the screen tells them to. Completing a level or objective feels meaningless with no sense of progression and the player's actions often feel completely disconnected to the overarching story.
AVP Evolution's story telling may have been accepted on the mobile market years ago. However, in the wake of titles like Horn, which offer well thought out narratives and production value; there is simply no room for the tactless story telling presented in AVP: Evolution, especially considering its $5.00 entry fee.
A Poor Performance
The disconnected narrative could have been overlooked if AVP: Evolution at least offered solid gameplay mechanics. However, with unresponsive controls, brain dead AI, and repetitive combat sequences, the gameplay would have been difficult to slog through even if the storytelling was fantastic.
AVP: Evolution works like most hack-and-slash games, or at least it is supposed to, with a variation of light and heavy attacks, blocks, and combo moves. However, due to the unresponsive controls and constant frame drop, combo moves often fail to register, resulting instead in an endless stream of basic attacks. This causes the game to dilute into a brainless button masher in which players will perform basic attacks over and over again only to damage enemies to the point where they can perform a finisher move. Admittedly, many of the game's finishers are cool upon first glance; but the allure quickly fades, as players are forced to perform the same action again and again.
The repetitive sequences are further augmented by the AI, or lack thereof, as enemies will slowly trudge forward from their spawn points to their doom with little to no care for their own wellbeing. The multitude of enemies within the game is all for naught, as countless enemy types employ the same senseless tactics; causing the already repetitive combat system to feel all the more futile.
Perhaps the most disheartening aspect of AVP: Evolution is that the game shows potential, but ultimately fails to put the pieces together needed to capitalize on it.
One of the more interesting elements of AVP: Evolution is its integrated RPG elements. Throughout the game players will level up and earn currency. Once enough in-game currency has been accumulated players are able to purchase new abilities and armor for their characters, which in turn affords them new moves and stat bonuses. The concept of the two factions "evolving" throughout the game helps to create at least some semblance of growth and accomplishment.
Unfortunately, the various powers and abilities did little to overcome the monotony of the gameplay. With the fundamental aspects of the gameplay plauged by serious issues, these new additions prove to be nothing more than a small diversion. The evolution aspect was a great idea, but no matter how many layers the game adds, its base mechanics remain just as flawed and evident t o the player.
Easily the most infuriating aspect of this game is how Angry Mob Games and Fox Digital take the one redeeming quality of this game and pervert it in hopes of snaking a few extra dollars out of the consumer.
Micro-transactions have become commonplace on the mobile market, but their intrusion is far less tolerated in full-priced games, even more so if their inclusions adds little to the experience. Take all of that into account with the addition of the game's mechanical flaws, and AVP's micro-transactions feel criminal.
Every time a player dies the game will the game will ask players if they'd like to purchase in-game currency to gain access to more upgrades. AVP: Evolution takes its interesting upgrade system and makes it nothing more than another means for the company to scrounge a few more dollars out of customers. The worst of it is that player's might think that AVP: Evolution opens up once these things are unlocked, but it doesn't. AVP is fundamentally flawed, and no matter how much money players pump into it, the core mechanics will remain impaired.
APV: Evolution is a game plagued by flaws. Between its disconnected story and difficult controls, it truly can be a chore to play through. Even worse the game takes the few things it does have going for it, and destroys them in the hopes of profit return. I understand the need for developers and publishers to make money; but making sloppy titles that pray on people's fandom and then look to nickel and dime consumers every chance they get isn't the way.
With so many wonderful games available on the mobile market, there really isn't a reason someone should subject themselves to this title. Even stalwart fans of the series may want to stay clear of this one.
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