While I’m still in shock/disbelief/mourning over the state of my Wii (though I don’t seem to be the only one of late), my mood was lightened by the new Alien Vs. Predator demo.

February seems to be Sega’s month, for whatever reason. Last year, it was MadWorld and House of the Dead: Overkill. This year, it’s Alien Vs. Predator and Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing. It makes you hope that February 2011 will turn out as impressive.

But AvP and I go back a long way. I cut my (two sets of) teeth on the Atari Jaguar version (also by Rebellion), and I was a QA Lead for the Mac version of the later PC port. Oh, the stories of being holed up in a bunker, killing wave after wave of Xenomorphs until one finally decimated my crew.

So I had high expectations for this new game, considering the pedigree and history of the developer and this particular franchise. It’s what I expected: New, but familiar, gory, and strangely satisfying.

It’s not to say that the demo is perfect. The load times are long, and it’s only one very dark multi-player map. After waiting all this time for the feast, you get a dinner cracker to sample, which only whets the appetite more. But that is the point of a demo, isn’t it?

However, due to the demo’s length, I don’t think it gives as accurate of representation of the game as it should. Unless you know what to eventually expect from a full product, I don’t think the demo fully shows off why this series is as awesome as it is, outside of the draw of the titular characters. It certainly lacks the length of the Left 4 Dead 2 demo, and it should have included one single player experience to the mix.

But if you manage to find 8 players for a multi-player match, the resulting carnage is satisfying, and you do get a few surprises based off how the characters move. And yes, you can really gut someone with the Alien and Predator’s “Finishing Moves”. Just don’t expect more right now than a tiny glimpse into the awesome this series provides, and as I said, it’s slipping back into a comfortable, enjoyable, and bloody old shoe.

Any friends or readers want to play, drop me a line.

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