Developer Rebellion's Miami Vice was excellent. It was one of PSP's best games of last year. So what exactly went wrong with this new shooter? Where Miami Vice was a simple cover-fire game that worked a treat with the PSP's nubbin, Aliens vs Predator is overly complex and awkward to play - especially on the train.
Combat is easy enough; just hammer the square button and tap X if an Alien pounces on your Predator, but navigating is a pain. The shoulder buttons spin the camera and gameplay soon becomes a chore of run for a bit, stop... open map. Close. Run for a bit. Stop. Open map. Close. Tedious.
Sure, AVP is a more open-ended game than Miami Vice - levels are larger and span open areas that need to be explored. Your goal is to find all the parts of your crashed Predator spaceship before the humans find everything and unlock the secrets of the alien technology. Using the cloak suit, it's easy to waltz past the human guards and Aliens, or you can hack at them to earn honor points. Every level pretty much follows this formula.
The problem is AVP tries too hard. Where Miami Vice had a simple control set-up designed around the PSP's single, restrictive nubbin, AVP attempts to wedge full PS2 gaming onto the handheld and we all know where that often leads... a clunky, frustrating game.
There is a bright side; AVP manages to include a decent multiplayer mode. It's nowhere near as fun as Star Wars Battlefront or Medal of Honor: Heroes, but it's in here, and you do get to run amok as a Predator, which admittedly is the only reason to pick up a copy of AVP. To paraphrase Arnie: "What happened to you Rebellion? You used to be someone I could trust."