Also On: PC
Medium: Blu-ray / Digital
Predator: Hunting Grounds is a recently released PS4/PC title that adopts the asymmetrical multiplayer approach of games such as Friday the 13th and Evolve. Based upon the popular alien hunter franchise, Predator: Hunting Grounds is an online multiplayer experience that pits 4 player-controlled soldiers against one player-controlled Predator across a series of jungle-themed maps. Having now played the game for a couple of weeks, it?s a multiplayer experience that I would suggest checking out, provided you?re willing to look over some fairly rough edges throughout.
Here?s what Predator: Hunting Grounds gets right. The Predator feels great to control, you can make large leaps across the maps, you can hide up in the trees with reflective camo on, you can engage in both ranged and melee combat with relative ease, and you can track your prey via heat vision. Pretty much all the classic Predator elements found in the early films are present here, and it helps that developers managed to nail that overall feel.
Likewise, the soldier character is also pretty easy to control if you have any experience with first-person shooters. You?ll have a few main weapons and sub-weapons to choose from, along with equipment such as grenades and ammo packs. Both the Predator and soldiers also have a series of perks that unlock as you progress through the experience levels, allowing you some range of customization. Soldiers are also comprised of four different class types, which will alter their health, endurance, the amount of gear they can carry, and so on.
Progression is tied to a straightforward leveling system that is shared across both the soldier and Predator builds. So if you prefer playing as one over the other, you?ll still progress through unlocks with both which is good. For the Predator most of your experience will come from successful fireteam kills, with more experience earned if you manage to knock everybody out before they escape. For the Fireteam, downing the Predator is a big deal, but you?ll also gain xp for completing the mission objectives, killing A.I. controlled soldiers that populate the map, and successfully capturing the Predator or escaping the jungle via helicopter before time expires.
What doesn?t seem as great, at least at the moment, is how rough the whole presentation of the game tends to feel. There?s a lot of little bugs and glitches that aren?t necessarily unusual for this type of game, but they?re still noticeable and seem to happen often. You?ll see enemy soldiers die but be frozen in place and more than once I?ve had my gun get stuck in a firing animation. I?ve had numerous issues with longer than normal queue times for joining matches, and I?ve even had the loot box rewards bug out in strange ways. Even after a handful of patches at this point, a lot of these issues seem to rear their heads a little more often than I?d like to see.
Also, I?m not entirely sure that separating the queue between Predator, Fireteam, and a No Preference option entirely works. Basing this off of my experience with Friday the 13th, I preferred the idea that you could join a queue and get placed randomly as either the monster or the human. In Predator: Hunting Ground, if you join the Predator queue you?re almost guaranteed a 4 to 5-minute wait compared to the Fireteam queue which is generally under a minute. However, the third option where you have no preference might as well just be a Fireteam queue too, since my experience so far is that it will never start you as the Predator.
I?ve also found loot boxes to be a little underwhelming with their rewards. I appreciate that they?re only purchasable via in-game currency and that the currency can be earned at a reasonable rate (along with the loot boxes you get as you level up). But the cosmetic rewards so far feel a little bland. This might be a restriction based on the license or just a choice by the developer, but I?d like to see a little more flash out of the cosmetic side of the game. As it stands, I find a lot of the color variants for different outfits to be a little too similar overall. Some of the weapon skins you can get are a little flashier, but both the Predator and Fireteam wardrobe choices just feel a little too safe for my taste.
Still, I?ve found myself enjoying my time spent with the game, and I think it has the potential to improve even more. I think if you?re in the market for something akin to Friday the 13th or Evolve, or just looking for a new competitive asymmetrical multiplayer experience, you could do a lot worse than Predator: Hunting Grounds. Just keep in mind that there are elements that feel a little rough at the moment, but barring that, it?s a pretty enjoyable shooter.
Note: SCEA provided us with a Predator: Hunting Grounds PS4 code for review purposes