Predator: Hunting Grounds is an online multiplayer game developed by IllFonic and produced by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The newest edition to the Predator franchise, this game mixes the first-person tactical shooter with third-person action RPG; think Call of Duty crossed with Tomb Raider. This title explores two ways to be played; as a fire team of four players task with an objective to complete in a certain amount of time, all the while not being hunted and killed by the fifth player controlling the Yautja Predator.
When you are in the menu, I suggest playing the tutorial first but it only has you learn the basics of controlling “The Predator”. Next head to the options and check out the control layout for both the fire team and the Predator, I say this only since the tutorial does not cover the fire team or everything with the Predator. You also have the ability to customise your gear for either play options, with a total of six loadouts which you will unlock as your player level rises. This enables you to create your prefect soldier or your ultimate hunter with various primary and secondary weapons along with gear and perks.
What I like the most about this is the fact that you can unlock everything with your player level; the classes, loadouts, weapons, gear and perks, all the appearance items. They can also be found in the field lockers you obtain when you level or can be purchased using the points you receive from grinding away.
Once you load into a game you will have three options; play as a member of the fire team, play as the Predator or no particular preference, if you have enough friends however, you can make your own private match. Playing as a member of the fire team, your objective is to complete whatever mission you are assigned. Now, there are a few different missions you will receive but it will become repetitive, however having a Predator stalking your movements will offset that feeling to keep it interesting.
As the Fire team there are a few ways you can win, complete the objective and escape, survive the self-destruct of the Predator, disarm the Predator’s self-destruct device or watch over the body of a kill until it can be retrieved. You play in first person as the commando squad and does play very much like other first-person shooters, which has audience appeal. I did enjoy playing in the team and found it a little more rewarding and exciting with the choice of the four classes to pick from. It definitely allows for different playstyles as you enter the fray.
The Predator playstyle is a lot different as you enter a third person, action RPG style. Just like the fire team, you will unlock new classes for the Predator, as well as weapons all with your player level. You will also have four weapons available; two being permanent fixtures (shoulder canon and the iconic wrist blades) and another two optionals. The reason for the change in camera is quite practical as the Predator you can scale trees, perch and jump from branch to branch and allow you to pan while using his famous thermo-optics to uncover the position of your prey.
There is only one objective for the Predator; taking the skulls of the most skilled and worthy prey, at least that will earn you the most points. As with the fire team, losing still earns points but completing the task at hand earns the most. I found the Predator to be the hardest to win with but has elements to balance it out. One such cool gameplay design is if you do get downed make sure you set the self-destruct so the enemy doesn’t get the bonus points of recovering your body.
I do like the abilities in this, as most should know, Predators have their cool as hell thermo vision and stealth cloaking. When cloaked you will make a purring and clicking noise that the other players in the vicinity will be able to hear and when switching your thermo-vision on and off that whooshing noise we know and love from the movies will ring out alerting the human players. You definitively want to make sure you pick the right moments to use these.
In respects of the sound and visuals, there is debate on quality I however had no issues. The jungle terrain looks amazing and the music is great. The A.I. of the enemy guerrilla soldiers in Predator: Hunting Grounds could use some tweaks as they do not seem to have any self-preservation I can see; they do not take cover they just stand out in the open to be annihilated. The change of sounds from peaceful jungle to pure suspense as ‘something’ is coming for you, really gets your heart racing and gives you another warning that you should get the hell out of dodge or take cover.
As I said, I love the look of the game however as the Predator I have gone to jump to another branch but instead landed on the ground but he will still move and appear like he’s on the branch. With the leap ability as my only source of correction this has never directly affected or disadvantaged a live game as it happened while I was just roaming about but could be an instant loss if it happened while near the enemy. All in all, though, the look, sound and feel of this game is well above your standard PVP/PvE.
I find that all new, online multiplayer games have issues right off the gate, Predator: Hunting Grounds is no different. The difference is though, it actually looks like they are working hard to rectify the issues that arise and while like the one above can be annoying, I give leeway due to it only just being released. Another such issue that too seems to be fixed or at least better was the wait times for a game. This was not all the games fault as lobbies were bound to be minimal on released too. Since that has been fixed, I have encountered a new roll on effect that does bug me a bit; now when we load into the match too quickly, it doesn’t give you enough time to change your loadout, something I hope they consider in later patches.
Overall, I enjoyed this game more than I thought I would, both as a hardened soldier and as the fearsome Predator. I cannot wait to see what they add to the game in the future, as it already is quite the experience.
- The fact that the Predator is in third person, could not see myself enjoying it if it was first person
- The shear amount abilities for the Predator
- Having the player level unlock just about everything
- Quite easy to play with simple enough controls
- If I could, I would spend the whole time in the jungle, just getting lost in it (here is hoping for new just as stunning maps)
- Not having time to change your loadout is a killer and I hope it is fixed soon
- Getting stuck on the ground as the Predator while has not been an issue with my game has happened a couple of times now