Predator: hunting Grounds – Not Quite An Apex Game
Predator: Hunting Grounds is one of our Top Games Coming Out In April. It’s a multiplayer game that pits you against the clicking cult Predator or has you get into his skin literally. The game was developed by IIIFonic who has some good history adapting iconic movies into asymmetrical multiplayer games. If you’ve ever played Friday the 13th: The Game it was a fun romp as Jason Voorhees. Being a part of the famous 1987 Predator franchise, the expectations for this game were high but does it live up to it? Find out more as you run through our Predator: Hunting Grounds analysis.
Let’s start by taking a look at the gameplay because that’s why we’re all here right? The game offers players two different modes to choose from – to play as a member of a fireteam and survive the forest or choose the Yautja life and hunt down said fireteam.
As a member of the fireteam you’re basically a generic soldier grunt buddied up with four other members. You’re all then unceremoniously dropped in the middle of the jungle and are tasked with completing various objectives. All while fighting the AI militia soldiers as well as keeping your eyes out for the lurking Predator. There are three maps that are currently available to players, and while the player objectives are different, they all boil down to the same formula of going to a marked location on the map, performing a single action, and then fighting waves of soldiers. After completing the main objectives, the squad then heads to the extraction point to wait. This is probably the best part of the mission as you have to hold your position against waves of enemy soldiers and of course the Predator.
Playing as the titular Predator has you hunt down the fireteam, try to pick them off one by one, distract them from their mission, and be an all-round nuisance. Your objective, unlike the fireteam is much simpler, get rid of them and don’t get killed. If you’re on the human side, you engage with the A.I. and predator in a first-person view. While the Predator gets to experience combat via a third-person camera, which gives you a bit of an edge if you’re playing that role. It fits with the creature’s enhanced perception, which is further upgraded with its infrared vision. When activated, you can scan the world for blips of heat, which mark potential targets. Learning which is human and which are A.I. is part of the challenge.
Players can end the game in a few different ways by either killing the Predator and guarding his body. However, if the Predator manages to activate the mini self-destruct nuke, the squad will have to attempt and defuse it by completing four puzzles. This aspect of the game is extremely exciting and it truly brings the best out of this game. However, combat is where things start to go downhill.
While there are a few weapons that squad soldiers can choose from. Most of them are generic rifles but just stick to your default shotgun because that thing is greatly overpowered. Shotguns are powerful weapons that deal a ton of damage but they’re only supposed to be effective at close quarters! In Predator: Hunting Grounds the shotgun seems to have infinite range. Having them in this current condition makes them too strong against both the AI and the Predator. Who both aren’t that smart, to begin with.
These AI soldiers are extremely predictable and will consistently funnel themselves down the corridor to be shot. Most of the time, the soldiers will just run at you in specific places and predetermined patterns. Which makes them feel like nothing more than moving bullet sponges who pose little to no threat to the player. They’re also surprisingly few in number and often not enough to keep all four members of your squad occupied.
This is where things go to the other side of the spectrum when playing as the Predator. While you are able to climb trees, leap from branches, and have numerous abilities such as heat-seeking vision to track enemies, laser vision and an invisibility cloak, most of them feel very underpowered. It is extremely easy to get spotted while having the invisibility cloak activated. And weirdly enough all of your attacks including the melee ones don’t do nearly enough damage. Apex Predator? No. Well, this is until he gets his Combistick, that’s when the tables turn once again because it’s so overpowered it can wipe out an entire squad in a matter of seconds.
Controls in Predator: Hunting Grounds are basic. In squad mode, they are just like in any other FPS title, but very responsive and do the job well. The Predator, on the other hand, feels a little clunky to control. The tree-hopping system is a little uneven. The trees and the terrain appear to have not been designed for the Predator to move seamlessly through which only contributes to the clunky feel. Don’t get the wrong idea, controls are not too bad, but it feels like they could have been executed better. Overall, satisfactory.
The graphics of the Predator: Hunting Grounds are mostly good but there is room for improvement. The Predator character looks great, and the customization options let you change up your mask, armour, skin pattern and colouring, dreadlocks, and more. Humans have comparatively scant options, aside from a ton of underwhelming weapon shaders. The cosmetics are purely optional but overall the loot boxes aren’t exciting.
The environments are done well, the textures are solid, the character models are highly detailed and the movement and animation of characters are satisfactory. The lighting and water details could have been better and reflections wouldn’t hurt either. Definitely not the best graphics but they aren’t the worst either. You just kinda expect more from a popular franchise, ya know?
Sound & Music
The sound effects are really the saving grace of Predator: Hunting Grounds. When you first begin you’re greeted with the all too familiar soundtrack from the 1987 Predator movie. A nice little nostalgic trip. But it’s all the beows and pews and gargled purrs that are wonderfully exaggerated is the game’s best feature. Everything the Predator does is louder than it should be. A blunt way of adding oomph to your sound design, sure, but this is a fairly blunt piece of 80s action flick source material, after all, so it works!
Replayability is where this game has the potential to shine. Aside from the balancing issues that the game suffers from, the core idea of gameplay is timeless, and with potential updates that can bring in new items, weapons, maps, and twists to gameplay, combined with the skins and cosmetics, the replayability aspect has the potential to be sky-high.
Your new weapons, perks, and class archetypes, are more interesting. You’ll have a decent time coming up with different builds. Will you focus on a pure anti-predator loadout? Or settle on more of a support role designed to help keep your squad alive?. That flexibility helps to keep the action fresh, and with only a handful of maps and only one real game mode, it’s pretty important.
Overall, Predator: Hunting Grounds is a game with an ingenious gameplay concept that is poorly executed and suffers from balancing issues all around. The eerie feeling of being stalked by the Predator is not fully present and the exciting combat sequences are short and too far in between. The character models are generic and offer little to no customization and the game itself is neither a great FPS nor a great Predator game. Overall though it’s a mediocre game with some interesting elements. We’re hoping that patches and updates will fix balancing issues and allow this game to shine.