Developer – Illfonic
Publisher – Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform(s) – PlayStation 4 (reviewed), PC
MSRP – $39.99
Release Date – April 24, 2020
Review Code was Kindly Provided by Sony for this Review.
In a generation where PlayStation is publishing games from the likes of The Last of Us, God of War, and Spider-Man, it’s different to see their name involved with an Asymmetrical Multiplayer Shooter. My interest was piqued when I first saw Predator: Hunting Grounds in May of last year on PlayStation’s State of Play. It’s not something we usually see Sony directly involved with, their forte is usually in the Singleplayer aspect of video games.
The concept itself is extremely intriguing, A squad of four players plays as soldiers going on miscellaneous missions all while having to fight with AI enemies and the Predator itself controlled by another Player. This game had my interest from the get-go, but that interest went down a couple of notches immediately when I picked up the controller and started playing it.
Predator: Hunting Grounds is made by Illfonic, the same studio that made Friday the 13th which was filled with technical issues at launch. Hunting Grounds is no different than Friday the 13th when it comes to that aspect.
Predator: Hunting Grounds is plagued with so many technical issues from the main menu to the actual matches you are playing. When I’m customizing on the menu, it will sometimes take textures a ridiculous time to load. An actual match is even worse, the game chugs repeatedly and it sometimes takes seconds for input to go through after pushing a button. I’d hoped that Friday the 13th would’ve helped Illfonic learn from past mistakes, but that, unfortunately, wasn’t the case.
The graphics themselves are an especially weak part of Hunting Grounds. Before the release of Hunting Grounds there were about two trailers released for the game. Those two trailers had one big thing in common, they both had the caption “Not Actual Gameplay” appear at the start of the video. That means before the demo was put out we didn’t have any actual in-game footage of Hunting Grounds until about a month before the game was set for release. That in itself made me very skeptical and after playing the demo and the full game build, that skepticism was extremely warranted. The graphics don’t scream this gen at all, in fact, I would go as far as to say they scream last-gen. I was playing the tutorial for the Predator and I killed an enemy and literally sat there thinking the blood splatter on his body looked really rugged and cheap. This game needed polish and it needed it big time, this isn’t the look we expect from a game on this generation of console.
Technical and Graphical Issues aside, how does the actual gameplay of Predator: Hunting Grounds feel? Honestly, it’s quite a mixed bag, the good shows itself when you first start playing, but the noticeable issues comes in after a couple of hours into the game.
One thing that is super noticeable in the beginning is how dumbfounded the AI is. Enemies literally move like complete idiots, some of them will just look at you instead of shooting you for a considerable amount of time. You’re never in any real danger as a Soldier or the Predator with AI because they’re either moving around like a complete dunce or too confused to shoot at their designated targets.
Dumb AI and chugging gunplay aside, I was pleased with my initial experience as the Soldier, I was intrigued to see how missions played out and the backstory of said missions. My first few games as the Predator were mostly tedious, due to the fact that it takes a while to get a beat on the controls and movement of the Predator. Once you do it’s extremely fun to play, my big complaint about the Predator is how excruciatingly long the queue time is to get to play it. Thankfully the long queues are only for the Predator in my experience. The wait time was a problem at launch and after a couple of patches, it’s still a problem, hopefully, they’re improved in the future. The gameplay experience is fine for the first couple of hours until you realize how repetitive the missions are, which leads me to the biggest problem with the game, the lack of content.
Predator: Hunting Grounds is up at a price of $39.99. This is a Multiplayer only game, so you’d think that they’d make sure content would be more abundant than it is, but it’s not. There are very few options, you’re either going into a match as a Soldier or a Predator in a Quick Play or Private Match, that’s literally it. There aren’t any other fun or creative modes to play besides what’s currently given. After a couple of hours of play you’ll realize how incredibly repetitive the mission design is. There is barely enough here to justify the price tag of $39.99. I say this with incredible disappointment when I think about how much more value would’ve been added to this game if there were more creative multiplayer modes or even a story mode. This could potentially be fixed in the future with updates, it looks like they’re already working towards that with some DLC. However, I honestly feel that these things should’ve been in at launch, how many people are going to come back to this game a year down the line, my guess is not too many.
One big plus of Predator: Hunting Grounds is the Customization. The options are plentiful and I spent a long time looking through the list to see everything. It would be hard to find a complaint about this aspect of the game, both the Predator and the Soldiers design options are completely thorough and in-depth. You won’t find criticism from me in regards to the customization that’s been put in place.
Could Predator: Hunting Grounds make a complete turnaround similar to a game like No Man’s Sky? It’s entirely possible and I sincerely hope it does, but if that does happen, it won’t come for a while. Right now, I can’t recommend picking this game up, mostly for the price tag it’s at for the little content it has. Whatever Illfonic’s next title is, I hope they take what they’ve learned with their past few games and drastically improve many different aspects.
Predator: Hunting Grounds is a concept that has tons of potential, but severely lacks in the execution. What the game does right is overshadowed by what the game does wrong. If I were you I’d wait a couple of months to see if Hunting Grounds has improved technically and has more content than it does currently.
Final Rating - 5/10