Sony has made it clear that its catalogue of multiplayer-focused titles needs some fleshing out. The days of MAG and SOCOM are long gone, so the hardware manufacturer has employed developer Illfonic to develop a worthy online asymmetric experience that could act as a bit of a test bed before we head into the next generation. Predator: Hunting Grounds is a project with potential, but 10 minutes of hands on time was enough to prove to us that there's a lot of work that still needs to be done.
Playing as either one of four Marines or the Predator itself, you'll need to complete various objectives to achieve victory. During the match we played, our squad of four was tasked with restoring power to generators, defending areas, and being a general nuisance for the enemy AI that patrolled the bases we came across. It's all very basic stuff that hardly challenges the brain in the slightest: reach a point on the map and hold down the square button or clear the stronghold of enemies. If you've ever played games that are similar in nature such as World War Z or even Strange Brigade to an extent, you'll know exactly what to expect here: simplicity that hopes the action and its co-operative nature does all the talking.
On the other hand, the Predator has to take out all four human players before they manage to accomplish their set of given targets. We didn't get the chance to play as the classic film antagonist, but from what we could tell whoever plays as them has access to various abilities and weapons that could spell doom for the Marines. A cloaking device makes stalking from the treeline that bit easier too as you figure out the right time to strike.
The two opposing teams feel fleshed out enough, with human players given the chance to pick between various classes that affect your load-out, but it's everything in-between that's either far too simple or worryingly broken. The framerate is very rough. It aims for 30 frames per second but it's about as smooth as orange juice with bits in it. This makes for a clunky experience that is wholly unreliable thanks to constant drops that bring gameplay to a crawl when the action gets heated, but even outside of battles it stutters all too often.
The enemy AI didn't fare much better. Patrolling the bases you have to clear out, the guards seemed to be almost completely brain-dead with tactics such as taking cover or the simple act of just moving about proving to be impossibilities. Of course, non-human combatants play second fiddle for the most part in PvEvP games, but they could at least look like they were trying.
We don't want to come across as too harsh, because we get what the studio behind Friday the 13th: The Game is going for. Co-operative experiences are all the rage nowadays, and we're sure it'll be a ton of fun to head online with your friends and pit your wits against the Predator – especially so if the range of objectives is broadened in the full game and DLC expands it even further to provide some much-needed variety.
The most promising thing about all this is that the developer has time to make things right. Predator: Hunting Grounds isn't due out until 2020, meaning it has at least another six months to fix its technical difficulties before a probable launch early in the year takes place. We hope it gets there too because Sony could do with a winner or two in the multiplayer scene.
Are you interested in Predator: Hunting Grounds? Did you check the game out at EGX 2019? Scan for a target in the comments below.