We'd be hard-pressed to think of a more obvious example of a PlayStation 4 game so clearly optimized for play on PC than Hyper Scape. It actually gets to the point where you question why Ubisoft bothered with the console port in the first place. However, this is a free-to-play Battle Royale title and so the idea of restricting its player base to a single system would probably give the higher-ups at Ubisoft a heart attack. So, while we don't want these damning statements to dissuade you from giving Hyper Scape a shot, they do confirm for us that this futuristic take on the genre won't provide much competition for Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Apex Legends.
It's not that Hyper Scape performs poorly on PS4, but more the fact that its gameplay flows at such a ludicrously fast pace that it can be next to impossible to keep up. Neo Arcadia is your virtual playground and the buildings which give it structure are merely a minor roadblock in your path to victory. A speedy sprint will get you about the map in no time at all while a double jump can clear rooftops -- place jump pads on top and you quickly realise that brick and mortar isn't really an obstacle at all. It's a tool to get you into an advantageous position, but one on a time limit since an enemy can just as easily reach your position. This may sound like a good thing, and that's because it is.
The freedom of Hyper Scape is its crowning achievement, but that very same movement speed is also what holds it back on PS4. While we can completely understand how you'd be able to keep up with a mouse and keyboard at your fingertips, the same cannot be said of the DualShock 4. Action and confrontations pass you by at such a pace that it can be extremely difficult to work out what just happened and what you need to be doing next. Players can be right beside you one second and then way off in the distance the next. Enemies will engage in combat on top of one building before taking the fight to the streets in a flash. When you're in the thick of things, the thumbsticks of the PS4 pad simply cannot keep up with this rapid action.
But that's not the only problem associated with the device sitting in the palms of your hands. You're going to have to dive head-first into the game's setting if you want to come up with a satisfying set of aiming controls because the default options are chaotic to say the least. The reticule reacts violently to even the slightest push of the right analogue sticks, meaning you'll miss your shots more often than not. Iron sights on regular weapons don't offer any benefit either with scopes that take up nearly the entire screen. It's far too much to handle and presents newcomers with a pretty steep learning curve that we're not convinced many will bother to overcome. There are too many better alternatives already on the market, after all.
It does bring some of its own ideas to the table though -- a couple of which we wouldn't be surprised to see implemented into other Battle Royale titles. The introductory looting stage of Hyper Scape might be the shortest the genre has ever seen, but it continues to give you a reason to hunt down extra weapons no matter what stage of the match you're in. That's because if you find the same gun you have equipped somewhere within Neo Arcadia, you can upgrade the weapon by absorbing it. This leads to five tiers of enhancements, each of which improves your magazine size and damage output.
This is a pretty cool mechanic that ensures loot is always an important factor beyond the first couple of minutes of a match, and the same goes for Hacks. These perks range from abilities granting you invisibility all the way through to a giant hamster ball that can be used to traverse the map at great speeds. It's certainly a bizarre sight the first time one crosses your path, but these too can be upgraded should you come across a copy out on the digital battlefield.
As such, these neat ideas find themselves trapped in an experience that isn't going to take off on PS4. The community on PC may take Hyper Scape to new heights, but in an already crowded genre, it all feels too little too late. The DualShock 4 controller cannot keep up with what Ubisoft is trying to do, leading to messy in-game battles that can be tough to follow. Throw in an awkward aiming system on top of that and it quickly separates the veterans from the players giving the game a chance for the first time. The world works in strange ways and Hyper Scape could be the biggest thing going in six months time, but we can confidently say that won't happen on a PlayStation console.
Have you been playing Hyper Scape on PS4? Do you agree with our assessment? Let us know in the comments below.