Republished on Wednesday 1st September 2021: We're bringing this review back from the archives following the announcement of September's PlayStation Plus lineup. The original text follows.
Predator: Hunting Grounds is the first major multiplayer-only video game Sony has published since MAG on PlayStation 3. And while Friday the 13th: The Game developer Illfonic may not be a first-party studio, the project is still a statement of intent from the Japanese giant. After defining the action-adventure genre for a generation, it is experimenting with different experiences when it can to entice a new subset of players into the ecosystem. Sony is going to have do better than this if it wants to succeed, however. Predator: Hunting Grounds is a game lacking in both content and longevity.
Following in the footsteps of the studio's previous title, this is an asymmetric, multiplayer undertaking which tasks four teammates with taking down classic movie villain the Predator. There is absolutely no single player content to speak of besides the tutorial, leaving you with just one online mode to play and master. And simply put, there is not enough content here to justify a purchase even when taking the discounted price point into consideration.
On the human side, matches take the form of a first-person shooter filled with mindless objectives to complete. The flavour text makes it sound like there's a good amount of different tasks to tick off when in reality they consist of the dullest mechanics imaginable. Gather a material within a certain area, collect marked objects inside an enemy base, or search for hidden items. And then, of course, you'll need to defend a point while a meter counts down to zero. It's the sort of brainless goals which have plagued this style of game for years now, and Predator: Hunting Grounds doesn't bring a new spin on the formula to the table.
To be fair to the title, this loop is fun enough for the first couple of hours. Teaming up with friends is a blast as you work together to accomplish whatever is asked of you. However, the more you play, the easier it becomes to realise that virtually every match plays out the same way. After completing the handful of tedious objectives put in front of you, it'll be time to extract — a process which can take as little as five minutes overall. And that's it. There are maybe three to four hours of fun to be had here before its repetitive nature really starts to get to you.
Thankfully, there’s rarely a boring moment when playing as the Predator. From the third-person perspective, it's your job to stop the human team in their tracks by eliminating them one by one. You can do that either in a stealthy fashion, picking each one off as they find themselves alone, or make your presence known with explosions and aggressive melee attacks. From the classic Wrist Blades and Net Gun through to the more extravagant Smart Discs and Combistick, Illfonic has made sure you can recreate the classic, gory kills of the movies.
The best thing about playing as the Predator though is the freedom it gives you in traversal. The alien can climb trees and jump between branches with ease, making getting about the map quickly feel like second nature. Equipped with a targeting scan, the Predator can speedily lock on to its targets and go to town racking up kills if the human squad isn't prepared. What's more, its invisibility cloak makes quickly escaping those fights relatively easy. It's safe to say that when a skilled player takes up the role of the Predator, they have just as good a chance of winning the match as the four teammates cowering in the bushes below.
This can make for an intense experience on both sides of the equation, but there just isn't enough content on offer to facilitate the battles beyond a couple of hours. The game includes just one mode and only three maps, all of which look virtually identical. That's not good enough in 2020.
A levelling up system allows you to change and tweak your loadout on both the human and Predator side, but even this feels somewhat basic. Your rank will increase at such a rate that the system feels almost meaningless, arbitrarily locking you out of equipment and items which, on the Predator side at least, seem essential to survive. Although, the sort of abilities you unlock are hardly game-changers for the humans either. Thanks to clunky and unresponsive controls, aiming and shooting feels especially poor. But at least you don't have to worry about lining up long-distance shots which only have a chance of connecting. That's because brain-dead enemy AI makes combat a bit of a joke when you're not up against a real-life player.
Customisation is another of Predator: Hunting Ground's biggest aspects, and it's one which ties in directly with an in-game currency. Earned during matches, it can be spent on skins for your weapons and new items and accessories for both the humans and the Predator. It can also be spent on loot boxes. Now, the game does not feature any microtransactions at the time of writing, so this is purely a performance-based resource at launch. And in its defence, the options at your disposal are pretty fantastic. Customising the Predator with war paint makes it look more terrifying than ever while fun cosmetic items for the humans allows you to make an avatar feel somewhat unique. It remains to be seen whether or not this currency will be purchasable down the line, but for now, it can be considered a highlight.
The same cannot be said of its technical performance. Minor bugs and glitches are a supremely common occurrence, from objects floating in mid-air and subtitles flickering right the way through to objectives breaking and refusing to progress. They are problems we're sure will be fixed with patches down the road, but they make for an experience at launch which feels hastily put together. An inconsistent 30 frames-per-second on PS4 Pro, especially during heated combat, fails to provide any comfort on top of that.
Predator: Hunting Grounds wouldn't look too out of place amongst the tacked-on multiplayer modes of the PS3 generation. It offers a handful of hours packed with enjoyment but quickly comes apart at the seams as you realise how lacking in content it really is. While playing as the Predator and a good amount of customisation may be its saving graces, this is an experience you can safely skip.
They’re really going to have to go back to the drawing board in terms of asymmetric multiplayer. That’s quite a few releases now that are just underwhelming.
@TheNewButler That is a problem that Predator: Hunting Grounds has actually. Over this past weekend, queue times for the human squad were around 30 seconds. Meanwhile, the wait to play as the Predator was five minutes.
They should have put on the box -
"This game will make you a god damned sexual Tyrannosaurus, just like me."
Played it for about an hour in this weekend and thought it was decent if entirely unremarkable. Can totally appreciate how the novelty wears off after a couple of hours.
Aww that is a shame. I will wait for a price drop. Hopefully illfonic will keep updating and adding more content and dare I say it..a battle pass
@LiamCroft that seems quite quick to what it was. A few youtubers ive seen upload vids on this had to to wait 30+ mins to play as Predator. Guessing that was at its peak.
Game has always looked just ok to me. Seems to fall victim to the same tropes of the genre. Everyone wants to be the big bad and theres only generic stuff for the squads to do. One day someone will nail the concept
This could be said for almost every online multiplayer. This is for fans of the genre. Playing as predator and hunting him is amazing
@Danloaded Wow! I was never waiting that long.
@Bagshot basically for good PR when the battlepass or updates come round. "look every one we added a new map that we didnt totally have ready for launch and are totally not charging you for! Not happy? Well you can make the Predator pink thatl make you come back to play more right? Guys? Guys?"
@LiamCroft yeh a youtuber called Cartoonz first match as Predator was after a 45 min wait. He did state he was up late at night so im guessing people were all on from predownloads or something. After seeing people give up on playing the Mastermind on RE Resistance due to long waiting times its good to hear that the wait times are down for Predator
I actually really like this game a lot, but it has a ton of issues that should have been ironed out before release.
So many issues.
Not at all surprised by the low score. Watching preview videos and Beta footage, the game looked awful
Thats the first review i ever agree with liam on pushsquare.i play the demo.i didn't like this game at all.word up son
@playstation1995 Well I’m glad our opinions lined up for once 😂
Just looking at the cons I could apply that to all these types of games from Fortnite to Evolve. At least Capcom saw sense to bolt theirs onto RE3
This as with most games in the genre just feels like a mode ripped out of a full game, imagine this in a fully fledged Predator campaign playing as either a human or Predator with scenes from the movies, maybe even being able to invade other people's single player campaigns as the Predator, something like that could be truly special
@LiamCroft. No doubt playa.word ☝ up son
I really wish they had made a single-player Predator game instead of yet another 4v1 asymmetrical multiplayer game.
I’d give it a 6. It’s pretty fun. 4 seems harsh
@Biohazardous87 it’s not a 4. The gameplay is pretty fun.
@Constable_What unfortunately illfonic isn’t really a good developer. To be honest I’m not sure why Sony is helping with this in a 2nd party relationship. Plenty of better devs out there
@Danloaded 20 minutes was during the demo in my experience. Since launch it takes about 5 minutes for me
I had a hunch the game would be underwhelming. Feel bad for the Predator fans that have been waiting for a game.
Should have gone story driven single player ala alien isolation.
@jly1987 Friday the 13th was a pretty decent success considering its' budget, so I imagine that's why Sony is putting their weight behind Illfonic.
They're not a good dev. I have no idea how they're getting these licenses. Hopefully, they get everything sorted out.
The big thing is performance, matchmaking, and the bugs when playing as the Predator. I get stuck too often, and it sometimes leads to annoying deaths.
Deaths, where I then have to wait for the Fireteam to protect my body for extraction. Like... I'm dead and I can't come back, just let me leave and collect my XP you ****s!
But, I agree on the score. I would say a 6 personally, but considering other people and what they're buying, I could also agree with a 4 in that respect.
It doesn't deserve the money in most cases. I'm willing to forgive technical issues or jank if something is interesting (An interesting 4 is much more fun than a boring 7), but this should have gotten pushed back.
Still love this game though. Really addictive.
As expected, especially when you know which games the developers were responsible for making.
Still, here's hoping they will still provide patches to improve the experience. ReadySet Heroes for example, another online-focus Sony game, recieved a patch to fix some issues the game suffered at launch.
@Biohazardous87 true... True...
This game looks so under developed, you get the predator licence and this is what you come up with. Wow how uninspiring!
Even rebellion's last AvsP game had more inspiration and like 5 times the content. With 3 single player campaigns and a full multiplayer option with various game modes. They should have just remastered that
What Was The point of the beta? Surely they didn't even have anything like enough time to implement any improvements after feedback as it only ended a few weeks ago.
no single player? Another total let down. Was looking forward, but without single-player it has no sense of buying it. 🙁
The point of the beta for me: I played it and changed my decision from preorder to a hard pass 😐
I been thinking Alien Vs Predator could work as an asynchronous multiplayers. Team of marines, team of aliens, one predator. Playing similar to Arkham Origins multiplayer.
Beta was awful so this doesn't shock me at all.
Wouldn't look too out of place on the PS3? You mean during the current gen as well. All generation "gamers" have been championing half-finished games and giving them second chances with the exception of Evolve and now apparently this. I mean let's be honest, most of you are gullible and can't see how utterly pitiful multiplayer gaming is (mostly because you aren't gamers, just hobbyists) but when one comes along that does all the same exact s*** as your favorite game, you trash it. They're all trash, they're multiplayer games. You can't praise Destiny and damn this, they're equally garbage.
If you hobbyists (because gamers don't buy these shells) would have better control over your impulsive habits, and didn't fall for a marketing campaign, trash like this wouldn't be the industry's main focus like it is today.
@GoblinKing86 Language please.
Yeah, like gameranx or so said, it is much better experience on PC.
I just don't get what's up with publishers thinking that selling multiplayer only games with almost no content at full price is even a good idea.
always at the very bottom
This game should be free to play with cosmetic purchables, just like Fortnite
@Constable_What would be great if as the Predator being dead you had some control over the waves of soldiers trying to destroy the specimen. At least it would give you something to do...
@Smackumz That'd be really awesome if you got to spawn in as one guerrilla, but you had your Fireteam loadout.
You could try and take revenge or destroy your body, and hey, it's something fun to do!
I mean you're not doing nothing!
It's sad. This article was written months ago and here we are, mid July and nothing has changed. Sure, they added Arnold as a fire team member and a few new Predators, but no actual content that adds any value to the game. Still no new maps, no new modes, no prestige style leveling system. The game was a lot of fun for a while, until you max out your levels and unlock all the skins and weapons (which really doesn't take that long to do). They've had plenty of chances to release new content, but have failed to do so each time. Rather than weekly additions, we get 2 a month, each very small. I wouldn't mind the small upgrades if we got 1 a week, but when only adding it twice a month, they need to be substantial to keep people playing until the next one. Arnold was a great addition, but that DLC should have been Arnold (and his weapons), a map, a new Predator weapon, and a new skill. Then 2 weeks later, new gear for both Predator and fire team, another skill, and a new mode. If they did that every couple of weeks, the game would be thriving. Instead, its struggling to breathe and is slipping away.
The PS Plus release may boost the game playerbase.
Sounds like Liam loved it!
Ok if you like asymmetrical (I miss Evolve). Quite enjoyed it on release.
However, the lack of support, limited modes and death spiral meant that after a couple of months I could never find a game.
Got this on release, yes, it isn’t that great but myself and friends have had many a laugh with this game.
Check my stats and I’ve clocked 75 hours on it, can’t be all that bad eh 😆, or I have no taste.
if this had an offline player campaign i would of bought it. all my games are offline campaign see the pattern . just release offline player campaigns packed with great stuff. you can dwindle it down as yas usually do for online. loot crates!
@Mad001 agreed. It’s such a shame this games don’t even attempt to put some solo player content in - Such a waste of a license - Games that don’t flop more than they succeed…. Striking gold with a multiplayer only game is tricky and only a few manage it - yet the industry hasn’t worked that out yet
Sounds like a turd. I can see why Sony selected it for ps+
heh...rather free AAA multiplayer games over indies..im happy about it.
@jly1987 yeah but it's very broken as well so it should get even lower in my opinion. We shouldnt reward Devs for releasing broken games.
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