Although not a perfect game in any sense of the measure, “Predator: Hunting Grounds” is definitely a fun experience through what it would be like to play the universe’s most dangerous hunter… if you ever got to play the character.
In every match one player takes control of everyone’s favorite hunter, the Predator, and four people take control of the paramilitary team as they complete missions and try to survive the onslaught of AI enemies and the Predator player. But interestingly enough, just like the first “Predator” film, the hunter can become the hunted, with the paramilitary team being able to kill the Predator and if successful will have a nice body to bring back home and a significant amount of XP or in game currency given to them, or the Predator will defend its honor and use its self destruct mechanism to hopefully take them all down with it.
The game itself is rather fun to play with/without friends. The biggest problem with this trial version over the past three days was that of the wait times for the matches, some reports even stating that they had nearly 10 minute wait times and another four or five minutes after they were in the matchmaking area. This can be fixed with better servers, and hopefully will be fixed because it really is the biggest turn off this game has. Nobody wants to wait nearly 15 minutes for a game that has a very uncertain amount of gameplay time. Which brings me to my next problem with the game.
Most matches I played, I played as the paramilitary team, it seemed as though it was rather hard to get to play as the Predator, but my team and I would kill the Predator around 90% of the time. Now, that does not mean that the Predator wouldn’t sometimes kill a couple of us, but it does show that sometimes it was rather easy to take the Predator out. Of course when we killed the Predator he would often times self destruct, forcing us to run out of the radius of his blast, but still all and all we would often end up killing him rather than the other way around. We don’t want a Jason from the game “Friday the 13th” style character, where it is basically impossible to win against, but we want something that seems rather scary. A Predator that is a little more buffed with gadgets that do a bit more damage, like the netgun and smart disc.
Although it seems rather easy to kill the Predator, with one of the matches I played being only 2 minutes because my team decided to hunt the Predator instead of the other way around, it is a blast to play as the seven foot tall alien. His gadgets were a rather fun thing to use such as the combistick, that may need to be nerfed due to the fact that it could wipe people out in two to three hits, the plasma-caster, and the noise device, that would terrify my friends and paramilitary making it sound like I was right on top of them. Yet, one part that was rather infuriating was that of finding the paramilitary group. Sometimes it would seem as if Predators would go entire games without finding the fireteam, leading to a boring game of the fireteam easily killing the dumb AI and evacuating. Of course there is a mechanic that helps with this if you press right on the d-pad of your Playstation controller, while in heat-vision mode, which allows you to scan and displays a big red bubble where they are, but it doesn’t last long so if you don’t see it then you have to wait a very long cooldown time until you can use it again, leading to the fireteam potentially finishing the mission and getting to the exfil location before you even got a look at them.
My final point of critique to the game is the dumb AI. The AI barely seemed like a threat and often times not even register they were being shot until a second before we killed them. The AI was a buggy mess that would often walk into/through walls and seemed to have no aiming skills at all, making it super easy for the fireteam to just storm through each objective and reach the exfil location in a very short amount of time. Now I know that the focus is on the Predator hunting the fireteam, but having such weak AI allows for the games I mentioned where the fireteam can just rush through everything potentially without even seeing the Predator. But on the other side of the argument, there were games where it seemed as though the AI was a bit to strong with dozens of them swarming my team and nearly executing all of us as if we were all children playing their first rated M game. Having to juggle the Predator on top of this, all of a sudden, strong AI made for an exciting yet more infuriating game where my friends and I were more worried about the AI then the Predator, which in a game with the name “Predator” in it, shouldn’t be.
In conclusion, the game was awesome to play. It was a lot of fun and although I barely got to play as the Predator, the games in which I did I would often get a couple kills before the fireteam extracted. It seemed as though it is impossible for the Predator to win sometimes, which is another critique, but the times in which you do feel amazing and not bittersweet. As for the fireteam, I think it was actually more fun to play them than the Predator. The fear of this “powerful” monster hunting each of you down and trying to separate you all is chilling and can lead to some frightening moments of fun. Luckily Illfonic has a good month or so to finish up on the game, so they can improve upon the problems with this test trial, but overall I think when the game comes out, I may just get it because I had that much fun with it and I think you should too.