That’s an actual Trophy in the game.
Via skill and maybe chance, ‘GET TO DA CHOPPA’ and 100 (hyperbole) other references from the movies are in this game. While it might be the aforementioned Trophy, it can also be things said or interactions between characters. But enough riffing on nostalgia, the tasty morsel it is. Predator Hunting Grounds itself is just as tasty, with enough green blood in it to lovingly pay homage to the franchise.
Set in the jungles of South America, the Predator stalks its most challenging prey. Become a member of an elite Fireteam and complete paramilitary operations before the Predator finds you.
Or, become the Predator to hunt the most worthy prey, choosing from an array of deadly alien tech to collect your trophies, one by one.
I recall as I started writing this review, how conflicted I felt about Predator Hunting Grounds. Not because I felt it was a bad game. Anything but really! Having been lucky enough to play the trial weekend, I knew what I was in for; A 4 versus 1 match, where a fireteam is tasked with a mission while the Predator begins its hunt.
Said Predator can use a multitude of skills and tech at its disposal to wipe out the fireteam; Or be procured by the fireteam for study. Yes, gameplay is straight-forward, because IllFonic succeeded in producing this already with Friday The 13th. The remix comes through HOW the hunted can react to the hunter.
Unlike the counselors from the former game, the soldiers aren’t left to fend for themselves. They walk in with safety’s off, skills on, and ready to light the jungle up.
My issue was in the matchmaking.
Day One of release was…rough. With wait-times sometimes taking up to 15 minutes for Fireteam matches, I didn’t even check to see what Predator wait-times were like. But as I pushed through 2 days of grinding, IllFonic had prepared patch 1.05 for release on the 27th of April. And honestly, hats off to a company turning around such a fix during this time of COVID and the well-known gaming crunch.
It has made this game INCREDIBLY fun; Again.
Like I said, trial weekend told me everything I needed to know. As a fireteam member, you’ll pick 1 of 4 classes, primary and secondary weapons, some gear and perks, and enter the round in first-person. From there, you’ll have to complete objectives as you come up against AI-controlled opponents and, I suppose what would be the boss, the Predator.
Except the Predator is a player. They loadout similarly to the fireteam, with different classes etc, but enter the round in third-person. They then begin their approach, typically from the trees with blades, spears, and the sick shoulder-mounted plasma caster we all know and love.
The hunt begins.
The game is about tension. This is driven by a few different things that are smartly implemented. The classic audio clips you and love from the Predator are there; OH BOY ARE THEY THERE. You know, you’re just off for a stroll to take down a cartel, and suddenly you hear the classic Predator-clicking noises or its cloaking technology activating. From there, it’s a time-based rush to complete your objective as the fireteam, while the Predator must take its prey.
The fireteam controls are perfectly fine if you’ve ever played any sort of first-person shooter; You’re basically set for this title with that knowledge. The Predator is a little bit different. Though slightly janky at first, as you begin to adapt to it’s mannerisms, you’ll soon be flying around the environment and using your different skills to hunt down your prey (yes, of course thermal vision is there with all the cool sound effects).
For both character classes, you’ll earn XP. This is earned through an avenue of actions throughout the game, and can also be increased via perks. These provide levels which, like other first-person shooters, unlock new loadout slots, weapons, attachments and more.
AND FIELD LOCKERS.
Yes, there is a loot pool system in this game, but it’s one of the best I’ve experienced. You can earn a field locker per level, and then 5 at every 10 level interval. Along with an in-game currency that can be found during rounds and earned after, you can then buy more field lockers. And that’s it. There are no current systems in place where real-world money is needed. You just…UNLOCK STUFF. And as your pool grows, you’ll find lockers become more steadily available which has been a lot of fun for me. Normally I experience a sense of disappointment when the pool is overridden by duplicates, but I’ve been enjoying maintaining the sheer amount to be unlocked. And there’s also end-game loot to be had.
“GO, GO, GO!”
Honestly, I’ve been sucked in to the title. With cross-play active, the ability to have good games with no comms, and the difference in fun to be had by character selection is so enticing. As I currently push toward level 60, I know I’m going to reach level 100 in no time. This means I’m looking forward to what IllFonic hope to do with Predator Hunting Grounds moving forward.
Just so I can take down that “one, ugly motherf*cker” one last time.
Before the matchmaking fix, it would've been hard to push this title past a 7. But with patch 1.05 fixing all our woes, and the very clear, constant effort they're putting in to resolve issues within the title itself, I've had nothing but fun in Predator Hunting Grounds.
Running with the tension of a team picked apart by an unidentified predator, it's fun to throw yourself into the unshakable feeling of uncertainty; And becoming the cause of said uncertainty.
Now let me go run as a fireteam member. I have objectives to complete, and a Predator to takedown.
XENOJAY.COM was supplied with a media copy of the game for review by Sony, and was played on the Playstation 4 console.