Predator: Hunting Grounds Review

Predator: Hunting Grounds had potential for greatness. By all accounts we were finally about to receive a solid Predator game on par with Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation — a rollicking survival horror multiplayer experience unlike any other. You can order your copy of Predator: Hunting Grounds by clicking here!

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Alas, as has been the case with a majority of Predator-themed video games (and movies for that matter), Hunting Grounds reaches levels best described as merely … good. No more. No less. There’s enough here to provide ample entertainment on a Saturday night. Just don’t get your hopes up.

Produced by Illfonic, Predator: Hunting Grounds thrusts you and three other soldiers into a remote jungle to infiltrate enemy camps where you seek out and complete mission objectives — most of which entail downloading/locating/destroying data — all the while evading the classic Predator who hunts you down with unrelenting ferocity and forces you to utilize all of your skills to survive some 13-year old kid with the gamer handle Kylo_Ren69, who swoops in with his Predator avatar and easily dispatches your team in gory fashion.

Basically, you run around for ten minutes shooting bad guys and collecting intel before frantically scrambling against an indestructible Predator for, oh, thirty seconds. Maybe more. Maybe less. Rinse and repeat. Think Friday the 13th: The Game (also produced by Illfonic), except starring commandos equipped with mini-guns and shotguns rather than scantily clad, frying pan-toting teenagers.

The problem with Hunting Grounds boils down to a lack of variation in gameplay. There’s little, if any, stealth, aside from the ability to cover your character in mud. As far as I could tell you couldn’t set traps or strategically attempt to thwart the Predator, either*. If you were fortunate enough to land a team comprised of Level 40+ guys, or luck out against a dimwitted adversary, you stood a fighting chance to get to da chopper. Otherwise, the results were the same at the end of each round.

Of course, like all multiplayer games, joy comes from blasting enemies to bits with a group of rowdy friends too drunk to care about glitchy game mechanics or shotty controls. To that end, Hunting Grounds supplies the goods. At least for a couple of hours.

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Gameplay does improve as your character levels up at the end of each round and more weapons become available. And despite my complaints, the combat still packs a wallop, especially when combined with the muscular soundtrack — itself a variation on Alan Silvestri’s classic Predator score — which ups the intensity tenfold when blasted through a powerful home theater system. Plus, there’s something uniquely pleasing about seeing the flash of a red laser, the blast of a blue projectile, and the brief glimpse of a cloaked Predator leaping through the trees.

That said, I think it was a mistake to allow gamers to control the Predator. A computer-controlled villain would make the game much more interesting in that it would be forced to obey certain rules or story mechanics. As is, the rounds are too short to truly get immersed in the gameplay; and the Predator is either too powerful to overcome, or too weak to put up a fight.

A better game would have allowed hunting tactics; or the ability to hide from enemies. Objectives would be harder and require all facets of an elite combat team to complete. Predators would be used sparingly and result in shocking encounters rather than tedious gun battles. Imagine that? A rollicking survival horror multiplayer experience unlike any other worthy to call itself Predator.

Wouldn’t that be something.

* Obviously, there’s a lot more to discover in the game. Perhaps setting traps becomes more of a thing the more powerful you get. So, feel free to amend my error in the comments below!

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