Battle Royale games – I think me and you need to have a chat. Sure, FPS/shooters games are your comfort zone and it does suit the genre the best, but for fuck sake, explore the wider landscape in the world of video games once in your life. Why not try 100 players cooking mama Battle Royale? Pleasing Gordon Ramsay and seeing what he thinks of your Crème Brulee. What about Microsoft Flight Simulator Battle Royale? Or what about literally anything that isn’t just which person can build a hotel first in Fortnite.
Rant over for now, as Ubisoft has thrown their keys into the pot of Battle Royale with Hyperscape – a FPS Battle Royale. Let’s see what makes this one different, which is now like finding out which Xenomorph is different as they try and kiss you (in their unique way.)
For the background story, prepare for some déjà vu. In a near-future world where things went to pot environmentally, now living in overcrowded cities. A tech/gaming company called Prisma Dimensions has developed the Hyper Scape, where people get away from the real world troubles and compete in a battle royale and win the crown in Crown Rush. Basically, Ubisoft took the framework of Ernest Cline novel, Ready Player One or the film by Steven Spielberg, and changed a few of the words around. I mean it’s not a bad framework to use and it’s grounded enough, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. Instead of the OASIS, the world is called New Arcadia, which is very… French – very Paris shall we say. It even has some of its landmarks, and fortunately, won’t spontaneously combust again.
Moving on from jokes about a 760-year-old important piece of world architecture going up in flames. Let’s talk about the gameplay. Now, what makes this Battle Royale different from the others? Well, firstly instead of a safety circle where everyone converges like a violent game of musical chairs with shotguns. Areas will close off over time with only a minute to get moving. Which does spice it up knowing you may need to get your skates on when you least expect it. Overall, there is a distinctly old school FPS feel. Guns and power-ups floating off the floor and jump pads all over the map. Which does promote the loony fast-paced FPS from yesteryear.
The difference here is instead of looting boxes and possibly getting rarer items. You collect the same weapons or power-ups to upgrade them which does make sense and simplifies matters entirely. The power-ups or hacks as the game puts it offers options for different play styles so you can turn invisible for a short time or turn into a bouncing death sphere or put up temporary walls and more, so, choose what fits your play style.
The major differences here are that instead of having the only option of the last man standing. Once the map has shrunk to the last sector. A crown will appear which gives you the option of killing everyone first or take the crown and hold on for 45 seconds to win which certainly makes it a dilemma. In squad games (3 player squads at the moment), if a member is killed, they become an Echo, while you can’t shoot anyone you can still move about and ping out dangers or items for your comrades. Killing enemies rewards you with reviving points in which to bring back squadmates, which seems normal for Battle Royale with a slight difference.
It’s USP is the AI host, which throughout the game can modify certain parameters, like turning on Low Gravity mode, Unlimited Ammo or revealing everyone’s position to everyone. Which if you’re a budding Twitch streamer out there, your viewers can influence what the AI Host decides. It’s an idea in trying to bring streamers and viewers together and have a bit of a play which is an out-there idea.
Not everyone is going to be a twitch streamer are they? Or an avid viewer of a particular streamer. I feel that they’ve tried and succeeded in making it different from the flock, but I’m not sure that pursuing the streaming side of things as the core USP of your game is not to the benefit of everyone entirely.
How does it play? For the most part quite well. Fallen players as echos is a neat idea so players aren’t just taking a back seat as the lonely poor sod of your squad who is carrying your sorry ass to victory isn’t completely on his own. I like the fact it’s gone to a more “old school” feel to proceedings and not knowing where the safe zones are till the last minute does keep ya on your toes and the host AI throwing curveballs every so often as well escalates it further.
The hacks can make or break ya, but there are some problems. Mainly it’s to do with the shooting. Now, how I like my shooters is how I like what I would call the perfect hamburger – meaty and juicy. I’m just not getting the same feel as I like with HyperScape feels like shooting paintballs rather than a gun. it’s fine enough, just missing that final Joie de vies that separates the good shooters from the great ones.
There is more; there is a handy training area where you can practise with the guns and the hacks at your own pace. Though the area in question isn’t easy to find at first in the main menu hub world. It’s free to play, which is always nice. With the usual battle passes, skins and emotes which you can expect from all sorts of games today. Other than that, online has been pretty good and stable. There’s always a game to play and the sound is solid enough. Build quality is good as a starting package, with no bugs and glitches to report from my playing time, and graphicly, it’s alright – nothing too special, but alright.
A big side note though – game developers of the world, please, please stop with the battle royale shooters for a moment. We’ve got enough now, so maybe try a different genre? It worked for Fall Guys, and look how that’s turned out and Forza Horizon 4 before that.
Hyper Scape is a fine Battle Royale shooter for the pile - shooting while satisfactory is missing that little bit of meatiness that separates the fine from the great shooters. There are some good ideas to separate it from the crowd. The hacks are a neat touch also to help out in the game, and the crown towards the end of the game does add a new dynamic to proceedings. If you’re a streamer, the Twitch integration does add something new for your viewers to interact.
- Free to play
- Old school FPS style to it
- Dead squadmates as Echos a neat idea
- Another shooter for the pile
- Guns don’t feel nice to use
- Aimed more at the twitchers than average joe gamer
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