Predator: Hunting Grounds
Illfonic / Sony Interactive Entertainment
Asymmetrical shooters have been gaining steam (no pun intended) over the last several years. The ubiquitous title, Dead by Daylight, has paved the way since its debut back in 2016, inspiring many more developers to create their own games within that ever-growing sphere.
So, when developer Illfonic began working on their asymmetrical shooter titled Predator: Hunting Grounds, there were many high hopes for it since the Predator franchise seems tailor-made for the asymmetrical shooter gaming genre. I mean, think about it: Arnold Schwarzenegger and his mercenary team were being hunted by a single ruthless alien that could wipe them out easily, had it not been for the action icon’s unusual combat tactics.
Predator: Hunting Grounds features the titular, infamous alien hunter up against a 4 man elite squad of mercenaries called a Fireteam. In the world of this game, Fireteams already know about the Predator, they just don’t know if or when it’s going to show up during a mission.
Speaking of missions, Predator: Hunting Grounds uses one of the most refreshing (and sadly underutilized) elements I’ve seen in a modern game. A Fireteam has to actually complete a multitude of objectives during the course of each match, not just one. For the life of me, I don’t know why other developers don’t incorporate a multi-tiered objective structure into their games, rather than just having a single thing to accomplish.
Guarding each of these objectives are local guerrilla fighters. Unfortunately, these bad guys aren’t much of a threat—they simply run up and stand right out in the open for your mercenaries to mow down. Their bullets also seem to be made out of plastic as well, since you can take many shots from their guns and barely receive any damage at all.
But what mitigates that is the fact that the Predator will probably show up to ruin the Fireteam’s day. What’s more, if you happen to be battling the guerrillas at the same time as when the Predator attacks, things can quickly spiral downwards for the Fireteam.
The Fireteam can somewhat offset this since they have a pretty decent arsenal of weapons to choose from. You’ve got your more standard assault rifles and shotguns, on up to more powerful weapons such as grenade launchers and miniguns (the later only be available to pre-order folks, unfortunately).
On the other side of the battlefield (or perhaps above it in the trees) is the Predator, who comes outfitted with much of his iconic weaponry. This includes such devices as the Net Gun, Hand-held Plasma Caster (as well as the shoulder cannon), Combistick, War Club, and much more. He can even confuse the Fireteam with an Audio Decoy while circling around them for an ambush, as they investigate the noise.
Once the Fireteam manages to complete all of their objectives (such as collecting intel or blowing things up), they have to GET TO THE CHOPPA at some far-off extraction zone. This is where things really get dicey for them because as they rush to the helo-extract location, the Predator has time to track them down if he hasn’t already. Thankfully, the game features a tactical (slower) movement speed for the mercenaries, so that makes things more intense.
I think this is where Predator: Hunting Grounds really shines. You can imagine bounding through dense jungle foliage and scanning the trees for any movement—any sign of the most deadly hunter in the galaxy?
The fantastic musical score, expertly reprising the iconic tunes of the first Predator film, lends a cinematic flair to the proceedings. Will you make it to the chopper, or will you get ambushed by the Predator and end up having your skull and spine ripped from your quivering corpse?
As with any teamwork-oriented game, communication is essential if one is to have to best experience as Fireteam members. That’s because running off on your own—Rambo style—is a surefire way to get isolated and then snuffed by the Predator. It’s also fun to hear your friend scream like little schoolgirls when they’re being pursued by the intrepid alien.
Overall, Predator: Hunting Grounds can be a rousing and extremely fun asymmetrical shooter, but only when playing with other team-minded players. Playing as the Predator can be an alien power fantasy and is sure to please those who love the franchise. I’m looking forward to seeing further content (DLC anyone?) down the road.
Predator: Hunting Grounds has some pretty good looking graphics that make its shooter gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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