Hyper Scape Review: Cool in concept, problematic in execution
Played On: PS4 (Original)
Back in July, Ubisoft decided to inform fans on some of their biggest games coming in the near future with their Ubisoft Forward event. While they gave us updates on some of their biggest games coming in the fall, like Watch Dogs: Legion, as well as announced a new Far Cry game for February of next year, they also announced the latest game to hop onto battle royale bandwagon – Hyper Scape.
The game pretty much features the same concept that we’ve seen time and time again lately – around one hundred or so players enter into a battle to be the last one standing. Everyone flies into the battleground, searches for any weapons they can get their hands on, and fights it out to be the final one standing. There is an alternative way for players to claim victory by holding onto a crown that spawns towards the end of the match for a certain amount of time, but it rarely happens so it doesn’t really matter. On the surface, Hyper Scape is just ANOTHER battle royale game, but there’re some interesting elements thrown into the game that do set it apart.
First and foremost, the Hyper Scape puts the battle royale game type not just into the future, but into a diverse and massive city as its battleground. That’s right, players aren’t duking it out in some desolate wasteland or on some massive island, but rather right in the middle of a dense city. With this new environment, there’re tons of positions that players can take, plenty of great escape routes in tight situations, and great vantage points to scope out when they should go next.
There’s an abundance of different structures that give each area they’re attached to their own unique identity and with players being able to comb through basically every building they see, there’s plenty of goodies they can find to take out the competition. Even the way that areas are closed down is unique as random sections will be shutdown rather than just having to be inside of a closing circle. This adds more unexpected surprises as it makes no one safe from the start by just landing in the middle of the map and it’s nice how the game will direct players on where safe locations are. Not to mention, traversing this beautifully designed environment is made even better with some of the more solid technical elements that Hyper Scape allows players.
Movement is very fast-paced with players being able to utilize a very fast slide to get around the map as well as a really great double-jump that lets them scale buildings easily and is honestly one of the best double-jumps I’ve seen lately. Hyper Scape also deserves some credit for creating a character roster that’s incredibly diverse in ethnic representation. The character models are great and voice work behind them gives each character their own personality. Players can even give their characters a deeper uniqueness with some of the cosmetic rewards they can earn as they play. From changing the color and clothes of your chosen character design to even being able to change their emotes, spray tag, and even the color and design of your launch pod, there’re plenty of ways that players can create their own unique character to take into battle.
What really makes Hyper Scape stand apart though is actually these extra powers, called hacks, that players can pick up during the game that add a lot more variety to the experience. While there’s a unique arsenal of weapons that players can find and utilize, there’re also pickups that give players intriguing powers at the palm of their hands. There’re some hacks that allow players to interact with the world in unique ways through being able to build a wall to block enemy fire and possibly escape, turn into a ball for quick and bouncy traversal, and even place mines into the ground for unsuspecting enemies. Some hacks also allow for players to give themselves some much needed advantages in battle with them being able to teleport, become invulnerable for a short time, and even acts a team medic by dropping a health station.
Players can upgrade these hacks as well as their weapons on the fly by finding repeats across the map. By finding repeats, players can reduce the cooldown time for hacks and even increase the power and magazine size of their weapons. There’re even random events that pop up throughout the game that can totally change everything as they range from allow melee to be a one-hit kill to loot boxes being scattered all over the map. With the hacks, unique upgrading, and random world events, Hyper Scape actually contains great concepts that give players a lot of power at disposal and plenty of options to fight for first place. However, all of these options aren’t that accessible since the pace and flow of Hyper Scape completely tanks the experience.
With everything being randomly generated each match, players could easily find themselves landing in the same areas with different weapons and hacks placed there. While this isn’t that different from other battle royale games, the issue here is that there’re just too many variables to get used to and not enough time to figure them out. Often times with other battle royale games like Fortnite, players have to get acclimated to their surroundings, gather supplies, and get some breathing room before fights. However, this never happens with Hyper Scape since regardless where you land on the map, you’re going to immediately run into a fight before you’re really ready. Seriously, while the map seems massive, players always somehow converge on one another almost instantly and with so many different kinds of weapons and hacks it’s impossible to get acclimated to anything.
The randomness of everything makes it even worse as your experience is basically boiled down to if you land in a good area from the start. For instance, there was a time where I landed in an area with some crates and I broke one open only to get a small machine gun. Shortly after another player landed a couple feet away, broke open another box by them, and got a gatling and then proceeded to mow me down. I literally stood no chance and the randomness of everything, the close starting spawn points, and the overabundance of variables that make it hard to get any sort of consistency come together to create an uneven and frustrating experience. Perhaps, these issues aren’t as bad in Squads mode since players won’t be on their own and team will be more spread out from one another to stay together, but the problems are still there making Hyper Scape basically impossible to play. The frustration is even heightened by the fact that players will likely spend more time in loading screens and lobbies than actually playing.
The matchmaking and load times are truly atrocious as it takes way too long to get into matches. Getting into the matchmaking lobby gets old since there isn’t a whole lot to do other than jump around and it’s a lot of waiting around just have such a short and unrewarding experience. The level progression system is even worse since part of it based on time lasted in the match, which on average will be like five minutes, and even after playing dozens of matches it takes forever to get past even just the first level. Thus, all of the cool character rewards take forever to get and probably aren’t even worth it for the amount of effort you have to put into the game.
Frankly, that’s the best way to describe Hyper Scape – it’s an experience that you’re constantly putting in maximum effort to get minimal rewards. There’s rarely a chance you get to feel like you could actually claim victory with how imbalanced everything is. Waiting in lobbies and load screens forever outweighs the short gameplay experience. Not to mention, you feel like you’re making no progress in level progression and skill or even having that much fun. Even the idea of having to use melee to breaking barriers just to get into buildings and MAYBE find decent stuff is incredibly annoying. Truthfully, there’s a lot of cool ideas all over Hyper Scape, but the pacing of the game makes it impossible to see them to their full potential and it makes trying them in general kind of pointless.
Hyper Scape holds all the potential to be a fresh entry in the battle royale genre with it’s unique hack concepts and intriguing setting, but is ultimately one of the most frustrating entries in the genre with how imbalanced the experience is and unenjoyable it is to play. Frankly, with a game like Fall Guys giving players an accessible battle royale experience that anyone can play and win, regardless of gaming skill, it’s fairly questionable whether games like Hyper Scape can really cut it – especially when it already has such prevalent problems.
*All Photos Used Here Were Taken by the Author