Gaming

Predator: Hunting Grounds review – Where the Predator becomes the prey

Reviewed on a PS4

Published

on

Those who are old enough to remember this super-alien antihero in their childhood days should enjoy a slight bit of nostalgic satisfaction from playing developer Illfonic’s take on the 1980’s sci-fi action film, The Predator.

Younger gamers, however, will be left scratching their heads as to why this not particularly popular movie was turned into a video game.

Illfonic is the same dev behind the movie-to-video game adaptation of Friday the 13th. And while they had the good intention of trying to present a similar experience with their 4-vs-1 format, Predator: Hunting Grounds manages to fall just short of expectations.

The Hunted

Predator: Hunting Grounds is an immersive asymmetric shooter set in the jungle, much like in the iconic film. As soon as you play your first game, you’re presented with a choice. Either play as one of four Fireteam members, or play as the Predator.

While many players no doubt want to experience being a badass alien war general moving swiftly through thick jungle to eliminate anyone and anything in its path, it really isn’t that simple. You have to actually be good at being the Predator for it to be any sort of fun.

In addition to that, playing as the Predator involves lengthy wait times. From the bit that I played, I averaged between five to seven minutes in queue. One time, it took me a whole 10 minutes before I got in.

This saw me play on the Fireteam more often than not, which ironically led to a much better experience.

When I was able to control the Predator, I was embarrassed constantly. Herein lies the biggest problem Predator: Hunting Grounds has. Playing as the Predator is not all it’s cracked up to be. Being a member of the Fireteam was so much more fun.

Sure, the Predator can maneuver himself effortlessly through the lush forest, jumping from tree to tree with ease, while taking advantage of a plethora of abilities designed to terrorize other players. He can shoot lasers from long distances, can track foes with heat signatures, and can even cloak himself with partial invisibility.

It all sounds pretty terrifying on paper, but we’re instantly reminded that the Predator is being maneuvered by a human being sitting at home with a PS4 controller. And if you’re not any good playing as the Predator, then things go south pretty quick. Sometimes, it’s so easy to beat the Predator, it’s almost laughable.

Gameplay and online experience

Predator: Hunting Grounds is a fully-online experience. There’s no campaign mode where you have to go through any backstory.

Cosmetics of Fireteam members are customizable, and the game has loot boxes featuring various aesthetic options, if you’re into that sort of thing. It doesn’t take long for you to get your loadouts starting to look cool.

Once you’re in-game however, action quickly transforms into a mindless shooter with really no distinct or standout moments. Every session feels the same — you head into the jungle, looking to complete a set of seemingly unimportant tasks. You go through the motions, as if you’re there just to check off boxes.

There are a handful of maps but they all look and feel alike, and offer pretty much the same experience. There are NPC’s roaming around, but sadly, the AI is really, really bad. They keep going down the same passages, and you can predict where they will pop up next. On top of that, they’re very easy to kill and don’t pose much of a threat if you move around enough.

The real fun begins when the Predator enters the picture. Admittedly, if the player controlling him is good enough, then the tension spikes and it becomes a real challenge. There were a few rounds where I was genuinely on edge, as was the rest of my team.

Unfortunately, these playthroughs were few and far between. The Predator sucked more often than not, and he was very easy to kill, especially if Fireteam members stuck together. With four guns pointing at just one Predator, he’s no match.

Gameplay is so simple, and there really isn’t much strategy necessary for victory on the Fireteam side, that I rarely found myself conversing at all with any of my teammates. There’s just no need to do so. In my opinion, this takes a lot away from the enjoyment this particular 4-vs-1 format potentially has.

Visual experience

If it’s any consolation, the graphics are above average. There are a few hiccups here and there, with textures not loading fast enough for you to notice. The camera is sometimes an issue, especially around tight corners, and the framerate is just horrendous and erratic. These should be fixed in future updates though, hopefully, and they aren’t too bad that it will impact the game in a negative way.

Nevertheless, the game is beautiful and really nails the feel of the jungle with the bright colors and the realistic looking surroundings. Sound design is pretty decent, from the squishes boots make when treading through the mud, birds chirping lightly in the breeze. And then the iconic Predator wail that signifies he has entered the area. It all really makes for an immersive experience.

The Predator does look awesome, and is also customizable to your liking. Faithful fans of the franchise will be pleased with how good their favorite baddie looks. Turning on invisibility mode is fun, and lets you move around the jungle undetected. You can go for some flashy stealth kills, or go all-out with your explosive lasers.

To balance things out a bit, the Predator relies on an energy bar that depletes quickly enough so that he’s not too powerful. It regenerates after some time, and after the Predator takes time to heal up, the hunt is back on again.

The Bottomline

Predator: Hunting Grounds is okay to play in the first few hours of diving into the lush jungles, whether as one of four Fireteam members, or as the iconic Predator himself. Fans of the franchise will certainly like it more than others, and that’s understandable. It was made with good intentions. However, I can’t change the fact that right now, it’s a disappointment and hard to recommend.

Things largely rely on the player controlling the Predator for it to be any fun at all. I guess it was the same with Friday the 13th, too. But at least in that game, the four other players couldn’t really kill you as easily. The masked madman Jason was significantly more formidable than the oftentimes extremely frail Predator.

In fact, eliminating the Predator, in theory, should be the most enjoyable element of this game. I mean, taking down a killing machine by outsmarting it and working as a team should be fun right? Unfortunately, it’s so easy to kill the Predator, and it happens far too often for it to provide any satisfaction.

With Predator: Hunting Grounds, things get old very fast, and you’re stuck in a repetitive loop of progressively boring gameplay that just fails to hit the mark.


Predator: Hunting Grounds was reviewed on a PS4 by Carlos Cinco. He is a longtime Combat Sports Journalist, who has contributed to top Philippine media including Rappler, FOX Sports Asia, Solar Sports, and more. He currently writes for Singapore-based martial arts organization, ONE Championship. On his free time (if he ever gets any), he plays video games. You can contact him at [email protected]

Computers

LG UltraGear 25” Gaming Monitor review: Enough to get you started

Comes with key features for your first gaming PC build

Published

on

I’ve seen a ton of people purchase full gaming PC setups since the pandemic took center stage in our lives. I’m pretty sure a lot of these people spent the past few months saving every peso they could for it. Of course, I also did it with all the money I saved up and planned every purchase very carefully.

In getting your gaming PC build, one of the more important peripherals to consider is your monitor. Most people will tell you that any monitor is okay, but experts will say that you shouldn’t just get any monitor. Apart from color accurate and bright displays, your monitor should have a high enough refresh rate to keep up.

It’s exactly what the LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor brings to the table, at least on paper. But is this worth checking out, especially for first time PC setup builders? Here’s a rundown of the specs:

It has a 23.6-inch TN FHD panel, with a 144Hz refresh rate

It comes with two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort

The design, on its own, is nothing spectacular

The LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor comes in a package you normally expect from most lightweight gaming monitors. A hardened-plastic enclosure covers the display, and the monitor even comes with a metal stand in gray and red accents. Upon unboxing, I found it relatively easy to set up and position alongside my PC setup.

Immediately, the first and only thing I noticed was the thick bezel surrounding the display. To be honest, it’s a relatively minor issue for me ever since other brands started reducing theirs. Although I would have appreciated a little more screen space, especially while playing games.

A display that meets expectations for the most part

Most gaming monitors come with high refresh rates to keep up during pressure situations. Fortunately, the LG UltraGear Gaming Monitor comes with a 144Hz panel which is more than enough. Also, it even sports a 1ms response rate so you’re able to stay at the top of your game. 

Most games I tried with this monitor performed with relative ease and no visible sign of image tearing. FPS games like CS:GO and Valorant, in my opinion, work best with this setup given that you can run these games on low-end setups.

Also, it’s quite bright and color accurate which is great for content creators. Although, in some cases, I felt that it didn’t handle dark color areas well. I tried to compensate by simply adjusting the brightness, but it didn’t do anything significantly different. At least it’s an anti-glare TN panel, so you don’t have to worry about the sun.

Comes with features that works depending on the other hardware

This monitor supports AMD’s FreeSync technology which further improves gameplay experience. Honestly, I felt this should be a standard for most gaming monitors — including those that support NVIDIA GSync. Also, there are other optimizations like Dynamic Action Sync (DAS) and motion blur reduction.

However, this monitor actually benefits you only if you’re currently rocking an AMD Radeon graphics card. Ideally, it would still work pretty well when you plug it to an NVIDIA card but expect some image tearing. It wasn’t a big issue for me since I could still apply the reduced motion blur and DAS.

Port selection for this monitor is more than enough for a normal PC setup. Two HDMI ports are available at your disposal, which is great if you want to use it for your consoles. The added DisplayPort provides more connectivity, especially since most graphics cards support it. Keep in mind though: if you plan to plug your console, don’t expect the 144Hz refresh rate.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For PhP 12,599 (US$ 257), the LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor ticks all the necessary boxes. What you have is a high refresh rate monitor with good color accuracy, and fully optimized for gaming. Combined with a great selection of ports, this monitor is a great option for your first PC build.

However, if you have strict preferences for your monitor, this might not be what you’re looking for. If you’re not a fan of thick bezels or you’re more conservative with your money, I wouldn’t practically recommend this. Also, you wouldn’t be able to fully maximize its potential if you don’t own an AMD graphics card.

All things considered, it’s enough to get you started on your gaming PC setup. Even with cheaper alternatives out there, I still recommend you give this a shot.

SEE ALSO: This 34” LG UltraWide monitor disrupted my workflow

Continue Reading

Gaming

2K Sports shows off NBA 2K21 running on current-gen consoles

The first of many reveals leading up to the game’s launch

Published

on

NBA 2K21 is set for release next month, so why not start a hype train towards that? Earlier this week, 2K Sports released a full trailer showing off its latest NBA 2K title running on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. And honestly, it’s a good way to start the hype.

What they showed us was a “lights-out” gameplay trailer, which is somewhat an ode to the current NBA bubble situation. As the trailer goes, lights are out and arenas were quiet but a ton of focus still shines on basketball. The majority of the trailer showed off highlights from some of the brightest NBA stars — most of whom currently reside in the bubble.

There’s even a portion that shows off gameplay with the Black Mamba himself, donning the number 8 from his first few years with the Lakers. From high-flying dunks to the now-famous Logo Lillard buzzer-beater, this trailer has me hyped for what’s to come.

NBA 2K21 will be available on September 4, 2020 for both the Standard and Mamba Forever Edition. It will be playable on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and the Nintendo Switch upon launch. For those who will purchase the current-gen Mamba Edition, you will also receive a copy of the next-gen Standard Edition.

You can view the full trailer below:

Continue Reading

Gaming

Nintendo made five-fold profit thanks to Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Why are we not surprised!

Published

on

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

While most companies are ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic, digital or internet-based companies are posting record-breaking profits. Popular game maker Nintendo is one of them. The Japanese company’s quarterly profit jumped a whopping 428 percent year-over-year.

It reported an operating profit of 144.7 billion yen (US$ 1.4 billion) in the April-June quarter, beating all street estimates and predictions. Much of the credit for this massive jump goes to its new game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The game directly contributed to increased Nintendo Switch sales.

The financial announcement noted that out of all the new Switch units that were bought and played on for the first time, more than half played ACNH on the first day. For a game, that’s a lot of demand, and this indirectly encouraged more Switch sales.

The game single-handedly contributed a 167 percent rise in new members who joined the Switch community. In total, the company managed to sell more than 3 million Switch and 2.6 million Switch Lite.

Nintendo also confirmed that it’s having delivery and supply chain issues due to the ongoing pandemic. However, it meant that supply is running slightly behind schedule and the company should be able to meet the full demand soon. Supply was hit in March but the company was able to bridge the gap in the coming weeks.

Due to the global lockdowns and travel restrictions, gaming companies have noticed a huge surge in games as well as console sales. Nintendo too benefited from this with a 230 percent rise in revenue from digital sales, accounting for about 56 percent of total software sales.

Japanese conglomerate Sony, which manages the PlayStation lineup, also reported positive results earlier this week.

Continue Reading

Trending