Thanks to the success of games like PUBG and Fortnite, it seems like every big name publisher is trying to get a piece of the battle royale pie. Ubisoft recently threw its hat into the battle royale ring with Hyper Scape, a BR game that basically kept the same basic “last man standing” premise as all the other BR games, but experimented with a lot new idea to help it apart. Hyper Scape’s many ideas are fresh and it succeeds in making some real innovations in the battle royale space. But it all fails to come together into a coherent whole, and that is a direct result of its struggle.
A first-person shooter game like Hyper Scape lives and dies on whether or not its gunplay is entertaining, and combat in Hyper Scape is more frustrating than fun. There are several reasons for this, chief among them the health system. Hyper Scape characters have a ton of health, and the game also uses a regenerating health mechanic. Because of this, most battles usually end with one player simply fleeing the scene, which isn’t hard to do thanks to the game’s very fast movement system and Hack items.
Player health is one reason why Hyper Scape’s combat is so frustrating, but another reason is the stealth method. Players have to upgrade guns by getting duplicates, which is a good idea on paper, but the side effect is that the weapons in the early stages feel underpowered with too much restriction on the sizes magazine. Hyper Scape’s combat is probably the least entertaining thing about it, and in a genre that’s all about shooting enemies, it’s a major flaw that will likely turn most players back to their other battle royale games. that is chosen. But while the combat in Hyper Scape is a bust, the game admittedly shines in other areas.
More than any battle royale game that has come out in the last few years, Hyper Scape is all about movement. The game lets players slide and double jump their way through a futuristic city with lots of vertical elements. In lieu of a deadly gas cloud, Hyper Scape instead has different sections of the city rendered uninhabitable, forcing players to run more than in other BR games. It’s great with the movement system, and makes sure players actually have fun getting to safety instead of just running in a straight line.
There are other innovations that Hyper Scape brings to the table that tweak the standard battle royale formula in compelling ways. Aside from the movement system, the game also helps keep players invested, even when they get knocked out. When playing in squads, players become digital, ghostly versions of themselves when eliminated, and they are free to scout ahead for their surviving teammates, pinging useful items and enemies. This ensures that even in death, Hyper Scape players are still directly interacting with the game instead of just passive observers.
Since the arrival of Apex Legends, revival systems have been common in battle royale games, and Hyper Scape is no exception. While in this digital ghost form, Hyper Scape players can use special respawn points that appear on the ground where enemies are killed. If their teammates reach it, they can revive the fallen player and get them back into the action. It’s certainly an interesting take on the mechanic and stands as another quality innovation that Hyper Scape brings to the table.
Another fun twist that Hyper Scape has is its Hacks. These abilities fit many molds expected of a shooter, except that any character can use them. This includes things like throwing up giant walls or even an armored bouncy ball that allows for quick navigation across the map. These Hacks inject some fun into the Hyper Scape experience, though one has to wonder if the game’s characters would be better if they had intrinsic Hacks.
Currently, the variety of Hyper Scape characters that players can choose from are simple and generic at best, and incredibly obnoxious at worst. One character who stands out as annoying is Burns, who likes to say, “A fight without me?” endlessly whenever teammates answer each other. In situations where players are interacting with multiple teams at once, Burns repeats the line over and over again, and it’s enough to make one want to mute the audio entirely.
Because Hyper Scape’s Champions aren’t very interesting, the game progress feels painful because it’s hard to worry about unlocking any kind of cosmetics for them. Because of this, the Hyper Scape Battle Pass doesn’t seem very appealing, an issue compounded by its lack of worthwhile content overall. Hyper Scape’s inability to pay attention to its development system really hurts, especially when it has to compete with other live service games that only provide more useful and interesting contained in their Battle Passes.
Hyper Scape also stumbles with its battle royale map, which is completely devoid of personality. While the map design suits the game’s movement system, it otherwise looks like a generic futuristic city that lacks any sort of notable points of interest. The architecture is different here and there but the city looks pretty much the same from one block to the next, and one would struggle to remember exactly where they are on the map.
Hyper Scape’s uninteresting map, inability to make progress worthwhile, and its painful combat keep it from reaching its full potential. There are definitely some tweaks that Ubisoft Montreal could make to Hyper Scape’s combat to make it a more entertaining experience, and one has to imagine that the game will change based on the feedback in Season 1. However, the game is struggling to stake its claim to the genre.
Hyper Scape is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with PS5 and Xbox Series X versions also in the works. Today Technology reviewed the game on Xbox One.