We tried Hyper Scape, Ubisoft’s new battle royale that intends to change the rules of the genre, starting with the integration with Twitch
Without the classic E3, the big publishers are experimenting with new ways to announce their titles and if, on the one hand, having lost the biggest video game event in the world can only regret, we are happy to see a lively ferment in terms of inventiveness and new ideas. Ubisoft will present its future lineup to the world on July 12th with Ubisoft Forward, but it tantalizes the palate of gamers with a bomb announcement kept hidden from most to date.
Hyper Scape partially follows the footsteps left by Apex Legends, with a reveal ready to lean heavily on content creators and with a main focus on the streaming platform of excellence: Twitch. This time, however, instead of focusing only on the absolute highest band of streamers, the French company creates a founder program for many creators, thus hoping to reach the community base and to be able to build from there, solid pillars to launch in the Olympus of the battle royale the new effort. Before turning your eyes to the sky after reading the words “battle and royale” however, we advise you to wait and continue reading, because of new ideas, at least this time, there are really a lot of them!
A little background
Hyper Scape is a battle royale in first person set entirely in an urban context: this means that you can forget the green and lush areas or the fast waterways of the new Fortnite season. Instead, you will find asphalt, concrete and refined architecture waiting for you, in a mix of historic European buildings and new super technological buildings.
We are therefore in a dystopian future in the year 2054 with technology that has become part of people’s everyday lives. The best cybernetic enhancements, however, are merely the prerogative of the wealthier classes with the rest of the population forced to live by the day, to get by as best they can. In this climate of very strong social detachment, a program has been set up to guarantee fame and success, a virtual video game where the contenders can challenge each other with the sound of frag and blows to obtain the long-awaited crown. Hyper Scape is precisely the name of this immense system, managed by none other than Prism Dimension, the most influential megacorporation in the gaming world. We are therefore dealing with a sort of Oasis in Ubisoft sauce, a virtual reality designed not only to compete but also to carry out all the common daily actions, from attending school courses to undergoing specialist medical visits. An idea that is not too original, if we want, but that has its roots on solid foundations in an imaginary in which players will not struggle to settle. In short, the purpose is clear, the atmosphere as well and perhaps only that peak of creative verve that we hope Ubisoft inserts through a secondary narration, exactly like Blizzard did a few years ago with Overwatch.
Rock and reload!
Hyper Scape winds its way through seven urban districts, all different in shape and points of reference. Satellite antennas, towering towers and glass skyscrapers quickly alternate with historic buildings and monuments close to our modern culture, in a continuous ups and downs where verticality is the master. A animus very personal where to run at breakneck speed on the roofs, checking every small ravine below us to find the enemy on duty to eliminate. The ultimate goal is to give the idea of making the player feel at home, of facilitating navigation but at the same time of offering new tactics and ideas for fighting, taking advantage of urban guerrilla strategies in particular.
Pipes, buffers and anti-gravity towers all have the task of speeding up the action and, why not, also of complicating it to bring out the best players. Like any self-respecting battle royale you will all be launched simultaneously within a series of capsules on the battlefield and you will have enough time to coordinate with your teammates before landing. Touching the ground the games will begin with the need to recover in the shortest possible time weapons is hack so you get the better of your opponents. However, things here are starting to get interesting and different from the games you have taken part in so far: hacks, items to be found in the loot boxes or on pods scattered around the map in a random way, are basically the new ones loot, and are divided into defensive and offensive categories and anyone can wear two at a time. Thanks to these hacks you can then teleport quickly or place search mines and bulletproof walls. Or even become invisible and treat your companions in a limited area.
Obviously, going to the couple with the hacks is the weapons, which are also positioned randomly but which do not present any particular rarity or attachment. There are obviously stronger and more powerful rifles than others but the decision on which weapon to use is mainly dictated by the style of play of each contender and to become more dangerous, given the impossibility of finding rarer weapons, it will be necessary to merge more weapons than same type, so as to increase the damage, the capacity or the number of magazines. A system that can be applied identically to the same hacks we were talking about earlier. Also interesting is the idea of having only one type of munitions for all the weapons in the game and the ability to change weapons on the fly by bringing a primary and a secondary mouth of fire behind you.
Hunting for the crown
Hyper Scape also tries to rewrite the concept of perimeter bubble, avoiding the concentric circles now abused in all battle royale. To narrow the playing area and bring all the players to a specific point, Ubisoft Montreal thought it well to implement a system of decay neighborhoods that will slowly make them literally vanish before your eyes. The destruction of the neighborhoods is obviously random and you can end up playing in L-shaped maps or even in square play areas or in more varied shapes.
The system, as far as we have tried, works and amuses in a very similar way to what Darwin Project had done at the time. There is another element that is taken from the Scavenger Studio production and brought back to a new, more evolved form: the complete integration of Twitch with the game. The followers of each streamer will in fact be able to purchase bits and cheer for their influencer of reference (we imagine it can be a fun activity to support the streamer especially during tournaments) and there will also be the possibility to enter the game directly with a simple click on the screen, functionality however that at the moment we have not yet been able to try but that we hope to be able to do as soon as possible, especially when Ubisoft will unlock access to the beta through the drop system already used by Riot with Valorantqualche a few months ago.
And then there still exists Master Mode: another game mode not to be underestimated, a feature that will allow a single player to act as a dungeon master, being able to influence the events on the screen and closely following the progress of the match. In short, many small innovations that add up to the two real revolution for the battle royale genre. To win the game you will have two different ways: you can kill all the other players, as always, or get to the final area and wait for the appearance of a special virtual crown, steal it and keep it safe for a few tens of seconds. In this case you will be awarded the victory even if you are not the last survivors. The task will be decidedly difficult however, given that your position will be reported to all the other contenders on the game map who will try any to snatch that precious relic from your hands. The King of The Hill mode, in short, crosses the battle royale for something that, at least on paper, seems to be really interesting.
Death is only the beginning
Ubisoft wants to launch Hyper Scape this summer, first on PC, where it will do all the necessary technical tests, and immediately after also on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. During our test the servers held up quite well even if the overall feeling of the action is very far from the surgical precision of Rainbow Six Siege or the aforementioned Valorant. Here we are talking about a game that has its roots in a vision completely arcade Shooter games where you can survive for a long time, take shelter, heal your wounds and re-engage your opponent is not such a remote option.
It will often happen to die, however, but this will not decree your end, at least until another of your teammates remains alive. Once shot down, you will enter a sort of echo mode during which you can move freely around map without being seen and you can report through the practical ping system the position of ammunition, weapons and, above all, that of the enemies still alive to your fellow soldiers. You can also search for the corpses of the opponents, transformed into bright pods and ask your companions still in the game to resurrect you, so that you can continue the game as if nothing had happened, apart from the loot. This is an option that has surprised us positively and which almost completely eliminates all those dead times spent by mere observers behind your still alive friend. Now you can guide and advise him until he returns to the game, ready to conquer the crown or win the Hyper Scape again as a team.
In the face of a genre not exactly free from contenders, Ubisoft tries to amaze with a title with original features and with such a strong integration on Twitch that it can become a reference point for other games in the future. For now, Hyper Scape has proven to be fun to play, with a not too frantic pace during the shootings and with good ideas to keep the players active even after the elimination. Character design didn’t seem particularly original, but at the moment this really seems like the last thing to worry about. What is certain is that the gratuity and the care with which the title was created will quickly bring the attention of the video game community: the future is all in the hands of content and updates, keywords now of any production of this type.
- Excellent integrations with Twitch
- Interesting news for the Battle Royale genre
- Great mobility and high ttk for adrenaline battles
- Urban setting not very varied compared to competitors
- Sample design not at the top