Urban Warfare Done Right
We've certainly reached the later stages of the battle royale craze. The main players are well established, the also-rans are starting to fall away, and players know what they want from the genre. Is there room for one more in the fight? Ubisoft seems to think so, as they've launched the technical test of Hyper Scape, a fast-paced shooter that picks up where Apex Legends left off and adds some interesting tricks to the genre. After a day of playing, it's not clear if Hyper Scape's urban warfare will dominate the competition, but it's certainly worth a few runs through the city to see for yourself.
Where do you drop in while playing Hyper Scape?
The world of Hyper Scape is one of its strongest points, even if it's more of an aesthetic than a full-on developed environment. Instead of a circle boxing you in, you're running through a cybercity that's slowly defragmenting. Entire sectors start fading out of existence, with pixels disappearing off every surface. When a sector is off-limits, it completely greys out and disappears, leaving a gray void with nowhere to hide. This Tron-esque approach continues with the weapons that appear in mid-air and jet into your hand as you pick them up. The soundtrack is full of rocking electronica, but it never goes full synth. It's like it wants to go Cyberpunk, but just enough to grab your attention.
While the weapons have a killer animation when you pull them up, actually shooting them is more complicated than you'd think. Just picking up a shotgun or an assault rifle isn't good enough, you have to engage in the fusion system to really get ahead of your opponents. This involves picking up multiple copies of guns or the perk-like Hacks. Each copy past the first upgrades your item's capacity in some way, and picking up five extras will give you a golden gun that's significantly upgraded. The nonupgraded guns feel surprisingly weak, so you'll really want to switch to anything fully kitted out whenever you can.
What type of guns can I find in Hyper Scape?
The variety of guns also isn't where you'd want it to be for such an outlandish setting. You've got pretty much what you'd expect from Apex Legends alongside a few more original choices. Highlights include a BFG-style plasma ball launcher with a huge blast radius but less power than you'd like and a minigun that is fun to watch people carry around because of its bulk. There are a shotgun and sniper that will likely emerge as player favorites and a weak pistol that you'll never want to get stuck with. I was never hyped to find a certain type of weapon, and I hope that more rare treats show up in future updates.
The same variety problem doesn't exist with Hyper Scape's Hack abilities. From basics like healing and armor to a short-range teleport and the ability to generate a wall, there are lots of options to make your otherwise generic character operate as you like them to. Some of them, like the giant bouncy ball that lets you knock players around, only really serve to make you a bigger target. Still, since you can equip two at a time, they provide interesting combinations that are all well worth exploring.
How does movement feel in Hyper Scape?
Traversal is super important in Hyper Scape's cityscape, as opponents are just as likely to drop in from a rooftop as they are to emerge from an alley. There are a few arena buildings that play out more like a multiplayer map, but the vast majority of combat takes place on streets with tons of vantage points and few places to hide. While sprinting isn't always a great solution, your basic double jump lets you climb almost anywhere, so you can keep enemies off your toes effectively.
It all makes for tense encounters that encourage engagement rather than turtling up, especially because of Hyper Scape's respawn mechanic. You can only bring a dead teammate back efficiently by killing an opponent first, as their corpse will summon in a respawn point. It places this vital action right in the middle of the chaos and introduces tons of strategic back and forth. There's even a Twitch-centric feature that lets live stream crowds decided on various match-changing effects, and I can see how new renditions on that could have a big effect on in-game events in the future.
Hyper Scape Preview | Final Thoughts
We won't know if Hyper Scape stands up to its battle royale rivals until the full game hits. What we do know is that Ubisoft has brought together a collection of unique tweaks to a standard formula and paired them with quick combat that's easy to pick up. The gun fusion system feels like something that every other game in the genre will want to copy as soon as possible, but that's not the only reason you'll want to play here. With some more unique character skins and a bit more weapon variety, this really could be a shot of adrenaline to the shooter craze of the moment.
TechRaptor previewed Hyper Scape on PC via uPlay as part of the ongoing Technical Test.