Hyper Scape is the newest addition to the crowded battle royale genre. Based on our first dozen hours with the game, framed as ‘tech test‘ and a subsequent open beta by Ubisoft, it’s clear this game needs a lot of work to stand out. It introduces some of the more innovative mechanics since Apex Legends. Yet it misses the zing it needs to really conquer a spot in the dog-eat-dog BR world. In this Hyper Scape beta review we highlight some of the good and bad stuff about this game. But be aware, it’s still an unfinished product!
- Echo revive system
- Fusing weapons and Hacks
- Small required hard disk space
- Refreshing new battle royale mechanics
- Unimpressive gunplay
- Floaty movement
- Terrible voice acting
True next-gen battle royale mechanics
Downed but never out
Back when Apex Legends dropped, it felt like the battle royale genre finally moved to a new level. With Hyper Scape, a hint of that sensation can be felt once more, but only if you really look for it. The Echo system for example, enables ‘downed but not out’ players to stay in the game as a ghost. They can ping enemies, scout ahead, and generally stay busy. It’s an evolution of what made the Gulag from Warzone so good.
As an Echo, you can still contribute to the game, so there is no downtime, even when bested. Getting back into the game is also evolutionary. Instead of activating a static respawn beacon, you have to find a downed enemy player that ‘drops’ a respawn beacon. You then have to physically stand in to, activate it and ask your teammate to respawn you. This promotes aggressive play from your teammates, and cooperation from everyone.
Another great aspect of Hyper Scape is it’s gun fusion mechanic. To fully appreciate this mechanic, you have to understand that looting in this game is mostly non-existent. You grab your two perks and two weapons; that’s it. No backpack, barely any ammo management, no attachments, armor… It’s looting at the most stripped down level.
That philosophy probably inspired the fusion mechanic. Whenever you find a weapon that you already have, you can pick it up a second time. This way, it ‘fuses’ with your existing weapon, upgrading it. So finding the same weapon over and over again because the RNG gods hate you is actually a great thing in Hyper Scape. Upgraded weapons do more damage and/or have a higher ammo capacity.
The same mechanic applies to Hacks, offensive, defensive, and tactical abilities. Contrary to Apex Legends’ legends, Hyper Scape has you ‘create’ a character’s playstyle on the fly. Again, looting multiple additional Hacks of the same type upgrade your abilities. That means a shorter cooldown and/or a more extreme and powerful effect.
Run and gun
Aesthetically, Hyper Scape does a lot of things right as well. The minimalist, slightly cartoony art style makes the download size of the game tiny. Seriously, Hyper Scape has a way smaller file size than your average Warzone patch. Additionally, instead of a circle enclosed by gas, fire, or some sci-fi barrier, areas slowly break down instead. The map – a mix between sci-fi London and 18th century Paris – is divided into sectors that randomly become uninhabitable. A cool Matrix-like effect signals that a specific sector is breaking down.
And while it does look cool, it also has some awesome effects on the gameplay of Hyper Scape. Instead of the map shrinking in a circular fashion, it breaks down asymmetrically. In other words, the map progression might create choke points, a square shaped endgame zone, or a long stretch of available sectors, surrounded by areas breaking down while squads frantically try to get out of them. It’s unique, visually pleasing, and honestly quite refreshing.
Revolutionary, yet stale
Shooting is like punching in a dream
But despite some genuinely revolutionary gameplay mechanics, Hyper Scape seems to miss that zing. For example, there are only 10 guns in the game as of writing. Again, this is a beta review, so Hyper Scape might step up it’s weapon game eventually. But right now, it’s not at all satisfying to fire a weapon in this game. Ubisoft obviously aimed for a simplified approach to weapons. You’ve got one shotgun, one sniper, one assault rifle, on energy ball shooting thingy and so on.
Every weapon does feel unique. Sadly though, shooting at enemies floating through the air is like trying to punch someone in a dream. It’s as if you’re shooting airsoft weapons, but instead of little plastic BB’s you’re actually shooting air.
This is at least partially caused by the very long time to kill. Players automatically regenerate health after a while too. So firefights can sometimes go on for a quite a while. Additionally, because of the fluid and floaty movement system, everyone is constantly flying around, jumping on buildings, dashing away, becoming invisible, rolling up in a protective ball… It’s a lot of chaos, a lot of bullets, and a lot of “how is he still alive?!”
The fundamentals are iffy
And if you feel like we’re leaning into the lackluster shooting aspect of Hyper Scape a bit too much, keep in mind that as a shooter, everything depends on if the central gameplay fundamentals feel satisfying. To us, it doesn’t feel satisfying right now.
To make matters worse, the movement system can also feel quite janky at times. There are jump pads everywhere, some abilities can make you zap up in the air, and there is even a timed in-game event every few minutes where Twitch-viewers can pick a temporary status effect. And somehow, it’s always low gravity mode. So everyone is constantly practically flying, making Hyper Scape equal parts Warzone and Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Cringy voice acting
Lastly, we have to mention the voice acting. When you first start up Hyper Scape, you can choose between two handful’s of diverse characters. They are aesthetically different, but lack outspoken character traits. This makes them more of a cosmetic choice like in Fortnite, as opposed to the more defined characters in Apex Legends.
That would’ve been okay, if Ubisoft didn’t try to give them some personality with the voice lines. Not only do characters only have a handful of voicelines, they are also insanely cringy, at least to me. So when you ping a couple of locations, and your character constantly repeats the same cringe-inducing line every time, it makes the overall experience needlessly annoying.
Ubisoft has some ground to cover
All in all, Hyper Scape is inconsistently revolutionary at best. It features some truly innovative mechanics, but loses a lot of momentum because of fundamental problems. Is Hyper Scape a game you should never pick up? Absolutely not, you could very well enjoy the unique flow of the game. It’s different enough that it could carve out a niche of fans of the genre.
But if Ubisoft wants to make this game one of the big ones, they have a lot of work to do. It lacks the overall innovation of Apex, the colorful, mainstream appeal of Fortnite, the OG genre defining energy of PUBG, and the triple A refinement of Warzone. What it does offer, is a jumpy, hectic, refreshing new take on the genre.
Hyper Scape is currently in open beta on PC so don’t take our word for it, try it yourself! And again, this is just a beta review, with a new weapon and hack already added to Hyper Scape since the alpha. So let us know what you think about the game in the comments or via our vibrant Facebook page.