Hyperscape is a new battle royale from Ubisoft, which was launched into open beta on Thursday 2nd July. You can dive into the action by getting a drop from Twitch from watching one of your favourite content creators. It’s a visually stunning game that has some unique mechanics, but time will tell if the already saturated BR market is ready for another contender. The following are my first impressions of Hyper Scape.
Battle Royale’s have been popping up here, there and everywhere recently since the surprise announcement of Apex Legends back in 2019. Since then we’ve had Call of Duty Warzone take hold of the genre that was once dominated by Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. You can get access to the Technical Test Beta right now on PC, through Twitch enabled drops (but more on that later on).
Hyper Scape definitely looks the part with great graphics and a neon feel to the game. It’s set on a map called Neo Arcadia, which is a huge city that has much more verticality than other battle royales we’ve seen. You can battle in the streets but bouncing across the rooftops and jumping down to surprise attack your enemies is a whole lot of fun. To access the rooftops there’s double jumping as well as launch pads to allow you to scale the heights of the neon city.
Hyper Scape is closer to Apex Legends in terms of frantic action, rather than say Fortnite or Call of Duty Warzone. The difference here is that every character starts out the same, and you pick up abilities (called hacks) from loot boxes dotted around the map, much like weapons. You can pick up two hacks at once and mix and match them to create your own unique play style. There’s plenty of variations in hacks like increased mobility, a short-range teleport and defensive items like walls which feel familiar when compared to something like Overwatch or Apex. Have a play with the different hacks and find out what works for you.
Call of Duty and Apex did a lot of great work to simplify the process of looting in Battle Royales. Hyper Scape improves on this further by removing armour and health from the loot pool. Health regenerates much like in other games like Destiny and there are no fiddly weapon attachments, which keeps the flow of the game focused on finding weapon upgrades and taking down opponents. Nice touch with the weapons is you can fuse two together. If you find a copy of a weapon you already have you can fuse them, boosting the power of the existing weapon in your hands. This can lead to more powerful weapons and taking down your opponents quicker, so it’s definitely worth playing around with the weapon fusion system.
There’s a range of weapons including a revolver, minigun, assault rifle and space-age plasma weapons. Opponents can feel a bit spongey as the time to kill is quite high compared to some other recent BRs. The guns feel like they need a little more kick in them, which seems to be one of the main pieces of feedback coming out of the beta so far.
Rather than a slowly closing circle like in other BRs, here we have sections of the map glitching out. The outcome is the same, slowly over timeless and less of the map is available for players. The map too is large, filled with distinct areas and the sheer vertical nature of the playspace is impressive and does set the game apart from its competitors. The game mode we have available in Hyper Scape at the moment is called Crown Rush, where you can win by being the last team standing or by picking up the crown and holding on to it for 45 seconds.
One of the most interesting things about Hyper Scape is the Twitch integration and the relationship between the players and the viewers. More often than not you’ll hear in game that viewers have decided on an event which range from low-gravity mode or improved mobility. Twitch viewers have the chance to vote on outcomes while viewing matches, which is one of the best Twitch integrations I’ve seen for a game yet. It remains to be seen how this will drive engagement for Hyper Scape, but so far in it’s debut week it’s doing pretty well (although this is likely to be mainly for players wanting to get into the game).
The last feature I’m going to talk about that helps set it apart from the competition is the echo system. When you die, you’ll be able to run around the map, following teammates (or enemies) and you’ll be able to get revived if you can find a respawn point and your teammates are good enough to bring you back up.
In the free-to-play shooter market, you have to break through and carve out a player base, as there’s plenty of competition, so making a good first impression is valuable. Only recently we’ve seen Crucible attempt to launch, and then swiftly retracted back into a closed beta phase once the concurrent player count starts to dwindle.
Ubisoft is taking a leaf out of the playbook for two successful recent launches in Valorant and Apex. Much like Valorant, players can get access to the closed beta by watching streamers play and get drops. You can do this now by linking your Twitch and Ubisoft accounts together, then simply watching and waiting for a beta key drop for the PC technical test. This worked pretty well for Valorant, and seems to be working well for Hyper Scape.
Respawn also introduced Apex relatively by surprise, apart from a few leaks. Hyper Scape is taking the same approach as little was known about it until this past week when details started to emerge. But it seems this combination of tactics has worked well as it’s been a successful 24 hours for Hyper Scape.
There’s definitely promise here in the early days for Hyper Scape, but it’s going to have to work hard to draw away audiences from already well-established battle royale games. The fast, frenetic action is appealing, however, the weapons don’t yet feel up to scratch and the game doesn’t quite have the features and level of polish we come to expect in a AAA. It’s fun, but it still has some way to go. No doubt Ubisoft will be collecting data during this initial test. So if this sounds like something you’d be interested in then jump in and give it a try.
Let me know down in the comments what you think about Hyper Scape. How does it feel compared to other BRs and do you think it stands a chance to compete against games like Apex, Warzone and Fortnite?
That’s it for my first impressions on Hyper Scape. Check out more first impressions on This Week In Video Games and subscribe today on YouTube.