Ubisoft has started the reveal for Hyper Scape, a free-to-play sci-fi shooter set in a futuristic virtual city called Neo Arcadia, with select streamers showing off the game right now in advance of the “official” reveal. I’ve been watching Sacriel to get my first impressions, and here’s what I’ve learned after checking out a few matches, with a little additional information gleamed from the official reveal.
At its core, the game is a battle royale you can play solo or in a three-player squad, akin to Apex Legends – or maybe that’s just the mode I’ve been watching, called Crown Rush. It takes place in a virtual-reality city, where you have to find weapons and abilities and fight to become the last team standing or claim and hold the Crown for 45 seconds after the map has shrunk down to a single sector.
None of that sounds too original, but Hyper Scape looks to have a few new twists to the battle royale formula. Since the game isn’t set in the “real” world, some abilities, known as “hacks,” are fittingly over-the-top and fantastical. They include:
As well as Invisibility and Healing abilities that do about what you’d expect. You can equip two abilities at the same time. Weapons include the usual mix of pistols, assault rifles, sniper rifles, and so on. Both abilities and weapons level up if you grab multiple copies of them.
When you die, you become a ghostly “echo” that can still move around the map and grant intel to allies. (Of course there’s a ping system.) If you get to the location where another player died, your ally can come there and rez you.
As for the “Twitch integration” that Ubisoft was promoting, it comes in the form of voting during the match that lets viewers determine special events during the match. It requires a Twitch plug-in to be equipped by the streamer, and if nobody has one, an event is chosen randomly.
Finally, let’s talk about the presentation of the game, which is superb. The graphics and sound are AAA-quality, and there are a few nifty effects that enhance the experience and make you feel like you’re really in a virtual city. When you swap weapons, your current one disappears and the new one “forms” out of polygons and appears in your hand. Additionally, a closed-off sector doesn’t sport the ubiquitous “green fog” of other battle royales but instead gets a polygon-laden texture to make it appear like the program you’re a part of is bugging out. By not relying on a “ring” to close in around players, the playable map can be less symmetrical, as well.
All in all, I’ve got a positive first impression of Hyper Scape, though I’ll freely admit that I probably won’t be very good at it. It’s very fast-moving, and the wide range of abilities makes for fast-paced and frenzied battles. It’s eminently watchable, and the Twitch integration should only help it become a fave on that platform.
For now, you can get into the game by viewing streams that are playing the game and linking your Twitch account to Ubisoft. As was the case with Riot and Valorant, this is more about marketing than it is about testing – expect to see “Hyper Scape drew millions of Twitch viewers!” headlines in a week or two – but it’s the only way to try it for now. Previous reports had the game’s full launch coming July 12, so you might only need to wait just a little while to get into it for real.