Reviews

Predators Review: Universal App

Predators is the kind of game I want to enjoy, but ultimately cannot. I start this review on a down note because in spite of the brief moments of joy I experienced in Predators- the game is largely a flop. If you aren’t a fan of hyper-violent beat ‘em ups or brawlers like the God of War franchise, Predators won’t change your mind. Even if you do enjoy the God of War games, or other similar action series, you may walk away from Predators disappointed. This review is intended for the readers who do enjoy the more bloody action games, and I hope by the end you will at least understand my aversion towards Predators.

Predators fails in several major areas: mechanics, story, and structure. Story and structure are often closely knit, but Predators warrants that we look at both. The game is structured as an arena fighter, each stage pits the player against many enemies in a fight to the death. There is little variety in the mission layouts, and while they may have different premises each stage usually boils down to, “kill enemies until the game says you are done.” The majority of the game is structured intentionally to be a tutorial as a part of the premise of you fighting in these arenas. Unfortunately, Predators doesn’t make the tutorial aspect of the game fun, and relies on forced repetition to teach very simple concepts. These dull missions take place inside of equally dull environments. Playing on the iPad, the only key difference I noticed is that the larger screen highlighted the muddy textures. You play in the first environment for fifteen levels straight- and all without any interesting story to push the player along. The only story in Predators is the pre-mission text prompting the player to kill for glory, and fight with honor. With such bland structure, environments, and story, the game would have to have incredible mechanics to make it worthwhile.

As you may have guessed, I also take issue with the game’s mechanics. The occasional special move looks flashy and can be satisfying, but the game provides little to work with in terms of combinations and control refinement. After fighting hundreds of enemies, I noticed that Predators doesn’t give the player an effective method of crowd control. You might think that as a Predator you want to leap in, kill one person, and then dash away with your cloak, but the game makes this a rarity. If one wants to kill an enemy with any sort of expedience, a dash will likely be performed when approaching. The dash works well enough, but any combination following a dash usually involves impaling an enemy. While an enemy is impaled, a lengthy animation plays out and the player is often swarmed. Sometimes I was able to kill the enemy mid-animation and take a swipe at my assailants, but the majority of the time I was nearly (or actually) killed.

Me hiding behind a log to run down the mission clock, successfully.

Me hiding behind a log to run down the mission clock, successfully.

The game tries to make up for the lack of variety in melee moves with the addition of projectile weapons, and two special abilities. Thermal vision is one such ability, and one that I found to be entirely useless. The game already highlights where enemies are at the edge of the screen, so having them glow when you catch up to them is pointless. The player also receives the ability to cloak, but only in dry environments. Immediately after receiving the cloak and learning how to use it, the player is placed in rainy maps until level fifteen (meaning the cloak is useless.) Projectile weapons sound like they could add a fun twist, but the mandatory lock-on makes using the projectiles frustrating. Each time the game implements lock on, my patience is worn as it usually does not target the enemy I am going for and often opts to target the enemy behind me.

Predators lacks compelling story, structure and mechanics. I found the game to be dry, with the exception of the rare moment of happiness after pulling off a successful killing chain or “brutal cut.” If you are dying to play a brawler on your iPhone or iPad and don’t care that the game is highly repetitive and lacking control refinement, the three dollar entry fee may just be worth it for you. For the rest of us, I recommend staying away from Predators.

Final Score:

1pt5-stars

Predators is available as a universal app, meaning it works on both iPhones and iPads without the 2x scaling, for $2.99

The game was tested on a 2nd gen Touch and an iPad.

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  • Nathan Mustafa, USA

    If it were up to me, I would not have even tagged a score on this one- as I know it will just upset fans of the game. I ask that if you do like the game, read the text of my review, keep in mind that it is my opinion, and then go ahead and troll me :)

  • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

    No flaming; I disagree, but you do have a right to your opinion. There is, however, one factual error in the review: you can dash and attack normally without impaling — just hit A immediately after you hit B (impaling happens only if you hit B twice).

    You also failed to mention the upgrade system, the use of honor points (which makes risking your neck for a flashy kill worth it), and the fact that after completing the stages you unlock a survival mode that allows you to use all the available skills.

    Clearly, anyone who’s expecting a story is going to be disappointed. But then again, the movies themselves didn’t have much of a story either.

  • Nathan Mustafa, USA

    I didn’t care for the upgrade system, as I didn’t feel that I was actually progressing. I just failed to mention it.

    “any combination following a dash usually involves impaling an enemy”
    Sometimes I went for the impale because if I wanted to launch into a successful combo after a dash, the impale was the most convenient from a damage perspective. Going for the whirlwind or other combos wasn’t usually enough to get the job done in one combo. Also, I was jamming the b button to dash to an enemy and sometimes the dash would connect before I had anticipated- meaning I would go into an impale. Impales also give you more honor points if you go for a trophy kill. I didn’t say that you could only go to impale after a dash, but for me it was usually.

    Thanks for being levelheaded :)

  • Tim “Lord Gek” Jordan

    I agree the game gets repetitive and that my main desire is simply to play in the Endless Survival Mode that the game expects me to slog through 23 missions just to get to, but I think you missed a few points.

    Thermal Vision: Seemingly pointless but did you realize your ranged weapons lock-on immediately when using it?

    Groups and Combos: The Combi Stick is all about taking out grouped baddies and if you want to take out several baddies quickly you simply CAN’T do the big combo moves like Splice or Trophy as they will leave you vulnerable to counter-attacks.

    As I love pure randomized Survival Games and feel they have much more replay value than a game that tries to accurately follow a storyline, I really didn’t mind those aspects being missing.

    What I’m hoping for is that, just like Guerrilla Bob, they have more enhancements in store for us once this silly, “Must get it out before the movie is released” forced the game out the door before fully polished.

  • http://Touchgen Nathan Mustafa

    Huh, thanks for pointing that out- I never figured out the thermal vision lock on, since the game asks you to (paraphrasing) use it to hunt your prey more effectively right before a “boss battle” so I guess I never tried to use it with a ranged weapon. That doesn’t change the fact that I’d like to choose who I lock on to, or have the shooting play a bit more like iDracula.

    As far as not being able to get the trophy kills and take out groups of baddies, I found that even when I sneaked up on an enemy and went for the kill, I would start taking damage mid-combo and not have an effective way to push enemies back as my combo ended.

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