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Cyber Hunter has all the battle royale essentials but no genuine creativity

NetEase churns out another game that feels like Mass Effect crossed with Alita: Battle Angel

Video gaming
This article originally appeared on ABACUS

If you’ve been waiting for a flashy, sci-fi battle royale mobile game that isn’t PUBG Mobile or Fortnite, NetEase has you covered.

The Beijing-based company’s new game Cyber Hunter looks like Mass Effect, features a protagonist who resembles Alita: Battle Angel, and is equipped with guns from Halo. As wannabe Alita, you collect these Tesseract-looking blue cubes, which you can use to activate high-tech gadgets like a shield or a healing biotic field.

I allude to all these things because Cyber Hunter is a game that seems to have all the cool trappings that a sci-fi geek like me would want. However, as hip as the game feels, it doesn’t thrill or surprise me the way I hoped it would.

In fact, the game’s lack of core innovation makes it a forgettable addition to the battle royale genre that’s getting increasingly crowded by the minute.

How Fortnite and PUBG made battle royale the hottest trend in gaming

This isn’t to detract from the talent that went into making this game. It’s certainly stylish, and it has great graphics and fancy animation.

The tone is set right out of the gate: Rather than the standard parachuting, my character skysurfs to the battlefield on a hoverboard. This gives the game a bit of a different feel, and I was very impressed at first.

As I played the game more, I was smitten by all the different gadgets available. I can instantaneously unfurl a mechanical shield like Iron Man, activate a healing biotic field like Soldier: 76 and summon a jetpack like Boba Fett. Heck, I can even transform into a moving shield that looks like a mini TIE fighter. How can I say no to that?

Cyber Hunter has also borrowed many neat mechanics from other games. For example, you can climb buildings or trees and glide with a paraglider in ways that are clearly inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

(Another obvious Zelda influence is the battlefield design. One area of the map is littered with ancient, rusty turrets reminiscent of the ancient machinery in Breath of the Wild.)

NetEase appears to have taken notes and tried to give fans of the genre everything they might want. From what I have seen, this is a very classic NetEase way of making games: try (or copy) everything until something sticks. The company has made at least a dozen battle royale games since the beginning of battle royale mania, and they all come with different styles and themes.

This catalog includes games that feature the military, magical heroes, zeppelin-riding pirates, dragon-riding hunters, Harley-riding anime girls and even Minecraft-esque, square-faced characters made of cardboard. NetEase has done it all.

Cyber Hunter also features some ultra-fancy vehicles. (Picture: NetEase)

Cyber Hunter feels like just another battle royale game that NetEase is releasing to the market. Other games in this genre have a unique hook. Fortnite emphasizes building, and Apex Legends highlights teamwork. Combat in Cyber Hunter, on the other hand, doesn’t doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It largely plays like PUBG. In the end, all the fancy guns and gadgets wound up feeling gimmicky.

If you want to learn more about Cyber Hunter and see the gameplay for yourself, check out our full stream here!

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