After the surprise hit of 2015 that was Rocket League, it is no surprise that Sony is trying to tantalise us with another PS Plus exclusive competitive car-based multiplayer title. This one going by the name of Hardware: Rivals; a 10-player arena-based vehicle combat game where players attempt to murder each other as many times as they can before the game’s timer runs out. It’s a tried and testedmultiplayer formula, yet Hardware Rivals has still managed to screw it up.
Players have a choice between four vehicles to use, two tanks, and two Fast Attack Vehicles (FAV’s). The Tanks have a slow-reloading weapon that packs a punch upon impact along with superior armour to soak up more bullets and explosions, though as a tank it is the slower and more cumbersome vehicle choice. The FAVs have much weaker armour and primary weapons, but they have superior speed and maneuverability which makes them more difficult targets.
In theory these differences would create a form of balance, with every vehicle having its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Sadly, the controls are absolutely appalling no matter what vehicle and settings you choose. The default controls mean that you fire with R1, accelerate with R2, aim with the right stick and steer with the left. This crazy control scheme resulted in my holding my controller in a claw-like shape, not ideal and not very comfortable.
On top of the glaring control issues, the vehicles also feel unresponsive and unsatisfying. When firing something as heavy as a missile, the feedback both in terms of audio and visuals feel flat, as if you hadn’t hit anything at all. This isn’t helped by the down-right bizarre hit boxes on enemies; there were numerous instances throughout the game where I watched as my missile completely phase right through an enemy, yet they’d still blow up and register it as a kill. I didn’t feel like I achieved anything or was being rewarded for my efforts, it felt more like the game made a mistake.