Top Critic Average
Hardware: Rivals has a good core concept and engine, but it needs some work around the edges. A lot of little things added up for me the more I played it in an increasingly annoying fashion, most of which can be fixed with proper updates.
Hardware: Rivals isn't the best game in the world, but it's certainly not terrible. There's a good selection of maps to play on, as well as some classic game modes that make up the bulk of multiplayer games. The combat is sketchy at times, but with a bit of practice (and a lot of patience) you'll find yourself racking up the points.
I'm old enough that I can say I've been playing games like this since they first started coming out. So after a few days of playing I give it a passing grade but not by much. I mean, it's always fun to drive around and blow up things, that's why these games keep being made. So while Hardware Rivals is fun for a while it still has a lot of annoyances to overcome.
Hardware Rivals is poor fun: few cars and a weak variety of matches are thrown in the mix of a game that doesn't excite and that makes even driving and shooting something really not that amazing.
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It's colorful and quite ridiculous; it's simple, accessible and well populated. Hardware: Rivals has most of the ingredients present to cook up a fantastic arcade experience, but it's missing a vital ingredient: fun. The sluggish pace that permeates everything from movement and destruction to respawning and leveling up constantly holds it back. Even unlocks are few in number and, being mostly cosmetic, carry little to no incentive in the first place. If someone hooked Hardware: Rivals up to an espresso drip, then we'd certainly have an entirely different game. Alas, there's a solid mound of squandered potential here, below a deceptively enticing facade.
The novelty of driving around in this tiny selection of tanks and buggies while shooting at other players wears thin pretty quickly. The lack of any original modes or meaningful progression prevents Hardware: Rivals from having any chance at longevity. Aside from the awkward controls, everything works well enough, but nothing is memorable or satisfying.
If you look up "average" in the gaming dictionary, a poster for this game will sit next to it. It's not a broken mess, but it's so run-of-the-mill you won't ever feel like you've missed out if you don't play it.
Hardware: Rivals provides exploding jeeps and tanks aplenty, but in this online-only game, the small player population will end your car combat fun before it gains traction.
The development team has a lot of work to do before Hardware: Rivals could be considered a great game that has any longevity. There are more maps and vehicles on the way, but what is really needed are more modes, a better party system, useful hit feedback, and the scrapping of the daily salvage limit. While Hardware Rivals is fun to play in chunks it gets repetitive quickly, and its great visual design isn't enough to cover the cracks.
Hardware: Rivals is slow and safe – it's a far-cry from the high-octane vehicle eviscerator that we'd anticipated. Its slightest of similarities to Rocket League may have hurt it, but even if Psyonix's excellent on-wheels outing didn't exist, this would still be a pretty darn tedious title. It's a shame because it's not hard to imagine a faster iteration of the exact same game being ten times more satisfying, but ultimately Hardware's only real rival is its squandered potential.
Hardware: Rivals is a good game, but it feels more like a beta than a finished product. There isn’t nearly enough content in this game to keep you going. I’m sure this will change over the next few months with some new DLC, but you shouldn’t have to pay for DLC on top of the cost of the game just to get a “complete game”. The fact is that right now, there Hardware: Rivals is an incomplete game without much of a replay factor and any reason to continue to playing after a few hours of playing.
You can see what SCE Connected Content Group was aiming for with Hardware: Rivals, as the car combat genre has long needed a decent revival from somewhere. Unfortunately, far too many of Hardware's ideas are poorly executed for it to be the saviour it might have been. It doesn't do it any favours to see it presented in such a generally unenthusiastic, haphazard fashion. With variety sorely lacking and balancing currently an issue, there's little to suggest a long-term future for Hardware: Rivals in the heaving ball pit that is online-only gaming.
Bringing back such an obsucre franchise is one thing but stranger still is that so little passion has been expended in reinventing this listless vehicular combat game.