In the month since Predator: Hunting Grounds has been released there have already been major changes to the game that have addressed many of the problematic gameplay elements, bugs, and key balance issues that hindered it at launch. The game has now added an element that fans have been expecting for decades in regard to the series, delivering the return of star Arnold Schwarzenegger to the franchise. The 72-year-old actor not only lent his face and voice to the title’s new playable character, reprising the part of his character “Dutch” from the 1987 feature film, but has given lore junkies a roadmap of what happened to him after that movie.
The Dutch DLC for Hunting Grounds, like the game itself, has major ups and downs at its core. On one hand, it’s very cool to be playing a Predator game as Arnold Schwarzenegger, hearing him make reference to elements from the original movie or even repeating his famous lines (yes, you can make him say “Get to the chopper” as many times as you want). His character’s appearance also adds a fun addition to the title’s place in the mythology of the entire franchise too, sporting a Predator mask on his shoulder as both a trophy and armor, plus a recovered wrist gauntlet from one of the aliens on his left arm (it has no functionality in the game). There’s a level of comfort brought to the game by hearing Schwarzenegger’s voice as you fight a Predator, “What could go wrong?" you might think "He did this before!” (Yes, Schwarzenegger’s character can be just as violently killed as his teammates, though suspiciously has no screaming or death voice lines.)
There’s also the matter of his new gun, included as part of the paid-DLC but available for free to all players later this summer. The Hammerhead marks new territory for Hunting Grounds, offering a weapon that is a powerful assault rifle that features a working grenade launcher attachment. Players can flip between the proper gun and its accessory at the touch of a button, which is a welcome addition to the game and opens up new opportunities for the fireteam. Dutch himself serves as a combo of the Assault and Recon class, with a mix of their perks, giving him a bit of leeway as a new class; however, his knife is a purely cosmetic addition.
This is where the Dutch DLC feels hollow. Schwarzenegger’s line reads have all the gusto and impact of a pencil being pushed across a desk. There's also the matter of the only free aspect of this June update, "The Dutch Tapes," which must be collected in-game and offer fans a series of narrations from Schwarzenegger updating us on his life since the original movie. A fun addition, but kind of insulting that the only free part that Predator fans can get is some recordings that sound like Arnold performed them at his dining room table wearing a bathrobe.
It is worth noting however that the Dutch DLC, dubious as it may be to pay additional money for purely cosmetic purposes, arrived with the latest patch to the game. Developer Illfonic has listened to the community playing the game and heard them, fine-tuning the game so that the scales are far more balanced than they were before while also implementing hotfixes that were desperately needed. In the end, the DLC isn't needed for anyone interested in playing the game but can offer a fun addition for major fans of the series. The biggest piece of content to the title from this paid DLC will be available for free in a few weeks anyway, so like in the game itself, patience will be a virtue.