The closest and safest way you can get to hunting without leaving your chair – theHunter: Call of the Wild Review [PC]
I am no ways a hunter, unless you count hunting for deals on stuff I don’t want to spend full price on, but I felt like one after playing theHunter Call of the Wild! I stalked my prey, followed their footprints, found their droppings and checked for freshness, stayed down win, then shot it right in the heart! Then there were times I waited out by their feeding grounds and just picked them off. There was also one time I just saw a bear running at me and luckily unloaded a few into its brain. There are numerous different ways to claim your trophy and theHunter Call of the Wild lets you play them all… except killing with your bare hands, but that’s probably not realistic anyway.
theHunter Call of the Wild does not really have a story, you’re a hunter who is hunting in some of the world’s most beautiful lands. That’s it. You do get to customize your hunter a bit, but it’s very generic stock models and you never see them. There are different guides/rangers for each of the lands you visit, but they just drop tips and let you know information here and there. There’s no deep story or connecting threads to anything, it’s essentially a sandbox hunting simulator.
The best part about the game is when you finally line up your shot on the beast you’ve been tracking. Tension builds, pressure weighs down on you, and you either hit your mark or miss and the thing runs away. It straight up sucks if you miss. There’s no other way to say that, you put in a lot of work tracking an animal down, and it takes a considerable amount of time, and if you miss, you not only miss the one you were going for, you mess up your chances for anything within a huge radius. So you have to run far away, and start the process over again. Missing your shot is incredibly frustrating, but landing it, is the exact opposite. All that work paying off is a huge rush of satisfaction. It’s one of the greatest moments of instant gratification in gaming. The downside, the moments are few and far between, and though the gratification is rewarding, it does not warrant a repeat attempt since it does not give you any reason enjoy the journey. Tracking get boring quickly, traveling across the level is tedious, and the animals’ sensitivity to your presence seems a bit exaggerated. I’ve gotten pretty close to deer when I’ve gone camping when I was just running around, but the deer in the game can tell you’re uphill and downwind from them based on me not being prone? It just seems unreasonable. It gets better as you level up, but it’s like playing a whole level of an FPS campaign to take only one shot. A whole level that has no puzzles or interactivity, minus reading a few signs. It is initially interesting, learning about your prey until you realize it’s the same thing for like 20+ minutes only to have all the time and effort you invest into a single moment. It’s great if you get it, but a complete waste if you don’t
What is constantly enjoyable, is the game’s graphics. The game is absolutely gorgeous. Visually speaking, the game is revolutionary thanks to Apex, Avalanche Studios Open World Engine. It might not have the greatest detail in a passing view, but if you pay attention, it is too real on how much detail the game incorporates. The footsteps and footprints, the matted and broken plants and trees, the field of view being enhanced or hindered by the weather, it is stunning. Where the graphics do fall short, are often with the immediate interaction. Your footsteps often don’t show up, and when they do they seem like static stock footprints. Animal tracks have the same issue, never really getting a sense of their pace; this is about fresh tracks that are left as you see an animal leave. Also sometimes the animal tracks you follow go in impossible patterns. I don’t think the animals are as smart enough to walk in a straight line to hide their numbers or loop into a figure eight that goes in four directions. I could just be a horrible hunter, so I won’t hold the animal part against them. The sound engineering is well done, but it doesn’t quite hit the same bar as the visuals. It could totally be in my head, but the sound seemed like I was in a smaller area than I was looking at. The RPG elements of the game are pretty standard, however, the process takes too long and doesn’t really feel rewarding to the effort you put in. After the first kill, I think you should level up a lot more than like what feels like 10% of a level. It’s a game that demands continue playing but doesn’t really make the trip worth the effort. The game has little things for you to check out, but it never seems worth halting your tracking progress to go walk up 4 flights of stairs or go look at some statue.
theHunter Call of the Wild is a gorgeous game. The Apex is a gloriously successful world rendering engine that is among the best there is in gaming. The satisfaction of landing a kill is a mighty rush of gratification that could probably be put in dime bags and sold. I believe conceptually the game is flawless, however, I believe in execution is hurt because it the game is a little too real. I think it needs a bit of a kick start so players can get into it immediately. Or at least an option to cater to impatient people, because if it feels like if it takes this long to hunt in a game, might as well go do it in real life. The game is fun and rewarding, but there’s just too much time in between fun moments. Tracking gets old after 10 times of looking at tracks and never seeing the thing. It does get better the more you play, but if you do not have the patience, that first hunt could easily be your last. Overall, I give my theHunter Call of the Wild Review a 6.5/10
theHunter Call of the Wild is available now on PC via Steam and will be coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year.