The Hunter: Call Of The Wild
- Developers: Expansive Worlds
- Publisher: Avalanche Studios
- Genre: Simulation
- Players: 1 or 8 player online
- Platforms: Xbox One (Reviewed), Playstation 4, Steam
- Release Date: 2nd October 2017 (Xbox One, Playstation 4), 16th February 2017 (Steam)
- Microtransactions: None
Rest The Meat Until Room Temperature…
Here we are at TPC Sawgrass, there’s a 135 meter shot from the blind, wind will play a little over such a range. Make sure you aim just behind the front leg, otherwise you’ll be in for a long day. I’d play a .270… Oh deer, oh deer he’s missed, that was startling. It’ll be a long while before a shot lines itself up like that again.
Welcome to The Hunter: Call Of the Wild, a hunting game that leaves you to go hunting… Oh my, what a concept.
Expansive Worlds have tackled a hunting game, with confidence, and respect. Deciding instead of the bombastic story driven mess of the Cabela games, glorifying the mass slaughter of animals. They play more subtle, and simulation like.
The Hunter: Call of The Wild (for consoles at least) has to huge open maps. One themed European, with animals you’d more likely find across the continent, and another themed American. The attention to detail in these environments is beautiful. Dynamic weather and lighting effect how your hunt will go. Rain obscures your vision, but also masks some of the noise you make. Clear bright sunny days mean you can be seen for miles, so take your time. In fact, you should always take your time.
Heat Oil in Frying Pan Until Smoking Hot…
Playing The Hunter: Call Of The Wild is a chilled experience, if you rush around you’ll spook the game, then you may as well be on the moon. There is nothing much else to do in this game except hunt. There is a shooting range on both maps, and you’ll be given micro missions like kill a ‘Whitetail at night’, or take a photo of a ‘Fallow deer’.
These “missions” only seem to be there to try and push you away from your comfort zone, and venture into the wild. Which is a good thing.
Wandering off into unexplored areas is nice, you’ll find old wrecks of buildings and wind farms, with lovely vistas to behold. But you can’t do anything with them, some places maybe nice hunting grounds so stick around, and soak up the atmosphere.
Place Your Steak in Pan and Cook at High Heat For 30 Sec Each Side…
Now you can, and most likely will kill all you see in The Hunter: Call Of The Wild when you first start playing it…hell even when you are 20+ hours in, you’ll take a shot at anything you lay your eyes on. For me this started to feel cheap, the hunt had lost itself, turned into something lacking finesse. It wasn’t the game that had done this, it was me, the player. I had forgotten it’s a simulator.
For those who don’t know, in the states you have to apply for tags, these tags will give you the opportunity to hunt for a certain animal for meat or trophy. You then head out with your Black bear tag, to then hopefully fill up your freezer for a year.
If/when you set yourself personal tags in game, this adds a whole new dimension to the game. Let’s say you and you hunting partner decide at the beginning of the playing session, lets hunt Red Deer Stags only. The hunt becomes real. Your hunting partner or yourself take those snap shots at a Roe Deer Doe 350m away, scaring the animals in the immediate area. Instead, you watch them. Trying not to spook them.
After, and hour or so, you may happen to see a Red Stag standing proud on a ridge, with the sun just dipping behind him, sending god rays through his antlers. looking down your sights, you try and pick that perfect shot. Bring him down quickly (we don’t want to be following blood trails for the next hour), otherwise you may make him run. Meaning an even longer stalking session. Your breathing becomes tense, the sense of the hunt comes through in spades when you play the game like this. Meaning that one kill, feels more rewarding than the mass slaughter of Roe Deer Does.
Medium Heat, Cook For a Further 1 Mins 30 Sec Each Side…
So this game is a hard one to score. Because the tiny unfinished parts actually chip away at the score. The Hunter: Call Of the Wild started right out of the gate as a easy 8.5-9.0/10 game. As you start to settle into the pretty looking world, the cracks creep into view.
What cracks you say? silly ones really, floating stones or patches of grass. Deer running and stopping in trees (this doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s happen often enough for me to mention it here).
Then there’s the clunky and awkward menu system. It feels like it’s not been optimised for consoles. For instance, if you wanted to look at your hunt history, the game shows you a list of what you have killed. Showing approximately 20, with a scroll bar to the side… you’ve no means of getting to that scroll bar. Myself and Mr. Bilsborough tried for a while, but to no avail.
These seemingly tiny issue really frustrate, because they simply shouldn’t be there.
Rest The Meat, Before Serving…
I understand this game isn’t going to be for everyone, I do believe the game does a good job at forcing you to chill the fuck out. The calmer you are as a gamer, the more game rewards you by presenting you stags and bucks. In a paradoxically, if you want more action in The Hunter: Call Of The Wild, slow down.
What The Hunter: Call Or The Wild is to me is simply put, a Zen game. I play the game to wander the beautifully rendered pseudo-Germany or pseudo-America. The game is slow and lovely, with beautiful lighting and immersive sounds (when you turn the music off).
With the addition of a little more polish, and correcting of silly clipping issues like the floating grass, The Hunter: Call Of The Wild would easily be a high 8 or 9. But as it stands, I’ll give it a respectable Show Me Games 7.8.
- Very nice atmosphere, brought on by the beautiful lighting and sounds.
- Slow, and chilled gameplay which is surprising pleasant in multiplayer.
- The thrill after an hour of stalking a certain species, only to have a beautiful specimen appear is really something special. Tense and fun.
- Clipping issues, mainly cosmetic.
- A.I can be squiffy at times.
- Clunky menus