If you’re like me, growing up in the middle of the country leads to a couple things: living around acres and acres of farm land and subsequently a community of hunters. This is the place where your father teaches you what his father taught him. The place where you go venturing outside at the break of day eager to snag your first deer. The crisp air and the morning dew just give off the refreshing vibe that is like no other. It is truly an experience that is hard to match, but what if you can’t experience it? Whether you live in the city or just do not feel like walking around the middle of the wilderness in the early morning, actual hunting is not fit for everyone. So, I have to ask you…are you interested in taking the bull by the horns and becoming a rugged outdoorsman? Or do you have the fire in your heart to be a hunter without the access? If you answer yes to either of this question, I have just what you need! I present you with Hunting Simulator, the latest title developed by Neopica and published by Bigben Interactive. The sportsman simulation title that provides a realistic perspective on the hunting genre.
Hunting Simulator puts you in the shoes of one of six outdoorsmen on their adventures around the world hunting the local wildlife. Each of them have their own story and knowledge of the animals around you. When you start the game, you are asked to choose which of them you would like to be and then you are given a little blurb about them. I was stoked at first because I figured they would react differently throughout the hunts due to their personal traits. However, I was quite disappointed that the characters in no way manipulate the gameplay aside from the rare voice line that they expel throughout the hunt. It was a concept that could have provided a bit of an edge, but in the end, I just questioned why the even made multiple player models.
However, it is worth noting that this game does provide a plethora of content for your enjoyment. Providing over one hundred missions throughout the campaign spanning twelve different environments is a lot of ground to cover. Whether you are trekking through the harsh desert, hiking up the snow-covered Rocky Mountains, or exploring the frigid arctic tundra, there is not a moment that the environment isn’t breathtakingly exquisite. And that’s not even half of it, there is still a free hunting mode and your very own shooting gallery to spend all your time in. The free mode doesn’t differ much from the campaign as the environment are the same, but you are allowed to go on your own pace. No pesky task or timers to stop you from having the nice relaxing day off in the wilderness. Just you, your .243 Bolt-Action Rifle, and the beautiful great outdoors. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
Now you are probably thinking to yourself, “Well we have tons of environments to travel throughout and a smorgasbord of stuff to do, but what about our weaponry? Surely, there is only like one or two guns to use, right?”. Well I’m glad you asked! Hunting Simulator provides eighteen, yes eighteen, different weapons to choose from. From grandpa’s old rifle to that brand-new crossbow you have been eyeing at the local hunting store and many more. Each weapon displays the size of game that it will be suitable to use it on, so you can’t try to take on a grizzly bear with the peashooter .22. However, you can mix and match weapons of your like to take on the trip, but unfortunately, they only let you take two with you. I don’t what kind a person only goes in the forest with two weapons.
Coming back around to the hunting regions and the animals that are present in this title, I would like to speak on the visuals and the soundtrack of Hunting Simulator. The graphics are hands down one of the best graphics for a game of this quality. It nails the realism vibe down to a tee and I could just imagine scaling the rolling hill on my adventures. This game also does sound impeccably well and I feel that it should. When you take the aspect of hunting, listening for footsteps or rustling leaves is a must and the fact that they implemented features like this is amazing. The simulation part of this game was great and I couldn’t have asked for a different stylization.
Although, I feel the graphics are amazing and the game provides more content than most games out there, I do have my issues with the game and the way it played out. You know the saying quality over quantity? Well that statement plays tremendous role when talking about Hunting Simulator. This game does have a lot of stuff to do and it was able to hold my interest at first, but it did get repetitive and once that happened it began to become a bit boring. In addition to that, I found the game to be extremely easy, which could go either way on whether it’s a good or bad thing. The game does have a difficulty scale and I put it on hard to test out the difficulty. The mechanics implemented in the game on whether or not the animals saw, heard, or smelled me didn’t seem to vary much. On easy, I could sneak up on an animal, take the shot, bag the trophy, and be done with the mission. Hard really didn’t change that much, the animals sense seemed to be heightened, but they were still easy game. However, the stealthy approach didn’t seem to have much difference from just running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I could run around making all the noise in the world and an animal wouldn’t start running away until I got within 50 feet of it, which gave me plenty of time to take the shot even with it scurrying away. I would have expected having the game on the hardest difficulty would cause the game to be, I don’t know, difficult, but that was not the case. The mechanics that made this game unique just do not work and I don’t know why you would ever pay attention to them. Why take your time and get a nice shot lined up when you can run around and not care without any punishment. It saddened me when I discovered this and honestly took away from my overall experience.
In the end, Hunting Simulator was an interesting idea that would have excelled with a bit more polish. It is priced at $40 USD, which I feel is rather high for a game of this magnitude. While it does have a lot of content, it does get rather repetitive quickly. I would only recommended get this title if you are really hankering for a hunting title with super realistic graphics.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review
FINAL SCORE: 5/10
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