theHunter™: Call of the Wild

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theHunter™: Call of the Wild is an immersive hunting game (duh). There are a number of parks or reserves in which you can hunt, ones from USA, Russia, and Africa, for example, which give you a pretty wide range of animals to hunt.

So far I have only had experience in one park in the USA, where I can hunt black bear, moose, rabbits, ducks, several kinds of deer, and elk.

This is the kind of game where you can wander around in a fairly realistic natural environment, either by yourself or in multiplayer mode with 8 friends. While wandering around the mountains, lakes and rivers, you will see birds flying around, insects floating by, and be yelled at by angry bears as they get your scent.

It is not the kind of thing you want to do if you want constant action. There is a lot of chilling, waiting for wind to change, and using various callers to attract the beastie of your choice.

If you are at all squeamish about discussing the death of animals (ironically a lot of people have less problem talking about shooting “people” in a BR game than shooting a deer in a hunting game). It pays to know your animal anatomy in order to make the deaths as quick and painless as possible.

You can hunt with a rifle, shotgun, pistol, crossbow and various other kinds of bows. Currently, the crossbow with 600 weight bolts is my favorite, but you need to know what weapon to use, because you’ll be penalised if you use a cannon to shoot a rabbit.Animals are also graded from nothing, to bronze, silver, gold, with the goal to get a diamond ranked animal, that you can mount in your trophy lodge (which your friends can visit to see your awesome taxidermy skills).

If you are lucky, you might get to find a “rare” specimen, which might be an albino, or piebald, or unique animal. Each one is worth cash, experience points, and gives weapon skills points. There are also missions – helping other hunters out, culling coyotes/wolves, tracking bears and so on.

The tracking system used is quite technically challenging, and immersive. Wind, sound, light, etc all play a part, and the map covers 50 square miles (about 80 square kilometres). Hunting rewards you with skills and perks which you gain as you get higher in levels which aid your ability to hunt.

There is a lot of DLC which can give you some handy stuff, which is cheap (about $5 NZD for most things), and you don’t all need the stuff to be able to share it in multiplayer.

So far I have found it a lot of fun, and very relaxing to play – I tend to watch Netflix on my other monitor while playing – but with a friend or 2, especially if they have gear you don’t, can be really great. Nothing quite like a stroll in the mountains with your mates, all carrying guns.

There are a few issues though, sometimes animals bug out and you find the prize moose or deer, which you can’t kill. Some times the tracking system bugs out and stops working and you lose your kill which you wounded.

What I am saying is, theHunter™: Call of the Wild is a really good game if you like hunting, and if you want to do something to chill on your own, or with a mate. But be prepared for some frustration with the odd bugged mission and so on.

But for me, so far, the thrill of the kill of a diamond, and the beautiful scenery with lots of really cool hidden away spots, and the relaxing time make it all worthwhile.

– Geoff Gummer


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