Back in 2017 Neopica released the first Hunting Simulator, three years later we have an improved sequel. I’m just going to say it how I think, It’s a shame that this talented Belgian game studio is making a niche game like Hunting Simulator 2. These people from Ghent clearly have a lot of developing skill but it goes to waste because this game can be so damn boring because of realism. Nobody and I’m quite sure about this want to spend more than an hour looking for an animal with the slowest walking animation in history. If you are one of the few gamers that’s part of Hunting Simulator’s hardcore appeal than I’m sure you’ll have a great time with it, but let’s take a look at what I think about this latest Belgian game.
What we liked!
- Animals: Animal behavior has been improved when you compare it with the first Hunting Simulator if you manage to find them. Scoping them out with your Winchester or your binoculars is like visiting a zoo, they walk and act like expected. Especially the animations from your dog are really well done, but more about your hairy companions later. Great lengths have been done to make the 33 different animal species realistic, you’ll find wild ducks, boars, bears, and all kinds of deer.
- Your charming lodge (game hub): In the game hub you can decide to place display trophies (animal heads), listen to some music, buy new weapons, and visit the shooting range. This is also the place where you buy licenses, you can’t just go out killing every animal! You need to purchase the license first and take into account that you also need the right gun and ammo for the job. You start out with a little bit of cash so it’s important to use your limited resources wisely as getting more money is very time consuming by finding and executing wildlife. Not having a license or killing an animal with the wrong weapon will cost you dearly with fines. What’s really great about this lodge is the shooting range, it learns you to use weapons and comes with some bonus mini-games.
- Man’s best friend: Completely new in Hunting Simulator 2 is man’s best friend, dogs! You start with a cute little beagle or you can invest in other dog breeds. Labrador or a shorthaired pointer and each dog has different hunting specialties. Just as finding animals your relationship with your dog requires patience and time, along the way your dog becomes better and better. It is important to encourage your companion though, and you’ll thank him many times if he finds new clues or retrieves a flying duck.
- Fast travel and points of Interest: Each of the different areas have multiple towers or blinds and fast travel tents. While I had the most fun finding these places I wished it was a bit easier finding them. In my opinion, they should have been available right from the start as this reduces a lot of the frustration having to walk to your starting point to sell your animals.
- Great visuals, bad draw distance: It’s an issue with many games but clearly noticeable in Hunting Simulator 2, terrible draw distance. There is an insane amount of texture pop up, for example, grass. It kinda ruins the otherwise great lush visuals. You have three main different locations that all have a distinct look with unique herbivores or more dangerous animals like bears so that’s great for making it less repetitive.
What we disliked
- Boredom Simulation 2: I get it, in real life animals just don’t pop up out of thin air. You need to find tracks and get as close as possible to get that perfect shot so the animal doesn’t suffer too much. Hunting Simulator 2 makes this virtual thing realistic, but maybe a little bit too perfect. It doesn’t help that the default walking speed is slower than a snail on Diazepam, getting tired of it, and start running around will spook away the animals. It’s a serious boring mechanic that makes the game none-accessible for a very large part of the potential players. I respect the devs for releasing a realistic game but maybe they should learn that making it too realistic isn’t fun. And that’s still the reason why we play games, to have fun. I literally searched for a deer for over 80 minutes, and the only thing I ended up seeing was butterflies.
Hunting Simulator 2 is made for a very niche audience, there is just too much downtime for the average gamer. Finding wildlife to shoot is a tremendous timely task that becomes really boring after a few minutes. It has some nice touches like the lodge, the dogs and realism but only the real hardcore will enjoy it.