LifeisXbox’s Way of the Hunter review | Hunting simulators, I understand that some of you readers prefer to ignore these types of games but in terms of game quality, most of them have been good. Call of the Wild or Hunting Simulator 2, developed by Belgian studio Neopica for example. What sets Way of the Hunter apart from the rest is the big focus on ethical hunting. You won’t be shooting twenty-five deers at the same time here like in Cabela’s hunting series. The game story explains to you why it is important to have clean shots and consider the animal population, shooting too many badgers will have a negative effect on other animal species, and so on. So let’s take a good aim at Way of the Hunter and see how it plays!
What we Liked!
- Very authentic hunting experience | I can’t speak from experience, of course, but it really does make the hunt feel very faithful. I usually take on hunting games because no one else on the team is interested in them. Which is to say that I’ve played a number of them anyway. With Way of the Hunter, there were elements that were completely new to me, more important ones that also seem logical. Let me explain exactly how hunting works in this game! The most important thing is that you are not going to scare the animals, this immediately creates a problem for most gamers because this means moving slowly on in a gigantic environment but we are playing a realistic simulator here so buyers need to realize this in advance. After half an hour or more of sneaking around and following signs of life, droppings, or animal tracks, for example, you will finally be able to get your victim in sight. The hardest part comes now, finding the perfect shot so you have a clean kill. Remembering that ethical thing I said in the intro, shooting an animal in its lower leg is not the point. You must also consider whether you are shooting a female or male, as this can have a drastic effect on the population. When you are close enough and take your shot another gameplay element follows. The search for your animal, chances are that the animal still flees and only falls down a few hundred meters later. You will therefore have to use your Sherlock Holmes knowledge to find it. Blood trails to follow and yes … sometimes you have bad luck and the wound was not enough and the animal will, unfortunately, have to die alive. (Here we have that ethical again)
- Sound | You’ll be shocked when you fire a bullet, loud! loud with an echo that goes across the entire environment. Highly recommend playing this title with a headset. The ambient sounds are also very well done. For example, you will hear frogs near water, you have regular insect noises and the wind sounds go nicely over the trees. You really feel like you’re in a forest, which helps tremendously for a simulator. You could put it on, so to speak, to fall asleep and imagine yourself in South America. Just don’t forget your mosquito milk!
- Bullet Camera | If you check the below (pc) screenshot you’ll see the bullet camera. On this menu screen, you can see how clean your shot was and which vital organs you hit, the shot distance, and much more. Having this amount of information is pretty rewarding when you take down an animal, you learn from it too as you want to receive a large payment for the animal’s meat. Seeing the trajectory of the bullet reminds me a little about Rebellion’s Sniper Elite series, now the zombies are deers, badgers, and bears.
- Visually stunning but also at times terrible | Stand still and Way of the Hunter looks phenomenal. Realistic environments with a high amount of detail and a day and night cycle look fantastic. Once your character starts moving it’s a completely different story. Huge pop-ups and loading details also take their time, several times an object or ground will reload itself to provide higher quality. Strange to see something like this, a phenomenon you sometimes used to have with Unreal Engine games. But those only had to reload once, it’s like there are multiple layers in the game that sometimes refuse to appear causing the graphics engine to crash. Hence probably why the jeep in the game is so annoyingly slow, should it go faster the game cannot follow. The photo mode is a nice addition here though because as I said the game can really look insanely good when you are standing still. The huge vistas with nice lighting effects and the realistic build-up of the forest are really very nice.
- Enough weapons and gear but more would have been welcome | One thing I did notice was that you couldn’t choose ammo. These are also unlimited, you go hunting with a number of bullets but you can always refill them at your jeep or at different homes. In terms of weapons, it’s okay, but I do miss a handgun. Although you have little use for it anyway because you do not get that close to the animals. You have about ten long-range rifles and three shotguns, that’s it. I would have liked to have a bow for some reason, which is usually standard in other hunting games. It is also quite expensive to buy new weapons, so you will have to make some progress to buy the better-known licensed weapons. What also could not be missing are callers. Each beast has its whistle so you can lure them, I must admit I didn’t use them much though. Perks can also be unlocked, which makes your character better in different aspects. You unlock these by doing side quests or just in-game achievements. Some are really completely out of the box, such as a ridiculous number of kilometers of sneaking around. You should know that sneaking around is slower than a snail facing a 100km headwind.
- 110 square miles | Split up between two maps, one in Europe and the other in the US gives Way of the Hunter an insane amount of open-world freedom. You would expect a decent fast-travel system with a world that’s the size of 20 Crackdown 3 worlds but that’s not really the case. So a lot of walking or driving, let me rephrase that, too much walking or driving is required before you get to a spot where you need to be. I understand that the developer was going for realism but not having the option to fast-travel to your jeep is a huge missing feature. Still, in terms of being a game in the hunting simulation genre having such an expanse world is a huge positive reason to purchase this title.
- You can invite a friend! | Sandbox hunting with an online co-op friend is an option, although the implementation seems to be an afterthought. While it is relaxing to go out on a hunt together there are a lot of frustrations that limit the gameplay fun. First, it is weird seeing two exactly the same characters. sure, they can be twins but still… Secondly, not having an option to fast-travel to your friend is a massive hindrance and not being able to progress with your campaign story is a bit annoying too. (As the second player.)
What we Disliked
- Technical issues and serious gameplay bugs | I had to ask myself the question regularly: is this game ready? I can say a lot about the many graphical flaws but there are also heavy bugs that affect the gameplay. A full hour of tracking a herd of deer with in-game instructions and they disappear before your eyes like a mirage. Birds getting stuck in the air also happens more than desired. But getting back to the graphical bugs, technically this really is one of the worst I’ve played recently. Reloading (better) textures happen constantly and entire areas often disappear only to reappear flickering. The frame rate also runs terribly unstable, even on performance mode. It’s a real shame because if these things hadn’t happened I could have been much more positive about Way of the Hunter. A few extra months could have done wonders for this hunting title.
How long to beat the story | 20 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 60 hours
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