In recent months, I have played some horrendous PlayStation 4 games. Whether they were simple mobile ports like Shred it, or incredibly poor cash grabs such as Honor_And_Duty:_Arcade_Edition, I was always 100% convinced that they were a part of this contemporary trend where Sony, Microsoft, and Steam would just let anything onto their platforms. And whenever trying to recall a title of alike underwhelming quality, I always came to the same conclusion, that the last gen, at least on the PlayStation platforms, was free of such games. But as it turns out – I was wrong.
Until this very week, I was 100% sure that PlayStation Store was free of horrendous monstrosities such as Life of Black Tiger, or Joe’s Diner. But thousands of miles away, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, North American PlayStation Store was hiding some real ‘gems’ in its darkest corners. And within the abyss of underdeveloped Indies, and poorly executed ports of AA titles, was hiding away the scariest title of them all, Whitetail Challenge.
According to the publisher of the title, PSR Outdoors, Whitetail Challenge is the most realistic hunting simulator on the market. I don’t know which market, but it is definitely not the western market, or the interactive entertainment market as a whole. As this is probably the least realistic, and enjoyable title to ever make its way to the PlayStation3. And what makes it even worse, is the fact that it was released on the console, in 2016. Yes – two years after the official launch of its successor, PlayStation 4. And according to certain sites, it has also launched on the PlayStation 4, but I could not find any trace of it ever existing on the console’s digital storefront.
Whitetail challenge is an incredibly simple game. Within it you have two weapons, an M16 which fires only one round at a time, and a pump action shotgun. Within the main menu, both weapons seem to be poorly textured, however, you won’t be able to assess the quality of the firearms in-game, as when you’re hunting, you can only see a 2cm long tip of the barrel. And that is after you have figured out the sequence of buttons which you have to press in order to raise the weapon.
Once you are done figuring out how to raise your gun, you will most likely want to proceed forward with it risen, as you want to be ready to fire whenever you spot the titular whitetail. But in assuming that you would be incorrect, as once you make a single step, you lower your weapon yet again. And if you try to raise it while walking, you won’t be able to do so, as you must be at a complete standstill in order to be able to fire.
The aiming and firing mechanic takes some getting used to, but once you get to grips with it, you can then enjoy the migraine and vomit inducing gameplay of this ‘’masterpiece’’. But you are likely not going to play it for long as it is so poorly optimised, on every twist and turn your head moves with it, and after mere minutes, you will feel the sensation of your breakfast trying to find a way back out.
Whitetail challenge is simply debilitating. And it will defeat you, before you’ll even get a chance to have a swing at it. And this all stems from the fact that the title runs at between 10 and 20 frames-per-second, and the field of vision is seemingly turned all the way down. It feels like you’re looking at its rather ugly world through a set of glasses made out of two microscopes. And this is probably why you can only see a tip of your weapon.
As stated above, Whitetail Challenge beside being literally unplayable due to its poor optimisation, is also an incredibly unattractive title. All textures look like they’ve been pulled straight out of a PlayStation 2 era game, and what is even worse, is the fact that all miscellaneous objects are placed seemingly at random. Trees are floating in the air, allowing you to look inside of the empty void which is stored within them; and worst of all, some objects are placed completely out of reach. For example, the first out of five levels which can be found within White Tail Challenge, features a light house, but you can’t get too close to it, as you are stopped by an invisible wall. Not a barricade, not a fence, but a simple invisible barrier.
One could say that Whitetail Challenge is on par with games which can be found on mobiles – but such statement would be a lie. As Google Play Store is filled with wildlife, and deer hunting titles which are much more advanced than whatever Whitetail Challenge is pretending to be. Even a three star rated hunting games on Android, work better and feature more variety in terms of weapons and equipment than Whitetail Challenge. Hell, they even look considerably better as weapons can be seen in their entirety and are more visually impressive than some guns which can be found in console, and PC titles today.
A lot of things could be said about Whitetail Challenge. And for some, the above-mentioned statement of it being worse than your average mobile title, will be enough to steer them far away from even considering purchasing it ‘for a laugh’. But what is most important here is not the fact that it is devoid of content, or that it looks like it has been cobbled together by your average Unity ‘mastermind’ out of store-bought assets, but the fact that it is simply unplayable. And even if you think that you have an iron cast stomach, capable of withstanding poor framerate, frame pacing, and incredibly strange field of vision – you still have to remember that Whitetail Challenge is more irrational, and difficult to control than a chimpanzee on acid. In fact, the only positive thing which I can say about it with a clear conscience, is that it is easy to delete it from your console.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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