theHunter: Call of the Wild is a first-person hunting game published by Avalanche Studios and developed by Expansive; respectively. theHunter: Call of the Wild pits you, the hunter, into a world filled with wild game around four different locations spanning 3 continents. Your travels take you from Layton Lake in the Pacific Northwest, USA, all the way to the frozen and abominable tundra of Medved-Taiga in Siberia. The base of the game is quite simple, load up your gear, head out into the wilds and hunt down your prey. As you trek through these diverse and vibrant lands, you may begin to feel a tad lonely. theHunter: Call of the Wild does an excellent job at immersing the player into the environments, however, stalking a lone reindeer for several hours yielded little fun.
After sinking my teeth into the meat of the game, I quickly came to understand how most of it would function. I began to journey in the Vurhonga Savanna in South Africa. After heading to my first lookout tower to survey the considerable amount of land I could cover. The basic controls of the game were quite simple, like most FPS games. However, after pushing through the brush and attempting to swap weapons and lures, I found it difficult to do so. Granted, there were tutorials that popped up quite frequently, they still were vague on their instructions and left much open for interpretation. Discovering the controls was more of a trial and error process, if anything. Overall, the control smoothed out and I got the hang of it all and was on my way to hunt some elusive wildebeests. I shot, missed, shot again, hit then would follow a spotty blood trail to my ‘trophy’ when it expired afterwards. There was a thrill, when I got my first kill, and it did provide me with the necessary boost to continue playing. Sadly, those moments were few and far between.
One major issue that I found with theHunter: Call of the Wild, was the lack of immersive sound in the game. Yes, there is quite a range of animals to track and hunt, but finding them was hard enough, let alone hearing them. As the hunter, you can track an animal’s call, be it for mating or as an alert to others, but that’s about as far you go. Most of the hunting consisted of hearing an animal somewhere off in the distance, tracking its general direction then coming up empty after stalking it in the prone position for 30 minutes. During your hunts, the only company you could have would be the occasional chirp of the birds, a gust of wind, or the untimely scraping of your jacket in a thicket. It was a lonely experience, which made the game seem to drag on and almost seem counteractive to what the game was about. Also, there was a lack of danger while on a hunt and that in turn made hunting less exciting. In Hirschfelden, there are wild boar that roam the woods, however never was I remotely concerned or even approached by these aggressive creatures, which made me feel almost as if I had blinders on when pursuing a simple Roe Deer.
On the bright side, theHunter: Call of the Wild did many things right, which included a deep list of lures, weapons, tents, vehicles and even binoculars. A key aspect of the game that drew me in was the size of the maps to which you could hunt. Each map contained unique qualities which made them hazardous and beautiful all the same. On foot or by ATV, you can cross rivers, hike mountains or peacefully stroll through the woods at your leisure. Another great addition to the game was the story. All four locations held their own stories and tests that you had to pass to further your experience as a hunter. This gave the game a more developed and meaningful feel, as opposed to just purely hunting. In these ‘missions’ you find yourself removing traps that former poaches have set, rescuing lost and foolish hunters in the Taiga, all the way down to lending a helping hand to a seasoned hunter. You can activate skills to improve your tracking, discover lore, build blinds, tents and stands and much more.
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the separate stories and trials awaiting me in each location. Add on top of this the exceptional graphics and the well-tuned mechanics of the animals and the hunter, this game turned out to be quite an interesting and challenging adventure.
The more I dove into the game, the better I understood how to play and how to hunt. theHunter: Call of the Wild is a game that you can just pick up and play, however, you need to be ready for a challenge and many frustrating moments to follow. Although difficult and time-consuming, theHunter: Call of the Wild has proven itself to be a game worth the shot.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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