theHunter: Call of the Wild Review

Posted October 11, 2017 by Kyle Simcox in Video Games

Developer: Expansive Worlds

Publisher: Avalanche Studios

Release Date: October 3rd, 2017

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

When I started theHunter: Call of the Wild, I really wasn’t expecting what I got. The first hour was a little frustrating if I’m being honest. As someone who has never hunted deer, I spent most of that first hour chasing deer around attempting to shoot one so I could complete the game’s first quest to shoot and harvest an animal. I’d examine every track I came across as I crouched and crawled my way across the Layton Lake reserve which is set in the North American Pacific Northwest. Eventually I stumbled across a buck marked as a hunting opportunity and after tracking it down multiple times, I managed to finally fell my target with a shot to the lung. Even though it was only ranked at bronze, I felt like I won the gold in the Olympics as the game showed me a diagram of my shot and rewarded me for my kill.

It was at that point I realized that theHunter was not a hunting game to be taken lightly. Its a serious hunting game for people that want an experience as close to hunting as possible. It requires a lot of patience and every shot won’t always lead to a kill. Call of the Wild features two reserves to explore and neither of them is filled to the brim with furry woodland creatures to shoot. Tracking an animal requires patience and the wrong step or a change in the direction of the wind can lead to startling your prey and scaring them off, taking you back to step one.

There’s plenty of ways to track an animal from sight, to sound and even poop.

There’s an amazing attention to detail put into the two reserves specifically into the sound department. Layton Lake is modeled after the North American Pacific Northwest(as stated above) and Hirschfelden, is based on European farmlands and both locations are large, beautifully crafted open worlds. While simply walking and running is a sure fire way to get detected by the wildlife, many smaller details factor into play as well. The underbrush is noisy and stepping on rocks, sticks, fallen trees, etc. all have their own sound effects. I was tracking a bear and accidentally walked into water causing a few loud sounds. This caused the next few tracks I found to tell me the bear was running so at one point, I must have given myself away. Outside of noises that directly effect you, the game does an amazing job at making you feel like you’re really in these reserves.

At the start of the game, you choose your avatar and your given a few necessities to begin your hunting experience like your rifle and binoculars. After you’ve earned a few kills and harvested some animals, you gain a weapon score and some experience on top of cash for the kill. Leveling up nets you perk and skill points and as you progress, you undoubtedly become a better hunter. I really fancied the Stalker tree as it made it easier for me to track and hide from animals. One skill made it easier to hide during rainfall and another narrowed down the tracking cone, eventually I was able to gain access a skill that made walking through underbrush quieter.

Earning weapon scores by harvesting animals will allow you to purchase better weapons and perk points will upgrade your efficiency with the weapon trees you put them in. While the game features Rifles, Handguns, Shotgun and Bows, I found it hard to part with my rifle but with that being said, purchasing new gear is an expensive endeavor so I never really felt encouraged to do something crazy, like hunt a bear with a handgun. There’s also a whole host of other things to purchase as well such as clothing for you avatar, new lures to attract new animals and other miscellaneous goods.

Cabins off shelter and a place to restock.

In the day time, hunting animals is a walk in the park(tee hee). Tracks and other signs of animals passing through will glow as you get closer to them as well as bodies of dead animals. Hunting at night is a much different story however. When the sun goes down, tracks no longer glow and its impossible to see whats going on without a flashlight. Certain animals will also only spawn at night as well and you’ll receive the occasional request of killing an animal at night too.

Questing is a good way to receive cash outside of killing animals. Each area has a main quest to do and upon completing said quest, you’ll gain access to a few side quests as well. Doc is the first person I met upon entering the reserves after a few quests to get the lay of the land, I started receiving quests from another camper in the reserve who asked me to kill a Blacktail deer. Another requested that I hunt Whitetail up at Cheetah lake during the night. Which during that quest I saw one whitetail outside of the quest area before I decided to move on to another quest because I never actually saw another.

Outside of hunting, you’re free to explore the open world. The worlds are huge and thankfully we have access to ATV’s to move across the land quickly. Lookouts points work like the radio towers from Far Cry and are a useful way to get the lay of the land and locate Cabins, which you can claim to rest at and manage your inventory. Outside of that, there isn’t much else to do outside of discovering landmarks and building nests found in various spots to help you hunt. Tracking animals can lead to interesting finds like watering spots and resting areas and you may stumble on a shed or two which is worth a small reward. The game is beautiful though and exploring it is it’s own reward. If the large worlds feel a bit lonely, just remember that the game supports multiplayer of up to 8 people online too!

You’ll experience many gorgeous environments on your hunts.

My biggest issue is that the guns don’t feel very great. More often than not, I’ll fire my rifle and take a second to see if I actually hit something. There also seems to be a bug where the game will tell you that you earned a skill or perk point after you’ve used said points. The animals are just as vigilant as their real life counterparts and are easy to spook and the farther away they are, the choppier their animations will look. The indicators for animal calls don’t always appear correctly if you’re in certain menus and being too close to other tracks won’t let you identify the animal call despite the correct button prompt being on screen. Some animals will attack you like bears but getting hit and taking damage doesn’t feels awkward. I’ve been hit by a bear and trampled by a moose and my character just reacted with a grunt. While I don’t expect voice acting to be on par with “The Revenant” when being mauled by bears, I do expect more than just a simple grunt.

As I said previously, theHunter: Call of the Wild, is a hunting game that’s meant to be taken seriously. While you won’t be spending hours waiting for a deer to trot by, a certain level of patience is required. As someone who knows little about hunting, I was absolutely enthralled and getting kills is and incredibly rewarding experience. I can, without a doubt, say that I agree when people call it the ultimate hunting experience.

About the Author

Kyle Simcox