The Hunter: Call of the Wild Review – The Preeminent Hunting Experience

The Hunter: Call of the Wild
Avalanche Studios

My gaming buddy and I stood in the forest clearing. We heard the chirps and calls of various birds as the wind blew and cast brightly colored leaves about.

“There’s some tracks right there,” my friend said as he approached some faintly visible deer tracks. There was depressed tallgrass leading off from the tracks which gave us a clue as to where they led.

“We’re upwind from it, so we should be good,” I responded after gauging the wind’s direction.

We cautiously walked on and as we moved through a tree line and into the woods. The branches of trees bent around and scraped against us, creating a lot of sound.

“Let’s be careful to try and move around the trees, not through them,” my friend cautioned.

We were navigating our way down a hilly slope when we suddenly heard a deer calling out in the distance. My buddy produced his deer noise maker and blew on it, answering the call. We heard another call from the deer, this time closer.

“Get your rifle ready,” my friend said.

I brought my hunting rifle up and began scanning the area the call came from through its powerful scope. Meanwhile, my partner looked through his binoculars.

“I’ve got a visual!” my friend reported moments later. “It’s due northwest at that crest in the ridge.”

I swung my rifle around to the indicated direction. After locating our prey, a large buck, I breathed deeply and then took my shot, which was aimed at its chest area. I struck the deer square, but it didn’t go down. Instead, it trotted off in the opposite direction. We took off after it with due haste.

From the ridgeline we spotted some patches of blood in the grass and saw a matted trail where the buck had ran off to. We followed it for a couple of minutes and then came upon its body. It had bled out. Through our mics, we loudly congratulated each other on our first successful kill.

No, this wasn’t our first round of Avalanche Studios’, The Hunter: Call of the Wild. In fact, we’d actually been playing for over an hour. However, due to our inexperience with the game, we bungled up a few hunts. We quickly learned that unlike many of the modern shooters these days which pit you against legions of zombies, killer robots, or other human players, in The Hunter you’re going up against crafty wildlife.

Now this may not sound challenging, but believe me when I tell you that this game will test your patience like a Splinter Cell title. There is no running around and shooting willy-nilly in The Hunter. There is no speeding around on its ATVs and performing stunt jumps and other silliness. And no, there aren’t any fancy-dancy, gore-tastic fatalities that you can perform on crippled wildlife. The Hunter is an exercise in patience, planning, strategizing, and cunning.

Gameplay-wise, in The Hunter, you go out and hunt. There are all sorts of varmints to track, everything from deer; to coyotes; to smaller game such as jackrabbits. When you kill your prey, you get to walk up to the animal and inspect it to see exactly where the kill-shot was. It’s a nice little touch—an attention to detail that on a broader scale, encapsulates the entire game.

The environments are absolutely breathtaking. From the lush forests, to the realistic-looking lakes and bogs, everything looks meticulously rendered. We also loved how the grass mats under anything with weight. That’s something not even triple A developers have implemented into their games (besides Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands).

The sound department also nailed it. With a pair of good headphones (highly recommended by the way) you can hear entire cacophonies of wildlife. Whether that be different kinds of birds calling out;  gently trickling streams; or just the mesmerizing sound of the wind blowing through the trees, this game is all about immersion.

As you tally up kills, you gain experience points and money, which you can then use to purchase skills and new equipment, respectively. The base game offers a good amount of weapons and hunting equipment, but with the reasonably priced DLC you can really get some tricked out stuff. We’re talking about additional weapons, a quad, and even a Siberian-inspired map called Medved-Taiga.

The Hunter: Call of the Wild is a brilliant hunting title that I can’t recommend enough. It’s a great game for relaxation and a worthwhile alternative to all of the chaotic zombie and military-esque shooters out there. Plus, it’s uber-masculine. I’ll personally be following this game’s development into the future.

SCORE: 91%

The Hunter: Call of the Wild features outstanding graphics that make its space hunting gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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