theHunter: Call of the Wild Review 2019 Edition PC
key review info
- Game: theHunter: Call of the Wild 2019 Edition
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
You’re all alone in the thick forest, and you finally spot a dear. You fire your weapon, hoping to eventually shoot something. You wait for the smoke to clear only to find out that you missed, again. Welcome to theHunter: Call of the Wild.
Hunting games are a weird bunch, but that’s mostly because they appeal to a particular type of gamers. It’s a very narrow niche of people that love to hunt and play games. I’m sure that the number of customers that would fit this bill has increased in the past decade, but it would still make a very weird Venn diagram.
Moreover, theHunter: Call of the Wild and others like it should probably be defined as hunting simulators, as they are much closer to reality than a regular game. In fact, this is perhaps their main attraction, and the main feature is the difficulty, more than anything else.
To be fair, hunting games have been around for a very long time, but they were always relegated to the back of the line. It was difficult to take them seriously because engines weren’t designed for such requirements. Precise animations, correct wind speed and direction, animal behavior, beautiful environments, and precise bullet mechanics are just a few of the features a hunting game would need.
But now, the technology has advanced sufficiently enough for such features to be commonplace in most games, not only hunting ones. Finally, we can play and enjoy such sims, even if we’re not hunters ourselves.
Story and gameplay
The first thing that people might notice is the name of the game. theHunter is a well-established franchise, but “Call of the Wild” takes us back to our childhood, evoking memories of books written by Jack London at the beginning of the 20th century. The book is not tied to the game in any way, with the possible exception of a metaphor. Just like Buck in the “Call of the Wild” book, you’re trying to place yourself on top of the hierarchy and become the best. Although to be fair, humans are already on top of the food chain.
I’m also mentioning a story because it has something akin to it, but, for the most part, it’s just a vehicle to introduce people to gameplay techniques and to provide some purpose. It’s difficult to keep players motivated if they don’t have anything to do besides hunting. Games can become a little bit boring if there isn’t anyone talking back over the radio.
The game provides access to four different areas, two available by default in the vanilla version and two that ship with DLCs. The Layton Lake District is somewhere in the North American Pacific Northwest, the Hirschfelden Hunting Reserve is in Central Europe, the Medved-Taiga National Park is in the Siberian taiga, and the Vurhonga Savanna Reserve is in southern Africa.
Each zone is governed by a warden, who provides players with some basic challenges and story missions. Each region comes with its own fauna, so it doesn’t matter what you’re trying to hunt, because this game got it covered. It’s also important to know that you’ll only be able to hunt legally, meaning no lions, wolves, or stuff like that. There are a few carnivores, and they are tough to get.
As for the gameplay itself, the basic idea is very simple. Players need to hunt as most humanely as possible, so the cleaner the kill, the more experience and money you’ll receive. And while the basic idea might be a simple one, following it is way more difficult.
If I were to compare it with any other game types, I could say that it’s easily one of the most difficult I played in the last decade, and I’m not even exaggerating. It could very well be that I’m not a hunter by day, but I have a feeling that it’s not going to matter all that much. I am however a moderately good player, so I think I could compensate that way.
In any case, hunting for any kind of prey, albeit deer, rabbit, or even bear, can be incredibly time-consuming. Since this is a game that aims to imitate real life, the animals are not going to stay still while you’re hunting them. They are going to act just like in the wild, and run like hell when they’re spotting humans closing on them.
In theHunter: Call of the Wild everything matters. You need to move slowly or wait in dugouts, track animals through the grass, dirt, or snow, use lures, and simply be patient. If anything, patience is the most important quality that you will need in this game.
There are a few aspects that are still puzzling to me, and I still don’t know if the game is evolved enough to take some things into account. For example, there are quite a few DLCs available, and some of them come with tents and various camouflage equipment. For example, I had a green camouflage jacket and pants initially, but I didn’t change them when I started hunting in the Siberian taiga. I could never tell if animals had an easier time seeing me because of that.
Of course, anatomy plays a big part, so you will have to know where are the soft spots, where you’re going to do the least damage to the pelt, and where to hit for a fast kill. It’s also relevant what type of ammo you’re using, and you will need to know your weapons and ammo.
Sadly, I have no idea what am I supposed to be using, as the game is brutally accurate when it comes to names and brands. Most of the time I’m guessing based on the stats. But I can tell you that investing in a compound bow or a crossbow is a good choice. It’s incredibly powerful, and it can take down big animals, like a moose or a bear. Although, it’s a good idea to have a second weapon on you, like a shotgun, to make sure you’re protected if the animal decides to charge at you.
On a final note about the gameplay, it’s important to mention that it’s not only about hunting. You can try to do the same actions just to take pictures of the animals, if that's your thing. Maybe you can enjoy the stalking part and not the killing. It’s your choice.
Graphics and multiplayer
The engine used in theHunter: Call of the Wild is incredibly beautiful, with high-resolution textures, parallax mapping that gives shape to the ground, and accurate weather effects. The one thing that it’s still not looking properly is the flora. While the trees, grass, flowers, and so on look good, some of the bushes and small trees are just rock solid. I hit them more than once with an ATV, expecting to go through them only to hit a wall.
As for the multiplayer, the developers from Expansive Worlds made it unnecessarily convoluted. Users should just be able to enter either public sessions or a private servers. Right now, you can enter private servers and hunt with other people, but the rewards and experience don’t carry over to single player. It could have been a much more exciting experience, but right now it’s pretty basic.
- Vast maps
- Impressive weapon collection
- Intelligent animals
- Beautiful graphics
- Underwhelming story missions
- Some weapons feel underpowered
- Too many DLCs
- Just a basic multiplayer experience
My heart was pounding, expecting to see the moose at any time. I think that it was stalking me and not the other way around. He charged and killed me instantly. I can’t remember the last jump scare, in a game, prior to this one.
The only thing that I don’t like about the game is the DLC policy, meaning that a lot of the interesting stuff can be bought through DLCs, including two entire maps. Otherwise, if I had the time, I would probably lose entire days hunting virtual animals, and having an inexplicable feeling of acomplishment.