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Way of the Hunter Review

Way of the Hunter Review

In this article, we review Way of the Hunter. Hunting simulations have been made for generations starting with titles like Duck Hunt and Hunter: Call of the Wild. I personally have never played other hunting games before but when I saw the trailer for Way of the Hunter, I felt intrigued, and I was looking forward to trying out this title for the Xbox Series X.

When finding out this game would only release for next-gen consoles as well as the PC it was interesting to see how the game would match up to other hunting games as well as top-level games for this new generation.

Way of the Hunter is a hunting-based simulation game that puts you in the shoes of River Knox, a young adult working in LA and a hunting enthusiast. You are the grandson of Wallace Elliot Willow, a hunter running the Black Bear Hunting Lodge. At the start of the game, you were on the phone with your grandfather, due to the recent hospitalization he had contacted you to help him continue his business hunting for the local community in the Pacific Northwest territory known as Nez Pearce Valley.

Along the way, you will complete quests, explore 2 regions 55 Square Miles in size, and learn more about the story of what happened up to this point. In this review, I will give the good, the bad, and my final verdict.

The Good

The Gameplay Loop

Overall, the gameplay of this game is very solid. Going on your basic quests hunting certain types of animals seems to be fleshed out and simple for anyone to play. Tracking, taking your shot, and harvesting your trophy appears to be an easy process. The method in which you go about tackling these quests definitely puts this game in the positive for me. I always enjoy the fact that you can choose your way to play the game and pick your weapons, your route and strategy seem all up to you.

In my playthrough, I was only able to play alone since the game hasn’t been fully released but the fact there is a method to play multiplayer with others increases the replayability of the game. The best part about this game is that there is no certain direction they want you to go. It’s completely open for you to explore and hunt with or without friends.

The Open World

One of the best aspects of this game must be the open world itself. According to Nine Rocks Games, the world contains 2 large regions of 55 Square Miles located in both the United States Northwest and Europe. These areas are massive in the amount of terrain you can explore as well as the wildlife that is present. According to the developer, there are around 5,000 animals included in an ever-changing ecosystem in both areas.

Within these ecosystems, animals have complex migrations patterns, feeding cycles, and herd mechanics. A night and day cycle causes the map to become harder to navigate and it puts more challenge on the player to plan out their strategy. In my playthrough I was surprised with how developed these areas were with the amount of wildlife there was currently.

One of the best aspects of this open world was the look of the environment itself. Generally, when you see open-world games you usually assume that the landscapes in prerendered footage will always look nice but that was just the beginning. Out in the wild, you continually see these landscapes show off how beautiful they can be, and you must give a lot of credit to Nine Rocks Games and the Unreal engine.

The Bad

Rendering Issues

In multiple occurrences, I noticed while playing in the open world that the game had issues with rendering new areas I was traveling through. There were times when the lighting had not worked or even the textures were not matching in multiple areas which may be fixed in a future patch. Sometimes while hunting for animals, I had difficulty seeing whether not I was looking at a deer laying down or a log due to the inability of the engine to render textures properly. In some cases, this had a detriment to the game but most of the time it occurred while traveling the area by car.

Unusual Animal Behavior

Another negative I experienced in my playthrough was the unusual behavior by the animals while hunting. In many cases, animals were alerted from the slightest movements even from targets from 200 Meters away. The reason this was an issue is that the game is made for you to travel far distances at a slow pace and if you were to walk too fast animals like deer would be panicked too easily and would flee 300 plus meters away. At times this would cause the gameplay to feel more drawn out and not as enjoyable as it could have been. Based on early updates in the game it seems that Nine Rocks Games is aware of the issue, and it could be fixed in a later patch.

Final Verdict

Overall, this game has both positives and negatives. The gameplay seems very smooth, due to the fluid movement, multiple ways to play, and cool innovation in an analysis of your hunting style. The open world has to be the best part of this game and it really shows you how much work Nine Rocks Games has done to develop their environment to make it feel full of life. The stunning landscapes make this open world feel great to look at and eager to explore. Even the story elements of this game have some interesting concepts that deserve some praise and the art style of certain cutscenes appears to be very appealing.

Some minor issues in the rendering of certain areas of the map as well as certain mechanics need to be addressed but I am sure those issues can be fixed in future patches. This game may be limited on the number of variable types of quests you have but this is a hunting simulator, not an action-packed FPS title.

Rating

I’m giving this game an 8 out of 10. This game does a great job providing a realistic yet enjoyable hunting simulation for those that are fans of the genre. Provides an easy and fun gameplay loop, a simple story, and a massive open world to explore. With future updates, this game will be more impressive, and I am wondering what else they will add to this vast ecosystem that is already beaming with life.

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