theHunter: Call of the Wild (PC) Review

By Ofisil 24.02.2017

Review for theHunter: Call of the Wild on PC

Expansive Worlds' theHunter series is probably the best in the hunting genre (theHunter: Primal excluded, of course), but since there isn't much competition around, that doesn't mean much, does it? Moreover, while good, the original was far from a fine-tuned product, and like many free-to-play titles, much of its content was hidden behind quite the big paywall. This time it's different, because theHunter: Call of the Wild (calm down, Zelda fans) is a full, price-tagged piece of software. Even better? It comes with a trademark symbol of its own!

Picture this: you walk for about 10 minutes, with nothing but the cold mountain breeze being your companion. Finally, some faint markings in the mud. Looks like a dear deer recently passed through here. Following the general direction of the track, you soon hear a distant sound. The beast is far, yet your noisy footwork has alerted it. Crouch down! A few minutes of slooow walking, and the target can be seen… with a pair of binoculars… and from 100 meters. It's now time to hit the dirt, and go into prone mode. After another few long minutes, you are finally there, right next to your prey. You prepare your rifle, aim, and get ready to pull the trigger… and then one from the pack smells the Homo sapiens, and the whole party runs away and disappears in a matter of seconds.

Screenshot for theHunter: Call of the Wild on PC

Obviously, theHunter: Call of the Wild is a simulation game, so don't go in expecting a hunting version of Call of Duty. While it has all the usual bells and whistles like cursors, a helpful HUD, and so on, this is basically as real as it can get on the PC monitor. The purpose is, without a single doubt, the search for a needle in a haystack; a needle that can be spooked if not careful. Forget about running around killing game after game, because this is not Far Cry Primal.

In other words, patience is a virtue here. The wannabe hunter must be aware of everything that can give away his or her position; therefore, taking advantage of the environment is a must. Hide into foliage, exploit rain and be a bit more noisy (and fast), and, generally, act as a predator would. Of course, like the famous Yautja, humans can also use an assortment of tools that range from gadgets that mimic mating calls, to scents that attract certain creatures - no X-Ray vision, though.

Screenshot for theHunter: Call of the Wild on PC

Besides looking great, theHunter: Call of the Wild is quite the immersive experience. It's easy to get lost in it for a couple of hours and not really do anything. Really, part of the pleasure here is simply walking around the two gargantuan maps available, although a larger number of points of interest would be more than welcome. Generally, while there are many missions, it's better to just go off the beaten path, and do whatever, and whenever.

Needless to say, however, that this is not for everyone. Those looking for an experience that is close to a typical video game won't find it here, as its target group is very specific, and 100% realism-oriented. Unfortunately, it could be great if this was the only flaw at hand. As it turns out, Expansive Worlds rushed its product, releasing it in pretty bad state, even for a small indie studio. Thankfully, patches come out every three to four days, but this still remains a problematic title.

Screenshot for theHunter: Call of the Wild on PC

First of all, this is buggy as hell. Be prepared for death-by-walking, menu, interface, and, most importantly, keybinding bugs, and some weird AI behaviours, with animals that are either too high-strung, or just plain stupid. The worst thing, though, is by far the fact that mouse and keyboard users are doomed to be super noisy no matter what, as this was built with analogue controls in mind. Moreover, when it comes to the audio-visuals, this needs tons of work, as it can be quite the system hog, even on rigs that can play the latest triple-A masterpiece with ease.

…And it's not that the only issues this has are of the technical kind, as some are simply bad design choices. There are many "small" things that could be mentioned, like how the main character cannot even climb over a simple fence, but the worst thing is the progression system, which is basically centred around a tiny skill tree, which requires tons of slow grind, when it would be far better if it was a bit faster and with far more skills to choose from.

Screenshot for theHunter: Call of the Wild on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

It's not that it's a pure niche piece of software, as every single simulation game is like that. theHunter: Call of the Wild's biggest issue is that it got released in a pretty bad state, and still hasn't been fixed… And it's a real shame, because, when it decides to work, it can be quite the immersive experience and feels a lot closer to what it wants to - the best of its kind.

Developer

Expansive Worlds

Publisher

Avalanche Studios

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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