Hunt: Showdown (PC) Review

By Athanasios 16.04.2020

Review for Hunt: Showdown on PC

Competitive shooters have been around for quite some time, yet the genre hasn't exactly seen much innovation, as you either have simple, run-and-gun arena shooters, or squad-based multiplayer, with little variation between titles. That isn't to say that Hunt: Showdown shakes the foundation of the industry, but it surely tries something that, at the very least, feels different than before, as it fuses together elements of both PvP and PvE, with a strong hint of survival horror thrown in as well. Enter the Louisiana swamps, then, and become both predator and prey, with your every move having the possibility of being your last, with Crytek's hardcore, niche shooter.

'Hunters' are bounty… err, hunters that specialise in killing monsters. Good thing, then, that the swamps of 19th century Louisiana have been invaded by a mysterious force that has turned the local fauna into all sorts of baddies, from zombies and mutants, to giant spiders and apparitions. The equipment of Hunters is comprised of what you would expect from the era this takes place into, with revolvers, single-shot rifles, crossbows, and the like - all requiring a slow, manual reload. Ammo is relatively scarce, thus Hunters also carry some short of melee weapon, as well a couple of tools, like makeshift bombs, and, thankfully, one can also find throwable lamps, bear traps, and many more.

Don't expect running like an idiot, killing foes by the dozen, though. Taking a page from survival horror, the player character is - surprisingly - slow and fragile, with combat not always being the best solution. A Hunter must be aware of making noise, keeping an eye on corpses that may or may not be alive, be conservative with resources, and rely more in strategy than gunplay. In reality, though, these creatures aren't here to kill Hunters. They are here to wear them down, and, most importantly, to make hiding a little bit more difficult. Hiding from who, you ask? Well, from none other than what is, without a single doubt, the numero uno threat in here: other Hunters.

Screenshot for Hunt: Showdown on PC

At the core of each level, or 'Contract,' is a specific beast that must be slain, and finding it requires searching for three clues that essentially show were exactly this is, with each clue found excluding a part of the map from your search - but others want to kill it as well. Do you go straight for the "boss?" Is it better to wait for someone else to kill it, and then steal the bounty? Well good luck with either choice. Getting the bounty, though, isn't the end of the match. Hunters must also reach an extraction point, which means that every single Hunter left will chase them down. Oh, and never forget, that once dead, the Hunter and equipment, are gone forever!

The perfect word to describe Hunt: Showdown is 'tense.' This critic has been a gamer for more than 25 years, and this manages to get his heartbeat rise substantially, and even after many matches. Even without this ruthless permadeath system, the attempt to explore such a large region can be quite the riveting experience. More jungle than a place where people - used to - live, there are tons of hiding spots, as well as things that can alert nearby enemies. Sound is literally one of the most important aspects of Hunt: Showdown, with players having to avoid stepping on cans, scaring birds, agitating caged dogs, and so on, and make sure to exploit the environment to confuse the opposition.

Screenshot for Hunt: Showdown on PC

Unfortunately, the more one plays, the easier it gets to see the cracks. For starters, from weapons, to AI enemies, to the maps that one can play, this simply lacks the variety expected from a full price release. Plus, there are only two modes to choose from. The main one is the 12-player-max bounty hunt, where the map, the monsters, and the time of day are randomly chosen, with you being able to form teams of up to three, or just play solo. Then there's Quick Play, the all-or-nothing mode which offers a quicker match for ten individual players, who race to scavenge gear and close a couple of dimensional rifts, while also trying to survive, as there can only be one winner.

Luckily, this isn't such a big problem. This being an online shooter, a grind would soon set in, large amount of content or not. What saves the day is that this is actually so immersive and addicting that it doesn't really matter. It's a new and exciting take on the 'battle royale' formula that can even please those who aren't really into that, or multiplayer games in general. Exciting, however, doesn't necessarily mean perfect. Hunt: Shodown, is one of those products that have left Early Access, yet still feel like they are still there, with a vast amount of optimisation and balance issues everywhere you look. Fortunately, on the connectivity side of things, this critic found absolutely no problems.

Screenshot for Hunt: Showdown on PC

Even with those flaws, this still remains a big recommendation. Not for everyone, though. Time to talk about the big elephant in the room: the permadeath that was briefly mentioned. This is forced on you. There's no alternative. Died? Gear and experience points gone. The only thing kept is the 'Bloodline' rank, which is basically the account tier that unlocks the perks and equipment that a Hunter can use - but one still needs to put plenty of work in order to gather money and levels to purchase those items, and equip those boosts. Players get some time before permadeath activates, but that won't be enough, as most will reach the necessary rank in about two or so hours.

Yes, this this is part of what makes this such a fun ride. This is an unforgiving experience, which will keep you on the edge from the moment it starts, but this means that it's a title for a specific kind of gamer. Sure, there's matchmaking here, but it's flawed, and, more importantly, not enough, as the bulk of the player base consists of 200-hour veterans, with plenty of 1000+ ones as well. Should this go easy on newcomers? Certainly not! It should, however, provide more options, like the ability to create custom matches, with different rules, and thus punishments, and maybe implement some bot Hunters, letting people train as they wish, before getting into Hunt: Showdown's "raw" form.

Screenshot for Hunt: Showdown on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Hunt: Showdown is a great blend of battle royale and survival horror; one that is an enjoyable, but also unbelievably tense, and merciless gaming experience. Apart from being quite rough around the edges, its unrelenting nature (courtesy of its surprisingly cruel permadeath mechanic), and almost awful matchmaking logic, make this a game for only a few - a few who must put hundreds of work on it, if they don't won't to spend most of their time staring at the words "You're Dead!"

Developer

Crytek

Publisher

Crytek

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

12

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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