Hunt: Showdown is a battle royale game with a little something different. You’re not just in a team against other teams, you’re part of a duo squad (or if you’re feeling brave, solo) against monsters on a huge map. Your objective is to hunt a set of targets for bounties and escape with your prize. However, you are not alone, and other competitors are also vying for the same bounties. Developed and published by Crytek, Hunt: Showdown was released on the 22nd February 2018 and can be played on Steam early access and Xbox game preview.
Let the Hunt Begin
So, to begin, you are a hunter who is given your basic set of equipment: pistols, rifles, knives and the like. It’s then entirely up to you as to how to develop your character to best suit your playstyle. Are you the type of player who loves to shoot first and ask questions later? Then a gun with a high rate of fire is probably the way to go. Or perhaps you are the type of player who likes to take their time and read the surroundings to build a picture of who’s around and plan traps accordingly. Then weapons with silenced gear attached and the abilities to track prey may be more your thing. The beauty of this game is that no playstyle is wrong, and it’s all dependent on you.
What Type of Player Are You?
I’m the type of player who likes to take their time and see what’s happening before I make my move. Being able to ascertain what’s going on before I decide to fire is crucial for me as the world reacts to your every move. If you carelessly run and gun, the environment will send out tells of where you are. Dogs in a kennel will bark wildly if you rush by, sending out audible beacons on your location. The same with crows on a fence; they’ll flap away if you spook them. All these tells build a picture of what’s happening around you, and if you’re able to read them, you’ll know what’s going on at all times.
Monsters, Guns and Death
The gameplay for Hunt: Showdown is that of an online multiplayer. There is no offline mode, and you’ll need to play online in order to get real practice. There are a slough of weapons and gear to choose from the more you rank up. Each kill of a monster/player will net you experience that you can spend in the menus to get better gear. Ranking up will see increases to your character’s abilities, and traits and perks can be swapped depending on your playstyle. Want to run further? Equip perks for better stamina. Want to have more health after a pickup? Get the health-boosting perks to start off with more health. There are a multitude of perks to choose from when you get more comfortable with the game. Being able to see what works for you is all part of the fun.
Plus, being able to see all the monsters in the game is something to behold. Attention to detail from the monsters to the environments is what truly has me blown away. You get a true sense that you’re out in the world that Hunt: Showdown portrays. I felt like I was actually running through the swamps in fear for my life at what may lie underneath the murky depths. The lore surrounding the monsters is also detailed for those willing to take the time to find the clues as to their origins. Everything has been thought out without anything going to waste. My favourite monsters so far are the hive beings: walking swarms of pestilence and disease that spew out flies and other nasty winged critters to swarm you should you get too close.
Here is where the meat and bones of the game takes centre stage: the main bosses/marks. These are what you are after in the world of Hunt: Showdown. You’ll have to make your way across an infested map of monsters, hazardous environments and bloodthirsty players to reach them. But to reach them, you need to find clues with your Dark Sight. This trick will let you see into the hell realm for beacons of light strewn across the map. With each clue, you’ll narrow your search parameters to fewer locations for your target. Once you’ve gathered enough clues, your target will be marked on the map, ready for you to fight them.
What? You thought they’d let you take them out without a fight? These fights are tough because you often have to fight in cramped buildings and underground bunkers, depending on the target. All your wits and cunning are needed to take them on. But, if that’s not hard enough, once a mark has been found, everyone who is remaining on the map will know where the monster is. So, not only do you have to fight the bosses, you’ll also have to contend with other players potentially stealing your hard-earned trophies as well, which all makes for some exciting gameplay.
There have been many times where I was playing with my good friend kHz Darkside, and we’d find the big bosses from the get-go, only to be swarmed by players drawn to the intense gunfire. I would not have been able to play this game without the help of my good friend kHz Darkside, so thanks for the help on that. There were many times when we would be fighting off monsters, only to be slaughtered like the new players we are by other players. Which, sadly, brings me onto my next point.
The downside to this game is the matchmaking. Seeing as how we were new to it, when trying to find a game, we were always matched with players who were like gods at level 80+. This made it hard to get into the game because they had all the good gear, which is something that isn’t available at the start, so being outgunned was a constant threat. This makes it hard for new players to access and get to grips with playing the game. The reason for this must be because of the player base not being that large, which is a shame as the game itself is fantastic.
My love for this game is plain to see. It’s taking the battle royale formula and spinning it on its head. Making the environments and critters that dwell within just as much of a threat as real players makes the game tense and dramatic. Not knowing how the other players will react to the world and gathering information with your Dark Sight is an interesting feature. The boss battles are still the highlight for me, however. Nothing compares to close encounters with these hulking monstrosities (the spider boss is still terrifying to fight).
Also, a new mode has been added where you all play solo battle royale. The big boss battles are replaced with the more traditional one-on-many affair and has you fighting to the death until only one is left standing. This game mode is intense, and the monsters are still everywhere, with all the audible traps to boot for those willing to take the time to listen for them.
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: 22nd February 2018