With the gaming world inundated with horrendous Battle Royale games like Fortnite and Apex I personally am sick to death of the flood of these games being released and was dubious when I first heard that Hunt: Showdown was coming to consoles. Luckily Crytek have avoided the mass Battle Royale and instead gone for 2v2 action. Throw into the mix a load of AI nightmarish creatures such as the undead, giant spiders, monsters hiding in rivers and more it mixes up the online survival/shooter genre nicely.
Hunt: Showdown takes place in Louisiana in 1895. A secret society of bounty hunters has the high-risk, high-reward task of clearing the bayou of various horrors, creatures of such monstrous description and strength that they seem all but impossible to destroy. Of course, while the environment and its mutilated inhabitants pose a threat, other bounty hunters are usually the most dangerous enemies to watch out for.
I’m going to start this review off on negatives with the game unfortunately.
I received my review copy a week or so before the game was officially released and told that any reviews couldn’t be published until that release day. Amazingly I installed the game and excitedly loaded the game up ready to take on the world I was thrown into, only to find that Crytek hadn’t switched on the servers (its online only). After a few messages to the developers I got the response that they weren’t turning the servers on until the day of release.. well, that cancels out any reviewers doing them favours by releasing the reviews on day 1 for the game. It also set alarm bells ringing for me; if there were no servers running for the game then surely they cant have been stress tested! Surely enough, when release day came I loaded up the game and matchmaking times for finding a team mate, then to find teams to play against were horrendous. Then I was left waiting for a good couple of minutes while the level loaded for me. That was what I was afraid of and surely enough my fears came true. It stayed like that for the first few days of playing the game until the point I gave up on it completely for various reasons, not just the terrible servers.
I found terrible detection issues as well. By that I mean that when I was shooting at the AI monsters with them dead in my sights (pun intended) the shots would seemingly go straight through them, or there was a delay between the shot hitting and the game actually acknowledging that you had done that giving said monster a couple of seconds to take those few extra steps and deal damage to you before it dropped to the floor dead.
The colour pallette within the game is too washed out for my liking. Yes, the undead roam the wilds during the day but due to the overall colours being very similar I struggled to see them at the best of times. Even changing settings on my PS Pro and in game settings did nothing to alleviate this. Also, whilst I mention my Pro, the game does not support HDR either and the frame rate is locked to 30fps which does make the game feel jerky at times. 1895 Louisiana is well designed, the muggy swampland is filled with thick brush, old Civil War-era buildings, and a general rustic appearance however.
Then we move onto the overwhelming amount of bugs that the game has (at least for me). Reflections on water surfaces that shouldn’t be there, AI monsters that are blurred or blocky obviously not generating correctly within the game suggesting a server sync issue. Doors that are interactive in the game with texture pop-ins as you get close to them.
Move beyond the blatant issues the game has and it could actually be a great game and considering it has been around for a couple of years on Steam now, the PS4 release is sub-par at best.
There are two main game modes to get stuck into, Quickplay and Bounty Hunt. As the name suggests, Quickplay focusses on shorter rounds lasting 15 minutes or so tasking players with finding springs of energy and collecting as much as they can before the other team do the same thing. Bounty Hunt is where the main gameplay comes from. Set in expansive maps the game can last for a good hour or so. The idea with this game mode is to seek out and kill a boss creature. To do this, you must track down its lair by finding three clues scattered around the map at random locations however you can stumble across it as I did numerous times as it spawns at the start of the match rather than after the clues have been found. After you kill the boss you will need to cast a banishing ritual and collect the bounty and then try and escape the map by getting to an extraction point. All the while this is going on you are still playing against another team of bounty hunters who want that bounty as well and they are looking to take you out the same way you are trying to do the same to them.
The more games you take part in, the more XP and money you will receive to help level up your character as well as expand your arsenal of weapons. One twist however is that your character can get killed in the game and you stand the chance of losing him altogether meaning that you will have to start from scratch with someone else and level them up, but any weapons that you have unlocked stay unlocked and luckily they’re not too expensive to buy again. It does tend to get rather repetitive though and for me the game doesn’t offer enough excitement to keep me wanting to come back.
The game encourages you (every single time you load the game up *sigh*) to play with headphones on. This is not just for the ability to chat to your teammate, but the in game sound does work a lot better this way giving you a 3D immersion with your surroundings. There are traps set up everywhere, tin cans dangling on strings and is a good warning of a monster creeping up on you from behind. Its one of the better parts of the game, Crytek do seem to have worked well on the sound quality and effects.
There is no single player in this game other than training missions which give you an idea of what you’re supposed to in the game, so if you are looking for a decent challenge to play by yourself, this isn’t for you. It’s perfect for those that are in it for the long haul if you can get past all the issues, but for the release price of £35.99 I would advise saving your money until the price drops way below the £20 mark. There simply isnt enough content to justify the price it has been released at.
Now I do hope that the issues are dealt with in patch releases as I have said, it could be a good game, but at the time of writing this it is just not worth the excitement that seems to have built around the release. I can only give the game a 6.5/10 at the moment. Give me more content and fix the issues and the game will be deserving of a much higher score.
**PLEASE NOTE** AIR Entertainment were supplied with a review copy of the game. This has in no way influence my views on the game as per our Review Policy.