Hunting Simulation is a fairly niche genre of gaming as you don’t see a lot of competition in this particular field. These games also aren’t really developed and released yearly like some of the bigger Triple-A titles in the market. The last good hunting game that we would consider a benchmark for this Review came out back in 2017. That game was ‘Hunter: Call of the Wild,’ and Way of the Hunter improves upon almost each and every mechanic seen in that title.
This game also has a lot to offer in terms of quality content for its price tag. It features a massive open world environment that is filled with distinct animal species that you can track and hunt down. The natural habitats of these animals are also pretty well-designed and visually appealing for a game like this.
Way of the Hunter truly redefines the meaning of hunting simulation in video games and sets a new bar for other studios to match. The AI of animals in the world changes and responds to your behavior, which surprisingly seems to mimic real-world animal behavior. The whole thing really takes the realism in hunting games further than ever before, and we will discuss more of that in our Way of the Hunter review a bit later.
Story And Setting
In Way of the Hunter, players take control of the protagonist River, who is trying to bring back the popularity of hunting in the game’s world. River’s Grandfather owned a hunting lodge in the Northern Pacific, and he used to supply raw and fresh meat to local restaurants which in turn kept his hunting business booming. However, when the elderly hunter became bedridden, River had to step up and take over the lodge in his stead.
The Story isn’t a strong suit of the game, which is expected of a title that focuses on providing a much better gameplay experience instead. If you want, you can even completely ignore the story and freely explore the world while hunting whatever you desire.
Way of the Hunter lets you explore massive open-world environments in the USA and Europe. It successfully captures the wildlife of these regions and beautifully represents it in its open-world design. There is great attention to detail not only in the level design, but also in the various different creatures that you will encounter while exploring these locations.
While playing the review copy of the game we discovered that the gameplay is the key highlight of Way of the Hunter, as it provides the best hunting simulation experience that we’ve experienced in a game so far. The basics are like any other hunting game, and involve actions like tracking down animals and sniping them from afar. However, there is a lot of realism involved in tracking down and hunting your prey in this game as compared to other titles like Call of the Wild.
Overall, the gameplay is simple in design yet difficult to master, which can get a little frustrating for some players since hunting animals isn’t as easy as it sounds. The game requires you to explore large areas on foot and track down the footsteps of your prey, which can sometimes take minutes on end.
Animals spawn in multiple different locations at certain times of the day. These include their relaxing locations, grazing locations, and even their sleeping locations. The animals will respond to the way you hunt them and will change their locations accordingly.
Way of the Hunter even adjusts the AI of these animals depending on the types of creatures that you are hunting. If you end up spooking some creatures at a certain location, then those animals will migrate away from that region. This is exactly why stealth is the best way to play the game. The freedom of hunting, however, is not available everywhere in the open world of Way of the Hunter. You will have to buy authorization in order to hunt in some of the local regions.
Money is an important resource in this game as it not only allows you to buy better weapons, but also the authorization of hunting that I mentioned above. Driving is also available in the game to traverse larger parts of the map, however, it is not recommended to drive near hunting areas as the Jeeps are loud enough to spook the animals away from their habitats.
The game combines stealth-based gameplay with hunting, which adds to the realism of this game. Tracking down your prey for half an hour in the world, and then precisely planning your shots to hunt it down constitute some of the most satisfying gameplay sequences in the entire experience.
Call of the Wild had procedurally generated enemy spawns, but Way of the Hunter completely opposes that idea. Sometimes, you can even traverse miles without finding a single target. It all comes down to how well your skills are in tracking.
In conclusion, the overall gameplay is extremely slow-paced. However, that is actually great for simulation titles like these. It adds to the theme of the game, and makes hunting animals feel much more rewarding. You can even invite a friend in multiplayer mode and hunt cooperatively in this massive open world if you so choose. It’s always better to play with a buddy when you have to kill so much time stalking prey.
Visuals And Performance
The visuals of Way of the Hunter surprisingly feel like that of a Triple-A title. The game consists of extremely beautiful and lush environments, with gorgeous graphics that are further heightened by the amazing draw distance of each location. In fact, the draw distance here is probably some of the best that you’ll see in any game and can be truly appreciated once you zoom in with your sniper rifles.
You can actually spot animals as far as a thousand in-game yards using the binoculars, and that in itself shows the well-done the locations here are. Visuals and environments are mostly stable at long distances, however, you might face some flashing textures here and there.
Performance isn’t bad, but it is not great either. You may face some frame-rate drops and loading stutters while exploring the open world, but they occur fairly rarely. Vegetation around the maps might also unload for some time and then reload again after a while. Some crouching animations are also a bit janky and broken. Sound design can also get broken especially when it is windy in the game.
Other than the issues mentioned above, Way of the Hunter generally provides a stable experience for the most part. Additionally, these issues are not that major and can be fixed easily through a future patch update. Hopefully, the developers will solve these issues with the Day 1 patch.
Way Of The Hunter Verdict
The game sets a new bar for hunting simulation games with its world design, graphics, and gameplay. There are over a thousand different animals to hunt here. These animals additionally have certain herd mechanics and migration patterns that actually make them feel like real animals. The AI almost makes it feel like a realistic hunting experience.
It appeals to a more hardcore gamer fanbase, with its slow-paced yet rewarding gameplay mechanics. That is a trade-off for getting realism infused into the hunting experience. Aside from the minor performance issues and some bugs that you might face, Way of the Hunter is a great hunting simulation game that you can currently experience according to our review.
- Gorgeous Open World Design.
- Thousands of Distinct Animals.
- Realistic Hunting Mechanics.
- Freedom of Exploration.
- Performance Issues
- Minor Bugs
- Some Broken Animations
Way Of The Hunter – 4/5
We hope our review of Way of the Hunter has helped you in deciding whether this hunting simulation experience is for you or not.
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