What do you get when the world in the 1890s is overrun with monsters and it becomes your job to hunt them down and kill them? Need a hint? Well, I tell you, you get Hunt: Showdown but not only are you hunting monsters but you are hunting fellow humans as well. Do you still feel like you’re up for a challenge? Hunt: Showdown is a unique experience compared to a lot of games that come out nowadays. It has been around on the PC and Xbox One now for some time but has slowly made its way to the PlayStation 4 where this reviewer had the chance to get down and dirty in the 1890s as a full-blown hunter. I had read about this game in the past and hoped that one day it would make the leap to the PlayStation and my wish came true, just the concept and videos that I had seen online was enough to get my blood pumping and raring to go.
You might be wondering what Hunt: Showdown truly is, I mean I briefly gave a snippet above but now I will dive deeper into what makes this game tick. So basically it’s a PvPvE where you are a hunter that has to go out into a sandbox like a world and hunt down targets, if you are successful in killing the target then you then have to try and escape with the bounty. Sounds easier enough right? Wrong. This game is online only so it means that you’re not the only one tracking down the target and not the only one who wants to leave with that bounty.
Hunt: Showdown is split into two main game modes that both offer gripping gameplay. The first one is bounty hunt and the second one is quick to play. Quickplay pits up to 12 players against each other with randomising hunters to be the last one standing; this mode will only allow you to play solo. While in this mode the player has to close off four rifts in the world to gain access to the Wellspring. Once you have access you have to do your best to survive as all the other Hunters will try and take you down. If you die that’s it game over and you lose that hunter forever, however, if you manage to win this mode you will get to keep the Hunter and it will become a part of your roaster. If you don’t manage to close the four rifts and someone else beats you to it then your mission changes, you will then have to kill the person who has access to the Wellspring so that you can become the one who is absorbing the Wellsprings energy. In the corner, you will see the Wellsprings energy-depleting over time try and get the rifts closed quick so that you can collect as much energy as possible if you manage to survive but don’t have access to the Wellspring then your hunter still dies and is lost, imagine this like a battle royale mode but with a little twist.
However the main chunk of the game is the Bounty Hunt mode, in this mode, you can either play solo, duo or trio. All the matches follow the same premise which is, track one of the big targets, kill that target, banish the target soul so you can get the bounty tokens and then try and leave the map before other hunters kill you and steal your prize. I personally prefer quick play as it lets you play solo and you only have to worry and rely on yourself. Bounty Hunt really relies on communication and hoping that your teammates (if you chose to have them) actually help out and don’t just give away your positions or mess around. I mean trying to find a game is hard enough as people keep leaving the lobby if they see you have a low-level hunter which means you can be waiting for ages for a match but when you do eventually find one, if that team plays the game properly it is so much fun but if they just go in making noise and attracting the other monster in the game you’ll find yourself getting really angry and annoyed. The best way to enjoy this game is by getting a premade or hope that another member of the team has a mic, that way you can communicate and get a battle plan.
The biggest mechanic in Hunt: Showdown is the permadeath feature where if your hunter dies you lose that hunter and its whole loadout, which is super crazy because if you have a really high levelled hunter and accidentally muck up a bounty hunt you can lose hours of work and progress, which is truly heart-wrenching. This could be the main reason why you see such a high drop out in the lobbies as players don’t want to risk losing their hunters playing with low-level players. Though it’s not all doom and gloom if you do enter a bounty hunt and it starts going south you can high tail it out of there and go to one of the many extraction points on the map and get out with your hunter intact but of course, your reputation might not be.
On top of this as you level up you’ll unlock different traits that provide your hunters with a variety of benefits or advantages, there are traits that improve certain weapons so you can work these into your hunter’s progression path. A hunter can level up which will earn you more points to spend on them when it comes to upgrading them. Though like mentioned try not to get too attached to hunters as when they die in the field they’re gone forever as well as their loadout. Sometimes it’s better to use rubbish hunters to train and get better so that when you go out with your main ones you feel more comfortable. I started doing this where I would use low-level hunters to see if I could get good loot from other hunters to bring back and use on my mains. It doesn’t always work.
The one thing that bugs me about Hunt is its loadouts consist mainly of a lot of single fire weapons, you have a few good clipped weapons but for the most part, you find yourself either reloading all the time or trying to save every bullet you have, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s taking me some time to get used to as most games now days use full-auto guns and going back to bolt action weapons is strange but at the same time more rewarding when you manage to kill other hunters.
The game gets really tense, especially when you go out with your prized hunters. Trying to survive through the various monsters that lurk around the map, on top of avoiding the hunters and then trying to kill the big bosses, it’s a lot to take in. I find it’s better to get a battle plan before heading into the game. So whether you’re going in to hunt a hunter or whether you just going in to level up your hunter by killing the low-level monsters and then leave, it’s better to load yourself out ready for these kinds of situations. You wouldn’t go out with legendary weapons if you were just going to kill general monsters. Hunt Showdown is a perfect mix of sandbox elements and PVP which make every match different, engaging and above all worth the reward when you get to the extraction point and manage to live. However, there have been many controller throwing moments when I lose my hunters to silly mistakes or me just being too aggressive. Sadly I never learn.
Because the game features permadeath I find myself struggling with finding lobbies online. When I join a lobby with other people if they have low-level hunters they are happy to play but if you stumble across high-level hunters and you have a starter-level one they instantly disconnect and you find yourself recycling through players just to get a party that sticks, then when you are successful and you finally find a party or have given up and are going to try it solo you have to sit through slow loading times and annoying loading screens. I have made multiple teas, coffees and had loo breaks with enough time to spare while waiting for games to load. It’s a shame really as loading times in games are one of my biggest bugbears. One thing I have noticed is that the online is very buggy and has a lot of crashes, I keep getting error messages as well as being kick from the servers which is annoying while you are mid hunt or just coming out of a game. It takes forever for the game to load and it doesn’t really want to be doing it over and over again because of the servers.
Graphically it looks amazing and Crytek has done a fantastic job with setting up a perfect world and lore for their game. The main problem I have with it was the brightness of the maps; at times it was extremely difficult to see anything and even at times made it impossible to play the game as you couldn’t see anything at all. I tried adjusting brightness on my TV and looks for the option in my game but couldn’t find it anywhere, I don’t know if this is meant to be the case just to add to the fear factor to the game and to add suspense but it was very annoying when I lost hunters to monsters killing me that I couldn’t even see as well as hunters just killing me before I even hear or see them. The music in the loading screens are very catchy and the whole atmosphere when travelling around the world is perfectly done, down to the last detail of the water, weapons and even crackling of fire it’s truly breathtaking and Crytek have done wonders when setting up a new IP and making it it’s own.
There is plenty of replay value with the game as you can level up multiple hunters, unlock loads of weapons and items and of course just the fact that it has a healthy online presence at the minute so there are people playing it regularly. It has three different main bosses which are the spider, assassin and butcher and each bounty hunt will mix it upon which ones are present on the map so you won’t get bored of just fighting the same ones all the time but with the added element that you’re not the only one hunting these monsters keep you on your toes and wanting to be the best hunter out there. Then you have the quick play mode for when you want to change up the game style, so it keeps the game fresh in a sense with the use of different modes and loads of different monsters.
Hunt: Showdown is a perfect breath of fresh air when it comes to video games, it shakes away from the usual we have come to see whether that be a remaster, remake or a sequel that wasn’t really needed. Crytek has done a fantastic job of bringing something new to the table and making it better than most of the games that are currently on the market. You don’t see many new IP’s and I believe that this is one of the reasons I’m drawn to Hunt: Showdown more because it’s refreshingly challenging and awesome to play with friends. I love the lore, the monsters and the different hunters that you can get, the only thing I was torn on was the permadeath features because one minute I’d be like that’s cool but when I’m using a high-level hunter, I find myself constantly on edge while playing due to the fear of losing everything that I have but never the less I think this is one of the best things about the game as it adds a risk factor to every minute you are playing and you don’t over commit or do anything silly. For those reasons, I’m happy to give Hunt: Showdown a well-deserved score of 8/10.
Hunt: Showdown is developed by Crytek and is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC.
This review is based upon the PlayStation 4 version of the game.
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Savage, nightmarish monsters roam the Louisiana swamps, and you are part of a group of rugged bounty hunters bound to rid the world of their ghastly presence. Banish these creatures from our world, and you will be paid generously—and given the chance to buy more gruesome and powerful weapons. Fail, and death will strip you of both character and gear. Your experience, however, remains in your pool of hunters—called your Bloodline—always.
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 34.99