Right straight off the bat let me just say I’m not a hunter, so going into Hunting Simulator 2 was going to be my first experience with a hunting simulation game and killing animals in the wild. At least I can do it in the comfort of my own home and know that no animals were harmed in the making of this review… well that’s if you don’t class virtual ones. However, after seeing the trailer in the PlayStation store I was drawn to its open-world areas, its beautiful scenery and above all its loveable canine companies. The idea of Hunting animals and having a dog help you out on paper sounded like a lot of fun but sadly once I started playing it was merely full of bland gameplay with the addition of a dog by your side. That is of course if you choose to take it on the hunt with you. I was playing the PlayStation 4 version of the game so without further delay let’s jump into the main review.
With it being a simulation game there isn’t much of a story going for it unless you make one for yourself. You can choose between a male or female hunter and from there begin your journey into Hunting Simulator 2. You start the game with a basic tutorial that shows you the fundamental and give you your first dog company which is a Beagle. Once completed you can go off into six different locations that are grouped into three geographical areas, these being Colorado, Texas and Europe which each have two areas for you to go and hunt. Each of these areas has different animals available for you to hunt and come with their own unique environments that add to the games setting and overall feel.
So the first thing you have to quickly adjust to with Hunting Simulator 2 is that it is a simulator and not a game. This may sound weird but after playing it for a few hours it really makes sense. So with it being a simulator running around all the time isn’t possible and you will find yourself walking everywhere for the most part and have to take everything into consideration while hunting. You’ll need to think about wind direction, the sounds you’re making and also the distance between you and the animals you’re hunting. For me, personally not being a hunter I didn’t realise how strict the rules are when it comes to hunting. You have to make sure you have the right licences for everything that you are hunting, using the correct weapons and rounds on the correct things, making sure that you don’t shoot something to many times as well as making sure that you’re not killing female animals of certain species. Once you get your head around this you can then start to fully appreciate the game. It makes sense as you wouldn’t use a firearm that is used for primarily taking down Deer, Elk and bison on something like a turkey or rabbit you will blow it to smithereens, however in the early hours of the game it is very frustrating finding animals in the wild only to be told that it’s not the correct calibre or that it is a female. Though once you have found something that ticks all your boxes like you have the right gun, licences and it’s a male you can take your shot. Once you have either killed it with a clean shot or hiked across the map after it until it bleeds out you can send it back to your cabin. When you are done hunting you can return to your cabin to either collect your hunt as a trophy or sell it for credits.
While out hunting you will come across campsites which act as fast travel locations due to the maps being quite big and taking a while to travel from one end to the other. On top of this, you will also come across towers and blinds that allow you to get vantage points on animals and give you a better shot. One of my biggest bugbears with the game is that walking takes forever, you literally have to walk everywhere to make sure you don’t scare animals and give yourself away. I understand why this is a thing but personally I just found myself getting annoyed and easily distracted. Though once I found some tracks or saw an animal, my engagement with the game picked up again. You will find that by walking around you are rewarded by coming across more animals put pacing wise it is just frustrating.
Even though you have a dog it isn’t always a good idea to bring them along for the hunt, you can bring them with you to help track and find the animals but ultimately when you have your prey insight it will be wise to tell your dog to hang back so that it doesn’t scare the animal or give your position away. I found out the hard way and would sometimes even just not take the dog with me. You can praise your dogs for doing a good job and even pet them to raise their drive and making them better at finding tracks, poop and other clues to help track down animals in the wild. There are three different dogs in the game, these being a Labrador Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer and a Beagle. The beagle you get in the tutorial and the others can be bought from the shop using credits.
The main problem that I had with this game was that there wasn’t an end game or an overall goal. Yeah, I know I can go out hunting and do this for ages but what is the point once I have got one of each animal in my hunting lodge or have my perfect load out? It would have been nice to have missions or even challenges available that rest daily. It could have even done location challenges or animal challenges like hunt the biggest bear or something like that. I understand that it’s a simulation game but it ultimately has to give the player something to work towards otherwise what would be the point.
Graphically, Hunt Simulator 2 has its high points and low points. The High points are the detail that goes into the different animals, weapons and clothing but the low is pretty bad with poor tree textures, rendering issues and a lot of clipping on your dog companion. From the trailer, the game looks beautiful but when jumping in-game I felt a little disappointed as it seems like a rendered down version of what I saw in the trailer. Don’t get me wrong some locations look stunning it’s just when you look through binoculars or through a scope and see half rendered trees it’s not very pleasing. I felt at first that there was a lack of audio in the game, for example, a soundtrack when out hunting but after a while, I realised that this wasn’t the case because the soundtrack is the sounds of nature that you find yourself captivated by when playing Hunting Simulator 2. Sure you get relaxing music playing in the hunting lodge which serves as the main hub for the game but when you are out hunting it’s so peaceful just hearing the water rushing by, the sounds of the animals and the wind in the background. This game perfectly captures the outdoors and is by far one of its bestselling points. I love as well that everything gets but on display in the hunting lodge, with all your trophies, weapons and even a cute little bed for your dog. It really gives you something to work toward in the early hours of the game to try and collect one of each animal as well as the best weapons for the job.
The game has as much replay value as you are willing to give it, I mean once you have collected all the weapons, customised your hunter with the equipment you want it then becomes a game of trophies. So going out and hunting to get the best animals for your collection in your characters lodge. There isn’t a multiplayer feature and because it lacks a story there really isn’t much to complete other than hunting and collect one of each animal available in the game. Don’t get me wrong this does offer you hours of gameplay but for me personally, I found myself getting easily bored, distracted and ultimately just saying this isn’t the game for me.
Hunting Simulator 2 is not my cup of tea however, this doesn’t mean it can’t be yours. It offers relaxing gameplay with bursts of excitement when you take that perfect shot or moments of sheer anger when you just miss the mark. With the lust landscapes and big environments to track across you’ll find yourself getting sucked into the game and watching the hours tick by. With the added bonus of licensed gear and firearms, it really helps with the whole realism and simulation feel. However, as I mentioned before the problems with the graphics, the lack of a goal and sometimes just the feel of nothing happening, takes you away from the good moments you have with Hunting Simulator 2. With the video games that I have on my shelf and the time I have to play them this one sadly loses out because I just don’t have the time or patients with it but that’s not the fault of this game. If you love Simulation games and are a hunter in real life then you might be drawn to this and I can honestly say you’ll find some enjoyment in it but for me personally, I’m putting my guns down and walking away from it. For those reasons, I’m going to have to give Hunting Simulator 2 a 6/10.
Hunting Simulator 2 is developed by Neopica and Published by Nacon
Hunting Simulator 2 is available on the following Platforms PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
This review is based on the PS4 version of the game.
Enjoy the review? want to read more of our reviews? then click right here to be whisked away to the realm of our opinions.
Hunting Simulator 2
In stunning natural environments, choose your gear from the best official weapons and accessories and set off with your dog in search of a variety of animal species in this hunting simulation.
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 34.99
Product In Stock: SoldOut