Hunt: Showdown – Review
Crytek are back with a solid new entry, Hunt: Showdown.
Hunt: Showdown is currently in invite only alpha testing and it’s already looking good.
Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age was originally announced as under development at the Crytek USA studio in June 2014 however shortly after in July 2014 Crytek announced development would be moved from the Crytek USA studio to Crytek instead. Almost a year later in May 2017 Crytek quietly rolled out a new website and fresh teaser video for the Hunt and had renamed the project, Hunt: Showdown.
The goal of Hunt: Showdown is essentially monster hunting. You can play either solo or as a duo with a friend or a random person. You must find clues that lead you to the location of a boss monster and after it is killed, it is banished and drops bounties that players can pick up and attempt to extract from the mission with. There are several ways in which players can tackle the goal of the game. You have the option of finding the clues as fast as possible, killing the boss monster, banishing it and then taking the bounties and extracting. You can also wait for other players to kill the boss and then kill them before they extract with the bounties.
I did, in my opinion, find issues with the difficulty of the boss monsters. It’s really rather easy and currently feels like the process is designed primarily to make a lot of noise and waste ammunition. The majority of player versus player interaction will happen when the banish timer is in effect or after the bounties are taken. If the process of killing the boss was too hard then all of the player versus player interaction would likely happen before the boss was killed so I can only hope some very fine adjustments are made at some point, essentially finding the sweet spot so there’s more of a balance between player versus environment and player versus player interaction.
Visually Hunt: Showdown is absolutely stunning to look at however in it’s current state it does require some of the best hardware of today to maintain the higher frame rates that some players are used to. These issues should be rectified when graphics presets are introduced because as of right now there aren’t really any adjustable graphics settings to choose from. There was various commands and configs that you could use, to improve the frame rate a little, however to the best of my knowledge these commands are now locked as they were causing various issues.
The lack of fully automatic weapons really makes the game unique, your first shot is always important but if you do miss, it’s not unforgiving and your opponent isn’t going to spin around with an automatic rifle and accidentally shoot you in the head. The focus on semi-automatic and bolt-action rifles also really helps demonstrate individual player skill and will definitely allow for the most skilled players to out perform those of lesser ability and this is something, in my opinion, many of today’s biggest games lack as it almost feels as if they’re trying to close the skill gap and not allow the best of the best to perform.
There are, in my opinion, issues with the aiming mechanics at times. The current system requires you to hold the right mouse button in order to bring your weapon to a hip firing stance and further press shift to aim down the iron sights. I believe the system is designed this way to emphasize the importance of melee combat, as pressing the left mouse button with nothing else pressed defaults to a melee attack with whatever weapon you happen to be holding. I feel this system could be easily adapted to match the current systems in many of today’s biggest titles, by mapping melee to a keyboard button. The hip fire stance could also be set to hold right mouse button while the aim down sights could be set to a single click of the right mouse button.
Progression is also a key feature of Hunt: Showdown. It presents long term progression in account based levels, allowing you to unlock more well equipped hunters and purchase a larger variety of weapons. Short term progression is presented in character based levels, if you are killed you will lose your hunter and will have to recruit a fresh one, however if you can win multiple games, your hunter will level up and receive upgrade points which can be spent on various traits and health upgrades.
If we look past many of the issues which are expected with an alpha and focus on the game play itself, Hunt: Showdown, in my opinion, is one of the most refreshing experiences I’ve had in the last year. You feel connected to the game, every shot feels rewarding and even though the game still has a long way to go, it’s already doing the most important things so well.
It’s hard to find a game of this generation that doesn’t turn into a chore. Studios claim to listen to the community and seemingly develop in the complete opposite direction of what the community want. They try to simplify everything and close the skill gap between the best and the worst of players all in an effort to make their games more accessible to all with the hope they’ll make more money.
Hunt: Showdown feels like it’s working against this generation of simplicity and accessibility, they’re releasing updates almost daily, communicating with the community on various social media platforms and really pushing the technology of today to the limit with a game that actually looks like it should be doing so. They’re doing all of this in a genre that really hasn’t had a major hit yet and I personally think Hunt: Showdown might be that major hit.
Hunt: Showdown Alpha Key Giveaway We have five keys for the Hunt: Showdown alpha to give away, all you have to do is leave a comment below and we’ll pick five people at random at 2000 GMT on Saturday the 17th of February 2018.
The giveaway has now ended, thanks to all who participated and congratulations to the winners, Tom Bowman, Menes Mill, JakeyyyGee, TardisOne and Adir.