Hunt: Showdown is a wild west action game many gamers have overlooked. The wild west genre has been strangely a barren selection within the gaming community over the years. Everything from Sunset Riders, Red Dead Revolver all the way to Red Dead Redemption have ushered in vastly different approaches in this category. Despite that, the western genre has been magnificently popular in the entertainment stratosphere for decades. However, its shift to video games has been a struggle. Now, it appears that there is a newly found fondness to this genre thanks to the success of the beautifully crafted Red Dead Redemption 2. Now there’s a thirst for other IPs that involve battling throughout the frontier and one game that has needed to be checked out is Hunt: Showdown.
This title is a PVP first-person shooter that was initially launched back in 2019 for the PC and Xbox One. It then was released on the PlayStation in 2020. Although this game isn’t exactly a spring chicken, it dons a freshness to the western genre. In this title, players take control of bounty hunters who track down a variety of night beasts and monsters. The map is open-world, albeit being a small one. During matches, players must gather up clues to find out where the monsters are hiding. Then, once they find the creature they must slay it and bring evidence of the bounty to a randomly generated exit. Hunt: Showdown seems to have a hefty mix of other sub-genres into its design. Everything from The Witcher to even Dead by Daylight seems to be a fair comparison to this game. During its release window, it got buried with all the other AAA titles that came out. Therefore, many gamers were oblivious to its existence.
Paying in Blood
Hunt: Showdown is a darkly fantastical western where players must outwit their competition through their shooting skills and abilities. There are firearms aplenty, but the ammunition is hard to come by. Players will be tasked with honing their aiming skills as opposed to “spraying and praying.” Shotguns, sniper rifles, revolvers, and crossbows can be brandished. This game is a fiercely competitive PVP and PVE title that takes planning and precise execution. Currently, there are four monsters that the players must hunt down; The Spider, The Assassin, The Scrapbeak, and The Butcher. Even though this game has the flavor of a Battle Royale title, it is actually a very different animal. Matches hold up to 12 players which are broken up into squads. There is no “ring” or “storm” shrinking the map to force players to stand toe to toe. It is completely free-range and squads can go to any destination they want at any time.
Players can jump in and play solo, duo, or trio. When matches begin, the team must scramble around and garner clues as to where their monster is. This can be done by using “Dark Sight.” This is kind of like the “Eagle Vision” in the Assassin’s Creed games. The screen will become opaque, only coloring important items and locations as to where the clue is. Hence, the clues will be highlighted as to where the team can find them. Of course, this is solely dependant on the proximity between the team and the clue’s destination. Once the team tracks down the monster, then they will naturally need to kill it in order to obtain the bounty. The monsters are generally like the bosses of the map. They all have their own stats and will need specific tactics to take it down. The Butcher, in particular, is immune to fire to players will need to try other methods to slay him.
Luck of The Draw
Even though the mission seems simple enough, it is worth noting that there is dark magic intertwined into the gameplay. Once a boss is slain, players must perform a “banishing ritual” in order to fully rid of its essence. This can take quite a few minutes and other players will sniff you out to steal the bounty. This can be a tense situation, which in turn can quickly become a football match with guns. Of course, players can perform the ritual anytime they please. So, if they get their bounty, they can choose to gear up, fortify their position or just go out and frag the other team members first. The choice is up to them. Also, all the character deaths are permanent. There are no revives or cheesy respawns to be worried about. Hunt: Showdown encourages teamwork, slow pacing, and planning. The rulebook here can be pretty loose as to how gamers want to play out a match.
Sound plays a key factor in the gameplay. Everything from crunching broken glass, cracking branches, and especially gunshots all come with a long-range. Listening to the surroundings is essential to winning a match. Thus, the superb sound design also really adds to the overall theme of this universe. The maps generally all have the same motif. They take place in the marshes of Louisiana in the late 19th century. Players that dug the aesthetic in Red Dead Redemption 2 will certainly find some visual appeal to Hunt: Showdown. Players who are clamoring for something a little more seedy and gothic should consider giving this title a try. Now, in 2021 there still seems to be a fairly active fanbase still flooding the servers. This game is for a very niche group of gamers, for sure.
Round Em’ Up
Even though this isn’t a AAA game, there is still tons of content to chew on. Players can currently get this game for a relatively cheap price. Developer Crytek is still supporting this game and new content is still coming in on a regular basis. Even though Hunt: Showdown kind of slipped by on everyone’s radar, it is worth checking out. Sometimes, things that are old can become new again. Therefore, if players are growing weary of Red Dead Online, then maybe they should give Hunt: Showdown a shot. They might be pleasantly surprised.