Being a bounty hunter used to be a dream of mine. No, I’m actually serious. Ever since I witnessed Boba Fett, one of the greatest intergalactic bounty hunters of all time, being all badass, I envisioned myself as him. Whenever given the chance, I tend to lean towards bounty hunters, or just hunters overall, in games. Bounty hunters aren’t afraid of death, will do whatever it takes to survive, and have an arsenal of weapons to play with — and that’s what makes them so awesome.
During GDC 2019, we had the chance to be a bounty hunter in Hunt: Showdown on Xbox One. While the Crytek-developed game didn’t exactly let me live my Boba Fett dream, it did let me be a badass bounty hunter. Oh, and it’s important to mention, that Hunt: Showdown will end up being one of the most beautiful, addicting, and thrilling games that you’ll ever play when it comes to Xbox One Preview sometime this spring.
Right from the get-go, it’s easy to tell that Hunt: Showdown looks just as spectacular on Xbox One than it does on a juggernaut PC. With previous releases like the Crysis series and Ryse: Son of Rome, Crytek is obviously a pro when it comes to graphics and it shows with Hunt: Showdown on Xbox One. It’s basically impossible to not be amazed by the terrific realistic look of the game, and be absolutely immersed in its dark, tense atmosphere that’s greatly enhanced with Hunt: Showdown’s lighting engine. Regardless of what time cycle is set, whether it be clear as day or foggy as can be, players end up feeling dread and excitement as they set out to hunt and kill to win.
Having an impressive look is completely fine and dandy, but you may be wondering if going on a hunt or two in Hunt: Showdown is worth it. Even with my short time with the game, I can easily say that yes, it’s worth it, but also, that you’ll be wanting to go multiple hunts — over and over again. To describe Hunt: Showdown simply, it’s an online multiplayer first-person shooter, but really, it’s that but with a nice dash of horror, survival, and PvE elements, which makes it one heck of a unique game.
Each match has five teams of two players that are on a mission to hunt down and kill menacing, demonic monsters in exchange for bounties. While this may sound simple enough, it’s not. Not only do players need to go out and kill a monster here and there, but players also need to watch out for other opposing team players. So the term, “survival of the fittest” fits well with how Hunt: Showdown works. Every step, every shot, and just every action in general needs to be taken into consideration as one wrong move can result in an unfortunate and regretful death. It’s up to the player to decide how they want to hunt.
Unlike most shooters, dying in Hunt: Showdown actually has harsh repercussions that make playing the game even more intense. If players die, they not only lose their hunter, but they also lose their weapons, equipment, and a few abilities — so dying isn’t exactly ideal. However, regardless of a player’s experience, dying is ultimately inevitable given the circumstances (deadly hunters and monsters) in each match. This may turn away a few players as they might get frustrated by how death is handled, but for me, I genuinely like that dying doesn’t just result in a quick and easy respawn — it means that players need to be more cautious and tactical. Death is a punishing learning experience in Hunt: Showdown.
To survive, it’s not only important to hunt wisely but to also pay attention to sounds around you. The audio design in Hunt: Showdown is wonderfully done as players can truly get a feel for what’s going on simply by listening. When in a match, every sound like distant gunshots, spine-tingling moans from monsters, and movements from other players can be heard. To be safe and sound in Hunt: Showdown, listening is vital.
What’s not vital, however, is having to set a chunk of time to play the game. Players don’t need to worry about matches lasting for hours as they generally take just about 15 to 20 minutes to finish. However, I can imagine that when I get a chance to really play the game, I’ll be saying “just one more game” time and time again. Each match I played was a thrill, but I’m sure that if all the players ended up sitting still the whole time, matches could’ve gotten a bit dull. However, this is a problem that several survival games can potentially run into — hopefully, it won’t be the case for Hunt: Showdown, though.
No matter what happens, Hunt: Showdown for Xbox One is going to end up instantly capturing the attention of any player that plays it. With its extraordinary look and atmosphere, tense and enjoyable gameplay, and well-done sound design, we definitely can’t wait to play more of Hunt: Showdown, especially since the developer has solid plans to support the title after its release.
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