First, before I launch into my review I will attempt to qualify a few things.
From an early age, I was a fishing boy, that is, my Dad had me out at all hours, sat by rivers, reservoirs, and canals, and twice a year, by the sea, fishing. I made friends with a lad at school when I was 10 who's father was a part time game keeper, and who raised pheasants, for a land lord. By the age of 11 I was toting an air rifle, and though my family wasn't involved in guns or shooting, and my Mum wasn't whole heartedly into the idea, they did support me, enquire about the sport, and take an interest, as I was out with my friend most weekends. By the age of 16 I was shooting 12 boreshotguns, and my fishing was still a passtime I enjoyed with my Dad, I also looked forward to those long Sundays, a flask of tea, and a wet hedge to sit it, waiting for an unsuspecting pigeon to make my whole day worth it I have never shot a deer in my life, but haveoften wondered at the skills involved, and I do understand the need for culling. Whether or not YOU agree, or indeed would ever even consider participating in a blood sport of this sort, depends on whether you should continue reading this review.
I hope that you read it AS A GAME. You need never be involved in the real thing. You can buy the game, and even then, it's a case of WHERE to buy it, as mine is from the US. Try as I might, I couldn't find it for sale here in the UK.
Which is a shame, because its a very good game engine. ANd I truly have no idea (bad joke. No Eyed Deer) which game engine it is, but its very good indeed.
OK, lets start with the bad bits, the Red Neck, Hill Billy jokes, the bad music, and the very fact that the menu screen is "Out Front" of a log cabin. The bit where the rocking chair goes, for grandma on The Waltons. Yeah, thats the menu area.
To create your "Hunter" involves a fairly basic spreading of your Skill Points to various areas of skill, such as Animal Calls, Tracking, Stealth, etc. You may well find, as I did, that you get it all wrong first time. Maybe thats because when I spend my time lying in a wet hedge waiting for a rabbit to eat ina stew, I keep dead quiet, I do not deliberately blow a tube to impersonate a horny doe in need of a good rogering. But that's what you have to do in this game. Sounds dire, huh? Well, mine was, cos I didn't put anywhere nearenough skill points into that, and I was clearly scaring the bejesus out of the poor sods
Moving on, choose two weapons, lots of choice and you have single shot bolt actions, pump action shot guns, and more subtle scoped rifles, compound bows, pistols and some older exotica. I have found myself in the apstfishing with very old rods and reels to experience my gradfathers age of fishing, in real life, so why not have some old stuff in games Can you tell I was warmingto it by now? Well, I was, and am.
Then onto a variety of spray bottles with either Scent to attract quarry, or things to kill off my own scent. Then there's Maps and GPS. Cleverly you need both really, as the contour lines show on both, but you need both to work out your route to water, woods etc.
Once loaded up with as much as you can take, including choosing a Horse if you want, infra red movement detectors!! and other electronic gimmicks (though you lose points for certain things that aid you too much) you choose your vast array of hunting, such as Oregon, or Australia (no boundary here, hell its got loads of places) and hit HUNT.
Blimey. /slaps thigh like a proper varmint hunter.
Are those trees really waving slowly in the wind? Is that an Eagle I can hear? /looks up, yup, and a shadow across the floor. Cani hear geese down on that lake ? /takes out binoculars...yup ?
Crouch. The grass is moving and there is different sorts of grass too.
Pulls rifle from shoulder and up comes the scope, to eye level. OK, now I'm impressed, because that pinetree has cones, and the bark looks good. The water is a bit suspect but we'll let that go shall we?
I should add that the Medusa 5.1 headphones and my M-Audio Revolution 7.1 then gave me such an adrenaline rush because I heard a hoof....then another, and as I spun around I spotted that buck, and it was less than 100 metres away.
I lined up, the cross hairs wobbling a tiny amount, and then let her fly.
God the BANG that echoed around the valley, AND the two other female deer that hadn't seen scarpered off, but the recil was so huge I lost site of my quarry Had I hit? Drop the rifle and see the majesty of the buck thundering up the ridge and into the rising sun.
How the HELL had I missed that one? Should have been a clean head shot? Then it occurs. The rifle is zeroes much further out than that, and the bullet must have shot right over his proud head.
Now how long to wait? Well, in the game mene you choose the time multiplier, so 1 minutes in lifeis 10 minutes in game and so I walked along a rather lovely path, as the clock ticked by and found myself simply walking to see the sights. And what sights they are. This is REALLY hilly. Steep steep hills, and that adds so much that I cannot explain and so have made a small film of the scenery, using Movie Maker, for you all to see. Watch it a few times, as you get to see branches waving and grass moving. PM for a link.
Back to the game: I found my way, using GPS and Map to a wooden tower, and climed it, and there, deep n the valley, were a pair of small Black Tails. I pulled my binocs, and held them over the quarry, and the screen told me "Hunters Guess" with weight and breed.
SO I crept down the tower, got on my belly and crawled for bleedin' ages..... everynow and then I raised to a crouch, sprayed a bit of scent stomper (silly name I know) and looked at the wind direction icon in the screen corner, and readjusted my approach.
I was so excited....its a game man,.....a game!!
But as I approached the deer were drinking in the lake, and moving so slowly and calmly, just thought "too easy"
So I watched. Funny old world, when you watch a fake "nature" at work, just to enjoy it.
A noise behind me, and asI turned I spotted a large hare looking at me!!!
And squirrells messing around in the leaf litter. A quick scroll through the invetory, and I discover I have brought Deer Food!! So I plant it, and back off. But naturally the wind is blowing the wrong way,as I deliberately came round to be down wind myself.
Just then a deer steps out of the water, and I line up the scope sites, judge a chest shot is best and squueze the mouse button/trigger.
WOOHOOOOOO......THWACK. Down it goes, proper ragdoll, bending at the wasit, frontlegs buckling, and she's finished.
The other one runs for cover and I quickly reload and aim for a daring (and silly) moving shot.
WARNING YU ARE NOW ILLEGAL. NEVER SHOOT LIVE QUARRY OVER OPEN WATER AS YOU CAN'T RETRIEVE AND INJURED ANIMAL. IT IS INHUMANE. No scores for thishunt will count.
Well, the bugger is even ethical!! In a blood sport kinda way.
So, should you own it? If you can, that is. If you like hunting, yes. If you were making a FPS shooter and wanted to see real scenery in action you should get it and show it to your programers too.
I cannot wait to be online Multi Player in this? My good friend, and real life genuiney good shot, Tumble, assures me that we don't need to spend all day in a boutique choosing matching Real Tree Camo trousers
But on voice coms, online, its gonna rock
If you like the idea, its a 7/10
If you don't like the idea is a 2/10 but I gaurantee you'll still be quite impressed with the views