When it comes to competitive online shooters most gamers think of Call Of Duty, Overwatch, or Rainbow Six: Siege. But it turns out that another game has been around, arguably far better than both, only to not achieve the same levels of success. Hunt: Showdown.
Releasing in 2018 to a largely positive reception, Hunt: Showdown is an example of a shooter that really does go above and beyond to stand apart. Most other popular shooters are based around modern military sensibilities or quirky fantasy worlds, designed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible.
Hunt: Showdown, on the other hand, goes in an entirely unexpected direction. It is a dark, disturbing mashup of the civil war era and a hideous fantasy world plagued by undead, creating perhaps the most unexpected video game experience in years.
Crytek is most known for the ground-breaking Crysis, releasing in 2007. The single player shooter blew gamer’s minds with unbelievable graphics that were light years ahead of everything else. Since then, however, Crytek has not managed to similarly grab the attention of gamers.
But the studio’s pedigree for impressive graphics does carry through to Hunt: Showdown. It is an incredibly good looking game with astonishingly realistic lighting, all the better for players to gaze upon the depressing civil war era maps. Though, players better not look too close or they may find themselves genuinely disturbed. Dying horses and rotting corpses litter the ramshackle buildings, decaying barns, and gloomy swamps.
Hunt: Showdown is genuinely unsettling to look at, and that isn’t even taking into account the sound.
All About Sound
The game is a based around online player versus player versus environment (PvPvE.) The objective is to hunt down a Lovecraftian monster, banish it, then escape with the contract to win. The twist is that other players are all after the same contract, guaranteeing that shootouts occur. Though, guns are slow, cumbersome and take an age to load, making this about as far from Rainbow Six: Siege as could be asked for.
Additionally, the gameplay is firmly based around sound. Stealth is strongly encouraged, with sneaky ambushes being the order of the day. But triggered environmental sounds give away player positions, with shrieking zombies, gunshots, and flocks of cawing crows heard clear across the map. All in all, it is a tense gameplay experience that will certainly have nerves on edge. In fact, many players may prefer to simply settle for the Bingo Canada offers instead.
Hunt: Showdown is a tense, surprisingly realistic shooter. Each bullet does high damage, though this is apt, given how slow weapon rates of fire are. Player exchanges are, by design, the polar opposite of something like Rainbow Six: Siege. But it isn’t the shooting mechanics that are the biggest success. It is the horror.
That a game manages to be truly disturbing, as well as a successful online shooter, is nothing short of impressive. Horror in itself is difficult, achieving it in a shared world is a miracle.