Review – Hunting Simulator 2

A diamond in the rough (grass)

Thanks to Nacon and Neopica, For the last few days I’ve been looking over the recently released Hunting Simulator 2. While not a true to life sim, this is one which keeps pulling me back in. I am absolutely rubbish at the game, and often return from an excursion with more fines than I’ve made in sales. However it’s one which, for whatever reason, I just can’t stop myself dipping back into.

The Basics

Hunting Simulator 2 is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. You’ll roam through 6 different maps covering a substantial amount of terrain, scattered through Colorado, Texas and Europe. With different plains and forest areas, there are a few different ways to approach things, with the overarching theme of slow, steady and methodical.

It truly is a slow moving title, where planning and stealth could mean the difference between bagging a buck, or losing track of a cougar after tracking it for half an hour (I’m not bitter though). You’ll use tools such as calls, lures and even wind direction powder to ensure you stay a step ahead of your quarry.

Animal AI is fairly decent in the title, and while not entirely match grade there are some benefits. In order to avoid detection you’ll need to be slow, and ensure your scent doesn’t carry on the wind to your target. Clothing options can help you to blend into the background a little, but you’ll need to be careful even of your positioning while tracking big game.

The title has different doggy companions which bring different perks to your play, 33 different species to hunt, and over 160 different weapons, accessories and clothes. With all this you can mix up your style, and approach each outing in a way that’s right for you.

The high hides can be a real lifesaver, though waiting in one doesn’t guarantee you’ll bag anything

Parent’s Eye View

Hunting Simulator 2 is rated by PEGI at 16 and above, and by the ESRB at T for Teen. This is a single player game with no online functions, and violence covers the only problematic content here. Of course as things go with hunting, while there’s only one content issue, it doesn’t mean it’s lightweight.

You’ll be aiming to bag deer, elk, foxes, cougars, and any number of critters both large and small. You’ll be doing so with zero provocation, and more often than not you won’t take down a larger creature with just one shot. Instead, you’ll need to follow a blood trail to the animal, and will find it looking decidedly deceased.

In terms of animal cruelty, there are obviously some things to unpack here. If you’re not a fan of hunting, then this game isn’t going to be one for you. While the title contains heavy amounts of violence, it does also reflect real world hunting restrictions. You’ll face fines for leaving animals unbagged at the end of your session, for using incorrect ammunition, shooting a number of the female creatures, and even using too many shots to down your prey.

While ultimately most would agree that hunting is in no way a paragon of animal welfare, these steps go a little way to mitigate things. Overall it’s not one that I would recommend for younger players. I would agree with the listed age at 16 years or thereabouts but wouldn’t go too much younger.

The first and third person view switch is welcome, especially when in closely wooded areas

The Run Down

Visuals – Good: Sometimes the visuals in game can be really on point, and light beams coming through leaves have filled me with a warm glow on more than one occasion. There are some issues however with clipping and icon wobble, and a lot of rough edges out in the wild. One thing that I really took away is that the locations were crafted in such a way that they did look and feel real.

Audio – Good: The audio in the title is a decent showing overall. The voice acting in itself is well made, but can get repetitive as you talk to your doggy companion through the title. Animal calls are used well to notify you of nearby creatures, and other effects (mostly gunshots) are well implemented.

Narrative – Fair: There is a form of progression here, though in Hunting Simulator 2 it’s based solely around cash. You’ll earn enough to purchase different clothing, weapons and accessories which are all unlocked from the start. The only thing standing in your way is obtaining the cash to get them. Outside the initial (very light) tutorial, you’ll not have any narrative at all, simply working to bag what you can and increase your trophy cabinet at home. I’ve rated this as far as, in honesty, for this style of title I don’t really expect any more.

Replay – Good: It’s another area which puts in a good showing, but could have been a little better. Maps are a great size, and if you want to walk straight across you need to be willing to put in a decent time investment. The different skills of the companions, as well as weapons, accessories and to an extent clothing, allows you to mix things up and keep it fresh. The addition of multiplayer would have helped with replay, but in honesty for this style of wilderness exploration, the single player just feels right overall.

The vistas within the game, and the lighting effects, can often be outstanding

Overall the Pixel Bandits Calibre Level for Hunting Simulator 2 is Enjoyable. This is a slow and steady title, and should not be jumped into if you are looking for fast gameplay. In order to track and bag the larger animals, you’ll need to invest serious time and thought. There have been a number of times where I’ve spent a good while tracking, only to lose a trail and go home empty handed.

As a simulator, it does get the basics down. I’m not a hunter myself, but would have liked to have seen a little more in the way of bullet mechanics. While I don’t have the experience to give a final verdict, while I have enjoyed Hunting Simulator 2, I don’t think it’s one which should be approached as a true to life sim.

It’s definitely not going to be one for everybody, but if you’re a fan of slow and steady tactical tracking this is a decent showing. It brings expansive maps, tactical planning and easy to use tracking features which feel real enough for a layman like me. Even though I’m absolutely rubbish at it, this is one which has kept pulling me back in, emerging hours later more often than not empty handed, but still happy.

Pick It Up

If Hunting Simulator 2 has tickled your gaming tastebuds, you can grab it now on the platforms below, updated as it releases on new platforms in future;

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