Hunt: Showdown had a pretty low-key release in 2019. It still managed to quickly pick up a lot of interest, generating somewhat of a cult following. Now with its PS4 release last month, the resurgence has begun. I got to play while it was in early access on PC and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Leading up to the PS4 release I managed to get my hands on an Xbox One copy. Then more recently I managed to play it on a PS4 Pro as well. So if you have no idea what Hunt: Showdown is, bear with me as I try my best to explain.
If you are only interested in the performance on each platform you can skip to the end.
Hunt: Showdown Review
Crytek’s Hunt: Showdown includes some of my favourite elements of gaming. That tension, anticipation and dread that is met with euphoria upon success. If anyone has played The Division you may know what i’m referring to.
That feeling the first time you went into the Dark Zone; oh man! Just imagine that tension but all the time…and with zombies! Hunt: Showdown has a wonderful mishmash of gameplay, aesthetics and themes. It has a small scale battle royal feel, monster hunting and constant tension.
Yet even with all the different mechanics and features it works, really well. This is all smashed into a late 1800’s style Louisiana Bayou theme. It has a great soundtrack to emphasise the feel of it as well.
The core of the game is built around hunting monsters for bounties. You go into a session and need to track them down by finding clues. The hunter can use a power called dark-vision which helps find them.
Sounds pretty easy right?
Wrong, the supernatural creatures you’re sent to hunt seem to ooze their bad juju throughout the area. This means there is a swath of undead making your life difficult. Very much in the vein of Left 4 Dead, there is your standard zombie. But you will also come across those nastier variants like the armoured. They have more unique abilities and generally are harder to deal with. And if you’re thinking “meh zombies aren’t so bad”, well how about adding other players that intend to beat you to the quarry.
Steep competition is what really keeps you on edge in this game. Once you find enough clues it will give you the location of the bounty. You must find, kill and banish the bounty monster.
But that’s not all, you must extract the token you receive from banishing the monster. At any point, other players can end your hunt by taking you out and taking the rewards for themselves. Getting that bounty though, and successfully extracting it, really feels like a huge achievement.
Even with all the creepy supernatural and gruesome bosses, the truly scary part of this game is permadeath. You have a grace period up to rank 10. After that, if you die that character is gone permanently.
This means you start with a new character at level 1. The first time is heartbreaking but not all is lost. Once you start learning the game you certainly become more confident but equally cautious. Caution is a concept you will need to take on board.
You can play this game in completely different ways but slow and steady can really win the race. Of course, if you are confident in your mechanical ability, simply go in loud and take out the competition. The gunplay can seem sluggish at first but as time went on I really enjoyed it. It feels like the weapons have an impact when hitting something. It also suits the style of the weapons, due to it’s setting the guns do feel old.
The primary game mode to play is the Bounty Hunt mode. Think of it as the ranked or hardcore mode. The risk is greater but so are the rewards. But obviously you can’t win every match you play. So to alleviate the pain of those perma-deaths you can also go into a quick play match. It’s a quicker game mode and you don’t lose your character if you die.
This mode is great if you need to build up some cash. You will need a ton of funds if you want to better equip yourself. As you rank up you will gain access to new weapons and items. There is a vast array of these unlocks to strive for. As well as a massive perk system, these can really make a difference to your game.
The true achievement of this game by Crytek is the sound. I don’t think I’ve played a game that’s so reliant on sound that got it so right at the same time. From broken glass on the ground to a murder of crows, everything in the world can give you away. Shooting a zombie is usually not a great idea if you are trying to lay low.
Believe me, when I say, everything you do gives off some sort of audio cue. Oh, and the sound headshot makes on a zombie is possibly the most satisfying sound you’ll ever hear. Visually it is not the prettiest game out there but the gritty theme means that doesn’t matter. In saying that it does have that detail the CryEngine is known for. That being said it entirely depends on what you’re playing on, but the game can look great with the right settings. The creature design is done so well that I still get a feeling of dread seeing certain enemies.
As for the differences in platforms, I found it performed well on all. PC as always entirely depends on what you’re running. I barely noticed any bugs or performance issues. The major difference was PC felt a faster pace than to console, a trait typical of shooters.
The visuals on my PC were fantastic and really made the world feel alive. As for on a standard console, I played a standard Xbox One. I had very little in the way of performance issues. The visual aspects were lacking compared to my PC, this in no way took away from the gameplay though.
It was somewhat jarring at first since I was used to PC but it still ran and played well on the Xbox One. For all those standard PS4 players out there don’t stress, it will run well. As for the PS4 Pro, I will admit I was rather surprised. Hunt: Showdown looked great. It also runs really well, barely any bugs that I’d experienced.
There was the occasional texture pop but it in no way breaks the game. The all so impressive audio was consistent across all platforms.
Hunt: Showdown, to put it simply, is one of the best shooters I’ve played for a while. It has so much to offer for a couple of different genres. It has horror, competitive PVP, fantastic gunplay and the list just keeps going.
This game really is an oxymoron of games, new yet familiar, terrifying yet fun. I’m looking forward to seeing more content in the future. Although what is out now is fantastic, new monsters and maps down the line will give this game a better shelf life.
Really that is the only negative thing I can say about the game, the content can get a bit samey after a while. Otherwise, I feel like people should at least have a look at it. This game certainly isn’t for everyone but those who play will find something to enjoy. My only advice is to stay away if you have heart problems.
But ff you like FPS, Horror, swamp stomping, zombies, slaughtering monsters and anxiety; give this game a chance.
Hunt: Showdown was reviewed on Xbox One using a digital copy provided by the publisher.
Game Title: Hunt: Showdown
Game Description: A mixture of FPS in a PVP/PVE romp, with zombies.