The Hunter: Surprise of the week

I don’t dress the part any more, but my hippie credentials are pretty good. I’m also a vegetarian (although I really don’t care what you eat; I’m vegetarian, not a preacher), and I’ve never gone hunting. If you had asked me two weeks ago if I’d ever be interested in playing a hunting game, the answer would have been “Nah, not really. Not at all.”

So, I’m more than a little shocked to find myself completely consumed by The Hunter. I listened to the Gamers With Jobs crew talking about it on their podcast, in glowing terms, for two straight weeks. Since it’s free to try, I had to see what all the buzz was about. None of them sound like real-life hunters, but they were raving about the game, so I figured there had to be something substantial about it.

They were right. So far, it’s my game of the year (which doesn’t carry any weight, since my game selection is rarely what you could call current). Still, the game is beautiful, simple to learn yet moderately difficult to master. It also has a good community system built in to the website and personal profiles, including friends lists, statistic tracking and comparison, missions/achievements, and a basic skill leveling system.

I’m not the only one completely sucked in by The Hunter. Darren over at Common Sense Gamer can’t play anything else either, logging 16 hours of play time over the weekend. I’m not much better. Here are my stats since downloading the game Friday evening.

Hunt Duration: 11 Hours 32 Minutes 32 Seconds
Distance Travelled: 19.81 miles (31.88 km)
Shots Fired 14
Shots Hit 11
Hit Accuracy 92.9%
Favoured Weapon .243 Win Bolt Action Rifle

Species Tracked Spotted Harvested
Mule Deer 24 20 11

So what can we learn by comparing Darren’s stats with mine? If we were playing Team Fortress, I think I’d be the Sniper, taking few shots and hitting most of them, and Darren would be the Heavy, spraying bullets everywhere and occasionally hitting things :) I can’t disagree with his results, though! He beat me in every Mule Deer category in the Gamers With Jobs weekend tournament.

I have a lot more to say about The Hunter which I’ll add in subsequent posts. It’s astonishingly high quality for a game that came out of the blue, and the design is superb. If you’re thinking “God, I can’t imagine playing a hunting game”, that was me last week. Next week, maybe you’ll be the one raving about how great The Hunter is, and how your friends should sign up and play as well. Everything I’ve done so far is free.

I don’t have the Warden license yet, which enables hunting elk, whitetail deer and turkey, but I’m picking it up on payday, 4/30, which happens to be the last day of introductory pricing if you’re interested. Here’s what you get for $12.99, the most basic game package.

Includes standard membership benefits:
Hunt Mule deer, Whitetail deer and Turkey
3 free weapons
Free ammo for all 3 weapons
Extra clothing items
Server priority
PLUS by becoming a member in the launch phase:

Special ‘Warden’ status: receive a free 1 month licence for ALL new animals and firearms as they are released!
Free Elk licence, when Elk are released
4 months for the price of 3!

Elk are already released, but the free 1 month license for all new animals and firearms is pretty sweet.

If you’ve read this far, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Mail Darren if you don’t believe me, or listen to  episode 131 and episode 132 of the GWJ podcasts and hear them praising The Hunter. It really is as good as we’re saying, even if you think hunting in real life isn’t for you.

If you do try it, and you get confused, there are plenty of tips on The Hunter forums, as well as the Gamers With Jobs Hunter thread.

5 Responses

  1. Reading your post after Darren’s convinced me to try it. And, I was hating it up until I actually saw the deer. As I was tracking him I was cursing the game. But yah, actually finding it is very rewarding.

    Mule Deer (M)14 3/8
    Weight: 98.9 kgs (218.0 lbs)
    Tracked: 35 Minutes 50 Seconds, 0.98 km (3221.7 ft)
    Spotted: 49.7 m (163.1 ft)
    Kill Distance: 40.6 m (133.1 ft)
    Time of Harvest: 04-27-2009 21:11

    So, I think my time to track needs to come down quite a bit.. but I’m working on it.

  2. Your first couple tracks are going to be like that, until it starts to make a little more sense, and until you get the hang of calling them to you with the bleat caller once you get yourself into a good spot to shoot from.

    I prefer having them come to my calls, instead of me tracking them a long time. They move almost as fast as you do, especially if you’re having trouble tracking. It’s much easier to call ‘em in.

    I had a 49 minute track in one of my earlier hunts :)

  3. I had another track last night, where I eventually lost him. Almost as long.

    How do you know when it’s time to visually start looking for them and when to start crouching?

    With my first one I got an audio clue and could tell he was really close, so I went around some bushes and he was right there, shoot, dead.

  4. I’m going to post about this, it’s a good question.

  5. Timmy…the majority of my hunting is waiting to hear the deer actually call out. When the deer make their calls, pull out your little GPS device, left-click and then you’ll see a “blip” on your device of the approximate location of the deer. I then get myself into position and start calling them.

    Rarely, do I ever track deer to get my kills. I only seem to track them after I shoot and am following a blood trail.

    I usually end up getting about 4 kills a day with this method…

    Using this method also gets you to recognize the difference between a male deer call and a female deer call.

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