Way Of The Hunter is the new simulation of Nine Rock Games: here is the report of our hunting trips.
Dawn illuminates the Valle dei Nasi Perati, making it a perfect postcard photograph showing the same uncontaminated land that I met many years ago, the first time my father took me here to spend the summer holidays. I have already witnessed this natural spectacle four more times these days, while failing miserably. Today, however, my hunt will be a success. I have been awake for two hours and the strong wind tears my face but this is good: my smell will not be perceived by the white-tailed deer that I wait in front of me, near that limpid stream where it is usual to drink. Here it is finally appearing on the horizon. I equip my MX30 rifle. I take aim and hold my breath. I observe the animal: a wonder of nature, enhanced by the stage that grows vigorously on his head. The King of the Forest is oblivious to what awaits him. I put my fingers close to the trigger and prepare to fire.
Way Of The Hunter is the hunting simulator developed by Nine Rock Games and published by THQ Nordic. The title, which aims to become the new reference point of the genre, calls us to take on the role of Erik, a young man struggling with the management of the Bear Dan Ranch, refuge and home of his grandfather who will communicate with the boy from the hospital where is currently hospitalized. On board a noisy Jeep, we traveled the length and breadth of the two maps with an overall extension that exceeds one hundred and twenty square kilometers and we are finally ready to tell you about our journey.
The complex and sophisticated art of hunting
If you have already had the opportunity to try theHunter: Call of The Wild (here the review of theHunter Call of The Wild) you will find the mechanics of Way of The Hunter very familiar. This simulation wants to transfer the sensations, emotions and thrills of hunting to players, recreating in detail all the dynamics that are interposed between the search and the killing of the prey. We begin with a long study of the animal aimed at analyzing the traces it leaves on the ground, which lead us to the main places where it usually eats, drinks and sleeps and which, once revealed, can be displayed on the map.
In this preliminary phase, the sense of the hunter plays a fundamental role, since it allows to identify the aforementioned footprints and the areas of relief that enrich the encyclopedia, the database that contains all the information on the prey that can be encountered, from wolves to foxes, to pheasants, American badgers and moose. Each species makes certain noises and has different habits. Deer usually feed at five in the morning, and then move around nine o’clock near a stream to drink. At twelve, full and satisfied, they will go to sleep.
You will have to move around a large area of the map to find the animal in this time frame. In other words, Way of the Hunter calls player a invest generous doses of patience, which are absolutely essential to get in tune with what is a gameplay loop with staid rhythms, inevitably. By the way, given the unpredictability of nature, don’t expect that following a basic strategy to the letter will lead you to success.
The most likely time to encounter the deer near the river is around nine, it is true, but the watercourse clearly has a considerable length, which will force you to scour the area with the risk of traveling several empty kilometers. In short, you could find yourself in the situation of having a single chance to kill the animal, with the blow that – for various reasons – could miss the prey. Once you have identified a mule deer, you have to start a stealth approach, a game of chess with several variables to take into account. Entering the creature’s field of vision, even slightly, will put it on the run, while pass over some twigs it might alert her. After crawling to get to a favorable firing point, you still risk not hitting, as factors such as distance to target and wind direction affect the bullet’s trajectory. There ballistics in this regard it can be studied, to discover any organs crossed by the blow and a series of details that will certainly delight purists.
If the animal is injured and not killed, it is possible to follow the trail of blood evidenced with the instinct of the hunter, until it reaches the point of death of the creature, which can later be sold or embalmed to customize the ranch. Continuing the adventure we can both use useful gadgets to attract animals to our position, and unlock different talents by carrying out specific actions, such as walking for ten kilometers or highlighting traces belonging to different species.
These passive bonuses allow Erik to perform better during stalking: reduce noise during crouching or standing visibility, and much more. Way Of The Hunter offers a rich fleet of guns with increasing cost and to be purchased to more effectively eliminate the various prey. For example, to go hunting for bears you would need to have a fee Steyr Carbon CLII, capable of firing a shot with such energy as to weaken this specific animal. The feeling of the various instruments of death is quite convincing but, once again, the realism factor could discourage the less patient. For example, hitting a moving pheasant will not be easy at all because of its speed in flight and a fairly slow lateral movement of the aim. The same can be said when you shoot a scared and fleeing deer: in a time span of five seconds you have to guess the direction of movement, hold your breath and identify the right point to shoot in advance. The shooting system therefore invites aspiring hunters to a silent and attentive approach to every detail, starting from the positioning within the map. To be clear, the percentage of success of a hunt in a prairie, perhaps after reaching a position that allows us to have a wide view from above, is very different from a hunting in the woods, where the animal can hide among the trees.
In Way Of The Hunter we will be able to choose between free hunting and countryside, which will allow us to discover the background of the controversial relationship between Erik, his father and his grandfather. The story, also told through a graphic novel written and drawn by the old owner of the ranch, focuses a lot on the emotional side, on the childhood and growth of the protagonist, with an eye always attentive in transmitting the founding principles of hunting and respect for animals.
The narrative component could be an interesting plus in a production that offers an experience that reveals practically all its gameplay solutions in the first hours of the game, because it is potentially capable of intriguing the user by enticing him to reveal the past of Erik and his family. . However, to carry on the story you have to complete a series of quests not always tied to the plot, which require the killing of prey at times particularly elusive. Imagine having to kill two white deer for a restaurant in charge of cooking a special recipe for a wedding: thanks to the very low margin of error, between missing the target and moving around empty, you often find yourself having to start from scratch.
It is therefore necessary to return to the shelter to sleep a few hours, so as to get back on board the jeep to return to the hunting area, hoping that the animals will respawn. near the position reached. Among other things, following the advice of the encyclopedia to the letter does not necessarily lead to the success of the mission. In essence, in the long run there is the possibility that these assignments become more of a burden than a fun, that they lose their appeal, as they force the user to carry out an activity that he would have done regardless of the main storyline. In this way we risk losing interest in the narrative or even becoming easy prey to boredom.
A structure that mixes more complex tasks with simple free-roaming would have adapted more easily to this type of experience. In short, the advice is to let yourself be carried away by chance, perhaps in the company of a friend in multiplayer mode, to indulge in the beauty of the wilderness, not knowing what to expect during the hunting trip. Maybe it will fail or it will prove to be a success, but without any constraint that obliges you to always go back on the same steps.
The enchanting Valle Dei Nasi Perati
The two maps of Way Of The Hunter, divided into biomes with related fauna, they are truly a sight to behold, especially when the sun beats down high in the sky. The overall lighting, the sound of the wind gently pampering the tall grass and trees, and the chirping of birds, all add to the immersion in the game world. On Xbox Series X we encountered some delays in loading the terrain textures but nothing really worrying or capable of significantly impacting the gaming and visual experience. In addition, you can also try one performance mode which, however, does not bring so many advantages to the fluidity in the gameplay: we did not feel like giving up part of the visual pleasure to use it.
However, there were some technical problems that complicated our game sessions, starting with several attempts to teleport to a shelter that resulted in a continuous crash of the application, so much so that we had to walk more kilometers than expected to reach an area of interest. We also report the sudden disappearance of icons, including that of Erik, or the strange behaviors of some prey, think of the birds that for some inexplicable reason sometimes fly in circles as if hypnotized, transforming the hunt into a simple shooting exercise.
Way of the HunterPC Analyzed VersionNet of some annoying bugs, Way of the Hunter is a simulation that certainly knows how to satisfy hunting enthusiasts, giving them a journey into the wilderness that allows them to adopt multiple approaches to take down elusive prey and almost always convincing behavior. At the same time, we are talking about a great exercise of patience, to be used both when the long hunts do not lead to the desired results, and during the campaign mode which, given its playful structure, did not turn out to be as interesting as we hoped.