Get ready for the hunt. Lock, load, grab a machete, grab a knife, grab some dynamite, hell use your fist if you want. Hunt: Showdown is a horror first-person shooter with battle royale elements that pits you against other bounty hunters trying to take out the same bounty. Confused? Well it’s quite simple actually. With the start of each round you will get to choose which bounty hunter and what weapons you would like to use. You can go solo or team up with up to two friends. The objective is to hunt down a boss monster and extract the bounty without dying. Simple enough right? There is a catch though.

The bounties you seek are hard enough on their own but the monsters that lurk in the world can be just as dangerous. You can quickly become overrun by a pack of ravenous dogs or find a combustible dead creature exploding in your face. Don’t even get me started on the bee hive like lady that walks around poisoning you with her disgusting bugs. Yes, the creatures in Hunt: Showdown vary quite a bit and can be handled in various different ways. Even the water isn’t safe at times so plan your route accordingly.

If the world doesn’t kill you then the other bounty hunters just might. Seriously I have been playing this game nonstop and the majority of the time I am outmatched in PvP gunfights. The game tries to add the feel of a Wild West street fight with six shooters, shotguns and rifles. As in any shooter you want to use the gun that best suits your play style and you will unlock more of them as you level up. The cool part is you have an overall leveling system for you and then your hunter has his/her level. Why would they do that? Good question. Because in this game if your hunter dies he/she is gone for good and everything you had on you as well. So, it is very important that in each situation you weigh risk versus the reward. Or how I like to think about it, the ultimate game of Truth or Dare. Do you dare enter a fight and risk it all? Or will you be truthful to your friends and say you would rather live to fight another day? Because it is very important to know that not all gunfights will be in your favor and you must be aware of your surroundings at all times. Just because you are shooting at someone doesn’t mean the huge dead creature behind you is going to wait until you’re finished. FYI you can get a free hunter every time you lose a hunter. You can purchase different tier hunters but they will be level one as well. Their best perk will usually be better weapons you might not yet own.

With your leveling system you will unlock traits and new weapons to use with your hunter. The hunter will need to gain levels in order to use trait points that you can equip. These can help you carry a large and a medium weapon or heal faster. If steady aim with a scope is your thing then you are in luck. Personally one of my favorites is reducing fire damage because I be damn if it doesn’t seem like everything catches you on fire (watch out for fire bombs).

One of the things I love about Hunt: Showdown is how each round starts. As you wait for other players to load in you can use your dark vision to see blue little floating dots in the distance. This is where you will find clues as to the location of the boss monster. If the lobby is full you will see two monster icons in the corner of your screen. If the lobby isn’t full then only one monster will appear. You must find three clues in order for the location to appear on the map but don’t doddle because the other hunters can find it before you. If you are lucky or unlucky as we see it, then you will find the monster before you even collect all the clues. It doesn’t happen all that often but it does happen. Right now there are three monsters. The Butcher, Assassin and the Spider with plans to bring on a fourth at some point. Currently there are two maps with another planned as well. You can find all the planned additions and improvements with the roadmap on their website. Roadmap

Killing a boss monster is only half the battle for your hunter. If you somehow find all the clues, survive all the undead creatures, bypass all the hunters and kill the boss, then you must wait as you banish it. During this period ALL other hunters can see where the boss is being banished from and will more than likely come for you. If somehow that doesn’t happen you still are not out of the woods yet (literally). Once the boss is 100 percent banished you claim the tokens and head for the extraction point. Where is the extraction point? It can be anywhere on the outskirts of the map. Sometimes you will need to go all the way across the map in order to extract. No big deal, right? WRONG! The best part is ALL the other hunters can see you bippity boppitying your way across the map. Now the developers didn’t put you at a complete disadvantage. If you are carrying a token then you will get to use your dark vision to spot other hunters near you. Bad news time! It only lasts for five seconds so use it sparingly and definitely save some for when you are near the extraction point. Once you reach that you will have to wait again as you extract for thirty seconds. If nobody is there I suggest hunkering down and reloading.

While playing with friends is probably the best way to play the game it isn’t the only way. You can play solo with quick play and it can be fast paced fun. The objective is to close well springs as fast as you can and then be the last one holding it as it runs out. It is basically closing portals and then being the last one standing. It is very difficult as once you are the one with the well spring you are visible to everyone when they use their dark vision. Being the first one to have it isn’t always the best choice. I enjoy quick play for one reason and that is you can find and loot things. During the normal hunt you can find ammo, health and melee weapons but will only get a different gun by killing another hunter. That is fine that it keeps them separate but I do enjoy searching for weapons and you need to in quick play as you start off with a low-end weapon. The cool thing is if you survive quick play then you can use that survivor during a normal hunt.

There are also random contracts you can perform that will give you +25 bonus bounty for extracted tokens but you will not get any information on starting location or targets. Good luck. Make sure you check out the library because game progression such as weapons and monsters are kept there and you can claim them once completed for rewards. Speaking of rewards, you also have a daily and weekly challenge that you can complete. You will get hunt dollars to buy new weapons or consumables. You can also get blood points that you use to clean your weapon (yes it will get dirty) and buy other things such as legendary hunters.

Hunt: Showdown looks amazing and the sounds of the game will blow you away. This is of course a huge part of the game as you will need to listen to every little step, gun shot or door opening in order for you to survive. The gun play could be a little better as I am not quite sure the damage is always accurate. For example there was a moment where another hunter was hiding behind some barrels not moving. The only thing I could see was the top of his head. I pulled out my rifle, scoped in and made a perfect shot. I even said to my team, “He is 100 percent down, head shot guys,” but I was wrong. Better yet the game was wrong. A head shot is a head shot and I have suffered from many in the game. This example has happened to me multiple times at short range and long range. It is a good thing guns are not the only option to kill other hunters in the game. Traps and explosives can be very useful. If you like getting tricky you can even shoot barrels that will explode if a nearby hunter just so happens to be standing close to it. Yes being sneaky AND creative will help you tremendously.

The games performance can be a tad annoying at times with some of the error issues. We have run across several nights where one of us or even all of us will receive an error and we have to join back up after the match. The major complaint that I’ve noticed is you don’t have a load out option. Every single time one of your hunters dies you have to go back in and set a new load out. Choosing a new hunter is fine but you should be able to make one and start a new match quickly. Instead you find you are wasting time by waiting while everyone sets their new hunter up. I know what I like and if I have it in my inventory already then I should be able to equip it all at once with my new hunter. It also doesn’t help that currently once you’ve killed all three boss monsters it becomes rinse and repeat. The setting can change from one map to another and from night to day but the only thing really keeping it fresh is the other hunters. Fighting the creatures in the world can be fun but you know that the more sound you make the less likely you are to survive. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself, what are you willing to risk?

Conclusion

I will put it simple quite like the game itself. Hunt: Showdown is a horror game at heart in my eyes. I love that about it. It does have the battle royale elements to keep the tension high and it does this very well. Hearing gun shots ring out and knowing other hunters are close is somehow satisfying. The world is well crafted and the enemies are a plenty. The gun fights seem realistic at times but can be inconsistent. The load outs are probably my biggest issue with the game even though the headshot inaccuracy is highly frustrating. If the developers can add to the core game and keep things fresh then I can see it being in my playlist for a long time. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing for my hunter.

A review copy was provided for the PS4.

Rating: 9/10

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