I’m slowly getting older and while I may not yet be very old, I’m certainly running short on time. Spending a large amount of time to master the subtle nuances of modern video games is no longer an option for me. I want instant bloody satisfaction and I want it now! Hunter: The Reckoning (Hunter) does an excellent job of quenching my thirst for gory action. Hunter is a modern day Gauntlet with a little bit of Smash TV thrown in for good measure. It does have its weak points but overall, Hunter is one of the most exciting titles to have come out for the Xbox yet.
Hunter has you playing the role of one of four different hunters. Each hunter has their own strengths and weaknesses, as is to be expected. Hunters have the ability to see what is truly around them, and thank God because they seem to be constantly surrounded by monsters. The goal is simple: kill monsters, complete various goals while killing monsters, and save “innocents” while killing monsters.
I just recently bought an Xbox and have been constantly impressed by the caliber of graphics as compared to the PS2. Hunter does not go into incredible visual depth, but the graphics are perfect for setting the desired environment. The levels are dark and spooky with lots of fog effects, creepy lighting and strong texture details. Character models are unique and well detailed. Animation is very smooth and even in combat there is a great smoothness about the characters’ movements. Each character model radiates its own personality and I like that it did not appear to be a cut-and-paste job. The zombies and monsters are equally as impressive, but lack the uniqueness present in the hunter models.
While each model may be individually impressive, the scene totally changes when the screen is filled with enemies. Hunter, like Gauntlet, keeps the enemies coming as fast as you can wade through them. There is no slowdown at all, even when the screen is totally full of baddies. I don’t know if this game uses the full power of the Xbox but I feel some of these scenes would be impossible on the PS2. Cutscenes are well done and do not go overboard. Each character has their own unique cutscenes and it is cool to see how differently each character reacts. Overall, I think the graphics in Hunter are perfect for what the developers are trying to do. They do not strike me as amazing but they help to tell the story well.
Creepy, creepy, creepy. The sound in Hunter is quite well done with tongue-in-cheek voice acting and solid sound effects. Weapon sound effects are well done and quite detailed. I especially enjoy the sound made when reloading the shotgun. You’re able to hear each shell being shoved in the barrel and you know exactly when the gun is ready to go again. Music seems to have its own personality and changes tone intermittingly. I noticed that the music would ramp up in tempo and tone at random intervals. I would then get excited thinking I was about to get into a big firefight, only to be let down by the appearance of no action nearby. Overall, I really enjoyed the sound in Hunter and think that the developers did an excellent job of putting everything together.
I wish that I could say a lot here but truthfully, there is not that much to say. The gameplay in Hunter is very simplistic. This is not a bad thing as it is quite fun. Hacking through row after row of monsters is extremely satisfying but may be a little repetitive for some. Each hunter is equipped with one short-range weapon and one ranged weapon with infinite ammo. There are a substantial number of other weapons lying around on your quest and they are all very useful. My personal favorite is the machine gun. It rips through enemies like a hot knife through butter. The weapons are very useful for getting out of a jam and there is an excellent auto-aiming feature that keeps you on target. Each hunter’s abilities are balanced with their weapons and each character must be played slightly differently. Slightly is a generous word in that there really is only one way to play this game - straight ahead, full bore.
Each hunter is also able to gain “Edges” and power them up. These Edges are comparable to mini spells and are quite handy. Edges possess a perfect amount of power in that they are not too powerful, nor are they too weak. The game progresses well from scene to scene but the story is not too in-depth. There is some nonsense about a prison and vampires but it isn’t really enough to keep me captivated. Controls are well laid out and easily learned. I was able to start slaughtering monsters in no time.
The real bread and butter of Hunter turns out to be its multiplayer mode. With four players it becomes a great party game and there is a certain satisfaction to facing the mayhem with your buddies. While the single player game may not have much replay value, I think that I could play the multiplayer mode for a substantial amount of time without getting bored. I think the multiplayer mode is even a little bit harder since you must share the resources available to your hunters. Hunter is not perfect though; the game is quite short and although challenging at times, can be beaten very quickly. Overall, I enjoyed the Hunter experience and will keep this one close at hand for when my buddies come over and we want to burn some time.
I was very pleasantly surprised by Hunter. It’s well put together and embodies all the characteristics of a blockbuster game. I would have liked to see the game have a few more levels but there is enough there to keep me entertained. Once again, multiplayer rules and I think that Hunter is a worthy addition to any Xbox owner’s collection.