Birdshot

I have used this ‘Birdshot’ title for a few years to post about my hunting experiences in The Hunter: Call of the Wild. I like to think I have used it wisely and well to explain and advertise a game that has issues with the community outside of its players – In my own experience Driving trucks is not the same as shooting Deer…One is unlikely to spook anyone while the other can result in an angry reaction. So, before I go any further… In real life I do not intentionally kill any form of wildlife. If I go hunting, it’s with a camera and my most controversial subjects are humans going about their daily lives. It never fails to amaze me that shooting Humans or Zombies in a computer game is ok but Deer is not?.. There may be a values issue out there but I don’t think that it’s my issue. Ok – Needed to get that off my chest because there is a new hunting game out on PC, PS5 and XBox.

Last week a new kid on the block arrived. Until now, in my opinion, there have only been 2 options for gamers looking for serious simulations of hunting – one’s that make you really work for your kills, don’t reward failure and provide realistic graphics as a framework. That was The Hunter – an online free to play game – and The Hunter: Call of the Wild – the paid application – both from Expansive Worlds. Although made by the same developers, they are very different. Real world hunters, mainly from the US, view the web based game as being more true to the real world hunting experience. I found it ‘clunky’ as a computer gamer and that’s probably why ‘Call of the Wild’ came into being – an attempt to make the genre more accessible to non-hunters while also bringing in some additional money to fund further development.

The new arrival is called Way of the Hunter and comes from Nine Rocks Games via publisher THQ Nordic. It’s definitely going to provide a real challenger to Call of the Wild despite having some issues at launch. It has some excellent scenery – here’s some examples…

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But, additionally, it is already drawing praise from the same hunting community on YouTube that have always stood behind The Hunter as being the most accurate game out there – the animals behaviour in this game is very realistic. I can’t use real world personal experience to verify that but let me tell you an in-game anecdote from hunting a little earlier this week. I was crouch-walking up a grassy bank when I heard a deer bleat ahead. It was a warning and I new I was detected by scent. I crept up to the top of the bank and saw a small gathering of Mule Deer looking straight at me. Then, the males first, they slowly made ‘nasty smell around here’ motions with their heads and peeled off to walk majestically down the hill away from me. I could have taken a shot at the last doe, but it didn’t feel right. I let her go and set about planning my end around manoeuvre to get a fresh shooting position. That moment in time felt so real for me and that’s something this game seems to be delivering.

There’s a lot more that I would need to cover to give a potential player a good view of what this game is about, so I think I will need another Birdshot post soon to explain the gameplay. However, I do think it would be remiss of me not to tell that there is a storyline within the game that emphasises ethical hunting. The game as a whole explains the right ways to hunt including why correct management of a deer herd is important to ensure a good gene pool. I can’t say that I’ve seen that in a game before and hopefully the message of ethical hunting will be passed on.

Details of what’s good and bad about this game to follow soon 😎

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