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I promised a more detailed look at the new game Way of the Hunter a couple of weeks back and now I’ve had time to experience the game a bit more, here it is. Any review of this game is bound to include references to other hunting games as they provide a yardstick to judge what is good and what is not. I will try to keep them to a minimum.

When the game released it caused a stir and it is still doing so. It really seems to be a curate’s egg of a game and I think some of that comes down to odd design decisions that were made in the run up to release. Even before beginning to play a couple of these become apparent. Firstly, there was no ability to change the mapping of keys in the game. Being able to change the key-mapping is important for PC players using mouse and keyboard – especially for players who are lefthanded. Although I noticed that one, it didn’t actually affect my play as the mappings worked ok for me. Less obvious to me but clearly important to other players was the lack of an ability to alter the field of view. The default view in the game is 70 degrees and this works quite well for me in giving a good approximation of what I would see though my eye’s IRL. But for other players this was a major issue. A third oddity was the lack of a ‘new game’ option. I like to do a quick test run in a game first before starting my real game save. Sometimes, when a game has a major change, I like to have the ability to restart afresh too. I had to go into the ‘hidden’ files on my drive and delete the save folder manually to achieve this. A final odd choice was to launch with only rifles and shotguns. Many players have wondered ‘where are the pistols and bows?’ At release, in addition to the issues listed above, many players experienced performance problems. There were also animals that spawned right next to you and blood trails that disappeared. I could go on, but you get the picture. The devs worked to fix things quickly. The initial fixes were delivered 9 days after release and inevitably introduced some more issues. Performance was badly hit in forested areas with some players saying the game was now unplayable. There was a lot of anger with accusations that the players were being used as beta testers. It all got quite emotive! The irony is that many of the issues experienced seem to be part and parcel of hunting games – there was a bit of a ‘The Hunter: Call of the Wild’ deja vu about it to me πŸ˜‰ A second tranche of fixes repaired most things although there are still some anomalies to be ironed out. Now I’ve covered the teething troubles, and this game isn’t yet 100%, let’s take a look at the gameplay.

The game begins with an introductory cut scene that leads straight into a series of tutorials designed to teach the basic elements of game play. As part of this you are given a gun referred to simply as Grandpa’s old rifle. You have to work through the tutorials in order to unlock the other weapons…

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…the first of which, the Remington 783, is used in the final part of the tutorial and unlocks the rest. Note that the rifles are all licensed by the real-world manufacturers. The same is true of a lot of other items in the game – this deer caller for example…

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After completing the tutorials, you are free to play as you like. Perhaps, go off and do some hunting? πŸ˜‰ However, there is a background story with missions to complete and also some jobs to do for other characters in the game. It is definitely worth doing these as part of your play. The developers have put some real effort into the background tale and even provided animated comic strips that you collect as you progress…

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…These tell you about your history along with that of some of the other characters in the game. It really is a great way to build a background and, I think, surpasses the story missions in other hunting games although one or two of the tales are vaguely similar. The game really pushes the values of ethical hunting and wild meat production through the storylines, so it can be quite educational too. Something that makes doing the story tasks and jobs well worthwhile is the areas which require a permit to hunt – each permit costs 4500…

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…but you can get them for free and earn some cash along the way by doing jobs for the characters in the game.

How realistic is the hunting? Well, you’d need a real-world hunter to answer that and the ones that post on YouTube seem to think that the behaviour of the deer is very realistic on the higher levels. Let me quickly explain the levels: There are 3 that provide some support in the form of a thing called Hunter Sense and a top level that provides no assistance at all. The first 3 levels with Hunter Sense range from very relaxed animals at the lowest level to very easily spooked animals at the highest level. Hunter Sense gives the player enhanced tracking and hearing abilities. The top level is, I understand, easily spooked animals like level 3 but without the aid of Hunter Sense. The game automatically starts you on level 2 – Adventurer – and until you complete all the tutorials, you can’t do anything about it. Then, when you want to change it, you’ll find it hidden in the terrain menu where you choose what map to play – Another odd design choice! Interestingly, if you delete your save to start again the game will remember the level you were playing on and will, for example, start you on level 3 (Hunter) to do your tutorials over again – weird!!! Just some advice that I think is generally agreed – If you are a seasoned Call of the Wild player then you should probably start Way of the Hunter on the ‘Hunter’ level because you already have all the skills necessary to play well at that level. I can report that the deer are very skittish at that level – you will need to approach with guile and probably crawl to get closer in a lot of cases – something I haven’t really ever done in Call of the Wild. The White Tail and Elk are probably most easily scared of the deer I have met so far. Once you have spooked a group of animals you will struggle to get close again as they seem to remain on a heightened state of awareness even when they appear calm. Also, some animals are very secretive, more so than in other hunting games – I’ve found Black Bear prints and scat, but I have yet to see one! Not all the animals behave quite as I would expect either – Pheasants will calmly walk around despite you being clearly visible to them! In my experience, most Pheasant’s that see you from the other side of a large field will quickly hop through the nearest hedge to hide πŸ˜‰

There’s a lot more I could write but this post has already become overly long. I will try to cover some more of the mechanics of the shooting side of the game and talk about the developer’s intentions for the future in another post soon.

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Showing respect to the fallen.

Ok – This will be the last in this mini-series aimed at new players starting out in Euro Truck and American Truck Simulator. Today I’m going to talk about one of the big changes since the last time I did a beginners series – Trailers you can own. But before I do that I have to talk about types of jobs because owning your own truck has changed what is available to you.

The immediate impact of buying your own truck is that Freight Market jobs become available. These are exactly the same as Quick Jobs, except you drive to the pick-up location and hook up to the trailer belonging to the in game company whose job you’ve accepted. Just because you now own a truck, doesn’t stop you from choosing to do a Quick Job (in fact there are certain achievements that will still require you do do Quick Jobs to earn them). But, if you look at the Job Market, you’ll find that there is another class of job that is greyed out. This is the External Market – jobs from World of Trucks. It may have the same initials and is often referred to as WoT, but the External Market is operated by SCS Software and has nothing whatsoever to do with World of Tanks. Once you own your own truck and if you are going to be a committed community member, you should create a World of Trucks account and link it to your Truck Simulator profile.

WoT jobs offer an additional aspect to gameplay as SCS often run community events through the External Contract Jobs. They also give access to a number of additional game achievements. Whilst very similar to Freight Market jobs, WoT jobs are real time rather than game time and they don’t have tiers of difficulty like Important and Urgent. That doesn’t mean that you won’t get jobs that require you to drive with a degree of urgency – whilst many jobs will allow you nearly 24 hours of real time to complete them, you will find some that you need to complete in much less time than that. Azyet and I had one of those earlier in the week – here’s my Tweet on the subject…

…You’ll guess that when dealing with real world time jobs, experience is an important part of knowing what can be done! You’ll notice that Azyet is hauling one of my own trailers and I’ve jumped the gun slightly here, but this is where we came in so lets talk about those.

So – Owned Trailers. You can buy these from the trailer dealer and unlike the trucks you don’t need to have discovered a dealer. Here’s a shot of the trailer purchase screen – in this case it’s showing SchwarzmΓΌller trailers…

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…which is a dlc that you can purchase, but there are standard trailers available that are part of the base game. Here’s the customize screen for a standard Curtainside Trailer…

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..You’ll notice that, like the trucks, modification options become available at levels that you reach. Additionally, some options may not be available depending on where you are based or where you intend to use the trailer…

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When you own a trailer, your possible job choices increase once more – you can now do Cargo Market and External Market jobs in addition to the previously mentioned options – Azyet, in my tweet above, was tackling an External Market job.

Trailers open up the opportunity to operate your company realistically – you can read about how my European company operates differently to my US company in a previous post. There are some benefits to ownership, having your own trailers gives a more relaxing experience most of the time and you get paid a fair bit more for doing the same job. However, you will need to maintain them and they limit the type of job you will be offered. My curtainsider is a good general haulage option and will take a wide range of cargoes but it won’t take petrol or heavy machinery. If you’re going to own your own trailers you should be buying trailers that will allow you to haul what you wish. I have my companies profiled out – you might want to do the same before you go down the trailer owner road 😎

I think I’ve covered most of the things that a new player of the Truck Simulator series from SCS Software might find confusing and I hope that what I’ve said will be beneficial. If anyone has some gameplay questions (other than “Why do you waste time playing this”) please ask below πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘

Following on from my previous Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 introduction, here are some thoughts on gameplay and the changes from the 2018 edition. I think the launch screen is a major improvement although it retains the same profile options…

…clicking on Play takes you to your profile slots…

…If you are creating a new profile you can select one of 4 modes. If you are new to the game I’d go with Normal as that gives a good enough level of help for most players and you’ll be soon be making lots of money. Experienced players like myself will choose Expert.

The biggest change from the 2018 edition is the separation of tools and facilities from progression. You still upgrade your skills as before and get benefits like cheaper parts purchase…

…Things like the Test Path that used to be opened as you reached a certain level are now bought when you have the cash…

…That allows you to choose when you want to buy certain things. Using the Test Path as an example, I didn’t buy that until after I’d bought things like the car wash and paint shop – The test track (accessed via the map screen) finds most of the same suspension things and you can usually spot brake issues with a simple visual inspection. The screenshot above taken at level 2 shows that I bought the OBD Tester and the Multi-Meter. These are the two most useful tools you can have in early game when most of the vehicles you will be offered to work on are modern – I recommend buying them first πŸ™‚ You can see that expanding your garage is expensive and so are most other major improvements, so choose when you think it is best to buy those.

Once you have reached a level where you can reliably fix parts and have plenty of money in the bank (at least Cr60k) you may want to visit a barn and see what nice vehicles you can buy to rebuild. Barns and the Junkyard are accessed via the map…

…Check the prices carefully – sometimes a car will be a bargain but they can be overpriced too. Ideally, until you have fully upgraded your skillset, you want a vehicle that has generally good body and interior condition. One of my first rebuilds in game this time was a Chevy Impala which had good bodywork. I only rebuilt the mechanical parts and gave it a respray to make a good profit. Here’s the finished car…

…Once you’ve got to level 6 on your renovation skills though, you can rebuild total wrecks from the junkyard. Here’s a BMW that I bought – I’ve just washed off all the muck so I can see what I’m looking at…

…Later, after sourcing most of the bodywork items that were missing from barns and the junkyard, it was time to move it inside for the rebuild…

…Here’s the finished car…

…Chrome with black wheels πŸ™‚ Behind is another barn find that just needs a full mechanical rebuild to make a good profit.

All of this rebuilding is probably the main activity in game but there are lots of story jobs to work through and doing jobs is a good way to keeping your cash flow under control πŸ™‚ Here’s an example of a story job from level 8…

…There are also two normal jobs listed below. There are 72 vehicles in the base game and you can add more with DLC’s – Currently there are Nissan and Electric Vehicles available to purchase. You can also add in mods from the Steam Workshop.

I hope that’s given a good insight to the general gameplay. I think the balance of relaxed play and the occasional head-scratching fault makes for a good game to fit between those other more stressful things in life πŸ™‚