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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 😉 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? 😉 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 😉

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.

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these. I took a break for around 6 weeks from the middle of January until the beginning of March. I’d love to be able to tell you why but I really don’t know. Sometimes I guess we just decide subconsciously to take a break. A lot happened before that break that I haven’t reported – there was the annual Christmas Event, for example, where the community once more showed their strength in depth to wrap up the target deliveries on New Years Eve. It was my non-company trucks in my other profiles that handled all of that.

Moving on to March and we all know that there were now unpalatable real events happening in the world. SCS Software – like many other companies – find themselves faced with a trading dilemma. They also have a personnel crisis as some of their employees are from Ukraine. Their boss felt he had a decision to make regards the unfolding events and the next map release which was almost complete. I think at this point I should pass you over to the SCS Software statement – please read it so you understand where we are currently.

So, we find ourselves in the unusual position where a company has had to take a decision that will alienate some of their customers. I have lost a personal Russian friend who at that point said that games should never be about politics and promptly disconnected from everyone as well as changing his pro-ETS2 / ATS recommendations on Steam to negatives. It’s a bad situation – I feel I have to side with SCS on the stance they have taken. Many other computer games actually rely on east-west politics and the associated subterfuge to create their scenarios – Call of Duty is a case in point – so, unfortunately, politics are very much a part of gaming and definitely sell a lot of games of which, ironically Euro Truck Simulator isn’t one.

I’m not here to talk about the tragic suffering happening in Ukraine and the plight of the refugees looking for safety elsewhere. We should do our best to help within the limits of our personal capabilities. This post should be about the game and it should not be subject to Putin’s whims and behaviours. So I’m going to talk very briefly about where SCS could and possibly should focus their attentions now that the DLC that would have added central Russia to the map is on hold. I’m sorry if that sounds callous but it is part of my way of dealing with things that are largely beyond my control.

Currently there is a big hole in the map between Italy and Romania – it really needs filling. We need the likes of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Greece added in to fill that void. So that is where I think the mappers who can no longer complete the previous project should be redeployed. I have several friends playing the game from that area who would welcome the chance to drive in their home countries. I actually didn’t understand why we skipped straight to central Russia in the first place anyway. An alternative idea…

…Now we have the Iberia map, why not expand into North Africa? That would be a big step but surely it’s an option? Unless we’re going to see a third title – African Truck Simulator – at some stage in the future? Morocco and Tunisia would add some new challenges and some different scenery.

We have a can of worms for the foreseeable future. In the interim, Lady Galadriel has taken on the lead role in my company profile. She advertises that she is #TruckingForPeace and she wears DAF Unity Edition paint job as a sign that we are all one…

Meanwhile, in my non-company profile, Carmen has the Ukrainian Flag to show our support…

I hope and pray for a peaceful resolution to the current conflict. Some famous politician once said ‘Truth is the first casualty of war’ but I think that another first casualty is our ability to see people as individuals – suddenly my ex-friend is just one of ‘The Russians’ – that can’t be right☹️

There’s been a bit of a hiatus on the farming front – Some other activities, including the annual Truck Simulator Christmas event and my efforts to get out and about more impacted on my gaming time. When we last visited FS22, I was running 2 farms on the in-game maps. Let me start by talking about the other one – Erlengrat. I have decided not to continue with that particular farm. The main reason is that I find the roads on that map too unrealistic. I mentioned the ‘drive-thru’ fences when I wrote about the map back in December – without that you’d struggle to get anything done on a lot of the fields. The other issue I had was the cows and the lack of proper winter protection for them on the farm. I said that I had a solution to that issue and it’s only right that I tell what that solution was. I planned to sell the cows and put the money into buying a small field or upgraded equipment. Later, when I had cash in hand I would then buy a proper cowshed and get back into the animal husbandry. That was the plan – but it’s irrelevant now. Ok – back to Haut-Beyleron…

If you recall, when I last posted about the farm, I’d bought a field and built my farmhouse. I also had a tractor and a plough. Returning to the game last week, I was back to ploughing neighbours fields to earn more cash. Ploughing takes time and time means you can think and plan ahead. While working on field 14…

…I was thinking – this could be a good second field for my farm. It’s just the other side of the railway, it has space for a small shed to keep equipment and it’s not too expensive at €205k. That isn’t going to happen soon though – making money is hard and I’ll need to do a lot more work for the neighbours.

As an aside from talking about where my farm is going, I want to mention one of the visual improvements in the game. In FS19, things got dirty and there was some visible paint damage, but not much. In FS22, the paint really does show wear and tear. Take a look at the red and green plough in the picture above, then compare it after completing a second job on another field…

…By the time I was halfway through a third job on a far larger field, the Share’s were shiny bare metal…

…and the front of the Mouldboard’s were devoid of paint too. This is so much better than before. If you want to repaint your farm equipment, you can – but it’ll cost an arm and a leg, so I’m just sticking to repairs for now!

Ploughing makes ok money and is reliable work throughout the year. But for quick bucks, fertilizing is a good option. With enough money in the bank I decided to buy a Bredal spreader…

…This will delay buying a harvester for my crop but allows me to take fertilizing and liming jobs. These can be done much faster than ploughing and pay well although you have to factor in the cost of buying the materials to fulfil the contract. I worked through all the available fertilizer contracts…

…in the game equivalent of 6 days (6am-2:30pm) – the spreader almost paying for itself in that time and leaving me with enough fertilizer to do a couple more contracts when they show up! It also means I’m ready to lime my own field after I’ve harvested the Soya Beans. Here’s how they look in late September…

…still some time to go before they’ll be ready to harvest!

Time to take a break back at the farmhouse…

…Which I’ll have to come up with a name for so I can dispense with the clumsy title for these posts😂