Hunter’s Trophy 2
Hunting is a practice that’s been around for quite some time. Some might do it because they seek the thrill of the hunt itself while others simply might enjoy the crisp, morning air and the quiet serenity that the forest has to offer. “Hunter’s Trophy 2” promises both of these things, allowing the player to hunt various game with a variety of weapons and tools at their disposal while navigating breathtaking environments. “Hunter’s Trophy”, an exclusive PS3 game, was received with mixed results and so I was interested to see how the sequel fared in the grand scheme of things. Before we get started, I’d like to thank Katleen from Bigben Interactive and Francis Ingrand from Plug In Digital for providing me with a free review copy.
Editor’s Note: I’ve never played a hunting simulator game, ever (unless you count “Duck Hunt”). I figured I’d come right out and admit that, but at least you’ll know that I’ll be giving you a true, objective opinion on the game itself without subconsciously comparing it to others on the market. It’s also worth mentioning that I am, by nature, animal-friendly. Hunting simulators are exactly that…simulators and thus, no actual animals were harmed in the making or playing of this game/review.
There is a pre-game launcher that allows you to adjust screen resolution, toggle fullscreen, and set shadow quality & vegetation density. There’s also a language drop down, granting you access to five different languages. You can also open the PDF manual from here, which is fifty-one pages long. It averages about ten pages per language and I recommend giving it a once-over before you actually begin playing. The main menu allows the player to participate in hunting season mode, try the shooting tournament mode, and adjust game options. The settings menu allows you to adjust the control schemes and mouse sensitivity, change the feel of the scope/cursor, rebind keys, raise or lower audio volumes, and toggle the options you had in the launcher. While you can adjust the quality of shadows, I didn’t see an overall graphics detail toggle. This is important, mainly because the game skipped/lagged for me on occasion even with a lower resolution set. My ASUS gaming laptop normally runs anything without a problem. In regards to control schemes, there’s both keyboard/mouse and XBox 360 controller support.
Players will have a few different modes to choose from initially. Hunting season is where the main action is, allowing you to hunt various game and progress your character. Shooting season (tournament) is the “driving range” mode in which players can go duck shooting, shoot fixed or moving targets, and etc…mainly for the purpose of practicing their aim and comparing scores with others. One or two players can participate in this mode, though in order to connect a second player locally, you’ll need a controller. Hunting weekend is a free-play mode, allowing you to explore a location on your own and participate in various events. You’ll need to unlock these areas in the main game first, however. I like the variety of modes, mainly because I can either dig in for the long haul or quickly jump in to shoot targets, depending on my schedule.
Hunting season is where you’ll probably be spending most of your time, since you’ll have to perform various tasks to unlock weapons and skills. You’ll start off with a shotgun and without any skills or permits to speak of. There are multiple environments, each with their own “missions” in them. All but one will be locked when you first start playing, but you’ll unlock more as you complete these missions. Most are scripted in that they will instruct you to hunt a specific number and type of game. The starting levels even guide you to waypoints and allow you to shoot clay pigeons and the like, and you’ll need to do well in those levels if you’ll want to see anything further. Those looking for a sandbox-esque hunting experience won’t find it in this mode. While you’ll be able to hunt larger game down the line, you’ll still be following trails and participating in point and click shooting events. It almost feels “on-rails” at times, though I use that term loosely.
In terms of content, the game features twenty different types of animal, ranging from smaller critters like hare and duck to larger game like deer and boar. To assist you in tracking these animals, you’ll have access to a hunting dog. I found it odd, but in a good way, that I was able to play as the dog during the tracking phases of the game. Controlling a dog is simpler than that of your hunter, since all you’ll be able to do is run, jump, and interact with droppings as you find them. Most of these dog sequences are timed in that you’ll have to follow the red trail to the next pile of leavings before the time limit expires. Before you get your dog permit, you can track animals manually by finding a point of interest and interacting with it.
Unlike some other first person shooters, you won’t have access to plasma weapons and heavy-duty bazookas. You will however have access to weapons like shotguns, rifles, and the other standard weaponry you’d expect to hunt with. There are a total of ten weapons in the game, but you’ll have to unlock them by progressing through the missions. Successfully completing missions grant you experience points, which are then accumulated to advance in level. As you level up, you can assign skill points to movement, shooting, stealth, and some other attributes that will make your hunt a bit easier to manage. You can gain bonus experience in levels by shooting pests and/or the maximum number of game without going over. Shoot more game than you’re supposed to however, and the mission fails. I found myself challenged to find these pests in order to give myself that extra XP boost.
Overall, “Hunter’s Trophy 2” is a solid hunting simulator that is easy enough for newcomers of the genre to get into. It isn’t without its faults, however. It lagged on a regular basis, making clay pigeon shooting trivial at times. Installation was a bit more complicated than it needed to be in that I had to download two separate files (one .bin and one .exe) and install a few different things to accommodate the game’s launch. I was gifted the game through DLgamer, which is a website I hadn’t messed with before, so it’s possible that my troubles were an isolated incident. Movement wasn’t very fluid and felt a bit clunky. Some of the visuals were breathtaking, but I wished I could have lowered the detail to see if that would improve the game lag. I did enjoy the leveling up mechanic and the ability to assign skill points to my hunter. Playing as a dog was something new, even if it was a bit simplistic and frustrating at times. The red trail would sometimes disappear on me (especially on hills) despite my best efforts. I found myself wishing for a free-roaming sandbox experience as opposed to scripted missions. If players can overlook these faults, I think they’d enjoy the experience as a whole. The game is going for about $19.99, which is about right, considering the amount of content it offers. In the end, it’s what I would call a “slightly above-average” game…great in some aspects, lacking in others, and it definitely won’t be for everyone. With a bit more work, it could really set the bar to whole new levels and appeal to a wider audience.
Final Verdict: 6/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Hunter’s Trophy 2” by visiting the following websites:
You can check out video play sessions here: