I never thought the day would come, hunting games (love them or hate them) are quickly becoming a staple in the world of video games. Every year we are graced with various interpretations of hunting and fishing games from a variety of different publishers and developers, but none as popular as Cabela’s. Dangerous Hunts has always been the most intriguing simply due to the fact that instead of sitting in a tree with a high-powered rifle waiting to shoot an unknowing animal you become the hunted.
With Dangerous Hunts 2009 the formula receives yet another change; instead of simply giving you weapons, an environment to hunt in and an objective the team has actually attempted to compose a story into the mix. The results are a mixed bag, but credit has to be given to the developers for trying to stray from the norm.
Everything in the game is laid out like a traditional FPS and even encourages you to adopt the run-and-gun attitude due to the time restraint set on each level. When you begin a level you have a set of objectives, some are side missions and can be completed or left alone depending on if you are going for those coveted Achievements. Usually you are hunting a specific animal and along your course of action will be introduced to several other species that you can simply blast away.
Locating your target is simple enough and made all the more easy by giving you unlimited Hunter’s Sense. By clicking the left thumbstick you go into a black and white visual mode where animals stick out like a sore thumb. This isn’t new to the genre, but allowing you unlimited amounts of it makes the game feel more like a shooter and less like a real hunting game.
The career mode is broken down into chapters spanning across various locations and each one with a new prey and poorly directed cut scene. Aside from the conventional shooting you also have what is dubbed “Hand-to-Claw Combat” which is basically a quick time event ala God of War where a quick series of button presses will allow you to tackle various animals that get a little too close for comfort. Another borrowed function is known as “Adrenaline Boost” and it mimics bullet time by slowing down everything around you giving you time to aim your shots and take down multiple foes, which is handy when surrounded by a pack of wild boars.
The biggest setback for Dangerous Hunts 2009 though is its lack of difficulty. With so many tools already in your possession you will rarely find yourself in a situation you cannot handle. All of the weapons can take down enemies fairly quickly and the ability to trigger Hand-to-Claw Combat randomly takes the tension away. Combine that with the insane advantage of Hunter’s Sense and Adrenaline Boost and the only challenge comes from traversing the locales and completing all the minor objectives before time runs out. The variety of weapons is actually respectable and each animal you hunt has specific weaknesses that can be exploited with the right gun. However, you can stick with one firearm through the bulk of the game without problems.
Visually the game is passable but contains some of the minor faults that plague so many others of this type. The environments are varied and sport some nice scenery however; they are littered with invisible walls that seemingly pop up out of nowhere. Animations are also a bit stiff with predators emerging from areas with the movement of a sock puppet. The game sports the production values of a high-class PC game you might find at Wal-Mart, which can be both a good and bad thing. If you are content with being able to differentiate between various elements and animals you will be fine, however if you are looking for the game to push the power of either next-gen system you will be sorely disappointed.
Dangerous Hunts 2009 isn’t going to change your opinion of the genre. I do have to give credit to the developers for taking a more direct approach and adding in themes and mechanics that would appeal to the shooter crowd as opposed to the typical audience of these games. If you loved the previous outings this is by far the best effort and worthy of checking out, but if you have never found enjoyment in hunting the wild lions and tigers of the wild then Dangerous Hunts 2009 will certainly not be on your must-buy list.