theHunter Review

What we liked:
+ Beautiful environments
+ Challenging and realistic gameplay
+ Tracking is a fun challenge
What we didn't like:
+ Can be too realistic for some players
+ Walking everywhere can become boring
DEVELOPER: Expansive Worlds   |   PUBLISHER: Expansive Worlds   |   RELEASE: 2011

Patience is a virtue.

I’m from Athens, Georgia. Now, most people would think that since I grew up in the South, I would know a lot about hunting. Well, apart from the very few times as a teenager when I went with my Dad, I know almost nothing about hunting. So, you can imagine how I felt when I was told I was reviewing a game called The Hunter. That didn’t stop me from not giving the game a shot, and you know what? It’s actually quite impressive.

The Hunter is a first-person hunting game that takes place in Washington State. The player is a new hunter to the area and has to learn the ropes before going out on his own. The player can use guns and bows for hunting prey as well as other items like callers, camouflage, and scents to help out their hunting expedition.

The game is running on the Just Cause 2 engine, so as you can imagine, the areas are gigantic and very detailed. The environments are beautifully crafted and really do look fantastic. The background depth is also very impressive. It seems as though you can see for miles.

The game is free to play, but it is limited. You can only hunt Mule Deer and only use a certain gun and equipment without investing. The player can choose to buy certain licenses or weapons and gear from the store, or just buy a pack that gives you a bundle of goodies for a limited amount of time.

The hunting itself is very realistic. You must use stealth and patience to track down your prey. It can become difficult. You utilize a very helpful tool called the HunterMate, a GPS tool that can also track which way an animal is heading by analyzing tracks, excrement, sounds, and blood trails. When targeting your prey, you need to place your shot correctly in order to make the kill. If you wound without killing, you will then have to track down your prey until it dies. That could take a long time and many miles, and you may never find the body. You really get the feel that you need to take your time and use caution when getting ready to take down your prey, just like in real hunting.

The game kind of reminds me of Far Cry 2. You have to walk everywhere and travelling is a long process. Granted, there aren’t enemies constantly respawning or your car blowing up all the time, but you get the idea.

The tracking is very well done and, when you run into more “clues” that lead you to something you’re already tracking, it appears on the ground as a brighter red dot. The GPS is your best friend. It will remember every track you find and map them accordingly for you, just in case you get lost.

When you are finally ready to take down your prey, the game becomes a first person shooter. You can aim your gun, hold the spacebar to hold your breath and steady your aim, and of course, fire. You need to walk slowly when spotting your prey. You can kneel or go into the prone position. Finding the best vantage point is crucial to taking down your prey. The game takes a lot of skill at times.

There are small RPG elements to the game. You can level up your tracking and shooting skills just by performing them. After leveling up certain skills, it becomes easier to track animals or steady your aim.

The game must be launched from the website itself, but the data is all stored on your PC. The website keeps track your hunter’s stats and accomplishments. This is also where you can purchase licenses and gear, enter competitions and take on specific missions.

From what I understand, the developers are working on new areas and new animals to hunt. There is even talk of adding multiplayer to the game at a later date. There are constant updates to the game and it’s good to know that it is still being supported.

All in all, The Hunter is a great hunting experience. I may not be the biggest hunting game fan out there, but I can still see that the game sets out to give the player a realistic hunting game and it does a good job of presenting one. The game may not be for everyone, but it is a good change of pace from your standard Call of Duty games. The visuals are fantastic, and the game play is rewarding if you give it a chance. You can’t just run out there and hope to make your first kill right away. If you are expecting that, you will be bored quickly. If you’re looking for a good hunting game, look no further. There’s a lot to be had with the free to play version, and if you’re looking for more, you can always spend a little money to extend your playtime.

For more information on theHunter, visit their website at

Review copy provided by publisher.

Drew Leachman

Drew is the Community Manager here at ZTGD and his accent simply woos the ladies. His rage is only surpassed by the great one himself and no one should stand between him and his Twizzlers.

You may also like...

  • toytoy

    The game is really fantastic.Scenery is realistic and it is the only hunting game with real environmental effects.Beleave it or not…You will be addicted to the game once you start playing it.Make sure you go through forums before starting so that you can have the pleasure of of having a game on the first attempt.
    it is 10/10 for a hunting game….Rather I would say it is a hunting simulator.

  • JDonner

    I find it odd that you rate the game an 8, when it’s the best hunting simulator out there by far and for good reasons.

    There are a lot of misconceptions about this game. First of all; it does not take a long time to find and kill an animal. Some people claimed that it took them over an hour. Yes….if you run and don’t care about being heard, seen or smelled by the animals it will. I’m not going into details, but there are lots of people who can easily find and kill an animal every 5 minutes. It doesn’t take you ages to get that good, it took me about 6-8 weeks.

    Secondly….tracking is often seen by newcomers as a way to track a wounded prey and that it therefor seems to play a large role in this game, but it’s actually doesn’t.

    The important of a good shot is that it’s a deadly shot. Neck, heart, lungs, brain….hit them with a .300 at less than 500ft and the animal is almost dead on the spot. There is only very few occasions if you’re a good aimer that you are forced to track. I use tracking mostly to get a rough idea about animals in that area and which direction they’re walking, but I don’t check every clue in the huntermate.

    • JDonner

      Third, it’s not just the actual game that makes it interesting to play, it’s above all the community and the related leaderboard and competitions. They now also have competitions for beginners. but even with a bit of luck, any beginner could lead the leaderboard for a specific animal or win a related competition for more advanced players, it’s not that much an exception as some outsiders might think.

      • Michael “PaladinXII” Futter

        Just so I’m clear, you are upset that he gave the game an 8/10?

        • FrustratedFury

          What disturbs me more is not the fact that a score of an 8/10(Great) is making him upset, but the fact that this is a comment to a review that was published 5 months ago…

        • Michael “PaladinXII” Futter

          Also, in terms of gaming, 6-8 weeks to “get that good” is longer than we have when reviewing a game. Typically we get games no more than two weeks before release. In the case of games like this, the game was probably given to us upon release.

          We need to give our opinions to those people who want to know what to expect when picking up the game and sitting down with it over the first week or two. Many people won’t invest the kind of time you mention in a game unless they get enjoyment out of it right away.

          That said, an 8 on our scale is a “Great” game. Demanding a higher score disregards the content of the review and ultimately diminishes the value of all reviews for every game. I imagine it probably is the pinnacle of hunting games. That doesn’t make it the best game ever made, though.

  • Ghost

    Game Sucks!!!, loaded with bugs, poor tech support, its all about the money with these idiots, constantly wants player to pay dollars after dollars to do anything beyond a guest account, limited as a guest to one species of deer and one location, to do anything else takes $$$$$$ after $$$$$$ rip off and outrageous prices, and to top it all of
    Crappy game play