Well, I'll be honest right off the bat here I had not heard of this game until I got a nice email from someone at Crytek asking if we would like to try their new game. I mean after all that had gone on over the last few years Id honestly thought Crytek was just a shadow of itself but hell they did do some amazing games so after a quick look on YouTube and only a few seconds later I replied that we would love a chance to review Hunt: Showdown.
Survival horror is a very hard genre to get right as I fell the best way horror works is a single-player as you can tailor the game for the player to feel the dread and isolation as the developers know what the player will be doing when and where. I find when you add into the mix more players then the true horror disappears but let's see how Crytek tries to solve that conundrum in this game.
Hunt: Showdown is set in the 1890s the world is massively overrun by monsters the most basic of these are shambling shuffling zombies to giant spiders and water monsters but its not only the AI nasties but you also have to take into account, other players. Survival is not the only goal here as you have very specific tasks before you can end the level with your life and the loot.
I must give a special mention to the game's visuals as the levels play out in an open world, the level of detail is immense and just little things can go a long way like the water reflections that looks stunning and the way the sunlight filters through dense fog. Even on the base PS4 the frame rate is almost as solid as you'd want and the characters have this early gunslinger look to them and this fits in with the game's world.
Sound again is really top-notch here with ambient music that fits amazingly well with that western twang mixed with really good loud-sounding guns and this comes in really handy as you can pinpoint the direction of a far off firefight so you can choose to either keep your distance or wade in guns blazing. But this also has effects with the enemy's as you can draw attention to yourself so try and keep gunfire to a minimum or don't go walking by a cage of dogs as the barking will also alert nearby enemies.
So the game itself then well the main mode is the Bounty Hunt where you and a team of two others hunt for clues then you get the location of a big formidable enemy boss. You find the clues by selecting dark vision and no this isn't some Marvel character but this changes the game screen more black and white but with floating blue orbs and you follow these and when you find all 3 locations then that releases the true location of the enemy. There are three boss bounties in the game and these are the Butcher and this is just a juggernaut that can take so many hits and well can end your life with the amount of damage they can cause, then we have the Assassin and is just as you might guess just hard to pin down, lastly, we have the Spider and well this bounty is fast and well terrifying.
When you finally kill one of these bounties you then have to get to the escape point to win the match, the only problem is that one of the other three groups will be trying to stop you and take the bounty for themselves. So we have the one vs more gameplay that we have seen over the last few years but what makes this better, in my opinion, is that as you don't get to play as the bounty its a much fairer system of human characters fighting each other in the hope to kill the boss then get out with the bounty.
There is a levelling up system but you would expect this really in this kind of game so the more you kill or objectives you complete the more points you get to put into your character. Then you can get better stats for the weapons in the game as fast reload and more accurate shots plus you can also get some melee weapons that come in very handily as these make less noise so will attract for less attention from both enemies and other players alike.
If this sounds too much then you can play in Quick Play mode and this gives you a random hunter with low powered weapons and you use the dark vision but don't find clues but instead find rifts that you close and there are three to close. You then get the location of the Wellspring and when you activate it a timer will count down and when it hits zero you win the match. This is a slightly less tactical way to play the game but if you don't keep an eye on everything you can still die to a very basic enemy.
It's also worth noting; I did have to watch a load of YouTube videos and read some previews online as unfortunately the in-game tutorial is just not good enough especially for someone new to this type of game or even for someone that may not be sure what the game is really about when turning it on for the first time. I also have to say that at the time of this review the matchmaking options are not the best as it doesn't take skill level into account so you could be playing for the first time and come into the match with a dedicated pro and find you have zero chance and this could turn you off from the game. Personally, I can see this being a game that I can put in a lot of time as the feeling and gameplay is tight and very satisfying to play. The graphics and sound are top-notch and well the gameplay loop is just different enough to warrant players putting time into this world.