Hunt: Showdown – Closed Alpha

Recently Kris and I received invitations to play Hunt: Showdown on PC, a first person survival horror game with an interesting focus on both PvE (Player Vs Environment) and PvP (Player Vs Player).  It’s definitely an interesting blend.

What makes it even more interesting is that it’s being developed and published by CryTek, the team responsible for Crysis (amongst other things).

After reading through the manual and playing the game itself I’m assuming Hunt: Showdown is set sometime in the early 20th century and in the state of Louisiana.  Clearly the area is suffering from a huge infestation of undead and abominations and so the “American Hunters Association” is created in order to combat these monstrosities.

You’ll first start the game with $666 which you will use to recruit a hero and outfit them.  At this current stage only one map is available, although you can choose from two missions (or bounties) and whether you’ll hit the ground during the day or night.  Both have advantages and disadvantages.

It’s a swampy mess of an area, likely a bayou along the Louisianan coast line which is infamous for this type of terrain.  The map is 1km squared which is plenty big as I believe there is only ever a dozen or so Hunters on the map.

You can play the game solo or in duo with either a random or a specific friend.  The object of the game is to move across the map looking for clues. This is made easier by your ‘Dark Sight’ which will typically light up a clue or point you in the right direction at the cost of being defenseless.  As you find clues your map will hone in on the bounty you are looking for.  As you’re doing this you’ll kill a variety of nasty undead as well as loot ammunition, consumables, weapons and other items such as lanterns.

You’re not the only Hunters on the mission though and other players will be moving through the map with the same goal.  While theoretically you could choose to leave each other alone, there is no advantage in doing so.  Only one team can claim the bounty.  The easiest way to secure it is to remove the competition.

Once the ‘big bad boss’ for the mission has been toppled you’ll need to complete a ritual to banish it.  This takes some time and it’s also broadcast loud and clear across the map and your exact location revealed.  You’ll want to be alert and ready to defend yourself from any other Hunters you haven’t already taken care off during this time.  Thankfully you aren’t bound to the area and can move off if you wish.  You won’t want to move too far though because once the banishing is complete two bounty tokens will be dropped.  You can only carry one (the other is for your team mate) and then you’re going to want to leg it to the extraction zone as the bounty token will reveal your location to other Hunters at all times.

Make it to the extraction zone, stay alive and you’ll be rewarded.  Failing that you can move to the extraction zone at any time and cash in.  Being that when a Hunter dies they stay dead (and you must recruit another), one viable strategy might be to simply enter a new map, nibble at the edges killing trash mobs and then beat a hasty retreat before you get slaughtered by more experienced and better equipped heroes.  You still get XP for everything you kill.

Leveling up your Hunter will give them access to more health and eventually (not in the game just yet) traits.  If you manage to lose all your money and all your hunters then a bogus free hunter is provided.  You’ll also accrue experience for your account as well, which will unlock rewards as you slowly rank up.  Already there is a whole swag of weapons, armour, consumables and other goodies that I can see but not equip yet.  In between missions you’ll have a chance to re-equip your Hunters if they managed to survive.

If you’re still struggling to wrap you head around it here is the official tutorial video –

Aesthetically the game is gorgeous both at day and night, but you’d expect nothing less from CryTek.  There are very few graphical settings available currently and even with solid machines the game runs at 40-50 frames.  The time to join a game and then load the map is also incredibly long – several minutes.  It’s only very early days though (Alpha? Beta?) and I have no doubt these issues will be addressed going forward.

Latency plays a big problem for those of us down here in Australia as well.  While it’s still  heavily noticeable when shooting trash mobs, it’s tolerable.  The biggest problem is PvP; with only two servers available (Europe or America), you’re likely going to bump into a local with vastly better internet than you and physically much closer to the server.  Unless you happen to get off a lucky shot you’re pretty much dog meat.  Hopefully we see an Oceanic server.

I can see an awful lot of potential in Hunt: Showdown. It’s really just going to come down to how well they tighten up the game and if we get a local server or not.  Either way I’d really love to see the ability to host our own servers.  With so few players, one would think a regular desktop PC would be up to the task and I could see this game being a lot of fun at a LAN party (Yes I still do LAN parties).

I leave you with a quick play video of Kris and I playing a bounty together, our second game ever –

Hunt: Showdown Links

Steam – http://store.steampowered.com/app/594650/Hunt_Showdown/
Website – https://www.huntshowdown.com/

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