Recently, I got my hands on an alpha key for the upcoming game Hunt: Showdown, the upcoming shooter game from Crytek. By now, I have around six hours under my belt and a mind full of thoughts about this game. And me being me, I just had to write about said thoughts. So here are my thoughts on Hunt: Showdown.
I didn't even know what this game really was until playing it for the first time, so before getting into my thoughts I should explain what the game is for those who don't know what this game really is. Hunt: Showdown is an upcoming FPS multiplayer game that takes place in the late 19th. You (and a partner if you choose) play as a bounty hunter tasked with running around the Louisiana swamps in search of a large monster. Your goal is to track down the large beast, kill it, banish the beast (to hell I suppose), and extract with material you picked up from the dead body. The way you track down this monster is by finding clues around the map, and those clues can be found with hunter's vision. Simple, right? Well, it turns out nine other players (one being an ally if you choose) are in the same match as you trying to do the same thing, but one thing they are not is friendly. Also, banishing the boss takes two minutes, and during those two minutes you have to stay near the body and everyone knows where you are. The world is also filled with zombie-like creatures, but they are mostly avoidable. Oh yeah, one more thing. If you die, you lose your character. Any loot he had and any rank he had disappears. Not to fear though, as for their is a general rank as well as your money that won't go away every time you die. Your general rank unlocks items in the shop, which can be bought and equipped to characters. But remember, even bought items that you equip to characters will disappear if that character dies. The closest analogy I can come up with for this game is like The Division's survival mode mixed with elements of Escape From Tarkov.
When I first started to understand the full premise of this game, I kept trying to think that this is a battle royale game, and was leaving the game a little disappointed for its lack of tension. The big reason I love PUBG so much is for its incredible tension. For me, by the time I hit final ten my heart is beating louder than a drum next to a mic. I love this tension so much, as for winning with that much tension makes me feel like the king of the world and losing makes me want to jump right back into the game and experience that tension even more. With Hunt, I got a little tension from the banishing to the extraction, but that was it. But a little more gameplay and I realized something: this isn't a battle royale game. It's a shooter where you don't spawn if you die, but you don't have to die for the game to end. After this realization, my enjoyment with this game shot up and I can say that this is one of the most fun multiplayer games I have played since PUBG.
Hunt: Showdown may not be as tension-filled as PUBG, but it is just as hardcore, if not more so. Teamwork is key in the game, and sound is one of the most important aspects in the game. Teamwork is key as for interactions with other players plays out like interactions with others in PUBG. Treating everyone as hostile, surprise attacks, and calling out positions of enemies are a few aspects that makes teamwork between you and your teammate vital. As for sound, it is one of the most important aspects of the game. Just like in PUBG, shots heard in the distance is a good way to judge how close others are, but Hunt takes it one step further with aural queues. The area is filled with items that will make noise when you are near it, such as horses, dogs, glass on the floor, crows, horseshoes on a string hanging from a doorway, and more. Also, the chat is a proximity chat, and everyone can hear you speak. On the other hand, the game has some simple systems like health, items, character building, and more. I find that the aspects that are hardcore makes a more enjoyable experience while the aspects that aren't hardcore keeps the game from having annoying systems. Hunt's hardcore and simple aspects blend to make a great multiplayer experience that rests between the simple multiplayer game like Call of Duty and the complex multiplayer games like Escape From Tarkov, and this is one of the many things I love about the game.
The name Hunt: Showdown has two parts to it: Hunt, and Showdown. Obviously, the showdown is between players and the hunt is for the beast. But after playing this game for awhile the names also speaks to the two different genres this game can be defined. When you are in a showdown, it's action like PUBG. But when you are on the hunt and more specifically when you are fighting the beast, the game turns from action to survival horror. I wouldn't say it's the scariest thing you will ever experience. Rather, I would say the experience I had with the beasts would be brief moments of panic as I fill the beast with bullets. The game mode I have played the most would be the spider at night, and fighting a spider that can climb on walls, is incredibly fast, and in the dark can be pretty tense at times. But what is the best is after the boss fight. You started with fighting other players like an action game, which then turned into fighting a beast like a horror game. It's at this point where the two fighting types merge and you have to fight against human players but with the fact that they know where you are. For the most part, they don't attack during the banishment. Instead, people usually attack when you are trying to make your way to extraction. Mix that with a swamp-like atmosphere filled with brush, and you have your biggest moment of tension, which again doesn't quite reach PUBG levels for me. The action of fighting others and the horror of not knowing where or when they attack while they know exactly where you are.
But those two things aren't the only thing I like about the game. I love the game's setting, as for the swamp and the buildings make a good horror environment and guerrilla-style fighting that I enjoy. The time period is also something I love, as for it mixes well with the swamp environment and the weapons and items used are a lot of fun. The monsters add a bit of fun to the mix so you aren't spending all of your time finding clues and looking for people. Finally, I personally think the recruit system is perfect the way it is as for it feels fair instead of keeping the same character and having him have high stats. Their are many more aspects that I like about this game that I just can't put into word, but their are also issues worth addressing that I can put into word.
The biggest issues I had with the game can be excused by the fact that this is an alpha, but they are still worth stating. The game runs horribly, and loading times are pretty bad for a game with only ten players in a match. Their aren't any graphical settings other than resolution, something that should be there considering how poorly the game runs. Once you are in matchmaking, their is no way of backing out unless the servers are full, sound sometimes doesn't work at the beginning of a match, sometimes I will spawn without a partner despite queuing with one, and more. Fortunately, this is all stuff that can be fixed by release. As for any personal flaws with the game, I would say their needs to be separate modes for duos and solo players. Maybe some people like to play solo, but punishing them by putting them against duos isn't fair and could possibly turn away some people. As for improvements, I would say increase the abilities of the hunter vision, and add more monsters and more modes, but I am sure these things will come true by release date.
In the end, I think Hunt: Showdown is a great multiplayer experience for those looking for a somewhat hardcore FPS multiplayer shooter. Despite some flaws with the game (most of them being technical flaws), I had a great time with the game and will definitely pick up a copy when the game comes out. I don't think it will shake up the industry like PUBG did, but I don't think it needs to. If you can get your hands on a key, then I highly recommend playing the game. If not, then The Division's survival mode can be an adequate substitute for now until the game comes out. In the end, this is just an alpha and things can change. But other than cleaning up the game and adding more content, I think the game is great the way it is now and they shouldn't change up the formula too much.