Flying and driving simulators have been growing in popularity for years, so it feels only fitting that hunting has received the same treatment. The video game Hunting Simulator attempts to create the most realistic hunting experience possible while being accessible to both seasoned hunters and those with no interest in hunting in real life.
Developed by Neopica and released in June by publisher Bigben Interactive, Hunting Simulator offers four different game modes, with the basic idea being that you as the hunter are dropped in the middle of one of 12 hunting zones centred on regions of the world. From there, you are free to walk around and start hunting. While the campaign mode requires the player to obtain particular animals in ‘free mode’, you can hunt whatever you come across. There is also a shooting range where you can practise your marksmanship - good practical advice for any real-life hunter.
On each trip into the wilderness you may take two firearms with you. This becomes important because again, just like in real life, only certain calibres are appropriate to be used on specific animals. There are lots of options though, including a .243 bolt-action rifle, .30-06 self-loading rifle, a pump-action shotgun and even a crossbow. There are also a number of decoys, lures and wind powders available, which the hunter can choose to take with them on expeditions.
More than 35 animal species are available to hunt, with each having their own grazing areas and traits. For example, some animals will be very easily spooked by sound, while others will be more sensitive to movement or smell. As the hunter, you are awarded points based on which vitals you hit, how big the animal is and how far away you shoot from. Animals shot with the wrong calibre or in the wrong area cannot be claimed and are not awarded any points.
While nothing compares to the real thing, the game looks pretty good on its highest settings and the controls are logical. Hunting Simulator has multiplayer support for up to four players and this looks like the best way to play the game. While there are lots of different firearms and prey, it is foreseeable that the gameplay could become repetitive over time. Even though similar games have been available on PC for some time, it is refreshing to see this style of entertainment make its way to both PlayStation4 (PS4) and Xbox One gaming consoles. The game is rated M and is recommended for people aged 15 years and over.
Hunting Simulator retails from $69.95 for the PC version. For more information, visit your favourite gaming retailer.