With the pending Mayan end of the world, Zombie Apocalypse or whatever may come, a little digital shooting practice seemed like just was the Nostradamus ordered.
But before I begin, I have to confess a couple of things. First, I’ve never hunted in my life. No, not once. Sure, I had a spring-action Daisy Red Ryder BB gun when I was a kid. You know the type, no CO2, no air pump, no pellets…just BBs that come out the muzzle and visible start arching toward the ground. So, unless you calling missing about hundred squirrels and gofers hunting, then I’ve never been.
Second, I haven’t played an at-home shooting game since the original Nintendo Duck Hunt! Yeah, yeah…for those keeping score, that was 1985!
Back to the product: we received the Wii version of Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013 (DH13) game, which includes the Top Shot Peripheral (gun). I’m more of a PS3 man myself…and unfortunately, the PS3 gun looks a little cooler, with Heart Rate Monitor built into the gun and game. In addition to DH13, we also tested Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions game.
When unboxing Dangerous Hunts 2013, the first thing you notice is the Top Shot gun. It assembles easily enough and the weight feels good in your hands. So good that I immediately strolled around the house doing my impression Chuck Conners in the intro to “The Rifleman.”
Popping the disk into the Wii was a different experience though. No shooting from the hip here. Instead, you find yourself lying prone, scoping your first buck with your dad whispering in your ear about holding your breath and squeezing off that first round. Honestly, the intro kind of bummed me. I thought, “okay this is a game for those guys who like to rub deer s*&# on themselves and sit for hours in a lookout.” While important if you want to kill a real deer…not so much fun in your living room.
But once you get to real game play, it changes quickly. For example, in the second chapter of story mode you find yourself high tailing away from dust storm in the African Savannah standing in the back of a Land Rover, picking off stampeding wildebeest (or whatever they are) before they ram your SUV.
The game is rated Teen, and I get that. If you’re one of those parents who are worry about your children being corrupted by video game blood and violence…then what the F*#& are you reading White Glossy for?!
There are three game modes within DH13: Story Mode, Maneater, and Shooting Galleries. Shooting Gallery is what I play with my kids. It’s House of the Dead or Time Crisis style — meaning you don’t control the movement of the character…you just aim and shoot as the world moves around you (what would Galileo have thought).
In Maneater mode, you’re dropped into a landscape and have to get from point A to point B without getting killed by a nefarious number of animals that are hungry for you blood (sounds like zombies after all).
And there’s always Story Mode, which I actually enjoyed. I’ve heard people complain about the controls…and there’s definitely some truth to that. I find myself spinning in circle way too often and I keep forgetting which button switches guns, etc. But I still enjoyed the game play and story line for the couple of hours I played.
Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions is a different experience. In this game, you go to different destinations to hunt specific game. There’s no story mode or arcade mode. This is more akin to simulating a real hunting trip. With experience points, you can buy different rifles and open up new destinations.
Overall, I spent a few hours really enjoying DH13 and Hunting Expeditions. However, you have to keep your expectations in check. To a hard-core gamer, these two games don’t compare — not when you’re used to the likes of Call of Duty. The first big ding is there’s only a couple hours of game play in DH13 story mode. Second, the reality of DH13 is really thin. It’s more like killing a thousand zombies that come from every direction…just substitute zombies with rhinos and leopards and you’ve got DH13.
To the real hunter, Hunting Expeditions may appeal to you more. DH13 will probably feel too “arcadie.” Instead, in Hunting Expeditions your goal is to be stealthy and patient so as not to spook your target. Very different from the gun slinging action of DH13. I haven’t played previous versions of hunting games, but I read a few reviews of people who were disappointed they got rid of features like decoys. So, again, keep your expectations in check.
To me, the best part of DH13 was the gun itself. Like I said, I haven’t played an at home gun game in years…so it was definitely fun for me. So much so that I’m now likely to go out and get the PS3 Sharp Shooter peripheral and a few new games.