Hunt: Showdown might appear as one of the many multiplayer shooters that lacks originality but the more time is spent with the game, the easier it is to realize the special experience provided by its unique multiplayer. This game thrives on its online community and your experience will entirely depend on the matchmaking, or whether you can get into a good party with friends.
Hunt: Showdown is a survival horror game set in the 1890s. The developers have picked this fictional period to provide a sense of old school fantasy with creepy monsters and other creatures that haunt this world. The player assumes the role of a bounty hunter that has to work together with others to kill ghastly creatures as they attempt to take down bounty by slaying them. The main game offers two multiplayer modes: Bounty Hunt and Quickplay. Most of the spotlight is taken by the Bounty Hunt mode and this is what I have played the most for this review.
Both of the gameplay modes offered in Hunt: Showdown is to understand with a set of objectives so you are not just endlessly roaming the world. There are different maps to tackle which provide a semi-open world experience. The game supports up to 12 players in the Bounty Hunt mode where they can either team up in a trio together or go solo and attempt to hunt the location of a mythical monster. Each map also throws regular horrific creatures at the player including zombie grunts. The player has to deal with these obstacles and also take care of others online who might end up hunting them down if they have a bounty in their hands.
As each player is thrown into a map, they have to start hunting down their bounty, which in most cases is usually one of the three different mythical monsters. The location of these monsters is hidden on the map and players have to slowly pick up clues, use the “Dark Sight” mode to find them, and then kill the monsters to claim the loot. This is not the end of the Bounty Hunt mode as there is still some work that has to be done to complete the match. Once the player has claimed their bounty, they are marked on the map and get hunted by others. To win the match, they have to successfully escape from specific points on the map.
The limitations start to kick in as you play more matches online. While the placement of the bounties, players, and the exit points is completely random, the game doesn’t offer much variety in terms of multiplayer maps. Currently, there are only two maps available to play online and they are quite spacious and well designed so along with the added randomness, it keeps the experience fresh. However, it would have been exciting to see more than two maps being offered in the final game considering how long this one has been in early access on PC.
The period plays a role in weapon selection for every match. Most of the weapons provided are quite old like crossbows or shotguns, and if you are ready to take others up close and personal, you can also attempt to use melee weapons like a knife and machete to slice and dice enemies. There are additional tools provided to place a decoy on the map for other players. The progression system is called Bloodlines which ties the skills and performance of a hunter to a level system. You start at level 1 and slowly gain experience points to empower your hunter. Every level up can unlock additional new tools and weapons thus making you competitive in a match.
The lack of maps and the grind to unlock more levels mean this game is not for everyone. If you are a dedicated player, it might be easy to forgive the lack of variety in Hunt: Showdown but with the abundance of multiplayer games in addition to single-player games these days, it will be hard to stick around long for Hunt: Showdown.
If you are tired of the Bounty Hunt mode, there is a battle royale mode called Quickplay. In this mode, the player has to keep an eye out on a timer that slowly runs out. They have to find clues to activate rifts which leads to the location of a Wellspring. This can be activated to win a round but once initiated, it is possible to get killed by monsters so the player has to keep on their toes and fend off any attackers until the timer runs out. It is an easy mode that can be used to take a short break from the Bounty Hunt mode, and it does offer some reward by unlocking new hunters to use in the Bounty Hunt mode.
Hunt: Showdown is not a game for everyone. It requires patience, skills, and dedication to grind out for a better hunter. It is not as forgiving to newcomers as other games. If you can understand most of its complicated progression system and learn how to take advantage of the various tools and weapons available at your disposal, the majority of the multiplayer matches should be a blast to play, whether solo or with a group of friends.