After Twitch’s recent Hunt: Showdown event, it felt like the right time to talk about it, to take an in-depth look at what it actually is and why it’s quickly gaining in popularity. The developer’s definition of the game is ‘a competitive first-person PvP bounty hunting game with heavy PvE elements’ but it’s so much more. The game is such a mash-up of genres that if you try to define it too much by one genre, you’ll feel like you’re doing the game a disservice. There’s a distinct blend of survival horror, with FPS, even incorporating the familiar feel of a battle royale. It creates a stealth survival game of sorts, which is rarely done in multiplayer games, but Crytek seems to have cracked the code for it.
So what is the objective of Hunt: Showdown? There are 3 modes to choose from, the newest of these being ‘Trials’ – mini-challenges designed to test and train you in specific situations. Another of the modes is ‘Quickplay’ – a faster-paced, King of The Hill type of match where 10 players must race against the clock, picking up weapons and equipment, whilst finding clues to help them find and activate the large ‘energy wellspring’ for as long as possible. The player currently on the wellspring can be seen through walls and floors by other players by using the ‘dark vision’ mechanic when they are within range. It doesn’t give away their exact position, but it shows the rough area of where to look out for when approaching the wellspring. The winner of this mode is the player still on the wellspring when it’s meter runs out, it’s interesting because it’s possible to win even if other players are still alive. This, in a way, incentivizes players to be aggressive and push into the wellspring, to claim it for their own before time runs out.
The final – and most popular game mode – is ‘Bounty Hunt’. In this, 12 players must use their custom loadouts to find 3 clues, leading them to the location of one of the 3 ‘bounty monsters’, defeat the monster, banish it, then get to one of the exits with the bounty dropped by the monster, either avoiding or killing other teams on the way. Players can go either solo, in a duo, or a team of 3; there are always 12 players, regardless of team size.
However, it’s not easy to just run around the map, spot every enemy, and gun them down, you have to play smart, make tactical moves, and think strategically. Every detail of a fight is important, where you’re standing, the cover you’re using, are you near any barrels which could be rigged to explode? You have to take everything into account and constantly make several small, instant decisions to put yourself in the best position possible and try to give yourself an edge over your opponents. I personally feel like the combat in Hunt: Showdown has a very similar feel and atmosphere to games such as DayZ and Arma, just on a smaller scale. You can die from 2 shots, 1 if it’s from the right weapon, so sometimes the best course of action is to get in cover and wait-out any enemies, preparing for them to either move on, or attempt a daring push into your position, which you can rig with equipment such as beartraps, barbed wire traps, even flaming barrels.
Sounds of Showdown
Few games rely as heavily on audio as Hunt: Showdown. The environment is full of audio traps such as hanging chains, broken glass, and groups of birds, designed to slow down the pace of play and force players to think before rushing in somewhere. Punishment for ignoring these can be quite severe, as they’re a very specific way for someone to know your position. In many situations, sound is more accurate and reliable than your eyes, alerting you to someone’s presence behind you, or in a bush, or behind a wall which you can shoot through. In the store page, you can test-fire different weapons, to learn to recognize a weapon just by the noise it makes, this feature lets you test guns from point-blank range, right up to 1000m.
I can count on one hand the number of games that instill in me such high feelings of tension and suspense, the last one being Rainbow Six Siege. Whether you’re teaming up with 2 others to use numbers to your advantage or tackling the dangers of Lousiana alone, Hunt: Showdown is a game I believe any fan of FPS or Battle Royale games should try at least once.