The Hunter Call of The Wild - Review
I will start with this one-paragraph summary below for the gamers seeking a simple yes or no for buying The Hunter Call of the Wild hunting simulation. If you want to grab an extra few tips and read my game strategy and some frustrations then read the entire blog post. I admit this is a game I never intended to buy or play, The Hunter Call of The Wild was a summer Steam deal with a low price of just $4.95 and after seeing the ads I thought why not?
Summary: The Hunter Call of The Wild will immerse you in a virtual hunting environment with all the bells and whistles of a highly detailed environment including dynamic weather with day and night cycles. If you enjoy being in nature this is a great game to have just for that purpose alone to take a virtual hike through beautiful country, and spotting various animals along the way, if nothing more you can use your in-game phone to capture some stunning images. If you like hunting - this is a must-have hunting simulation! I say simulation because it does a very good job of simulating the hunting experience on many levels like buying and using the correct gun and ammo for the animal you are hunting, The simulation of animal behavior, wind direction, and noise discipline is all part of the game's engine. Did I mention the graphics/environment? Absolutely fabulous right down to the excellent animal models and sounds you hear, you will almost think you are in the environment with howling wolf packs in the distance, the snort of bison, the call of the Moose, the rattle of antlers, or the singing of birds - The Hunter Call of The Wild has it all. Do I recommend it? Yes absolutely.
The base game will start in Europe at a hunting Reserve named Hirschfelden Hunting Reserve, a very beautiful reserve set during autumn season. Hirschfelden features a surplus of deer so if you like deer, wild boar, European Bison with some Canda Geese in the hunting mix this is a great map -The purpose of this map is to get you familiar with the game's hunting engine and the process overall. This is true especially with the watchful eye of the Game Reserve Owner who will send you on errands around the map helping you discover new lookout towers and OutPost. If you choose to expand your hunting to other locations you can download other maps but will cost some money. What makes the game great is the availability of Down Loadable Content (DLC) be it new maps or new guns or equipment, The Hunter Call of The Wild has a lot to offer. I won't go into specifics of each individual map but will highlight what the common theme is throughout the game no matter which map you play - it is not about the map but more about how you play and your strategy that makes it enjoyable.
Making money. Take your free rifle and ammo and climb into that nice warm bunk at the local Outpost and set your wake time to either 0500 or 1700 (most animals feed/drink during these hours) then venture out to a nearby field/lake and crouch down with your binoculars - If you are lucky in an hour or so, you should have your first kill and even discover a need zone in the process, and when you harvest that kill you earn money and XP which will help you rank up and be able to buy more skills, perks, and better equipment. Be advised, don't over hunt in any one area as it will suppress the abundance of animals for a period of time so, after about three kills move to a new area, and always crouch and move slowly in hunting areas.
Need Zones: Need Zones are areas where animal species gather to rest, feed, or drink. Each species of animals have a different time for their needs - A link to a Steam Community page showing all need zone times for each map is included below. Even if you haven't discovered where the need zone is on your map, going to any body of water at the drinking times will pay dividends and help you discover a few drinking need zones. Always observe the animals before blasting away otherwise you may miss out on discovering a zone. Be advised, just because it says drinking does not necessarily mean the animal will be at the edge of the water. Sometimes they are up on shore a bit.
-To find drinking zones, Go to a lake, or river with your binoculars and observe animals drinking and you will find their drinking zones, all animals need to drink. Once the need zone icon appears on your map - click it to show what species and what time to expect them at that location.
- To Find Feeding & Resting Zones. Both these go hand in hand, You will need to do some walking and tracking, Animals move to and from need zones and leave tracks. Tracks leading into the woods will most likely lead you to a feeding or resting zone. You need to INSPECT tracks and Inspect disturbed vegetation to discover these zones or observe animals feeding or resting using your binoculars. Finding Feeding and Resting and feed zones can be time-consuming, never pass an opportunity to track an animal if you are not on an active hunt. Most rest/feed zones appear as disturbed vegetation, look for the ones more flattened and inspect them. Another zone indicator is a bunch of tiny hooves in a tight circle - always inspect groupings of tracks or disturbed vegetation for best results. Like I said finding zones is time-consuming.
Hunting Animals: You need to be in the right place at the right time duh, aka Need Zones, Animals don't magically appear at the exact time of the zone, and almost never appear at the exact zone location.
Need Zones - Purple = Kills
My strategy is to place myself at some distance from the zone downwind and observe the direction the animals move into the zone from. Then on a second day place my hide at a location that will provide me the best opportunity to make a clean kill. Keep in mind once you do make a kill the animals may change their travel behavior, and or become nervous/attentive making things more difficult for you the hunter. Never run or drive into a zone during the prescribed need times for obvious reasons. If you spook the animals it just more waiting time for you, creep into the hunting area.
- The red/purple spots? Every time you harvest an animal a purple spot appears where the animal was shot NOT where it died. The brighter red the more animals killed in that zone. Please note: Killing an animal from a hide/hunting blind will lessen the effect called hunting pressure, overtime these hunted zones will revive if you hunt elsewhere for a few days. So don't stay in one area killing everything that moves.
- Observe each animal before shooting: If you are hunting to raise your XP and make money avoid blasting away and the first animal you spot. Many times the higher class animal is just behind the one you are about to shoot or hiding in the nearby bushes. It never fails, the best animals are almost always in the wrong spot. Observe for a few moments before committing to the harvest.
- Overhunting, a zone will cause fewer animals to appear or worst case the zone will disappear altogether. How many is too much to harvest? not sure but I never take more than three species in a zone. Spread your hunting out across zones to ensure you will have an abundance of animals to hunt especially when hunting missions come up, more on missions later.
Getting Your First Diamond For a Species: Animal species are classed in levels. You can use your binoculars to observe/spot an animal and determine what level the animal is. From the lower, level (1-minor) means less money, and fewer rewards, and the opposite of that is the higher level animals 6, 7, legendary, etc. harvesting one of the higher-level animals will obviously give you higher rewards and more cash.
Use the Correct Weapon/ammo - To acquire a Diamond you NEED to do so with the correct weapon and ammo. Harvesting a Diamond Potential Fox with a 300 will result in a low or no score due to the gun is too powerful for such a small animal, and you missed the opportunity to brag when you mount the trophy in your lodge.
Acquiring gold and Diamond trophy animals requires proper shot placement using the correct ammo/gun and meet the Harvest Check, with a quick kill to get a diamond trophy. In other words, you need to place your shot perfectly and use the correct gun.
- Shot Placement - Harvesting an aminal with a clean quick kill will provide the most rewards and points - vital organs are what you are going for, heart/lungs, liver, or spine will take the animal and provide the higher score. To get the highest score you need to place the shot through the heart and lungs to drop the animal on the spot (instant Kill), otherwise, you will not obtain the highest score for the animal class. Never shoot an animal in their Trophy Area, such as the head area, doing so will result in a failed Harvest Check. I read other hunters say shoot the Bison in the head to stop it - wrong, not if you want a good score.
- Harvest Check: During each harvested animal process I encourage you to check your Harvest Check, this will give you an idea of how well you are doing. You can check your harvest check score when you claim the specimen/trophy, hover your mouse in the lower-left corner over the Harvest Check Area and see how well you did. One item a lot of hunters overlook is not using the proper weapons and ammo for a particular animal species, or in the heat of the moment forget to change guns. Even with perfect shot placement, you will not meet the harvest check if you are using the wrong ammo. For example, Bows can use a variety of arrows some heavy enough to take a Bison or Grizzly other light enough to properly take a fox - so make sure you use the correct ammo. Shotguns can take slugs or birdshot or course you would not use a slug on a duck/geese and expect a good score.
Weapons - Guns - Ammo: The Hunter Call of the Wild offers a lot of Rifles, bows, handguns, shotguns, and a wide assortment of ammo and various sights to assist in your hunting because the game also offers a lot of different hunting opportunities. Way too many to go into here, but generally speaking: Select the appropriate "Gun/Bow" and ammo for the species of animal you intent to hunt, each map has a wide variety of animal species each with different ammo requirements for the highest score. You can determine the proper ammo while shopping in the "store", or use F2 then click on the ammo you are using - the icons will show what animals it is best suited for. As you browse ammo in the store you will see what animals the ammo is appropriate for be it arrows for bows, or bullets for guns. Once you choose the ammo or gun you can hit show compatible items to make the proper selection for your hunting needs. If you are trying your hand at a bow remember a too high grain broadhead arrow may be overkill for a turkey - use the chart in the store to help guide you to select the correct gun/ammo for the animal being hunted - and always check your "Harvest Check" to ensure you are on track with what you are hunting with.
Strategy: The best advice I can offer is patience and buy a tent when you can afford it, heck buy two or three tents. When the hunting location is far from an Outpost drive or walk to the hunting location and place a tent to allow fast travel then rest until the best hunting time/need zones become active. In other words, you can fast travel between remote locations and set the time to start your hunting session + you have access to the store and stored equipment in case you need to change your gun or ammo. Your tent is like your own private OutPost and to hear the rain/ice falling on the tent is awesome. I normally leave a few tents placed around the map in my favorite hunting areas. When one area is going down I fast travel to another.
Your Best Friend - The Tent
Another strategy is to observe animals before firing that first shot, Don't rush (run/drive) into known zones at the need times or the animals will flee. Use the zones to your advantage at some point you will want to complete a hunting mission and having zones will make life better for you by knowing when and what animals are most likely to be present, and by all accounts stay upwind and crouch or even crawl into position to avoid noise or spooking the animals. I sometimes do a pre-hunting survey of an area, even taking time to walk around a lake or up and down a river looking for more zones or clues of animal behavior, tracks leading in, and tracks leading out to feed or resting zones. Drop a tent in these remote areas to allow fast travel back to the area when you are ready to hunt.
Blinds When used correctly can pay dividends in your hunting, allowing you to go unnoticed and place you within 30 meters for a shot. Dont foreget to bring a thermos. Tree Blinds, Marsh Blinds, Tripods, are all great tools for hunting success.
Final Strategy Note: Go to the firing range and Zero your guns at targets of 50, 100, 150, and 300m to ensure better accuracy. There is a skill you can acquire that enables the Zero range for your gun. Thus, if the animal is at 150 meters you can set your scope/rifle to 150 meters and be on target, likewise at 75 meters or 300 meters. I rarely miss when using the Zero skill just don't forget to set it correctly before taking the shot or you may shoot low on the target or over top. Setting it to 300m when the animal is at 75m will cause the bullet to either go over the top or hit above where you aimed at. Once you use this skill you will always want to use it when hunting. The Firing Range is on Hirschfelden Map lower right corner, the island - Rathenfeldt Schiessstand.
Hirschfelden Firing Range
Missions and Reserve Owners: Each Hunting Reserve has an Owner who seems always needs you to run errands. The errands are mostly busywork that you do. The purpose is for you to discover important areas of the reserve, the owner directs you go from corner to corner climbing each lookout point to discover outpost you can claim as yours and be used to fast travel to and from the hunting areas - the more Outpost you have the better, so take time to find them and do the busywork.
- The side mission usually has specific hunting requirements and you may be challenged to do missions. such as harvest a Wolf at Night and earn a Silver Score or harvest a Cow and Bull Bison and meet the Harvest Check plus a quick kill for each. One mission requires you to cull the predators; Harvest five Wolves with one being gold and 3 Grizzly with one being gold score. No problem except the other mission just had me harvest two wolves and two Grizzlies. Sometimes the side missions overlap or redundant, such as asking you to harvest the same animals in two different side missions. Overall the side missions can be fun and challenging, or even frustrating when challenged to harvest all animals on the reserve at a Gold rating or higher. There is no penalty for not doing the side missions.
Can you die/get killed in The Hunter Call of the Wild? Yes, your character can be killed or fall to his death. I have been mauled by a pack of wolves three times, Trampled by Moose twice, Killed by Bison Three times, and fell to my death four times. Nothing more frightening when you are out at o dark thirty in pitch darkness and hear growling that seems to be coming from all directions, then you are faced with a pack of wolves that have circled you - which proceed to rip you to shreds. I now carry a 44 with me in Wolf Country, I get a few of them before they get me at least. Another funny incident was a mission I needed to spot a Bison within 30 meters, I did and he did too. As I was belly crawling in tall grass when I heard heavy hooves nearby, the next thing I knew I was at the end of Bison's horns. Almost all animals in COTW can in fact kill you except for maybe Turkeys, or Foxes. I was also trampled by a herd of Big Horn Sheep, luckily I survived to talk about it, the Sheep who led the charge is in my Trophy Lodge. Where do you go when you die in COTW? You are sent to the nearest OutPost to recover.
Outcome For Your Efforts: So what do you gain from all your time and effort hunting? Fun, Fame, and setting up your own hunting lodge to display your trophies. You can own multiple lodges which makes sense because some animals are unique to a particular continent/map such as Africa or South America. Thus you can have a lodge that displays animals from that particular region. My hunting lodges are all a work in progress, as I gain higher-class animals I replace those with lesser scores taken when I was a rookie and did not know what I was doing.
Game Frustrations, Bugs and Glitches: Like all games, The Hunter Call of the Wild has its fair share of problems and you will find yourself laughing, crying, and cursing at times. Below are a few "things" I have run into.
- Disappearing Animals. This has happened a few times and is in the frustration category While tracking an animal heard from 150m back when the heard goes over a hill, I get to the top of the hill the entire herd has vanished nowhere to be seen. Alien Abduction.
- Tracking a Shot Animal - the blood trail, Another frustration at times is the blood trail will circle back to the spot where the shot occurred and there is no sign of the animal or tracks leading elsewhere, the kills show up on the map as a confirmed kill but you can never claim the kill.
- Unable to complete a Mission: Many times a mission becomes glitched and you may not be able to complete the mission until the game developers release a fix, I ran across at least four missions in this category. or the mission instructions are too vague as to what is needed and you spend hours trying to figure it out and finally seek help online using Google, ooh the game wanted me to find TIRE tracks, not Bear Tracks...
- Class Switcher roo, Shooting a higher class animal, but when you harvest it turns to a lower class animal - frustrating since I just spent a good hour tracking this legendary animal.
- Stuck Animals: Sometimes animals will get stuck against a rock, tree, going up a hill etc. I was driving my Quad down a trail and when I arrived at the bridge there were like 5 animals stuck trying to pass into the entry point - Funny. Of course, I did not shoot these poor defenseless animals all bunched up on top of each other. :)
- Exploding Quad: Driving your quad fast into the mud will cause it to burst into flames - even if the Quad is brand new. However, you can bang the Quad into trees for hours before it blows up, Lesson here is don't drive your quad into the mud.
- Missed Shots: I have actually been within 25m of an animal and completely missed, even though I had a perfect shot. The animal just ran off, one lucky animal - somehow the bullet went around the animal at near point-blank range. This has happened a few times, where the shot is perfect but you completely miss - maybe it is too close. Once I actually killed an animal standing on the other side of the one I was aiming at, even though I could not see the second animal - magic bullets.
The Hunter Call of the Wild can be a fun engaging hunting simulation, don't take things too seriously and when you get stuck or frustrated go to a different reserve/map to switch it up, I play two maps for this very reason, if I get frustrated I will use the other map for a while to revive my confidence in the game. I also recommend you try to complete all missions for each map before moving to the next map - the missions do help make you a better hunter. All in all the best hunting simulator available.
That's It, hope you found something useful.