Hunt Showdown is one of those games that be incredibly difficult to get into for most casual players. It’s sheer brutality, unforgiving nature, and high stakes play can feel very intimidating every time you start up a match. But it’s for that exact reason why many of its player base, myself included, keep coming back to this ruthless arena.
For this game, ruthlessness is in its genetic identity. The depressing atmosphere of its maps inhabited by hostile Lovecraftian creatures along with the lack of a helpful UI are all key elements that pushes us players past our comfort zone.
If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, then this might not possibly be the game for you. But if you enjoy tactical gameplay and are willing to take the time to truly dive into a game’s mechanics, then Hunt Showdown is the game I’d recommend.
Hunt Showdown reminds me of a mix of Red Dead Redemption and Bloodborne if they were turned into a battle royale. You are basically placed into the role of a gunslinger in a survival horror setting competing with other players for the bounty.
What’s rough about this game is that it isn’t a last man/team standing affair. Unlike other battle royales, what matters is who escapes with the bounty. Winner take all.
This is even more emphasized by the fact that the you’ll never know how many players are in the game with you. And there’s no way to be sure you aren’t being followed. There is no display on how many players or team are left nor is there any indication anyone was ever killed unless you confirm it for yourself. This creates tension as you’ll always be looking behind your shoulder never knowing if you’re alone or being followed.
Like it’s title implies, the game is all about hunting. And this isn’t just about the bounty either. Hunting your fellows can actually be encouraged in this game, as lessening the competition helps make for smoother escapes. Be warned though, as your gunshots are loud and will attract other players.
One of my most memorable moments in the game involved following the sounds of gunshots for five minutes. I had no idea who was firing against who. But I did know with that much noise it was two players fighting against each other. At that point, they were both so exhausted that it only took a single shot from my revolvers to put them down. There is an immense feeling of satisfaction hunting someone this way.
Speaking of loud gunshots, Hunt Showdown is a game that’s almost entirely dependent on noise. Visual cues such as open doors and broken windows can help determine if other players have been through an area, but it’s the sound that really give you a big hint of what’s currently happening. Gunshots can be heard from a large distance. Crows will give away your position if you get near them. Dogs will bark. Chains will rattle. It’s not only the enemy fodder, but it’s the environment itself that can be hostile to any living presence. This isn’t a game you want to play with speakers as it gives you a large disadvantage as opposed to using a headset.
Dying in this game can be more than a slap on the wrist. Dying is penalized by losing your hunter along with his skills and any equipment he brought with him. This places a huge risk factor. You can leave anytime you desire by exiting the map through one of the many evacuation points should you feel the risk being too great.
While getting the bounty for your target is the most ideal end result, you do still have to be alive to reap the rewards. Die, and it’s all for nothing. Your only consolation is the halved experience you get from the match. At times, it will be better to leave than to push forward.
Many of the weapons will be unlocked as you progress. Thankfully the game isn’t too punishing when it comes to refilling your inventory. And acquiring a new hunter isn’t pricey and even there are free ones offered. So you’ll never have to fear a dead end where you’re out of funding to buy a new hunter and equipment.
Still, losing a hunter can no doubt be scary as the perks and equipment that come along with the hunter are nothing to scoff at.
Time is also an important factor to consider in this game. You’ll be tempted to take things slow, as moving faster increases the risk of creating noise and thus drawing other players toward you. But as you scout around for clues to find the bounty, other players are also doing the same. And this could lead to them finding the bounty first.
There are advantages to letting other players finish off the bounty for you. As before they can leave the area, they have to perform a banishment which will reveal their position to everyone on the map for a given time. This essentially places the building they’re in to becoming a defense fort to be held down as others attempt to take the bounty token for themselves.
However this can also be just as disadvantageous. The players who kill the bounty not only have a chance to place traps around the area, but will also be given a chance to see nearby players for a short amount of time. Once the cost is clear, they can make a break for one of the evacuation points. And once they’re gone, those tokens are out of your reach.
Hunt Showdown is a tense game. But you could just say that in just about any game in its genre. But Hunt takes it a step further by being punishing and limiting the information you get at any given moment.
If all of this sounds appealing to you, then I’d recommend getting Hunt Showdown. It’s tense and unforgiving nature make for one of the most brutal and ruthless battle royales to ever exist.