When I was first handed this game, I was a bit apprehensive. Hunting is a bit of a controversial subject, what with it being currently prohibited from practice in the UK. So, if I’m truly being honest, I was a little nervous when I was assigned this title to review, but I’ve always been up for a challenge. To be fair I’ve always liked the hunting elements in games such as Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed and more recently, the Lara Croft titles. I also thoroughly – although guiltily – enjoyed arcade hunting titles such as Trophy Hunting and Big Buck Hunter when I was a little bit younger.

Call of the wild is a hunting simulator, so if you were looking for an arcade style game, you will be in for a shock. However, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to go hunting or have an interest in hunting then this is the game for you.

The game is stunningly beautiful, with a huge open world to explore. The developers have put some real thought into the visuals. The hunting areas are wonderfully created; they are vast and full of life. The natural woodland colour is very life like; it is almost like going for a walk in the woods and in some ways, just as relaxing without having to leave your sofa, or actually kill an animal.

I always look for the beauty in open world games, and this game is second to none in these terms, the shape of the trees, the range of colours, different textures in the bark, it’s all there. Add the natural countryside’s elements, the green fields, farm fields, windy treks and roads, all in the same level of detail as woodland areas and you will begin to understand how you really can just lose yourself in this game just exploring its beauty.

Whilst exploring, looking for deer, and even bears to hunt, you will be drawn to the game’s excellent weather effects and sound, which all play a part in giving you a real sense of the hunting world and what it would be like to be out there.

To the hunt
The First task in the game is to choose your appearance from a limited selection of avatars and hunting attire before selecting the area where you wish to travel to begin your hunting career.

Once you arrive in your new hunting environment you are greeted with information in the form of a tutorial via the games GPS mobile device, where you will learn the basics whilst at the same time being thrown into an open world. You learn how to perform the perfect kill shot, the use of calling aids in a real practical sense thus introducing the game’s ‘real’ atmospheric feel, even to the complete novice non-hunting gamer like myself.

After you find your first deer and collect your first hunting trophy, you are then encouraged to explore the wonderful open world before heading to your first lookout point and then on to your first outpost in the form of a log cabin. Here you can purchase and upgrade your weapons, apparel, and hunting aids. You can also access a neat little motor vehicle to zoom around the open world, saving your character from getting tired by all the exercise he/she is doing. The game really does teach you that a tired hunter is a poor hunter with a dreadful shot.

Call of the wild has an excellent camera option for taking pictures of the natural beauty, wildlife and colourful landscapes.  However, the camera isn’t just for your own leisure, playing an important part in the odd mission.

The game rewards you with XP and money for the way you hunt, explore and gather hunting trophies. The more successful you are, the more the hunting adventure unlocks. You can aid your adventure with different hunting structures, upgrades to your hunting gear, lookout points and the ability to travel around the world map.

Press the menu button and you have access to a vast and detailed menu. Maps include excellent tracking information so you can easily pick up tracking that all-important deer or keep up on your mission progress. Yes, there are missions to play through, although it does pay to explore and have your own adventures too.

As you play through your hunting adventure, you will learn how to take in all the different elements that a hunter must deal with, the way different animals react to sounds, the weather changes and time of the day. It all has an impact on your how you hunt.

You really get a feel for and an experience in how to track an animal, from its footprints and calls, right to how old its faeces are. This really is the Ultimate hunting simulator.

Hunting in Packs
The multiplayer mode comprises of co-op play with up to 8 people who have the option to either enjoy the hunting experience with you, or contribute in taking photos of the wildlife and beautiful landscapes making it a very sociable event for all.

I’ll be honest, whilst playing through the game you should be patient and learn the way of the hunter. But then it’s a simulator so you come to expect that with simulators, nowadays.

Rush in gun ho, running around and the chances are you’ll come away empty handed. Treat the game with respect in terms of what it is trying to portray and creating that real to life hunting experience then it is pretty much spot on.

Thanks to astragon Entertainment for supporting TiX