Imagine hunting in the wild outdoors… ahhh, the vast wilderness, the crisp clean air, the beautiful blue sky, the warmth from the summer sun, the tranquility of the forest, the comfort of the 12 gauge Pump Shotgun cradled in my arms, the flashing red dots pinpointing the exact location of your prey…
Whoa… wait a minute… did you read that right? Oh yes, you did.
Why, it’s only just Cabela’s Big Game Hunter: 2005 Adventures (shortformed as BGH for this review) running on my Windows 7 PC. The game is a pretty good virtual hunting game from Activision Value Publishing Inc. that puts me in the shoes of a hunter.
BGH throws in a log cabin (of my choice) to show off my trophies, a shooting range for some target practice, a store to purchase all my hunting needs, and the option to play multiplayer… it seems we are set for a great virtual hunting experience.
Well, almost great…
|Here I am, raring to go a-hunting…|
There are three main modes in BGH: Quick Hunt, Career Hunt, and Multiplayer. Quick Hunt is when you don’t have enough time to play a long drawn out hunting session. Career Hunt has the better value of the three modes as you get to pursue a (rather lengthy) career that takes you through all the available hunting maps. Multiplayer mode was pathetic, I found no servers for BGH and no one joined me when I started a server.
|That’s me… just perfect!|
There are a total of 10 maps that have been provided. You first start off your hunting career in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota – the only unlocked map. You are required to shoot down animals on each map before the next one gets unlocked for play. The other geographic regions available in BGH for hunting include Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, Nunavut, Sonorah, Utah, Vermont, and the Yukon Territory.
BGH allows you to select a season to play on a map; this essentially gives you two versions of the same map. In addition, each map has about 4 alternative start points to choose from for you to begin your hunt.
|Now that’s Utah’s complete… let’s see which area is next|
With 26 animals to hunt and kill in BGH, you may think that there is quite a lot of variety to choose from for each map. In actual fact, not all animals appear on each map… only about half a dozen types of animals can be found on each map.
I have had the opportunity to hunt (listed in alphabetical order) the following animals in BGH: Cougar, Elk, Grizzly, Mountain Goat, Mule Deer, Polar Bear, Pronghorn, Shiras Moose, Wild Boar, Wolf, and Woodland Caribou. You will have to play Career Hunt mode to find out what other animals are available for hunting.
|Bang, got him! (And I wasn’t cheating)|
After making a kill, you walk up to the slain animal and press a key to claim your trophy. An information box opens informing you of the trophy bonus (cash) and score, the firearm used to take down the animal, and the range from which you took the shot. There will also be an additional screen telling you specifics like, for example, the width and height of the antlers of a moose.
Watch what you shoot though, some animals are not legal for hunting. If you shoot and kill these animals, a mysterious lady’s voice will appear out of nowhere and announce that you have been slapped with a fine.
|Here’s my trophy|
Before you start on each map, you have to buy equipment from the store. They have special equipment like tents, binoculars, maps, GPS, daily rations, medical kits, scent cover, predator calls, deer feeders, and even decoys. You must also purchase a set of clothing, firearms, and the hunting tags which authorize you to hunt a specific animal. As shopping in the store and transferring them to your backpack can be quite troublesome, you should be happy to know that there is an auto-equip button provided in BGH.
The game automatically provides you with a vehicle to save you time travelling around the map. You get to drive an ATV, or a pickup, or even a snowmobile (for the winter maps). Driving can be quite fun, but don’t hit any obstacles at a fast speed or you will get hurt.
|Look ma… I drove the pickup into the river and survived|
Alright, let me breakdown the rest of BGH:
The maps are really huge and visually stunning for some of them. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the game simplifies matters by providing you with red dots to indicate the exact location of animals. There are three levels of difficulty and I found the Hard level makes the animals really hard to catch them in my sights. The physics while driving the vehicles are laughable at best. You tire pretty fast trying to keep up with the animals (even when they are wounded).
There is no indication other than an invisible wall you run into when you reach the edge of a map. The log cabin walls are placeholders for the trophies, but you can’t really walk around in the cabin to admire them. And the target range is nothing great to write home about. I heard the retort of my weapons, the squealing, or grunting of the animals, but otherwise there’s nothing truly that spectacular that I can mention about for the sound effects.
|I could stand here all day long admiring the scenery…|
In my humble opinion, BGH is a pretty cool hunting game with nice places to visit and cool animals to hunt. You might just want to consider getting a copy of the game today.