On Hunting (Day 32)

Hunting is an important mainstay in many modern games, especially Ubisoft open-world sandbox extravaganzas.

It makes sense as a mechanic, right? Sneak up on some brutal creature, have an epic battle then use its skin for a new codpiece or whatever. My problem is how unbelievably boring most games manage to make the process.

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Sneaking around the forest and keeping an eye out for raccoons or bears or Bigfoot or whatever sounds like a good time, but manages to always amount to running around a game world until you happen to stumble into a harmless animal. Then you shoot it in the face, steal it’s skin and maybe go after its kids, I don’t know. That’s on you. Either way, it amounts to a whole lot of nothing that’s punctuated with a small amount of something not particularly exciting.

It surprises me that so many games have gone this route, because it’s rarely – if ever – well received (critically) and is about as innovative as a wet fart. It’s also often tied into major upgrades, so it’s not something that can just be ignored, as much as we may try.

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Now I’ve never been hunting in the real world, so it very well may be about walking around aimlessly until you can kill something for fun. However, I’ve also never helped 24 of my friends kill enormous demons at the pinnacle of a dark temple, but World of Warcraft is fun in spite of that. Realism doesn’t mean much in most games, is the gist here.

The Witcher 3 makes hunting a little less dull by giving players the ability to track their prey. Each hunt plays out like a miniature detective story, which is a lot more interesting than aimless wandering until you accidentally become a master hunter. Unfortunately, that’s just for scripted missions – if you want to hunt on your own, you’ll have to head out here and hope for the best. image.jpeg

Even Monster Hunter – a series about hunting monsters – manages to make the actual act of hunting the most boring thing about the series. Yes, the combat is amazing and yes, I’ve spent thousands of hours in that series, but the actual hunting process was never fun. Again, it’s about randomly roaming about until you happen to stumble into your prey.

How do you feel about hunting in games? Are there any major exceptions you enjoy, or do you enjoy the typical process? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

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