Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013 is the story-telling hunting game, as opposed to Hunting Expeditions 2013, which was more about hunting. In Dangerous Hunts, you play a hunter who’s family has been torn apart. For a story penned by someone who has written a plethora of TV shows and such (Andrew Kreisberg), it didn’t give me much to walk away with. This first-person jaunt through various locales left me more confused than satisfied.
The narrative is anything but stellar, with sub-par voice acting as the icing on the cake. Half way into the game, I was still trying to connect with something, anything in the plot to build motivation to keep playing. Nothing ever clicked, though.
Each chapter has you on a mission to get from point A to point B. There is no sandbox, this is a very linear experience. Dangerous Hunts tries to deliver a tense, gripping experience (as you can buy it bundled with the Fear Master Top Shot periphereal), but unwieldy controls mar the whole thing. There is an “invert vertical camera” option for weird people like me, but when a predator lunges at you in slow motion, you’ll end up shooting the corner of the screen because the camera goes back to standard. There is nothing more aggravating than having to reload a check point after clearing a wave of animals because the slow motion “tense” lunge from a cougar screwed with camera, making you miss your shot.
Probably the most interesting aspect of Dangerous Hunts this year is the evolved Top Shot gun, now with the”Fear Master” prefix. Again, this is supposed to be a gripping story. You know, sweaty palms, fast heart beat, etc., etc., but unless you are just terrified at animals jumping at you or unless you get involved in the story (something that never happened to me, despite trying) than this is all moot. The Fear Master keeps tabs on your heart rate, and modifies the game to work against you if you are feeling pressured. The camera is supposed to blur, making it harder to shoot, but this is all hear-say as I never experienced any of this due to lack of actual fear.
Two other elements that are at least up to par are the graphics and animal movement. Graphics don’t exactly stand out against higher-budget games, but they are still respectable. Animals look great, though you don’t exactly want to look at them long enough to establish that point. Seeing a panther up close is a little disconcerning.
On that notion, watching the animals circle you is rather neat. The predators tend to run in packs, and after lunging at you for an attack, they back up and pace back and forth until coming at you again. I’m pretty certain after a wolf jumped at you, your face would be eaten off. So while I can’t imagine a wolf lunging at a person, then backing off, their movement in general is believable.
When you go to the store to buy a hunting game, there’s a few questions you need to ask yourself before picking up Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013. First, are you wanting a linear, story-driven game? Second, do you want to feel like you are shooting animals just in self-defense instead of actually hunting them? If you answered “no” to either one of those, move your line-of-sight over to Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions instead. Dangerous Hunts 2013 feels like a rushed, and forced, product to continue the sub-series.
Note: This game was reviewed based on gameplay on the Playstation 3 platform with material provided by the publisher. Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013 is also available on the Wii U, PC, and Xbox 360 platforms.