The title is a joke, but I stumbled on another free-to-play game called: The Hunter.
The Hunter is the ultimate hunting simulator and, if you’re like me, the thought of shooting a deer isn’t my idea of a great weekend, but wandering in the photo-realistic forest is.
The rendered environment in this game is a triumph: swaying trees, wind, weather, ambient sounds, grass folding underneath your footsteps, buzzing bugs, shimmering fields of grass, time of day. The developers of this title have really captured the outdoor experience. The starting island you begin your experience on takes over an hour to walk it’s full length. This massive virtual space is scarred by a few roads, but otherwise, is totally untouched.
I found myself breaking through the tree line and being greeted by a majestic shore line: a moment later the sky turns dark and opens up a thin shower of rain. The UI is minimalist (there is none) and keeps you totally engrossed in the world around you.
Oh, there’s hunting too.
I’m still new to the game so I’m not sure what limitation the free account has, but I know you can level up, purchase different items to help you hunt and track your game, different weapons like a compound bow, not to mention additional licenses for different game.
I did do some hunting, which is very challenging. You’ve got to be methodical and patient to track and eventually line up a shot. A few times I just gave up and just started walking.
Once I found myself wandering into a shaded patch of forest that over-looked a small clearing. I decided to lay prone and just listen, just wait, no agenda in mind. After a few minutes a small herd of deer crossed a path not 50′ from my location, looking cautious, sniffing the air, and moving as one through the clearing before me. It was such a beautiful moment, I equipped my digital camera and took a couple nice pictures of the herd – a welcome alternative to my bolt action rifle.
This hunter is going soft.
Below is a tutorial I found, which will prevent you from being totally lost for an hour (like I was).
It gives at least a preview of the experience of playing The Hunter, with some welcome hunting advice.