Deer Hunter Tournament
Name: Deer Hunter Tournament
I have no envy for developers who create software that fall into the “simulation” category of gaming. It’s a balancing act, and during the process of creating the game decisions need to be made that either err on the side of realism or entertainment. Cutting content in either direction too far will often result in gamers picking it apart, like a vulture gnawing the last of a corpse. The Deer Hunter franchise is known for continually succeeding at creating entertaining, realistic trips into the wilderness, all the while keeping up with the graphical and gameplay standards of the era. Sadly, the most recent trip might be one of its weaker, and the balancing act has resulted in a painful, disappointing fall.
Wandering into the wilderness has a sense of loneliness that might help create atmosphere in a better game, but just makes the world of Deer Hunter feel utterly empty. Obviously, in reality, the forests of the world aren’t filled with Deer, Bears, and Mountain Lions to hunt, but I’ve stumbled across more animals while cutting through the woods on a bike trail than in the hunting grounds of Deer Hunter Tournament. It’s barren, even when compared to past Deer Hunter games, and without proper knowledge of hunting it’s common to wander aimlessly, feeling so desperate to kill living creatures that firing rounds into trees becomes a viable option. It’s possible to attempt to lure and trap animals, but most of the time is spent desperately trying to find them, which isn’t entertaining for someone who isn’t already a die-hard fan of the series.
It might be a budget title, but it lacks any of the accessibility that usually falls within that classification. There aren’t any modes other than “wander aimlessly in a forest,” and the lack of a structured tutorial of any kind creates an impassible barrier for anyone looking to learn to play the game. There’s multiplayer if you’re able to connect, where players can set up different competitions between people, but it doesn’t meet the standards set for online multiplayer this generation, and falls short of even living up to last generation’s standards. As a complete package, the game might be worth a purchase for fans with a vested interest in the series, but the developers have gone out of their way, seemingly vehemently, to ensure that no new gamers will be converted.
If realism was the goal of the game, and adhered to strictly, most of these problems would be forgivable, but this isn’t the case. The game’s many guns are modeled well enough, but environmental graphics are embarrassing and poorly optimized, giving even powerful gaming computers a fight to run a game that looks like a PlayStation 2 title. The animals themselves look fairly well made, and the game would be dramatically better if every portion was cared for as much as the various bullet fodder scattered around the land. Aiming might be the worst aspect of the game due to its perfect accuracy, ruining any sense of immersion that might have been attempted. While becoming frustrated with the lack of game I found joy in shooting scattered wildlife, and was able to consistently knock badgers in the nose from nearly 300 yards away – not simulative, to say the least.
When you’re finally able to find an animal to shoot, the kills are rewarding thanks to realistic body physics, but those moments are so few and far between that it’s hard to justify the effort spent searching for them. Even if the multiplayer is tempting, odds are the overall lack of polish will be too off-putting for most gamers. Even for $20, there is such an abundance of annoying sound, graphical, and gameplay glitches that hunting fans would be better served picking up an older game in the series or buying a better shooter and pretending their enemies are prey. Sure, the humans in Far Cry 2 might not be deer, but the environments are much more realistic, and there’s no game like the most dangerous game.