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Hunt: Showdown Closed Alpha first impressions and ideas

A big game showing its potential slowly but steadily

It has been more than two weeks since the highly anticipated, co-op – competitive – battle royalish game of Crytek, Hunt: Showdown has entered the Closed Alpha period. Since then, many reports have been released and many improvements have been made for the game. As some of the lucky gamers out there, we had the chance to test the game since the first day it was released on Closed Alpha, and we gathered some information to share with you. Here is our Hunt: Showdown Closed Alpha first impressions and ideas.

But, before anything else, I should warn you that this is not a review or preview of a game. It is rather an article about my personal ideas and my first impressions about the game. We will quickly talk about the main mechanics of the game and the current version & the improvements which have made the game better and better after every single patch.

In addition to that, I would like to inform you guys that I will not use in-game screenshots. Yes, the graphics are beautiful and well polished, especially for a game on Closed Alpha phase. But, in order to respect the developers and the game itself, I prefer sharing the official screenshots of the game. Believe me, there is no big difference between what we see in the actual game and what was shared by the developers. Maybe the screenshots are a little bit more colorful than the actual game at this stage, but nothing will surprise you. I do this mainly just because I want to be cautious about reflecting my ideas about the game and try not to mislead anyone with visuals which might not reflect it properly. Thanks for your understanding. Let’s begin, shall we?

Please… Define Alpha

The first day of its release, I was too excited to wait for the download to complete. After it was downloaded though, I told myself to calm down and expect something pretty sluggish, buggy and visually incomplete. But, when I stepped in to my very first match, I was amazed. We had seen many in-game screenshots or videos before the release. Yet, I was not expecting it to be almost the same. I say ‘almost’, because of course as you might have expected, it was/is on its alpha stage and a couple of visual bugs and optimization issues made it a little bit disappointing at first. But, believe me fellas, I was really amazed by the visuals of this game which is on, so to speak, ‘alpha testing’.

After the first match, I started realizing that there were a couple of problems with the game. Sound effects were bugging me from time to time for example. The world, weapons, items, object, places, environments were perfectly designed if you ask me. But the performance issues of the game made it a little bit frustrating to play it. But many of us, including me, forgot that this game was on alpha. After 20 or more hours of gameplay, I realized that I was judging this game as if it was a complete game. Yes fellas, what I’m trying to say that I (we) have seen many other ‘complete’ games without that much detail. At that moment, I realized that the game was ‘fun as f***’. This game really makes you ask “Is this really on alpha?”

The potential is strong with this one

After reminding myself that the game I was playing was actually on alpha period, I started paying attention to the basic features and general mechanics of the game. Until that point, I had enough experience to judge the game and had a general idea about its possible future. I started giving a couple of feedback via the official website and the survey that developers provided recently. And this time, I started realizing that the game had so much potential and yes, there were many aspects of the game which required more polishing.

First of all, the biggest problem of the game was the optimization. When I jumped in to the game, I started feeling…how can I say that… a little disappointed about my hardware. I was sad that it was getting old just after a couple of months. But then, after reading some other gamer’s entries on Steam, I realized that it was a common problem. The game was visually beautiful. But the recommended system requirements didn’t reflect the reality. Thankfully, Crytek released a patch regarding these problems and the performance of the game got much better. And at that point, people started enjoying the game. I am sure that it will get better in the future.

After playing more than 50 hours during the past fifteenish days, I came to the conclusion that this game was going to be a huge hit when it arrives. First of all, the idea of mixing different genres (horror, FPS, Battle Royale, Co-op, survival etc.) was brilliantly executed. Crytek did a really good job about finding the limits of the game. Don’t forget that the game is on Alpha, for god’s sake. And, this potential of this mixture was what many people wanted to see.

Let’s take a look

Ok, first of all, the game is set in 1980s, in Louisiana. After a plague, Hunter’s Association starts hiring hunters to kill huge monsters in a designated area. This area is the only map that we have right now. And the hunters are the main characters that you use to kill the ‘boss’ monster. First of all, you hire a hunter and customize his equipment. At this point, I should point out that this mechanic is similar to what Darkest Dungeon has, but maybe a little bit more simplistic. But yes, you do lose your hunter even if he was a badass after a couple of matches that you won. A single mistake can cost you a good character, so be careful.

When you start the game, you will realize that there are plenty of things that you should be aware of. First of all, sound is both your enemy and your ally. If you start running around like a cow with a cowbell on its neck, you will get killed by other hunters really quick. So, be patient. You can hear everything around you; from water splashes to the boards cracking, doors opening and most importantly, gunshots. Every single shot you take will give information to other hunters about your current location. So, be careful when to use your gun or your melee weapon, and when to sprint and when to sneak.

When it comes to the arsenal, there are plenty of different weapons that you can unlock as you progress and level up your rank. And fellas, oh my, the weapon design of this game… It is simply impressive. What made me so happy to realize was the weapon mechanics which dictates players to be careful about their shots and it makes it impossible to play the game as if it is an action FPS.

Basically, there are four types of weapons available right now: Long ranged weapons with more stability and ability to shoot from far away; shotguns with deadly damage in close-combat but useless in long range fights; melee weapons which are essential for getting rid of monsters silently; consumables, which are fire bombs, grenades, dynamites and other explosives. There is no automatic weapons like SMGs or Machine Guns. No. You only have old style pistols, rifles and shotguns. That is what I loved the most about the combat mechanics to be honest.

Main mechanic of the game evolves around the idea of being a ‘hunter on a hunting race’. Yes, you’re on a race because there are 3 other groups other than yours, and each group consists of 2 hunters. So 2v2v2v2 system makes it so that 8 people with the same goal compete with each other in an unforgiving, cruel and dangerous place.

So… What to do?

Main objective is to kill the boss monster (right now, either a spider or the butcher), get a bounty off of it and leave the map. In order to find the location of the boss, you should first find three clue point spread all around the map. You use your dark power (by pressing and holding E) to track down the clue points. This, of course, is essential IF you are not lucky and IF you don’t find the boss in the first building that you enter. Otherwise, tracking down the clues is a must.

At this point, you are in a race with other hunters. The first group to find the boss have the chance to kill it and get the bounty. But, this means that all the other hunters on the map can hear their gunshots which means they can follow the noise and find your location before finding the clues. So be careful when you decide to start killing the boss. I strongly recommend memorizing the surroundings in order to improve your escape and your survival chances.

Let’s continue… each boss drops two bounty pieces so that you and your teammate can get equal money and experience. Each player can carry maximum one bounty. So please stop thinking about killing your partner and getting everything for yourself, that doesn’t work (thankfully!). The real game actually begins after killing the boss. Even if other players hadn’t followed your gunshots before you get to kill the boss, they receive a message saying that you started BANISHING the boss. Which means that you will have a couple of minutes before you can actually get the bounty. And during that time, every single player on the map sees the location of the boss, thus, yours. This is where the survival stage starts. Everybody will come to that location as soon as they see the indicator (a vortex on the sky). So, start protecting your bounty and yourself from them.

Hunter becomes the hunted

After the banishment finishes its work, you can get the bounty, if you are still alive, of course. And, if you do so, other players will see a lightning falling on your position if they use their dark power. They can easily track you down, kill you, and get the bounty from your lifeless body. This is the exciting part fellas. So far, the only thing you focused on you being the hunter. But now, you are being hunted by others. Even if you can survive the monsters and other hunters until that point, this is where it gets harder. Run for life, or wait and ambush other hunters.

During that time, if you can manage to reach to the extraction points on the map (which can be seen by any player starting from the very beginning of the match) you will have 20 seconds to stay alive until you finish the game and leave with the bounty.

Here it is. A quick summary of Hunt: Showdown. I believe it doesn’t sound as exciting as it is when you play it. But believe me fellas. During last two weeks, I’ve had so many exciting and horrifying games that I loved this game even when it is on Alpha Stage. If Crytek manages to make it better with different features, game modes, monsters, challenges or whatever they plan to add, this game will become a perfect jewel of 2018.

A couple of last words

If you disregard the optimization problems and a kind of monotonous gameplay, Hunt: Showdown seems to be a huge hit even on Closed Alpha stage. The idea behind the game and the implementation of the different features of different genres makes it unique. The survival aspect makes it more and more exciting and challenging. This is not a simple game where you can shoot around like a maniac. This game requires patience and a real team play. Communication is essential and silence can really be golden in many cases.

We wait for this game impatiently. And, to see that a game this huge succeeding even during the alpha stage gives me hope. We will talk more about Hunt: Showdown in the future. But for now, at least for a game on alpha stage, let me admit that I am happy to see where it stands. It is a good competitive – co-op game and it will get better in the future. I really recommend keeping an eye on this game. I hope you guys agree with what I’ve shared with you today. Let us know what you think about Hunt: Showdown.

Stay safe hunters, and stay tuned for more!

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