STAFF REVIEW of Hunter: The Reckoning (Xbox)

Saturday, May 25, 2002.
by VAN

Hunter: The Reckoning Box art This. Game. Rules.
Halo, take a seat. Hunter: The Reckoning is the new top dog on the Xbox. Survival horror has never been more fun, and in this game, survival won't be easy.
This game has it all. Action, blood, chicks, blood, kick !&%$@#* tunes, blood, likeable characters, and of course...blood. In fact, there is probably more blood in a single level of Hunter than in the entire game of Max Payne. Feeling a bit squeamish? The developers were kind enough to include an option to disable blood in the game(though I would bet my last donut that it will never be used.)
The game features 4 playable characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, so players who beat the game once will definitely want to go back through with each of the other 3 heros to see how well they "hunt". With multiple gameplay modes (standard, nightmare, and alternate), lots of hidden areas, unlockable costumes and weapons, the game affords a replayability factor rarely seen these days. If you are a veteran gamer, you may find the game a little on the easy side, so these added features are sure to give you your dollars worth. So what's the bottomline? Read the first line again and you'll have your answer.

This game is a thumb-buster! You will quickly discover that no matter how much you try to develop a strategy with which to attack the legions of undead, you are better off mashing buttons faster than a first-time DoA player. The Xbox controller works well, though I can't help but think that the smaller Controller-S is better suited for hours of zombbie slashing. Occasionally the game suffers from a poor camera angle, but this is indeed a rarity. Combos are simple to execute, and the ability to run and attack in 2 different directions makes it a bit easier to deal with dozens of baddies.

It's going to be very hard for me to talk about the graphics in this game w/o resorting to the use of gratuitous expletives. The visuals &%$#!*$@ rule, man! Who would have ever guessed that dead "things" could look so beautiful? If theres one reason to buy this game(and trust me, theres more than one reason) it's the gorgeous artwork depicted in the game. Character models, environments, and weaponry are all extremely well represented in crisp detail, and fog and particle effects abound. Sadly, I cannot say the same for the games introductory cinematic or cut-scenes. The opening sequence to RE:2 on the old PSX looked far superior, and given the Xbox's capabilities, I was disappointed that the hardware was not utilized to its fullest potential in these 2 areas. Disappointing, but not unforgiveable. The gameplay visuals more than make up for the poor cut-scenes and opening movie.

Searing hard rock soundtrack provided by the hard rock band "Coma", combined with some of the finest sound effects and foley work really help this game shine.
The howl of graveyard spectres, the screams of terrified children, the rustling of leaves beneath your feet, and the splash of water in the sewers. These sounds are all represented in crystal clear detail. Individual weapon sounds are extremely well done, and the voice acting is actually good! Crank the volume up when playing Hunter: The Reckoning and get ready for some truly sweet ear candy.

I smell a sequel! I would double the character count from 4 to 8, so a 4th buddy doesnt end up stuck with the "worst" hero.

Auto-centering cameras would be a HUGE plus. Where you look, the camera should look.

You could bump up the difficulty a notch or 2 to make the next game last a bit longer.

Fantastic game, ladies and gentleman. My hat is off to the folks at High Voltage.

Overall: 10.0 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 10.0 / 10


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