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by UN0W3N on Steam
Product received for free
Another fine 3D walking simulator as abstract and short as I like them. Can’t really consider these as straight to the point, but they still prove to be the remedy to my lack of motivation in regards to writing or even playing at times. Video games, at least the vast majority of them on Steam, seem geared towards one simplistic goal or another. Kill this, gather that resource, reach a new high score. Why can’t there be more titles which just focus on peaceful exploration and poetry? Tonguç Bodur realized that there’s a palpable need for precisely the aforementioned features and he delivers compelling stories with varying degrees of interaction. The Hunting God is the developer’s seventh Steam project and he’s come a long way, both technically and stylistically since the initial Drizzlepath from 2015.
As the game’s title suggests, players shall explore through the eyes (and narration) of Nodens, the Celtic deity associated with hunting, healing and seafaring. Pinpointing the exact time & location in which the game takes place, is easier than in Tonguç’s previous titles. The Hunting God features locations and stories relating to the Emerald Isle. Ireland and its mythology play a central role in the game, but Nodens does mention the ancient Kingdom of Gwynedd (Northern part of Wales) as well, so it confirms that as a deity, he was worshipped far beyond the borders of Hibernia (Latin for Ireland). Regardless of the exact location which may or may not be Banagher Forest, players shall travel across a diversified scenery which spans over mountainous terrain by The Hunting God’s conclusion.
Powered by Unreal Engine 4, in what I shall name as one of the most satisfying portrayal of optimization, for this graphics engine in an indie title. I could run The Hunting God maxed out@4K without exhibiting massive frame rate drops. It never strayed far from 40fps and I know I could’ve went down the 2K route and play at solid 60fps at all times, yet if you read a sufficient number of my articles already, you know that long after I have played and reviewed a game, all that remains are my memories of it and the many screenshots which serve as an even better memento. In other words, I care about those screenshots and I want them to be with as few flaws as possible. The Hunting God didn’t disappoint me in the slightest. I had plenty of points of interest to snapshoot and the game looks gorgeous without being as heavy on foliage use as with similar games from this developer. A balance between level of detail and stability has been achieved without compromise. What could I complain about?
Certainly not about the sounds, since everything was top notch. From the relaxing soundtrack (with occasional classic instrumentals) to the convincing voice acting. Nodens was obviously voice by an actor fluent in English with an Irish accent. The English subtitles didn’t feature any typos, yet some accent marks were omitted, such as the one in “draíochta”, the Irish word for “magic”. In any case, that’s scraping the barrel at this point.
At least one puzzle section which was rather brief and simple, yet the game doesn’t consider itself as belonging to the conventional Adventure genre in gaming. The Hunting God, much like its series’ predecessors is more about the journey itself than the obstacles standing between players and the game’s ending. The abstract structure transcends the narrative and represents a crucial part of the gameplay as well. Yes, it’s a relatively short trip, clocking at around an hour if you’re really in a hurry. I obviously wasn’t and spent a bit more, just looking for perfect screenshot material.
The Steam Achievements are easy to unlock and they relate to six poems toggled by an equal number of statues. Two for each game section (Earth, Moon and Sun). You really can’t overlook them and while they don’t advance the storyline in any manner, they serve their purpose regardless. It’s up to you to decide. It isn’t the type of game that will endear itself to the unpatient or those players that have come to expect and rely on action and clearly stated objectives. It may be an acquired taste, but by no means should it deter anyone from playing The Hunting God or walking sims in general. They may grow on you, as they did in my case, several years back. Keep an open mind, will you?
Steam Trading Cards are on the way (now it’s up to Valve to decide on that matter) yet The Hunting God stays true to the formula and high standards set by Tonguç Bodur’s past projects, while offering more stability and a homogenized Celtic theme which never felt forced at all. Being abstract just for the sake of it, is out of the picture. What remains, is a game which relaxes players and expects very little in return. It also has two endings which ensure at least some limited form of replay value.
+ Abstract experience.
+ Steam Achievements.
+ Gorgeous graphics and sounds.
+ Smoother gameplay than previous titles in the series.
- Brief and with almost no replay value.
- No Steam Trading Cards yet.
- Abstract experience.Rating 80/100
This review was submitted for Imperial Reviews and Cubbes.