Hunt: Showdown review – at once derivative and distinct | Games | The Guardian
A designer at Sony once told me that he and his team would write the titles and genres of popular video games on to separate chits, place them into a hat and draw two at a time in order to inspire novel mashups.In an industry that’s always in search of novel hybrids, the suggestion of a “chess football” or “Tetris Scrabble” could be enough to open a previously overlooked creative avenue.
Hunt: Showdown , a multiplayer game in which teams race to find and eliminate monstrous foes and escape from an island with their bounty, has the feel of a game invented in a snowstorm of chits.It combines a slew of fashionable ideas – the team-based megafauna-stalking of Monster Hunter , the sweltering Louisiana ambience of Resident Evil and the scavenging shootouts of Fortnite – to create something that’s at once derivative and distinct.
You play as a bounty hunter working in the 19th-century deep south, a landscape of parched thickets, screeching crows and buzzing swamps.The countryside is overrun by zombified locals, a persistent irritation (who sponge up limited ammunition and force you to use up valuable bandages), as you tour the derelict towns in search of clues that point toward your ultimate target: a mythical monster lurking in one of the giant barns that punctuate the scenery.Each clue you discover shrinks the map, narrowing down the precise location of your goal.
The target can be one of three characters: a pig-like, cleaver-wielding goliath, a wispy assassin and, most awfully, a giant spider.Fell the foe in its lair and it will drop its bounty, which you must finally carry to one of the exfiltration points dotted around the map.
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To complicate proceedings, you are not alone in your purpose.As many as 11 other real players are competing for precisely the same prize, and if you run into one another along the way, a stressful shootout will inevitably erupt – usually attracting the attention of yet more bounty hunters.
To ratchet tensions further, once the bounty has been collected, the location of its “carrier” is revealed to everyone on the game’s communal map, drawing all remaining hunters towards a final standoff.
It’s all a little convoluted and complicated, and your first game or three will inevitably be confusing and stressful.But with time and persistence, a natural three-act structure of exploration, skirmish and escape becomes clear and compelling.Partly, that’s because the game has been in limited release for more than two years, a period during which it’s been shaped and refined.The result is a tense, grotty little experience of frenetic survival in a relentlessly unforgiving environment.
For anyone whose nerve holds, the potential for euphoric triumph is directly proportional to the odds that are stacked stratospherically against them.
Also out now Facebook Twitter Pinterest Watch a trailer for Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
(Capcom; PS4, PC)
In 2016, Street Fighter V had an inauspicious launch .The game, the latest in a series that rose to prominence in the arcades of the early 90s, was missing key features and characters.But fuelled by the current influx of money and interest in eSports, developer Capcom has steadily finished what it started: the champion edition is, to use the company’s own blurb, the “most robust version” yet.With 40 characters, dozens of stages and hundreds of costumes, there is a great deal of raw content here.
Still, as any aficionado knows, Street Fighter ’s true substance resides in the mind and in the fingers, across tens of thousands of competitive matches as one learns how to attack and defend properly, and use mind games to wheedle away at your opponent.The road to proficiency and dominance is long and winding, but few journeys are so rewarding.
Fortnite: Chapter 2 – Season 2
(Epic Games; PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch)
Fortnite ’s success signals a profound shift in the way many blockbuster games are now produced and sold: no longer as one-off works, like a book or a film, but as living “services”, adapting shape in an effort to hold players’ interest.Fortnite ’s latest “season” features all the usual novelties (weapons, costumes, meme-friendly dances), but also, to coincide with a spy theme, a raft of genuinely interesting additions.
The familiar island backdrop to the 100-player scavenger hunt now hosts numerous fortified secret bases, each run by a boss who carries a one-off weapon and a keycard to a vault full of valuable loot.Fending off human rivals and AI henchmen while breaking in represents a significant challenge, but doing so vastly increases your subsequent chances of survival in the encroaching storm.So Epic Games demonstrates its decades-old design heritage by maintaining the attention of the fickle video game-playing audience.
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