My I do love surprises. Recently a band I truly hated decided to start making really good music. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories totally blew away my expectations and now another game series has me utterly mesmerised. This time it’s the Cabela series of games who have just written the book on “how to one-up your competition”.
The Cabela series of games have been around for 7 odd years and those that know of the games usually speak of the same satisfaction for them. There really aren’t any other safari style hunting games but still the makers, Cauldron, have never just released the same crap in different wrapping. They have constantly changed their game engine, tweaked physics, introduced storylines and now they have played an ace from their sleeve with Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011.
Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011 has two sides to it. The first is the gallery mode which mirrors those “Big Buck Hunter” arcade machines you see in pubs except it won’t suck $5 out of your wallet every 3 minutes. There are dozens of different on-rails levels to choose from, all varying in difficulty and location, animals and restrictions (like shoot only males). However, this mode is nothing new. Anyone that has played Duck Hunt on the old NES will know what to expect here but I still found myself chewing up some hours with it.
The other side of this shooting jamboree is the story mode where you play a gifted but mute hunter who has some family turmoil but reunites with his daddy half way around the world while some unexplained events lead you to believe that you are not the only dangerous hunter on safari. Okay, so the story stinks to high hell but Cauldron haven’t mastered the art of coherent composition yet. The story mode gameplay however, does not stink. It does play much like every other linear first person shooter though. Something comes to kill you, you shoot it, reload, move to the next thing trying to kill you, maybe a quick time event here or there, repeat. So really, nothing new here either, so why have I devoted so much finger effort in typing up this review? It’s in the presentation, people.
Packaged with this game, for an awesome price I might add, is an adjustable stock, pump action reloading, red scope sighted rifle (or Wii Remote and Nunchuk cradle for the Wii version) which just makes this game so much better. Like when Street Fighter 2 forced us to buy 6 button control pads or Guitar Hero made us fork out for extra guitars, this game has now done the same with the first person shooting genre. The gun is what really makes this game a winner though, it won’t win many merits on it’s own with the huge exception of the stunning environment graphics. Whilst the Xbox 360 has seen only a hand full of games with better visuals, for the Wii version, the graphics are mind boggling and, with the exception of some clipping issues and the water graphics, this is easily one of the best looking Wii games ever made.
Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011 is an average, but very pretty game that comes with one of the best gaming peripherals ever devised. The gun is adjustable for every gamer and is more fun than watching midgets fight to the death. If you dig the Cabela games or those quick arcade shooters in pubs then this is a must have. Even if you are like me and have some real rifle shooting experience, this is great with mates and drinks. Best of all, you won’t accidentally put a bullet in his head. A real surprise hit.