Review by gatewalker

"Hunter Redemption"

I wasn't a big fan of the previous Hunter title for Xbox, but I think the developers did a pretty decent job with this entry. This game features a well told tale, good multiplayer, plenty of action, and is pretty well paced.

Hunter: The Reckoning Redeemer is an Xbox title that is based on the pen and paper role playing game ‘Hunter: The Reckoning' that takes place in ‘The World of Darkness' setting published by White Wolf. In it, you play as one of five hunters whose goal is to protect the city of Ashcroft from the hoards of the undead and supernatural. The story of the game is told through stage goal briefings that you see at the beginning of each stage, and through a number of pre-rendered cut scenes. The actual game play is very similar to that of the arcade games ‘Smash TV' and ‘Robotron: 2084'.

To the vitals:

The Tale in the Telling: The basic story follows a Hunter named Kaylie Winter, who became a Hunter after her parents where killed by a giant demonic teddy bear ten years ago. Five years previous to the games current year, four other Hunters had came to the city of Ashcroft to help drive off evil forces. Since that time a corporation named Genefex, which is headed by the Hunter Xavier Lucien, came to town and set up shop. Genefex has helped rebuild the city, given the people jobs, and seems to have mostly noble goals. Shipments from Genefex start to come under attack by werewolves. Kaylie Winter and the hunters from the previous games arrive to investigate what is going on, and to assist Lucien and Genefex against the non-humans that threaten them and the city… The hunters soon discover though, that all is not as it appears and that the non-humans may not be the most dangerous threat facing Ashcroft.

Graphics: The graphics are fairly good. The character models of both the player characters and the monsters are well developed, and each has an expansive range of motions. You can also zoom in and see quite a bit of detail on each of the models you play or encounter. A fair amount of detail has also been paid to the various stage backgrounds and surroundings, which is always a nice touch (it helps with the escapism element of the game). My main gripe with the graphics is really more of a control issue than a graphics issue. You have no control over the camera. The game pans the camera around automatically, which can lead to some irritating moments such as your character getting attacked by something just off screen with you being unable to see what is attacking you.

Sound: The background music is nothing particularly special. While running around town, this sort of low haunting music plays. An exception to this would be when your character enters a club where you hear some pumping rave or club music. Seems there is a rule written somewhere in White Wolf's rulebooks for ‘The World of Darkness' that states that every video or computer game written for said ‘World' must include a rave somewhere, complete with dancing and rave music. And may be a zombie or two.

The sound effects are pretty good, no complaints there. The weapons each have appropriate sounds, and there is enough ambient noise to keep your ears attentive. The voice acting in the cut scenes are very well performed, although there is an instance or two where the syncing could have been better.

Save and restore: The game makes use of an autosave system, and a player life system. Every time you start a new stage, the game saves. As you progress through a stage the game saves again at key points automatically. Your character has a limited number of lives. When you die, you respawn at the point that you died with full health as long as you have a life remaining.

Gameplay: As mentioned before, the basic gameplay is somewhat like the arcade games ‘Smash TV' and ‘Robotron: 2084'. You use one joystick to move your character, and the other to aim where you are firing. The left trigger jumps, while the right trigger fires your weapon or uses a special ability. You have three attack modes. You can engage your foes in melee (hand to hand) combat. In this mode you have a number of special moves you can execute. You can use ranged weapons, and you will find that there are many different types of ranged weapons you may use. You also have special ‘edge' attacks. These are basically magical attacks, and supposedly one of the main things that set ‘Hunters' apart from normal humans. You use the action button to select the weapon or power that you wish to use. One slightly annoying control issue is that you don't actually equip the weapon until after you hit the right trigger button for the first time. The game has very forgiving aim though. You usually only have to point in the general direction of your enemy, pull the trigger, and you will usually hit your target. This is very helpful your target is actually off screen.

You have a variety of different goals that you may have to accomplish on any given level. You have escort missions where you will have to protect a computer controlled character while it travels somewhere. You have timed objectives where you have to accomplish something in a given time limit. You have missions where you have to rescue innocents, and you have many many many more ‘find the key' type missions.

As you fight monsters, you gain experience. As you make use of your melee, range, and edge abilities they get stronger. You also have the option of extracting your character from one game save, and importing them into another.

At any time, you can have up to three other players join in with you, and they can choose from each of the five different hunter types available.

Having help is handy because the monsters often come at you non stop. Some areas can be cleared of all enemies, but in many areas they just keep appearing. Generally, the crowds of monsters are usually not too difficult to handle, though there are some times when an extra pair of guns at your side is very welcomed.

Hunter: The Reckoning Redeemer is full of action, guns, a bit of occasional frustration (where is that damned key!), and a lot of fun. This is not a thinking game. It's a run a round and destroy things game, and it does its destroying very well.

The story is well told and executed. The graphics are good for the Xbox platform. The sound is adequate. The control interface works pretty well. It is not a terribly long game, but it is a very enjoyable game, and one you can share with your friends.

If you liked the previous titles in the ‘Hunter: The Reckoning' series, then you will probably enjoy this game. If you are not familiar with those games, but like arcade games like Smash TV, or like hack and slash type games in general, then you should at least rent this game.

For what it is, it delivers well.

Zombies, werewolves, and demons? Invite your friends on over, but make sure they are packing as well!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/23/07

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