Cabela's Big Game Hunter 12 Review (Xbox 360)
Hunting games have always been a niche genre. There has never been anything about them to reel in non-hunting gamers. While Cabela’s Big Game Hunter ’12 tries to change this with a story based hunting experience, it never really delivers anything but a mediocre venture.
Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2012 is definitely a game for hunters, or those who aspire to hunt. That’s not to say it’s a great game if you enjoy the sport, because it’s not. The source of my frustration comes from how forced the gameplay feels. My hand is constantly being held as I go from hunt to hunt. It's definitely a linear game. There is no exploring for the most part, which is unfortunate because that could add a whole new aspect to the genre.
The game basically centers on a group of gentlemen who are competing in a hunting tournament around the country. You are given you certain objectives that you have to pass during hunts. These include shooting a deer in the heart, an Elk in the lungs and so on. If you do this successfully you will score some extra points. Then with those points, you can upgrade your weapon. While it's always fun upgrading your weapons, I can’t help but feel like the upgrades don't have much of an affect in game. Howver, you do have a decent selection of weapons; two rifles, a shotgun, a hunting pistol and a compound bow. They all worked well, but I personally enjoyed using the compound bow the most. It's accurate, easy to use and, oh, and it's a freaking bow.
A mixed bag is the only thing that can describe the gameplay as a whole. There is a mode called “Galleries” where you and another human player can shoot things duckhunt style. This was marginally fun, but not enough to make me really want to play it more than once or twice. My biggest issue is simply the feeling of being forced fed throughout the game. It just doesn’t mesh with how hunting should be.
Graphically the game is more than adequate, dare I say beautiful at times. There are also instances where it can be drab and colors look dull. Once again, its a mixed bag. The menus are slick and its not hard to navigate. Load times are fairly quick as well. There is also an interesting feature where you can upload your kill stats to Facebook.
From a pure aiming and shooting standpoint, Big Game Hunter 2012 does a fine job. The aiming mechanic works similar to any standard first person shooter. A lot of virtual hunters will like the fact that the shooting takes into account wind and bullet drop. The game also sports the occasional “bullet time” effects.
My biggest problem with the game is that it's bare bones and linear. It has almost no replay value. Sure you can go back and play the levels over, but there is just no variation. I did like the actual hunting experience when there were a few tense moments, e.g. a cougar jumped out of nowhere and attacked me. You only have a few seconds to aim and fire to save your life. I guess hopping in a tree stand and sniping a dear in the heart from 500 yards away is pretty cool, but not really that great after the first ten times.
Learning Curve: Walk, point and shoot. Good job.
Control Scheme: If you have played first person shooters then it will be familiar.
Audio: Nothing really stands out about it, but its definitely not bad. Weapons sound like they should. Animals running through the brush and birds chirping all sound realistic.
Online: There is none. Seriously, there isn’t. A game in 2011 has absolutely no online gameplay of any sort.
Score: 5.0 (Average)