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Way of the Hunter Review

The great outdoors isn’t for everyone, but we’d love to live somewhere picturesque and isolated.

The protagonist of Way of the Hunter gets our dream handed to them, becoming the owner of a rather nice lodge in the Pacific Northwest. The purpose of the lodge will be controversial to some: we in no way condone hunting, but in the world of video games it does no harm. And Way of the Hunter tries to contextualise the activity, with it being an occupation that has run in the family for years.

To that end, you can approach Way of the Hunter in one of two ways. You can follow the story if you wish, which will guide you through its vast open world while giving you objectives. Or you can simply do your own thing. Ultimately, most will likely start with the former before enjoying the total freedom that Way of the Hunter provides, especially if they’re new to hunting games.

That being said, even when following the game’s story, Way of the Hunter doesn’t always make things easy for you. While delivering a book to a far away lodge will simply test your navigational skills, much more troublesome is hunting down a specific animal and killing it in a certain way. Some objectives can be vague at times, too, leaving you scratching your head while attempting to figure out exactly what you need to do.

Way of the Hunter

Not a game to hold your hand, Way of the Hunter can feel a little too cold in its opening hours. Many things simply aren’t explained. Over time you learn the ropes, though, and get a feel for where certain animals are likely to be across the two locations that are on offer. You’ll also develop the skills that will enable you to track and hunt them effectively. It requires patience, and when you’re successful you can either sell your “harvest”, as the game calls it, or have it taxidermied for display in your property.

Money is key to your progression in Way of the Hunter, as it can be used to buy new guns, attachments and other helpful gear. It can also be used to buy permission to hunt in new areas, or you can earn the privilege by completing tasks. In any case, you’ll need to be an effective hunter in order to access all areas and procure the best gear. Though there will be times where you’d rather keep your kill as a trophy for whatever reason.

Thanks to its serene environments and somewhat rewarding sense of progression, Way of the Hunter can be immersive and engaging at times. A number of issues bring the experience down, however. For a start, it’s very rough around the edges. We’ve experienced numerous crashes and many glitches during our time with the game. Things like ducks walking in the air are immersion-breaking but also humorous, but the camera violently shaking when going prone on an incline is simply frustrating. Thankfully a day one patch has been released that seemingly clears many of these issues up, but some still persist.

Spelling and grammatical issues are also in abundance, giving an amateurish impression, while some design decisions are unfortunate. Depending on which guns and scope/sights you’ve got equipped in your primary and secondary slots, for example, you might have a hard time figuring out which one is actually in use. There’s no weapon wheel, and switching your weapon doesn’t make its name appear anywhere. Even the ammo icon is the same regardless of whether you’re carrying a shotgun or rifle. Unless you can pick up on what are often very slight differences, then, you’ll have to use your intuition, which is not ideal at all.

Playing the PS5 version of Way of the Hunter for review, we’ve largely not been impressed by its visuals or performance, either. But again, things have been improved at the eleventh hour by the day one patch. High quality mode is the way to go here, providing picturesque scenes and a steady framerate that goes hand-in-hand with the slow gameplay pace. Switch over to performance mode, and while things are indeed smoother, the visuals take a noticeable hit that’s hard to bear.

Like the real thing, Way of the Hunter is a game that rewards patience and persistence. Yet since it doesn’t bog itself down with trying to provide the most realistic experience that’s possible, it’s quite possibly the most accessible hunting game on the market. It’s enjoyable, too, if you’re into this sort of thing, but a lack of polish will pull you out of it from time to time and possibly frustrate. Still, if you’re after a game that lets you wander through the outdoors and occasionally test your shooting skills, this is worth considering.

Way of the Hunter Review – GameSpew’s Score

GameSpew Our Score 6

This review of Way of the Hunter is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

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