2022 is a special year for all virtual hunters. The top dog the Hunter - Call of the Wild gets two competitors and the makers of Call of the Wild themselves publish another game. 'Way of the Hunter' is the first new competitor and was officially released today. We take a look at the new title and want to know if 'Way of the Hunter' can really hold a candle to the top dog.

From now on, fans can put on their virtual camouflage clothes, load their shotguns and set off into beautiful natural areas where foxes and bears say good night. A particularly large number of hunting simulations do not come onto the market – but when they do, genre lovers are enthusiastic. THQ Nordic's Way of the Hunter is now a novelty with publishers and developers vying for the attention of fans.

Surprises in the hunting ground

At the end of March, a Trailer for 'Ultimate Hunting' released and the community loved it. 'Ultimate Hunting' comes with two maps and provides a total of 34 animal species. More than usual and also a number of new animal species that the virtual hunters in 'Call of the Wild' have been missing for a long time. Another novelty will be cubs and with that the developer 'Ultimate Games' comes closer to the promise of developing a very realistic game. In addition to realism, so-called customization also plays a major role, especially in the area of ​​weapons and lodges. We'll be taking a closer look at 'Ultimate Hunting' towards the end of the year when the title is available in Early Access.

The Ultimate Games studio is thus developing serious competition for 'the Hunter – Call of the Wild'. Then something happened that I personally didn't expect. The creators of 'Call of the Wild' announced 'theAngler' and are once again competing with Ultimate Games. Ultimate Games is known for their fishing simulator and it's now getting competition. Whereby good titles such as 'Fishing Planet' are already represented in the genre of fish simulators. How well established 'theAngler' can be seen from August 30th when the title is published.

And then suddenly Way of the Hunter appears on the horizon. Almost a month after the news of 'Ultimate Hunting', THQ Nordic also announced a hunting simulator on April 21st and the community is in ecstasy. Two new hunting simulators in one year - bull's eye!

Not just the title of the press article”We like Big Bucks and We Cannot Lie” sticks in my memory, but also the atmospheric trailer. The smoky voice and the breathtaking landscapes give you goosebumps. 'Way of the Hunter' comes with two maps - Transylvania and North America - and 24 animal species. And the hunting simulator also promises a lot to attract 'Call of the Wild' fans. In the following sections we will show you what awaits you and in which points 'Way of the Hunter' is ahead of 'Call of the Wild'.

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What is immediately noticeable: THQ's new title wants power. The recommended system requirement for the graphics card is an Nvidia GTX 2070 Super with eight gigabytes of memory. A look at the Steam statistics shows that some who want to play it to the full extent will have to do without it. the most used graphics card the Steam user is an Nvidia GTX 1060 (as of August 2022) and just covers the minimum requirement (GeForce GTX 960 / Radeon R9 380).

However, many hunters who want to switch from 'Call of the Wild' to the new title will have to upgrade. Because 'Call of the Wild' gets by with the Nvidia GTX 760 or R9 270x as the recommended graphics card. Playstation 4 owners would also have to switch to the PS5 power console in order to be able to play 'Way of the Hunter'. Given the current graphics card prices and the availability of the PS5, some will have to wait to go virtual hunting with THQ Nordic's new simulation.

But 'Way of the Hunter' delivers decently in terms of graphics, doesn't it? You can definitely say that! Even the trailer showed in-game footage and was able to convince many fans. And then there was this mountain goat: enormously muscular, she must have put in hours in the gym. This caused amusement in the community - not everything works right away. What fits well is the degree of realism: The new title is not as colorful as 'Call of the Wild', which means it also looks more authentic and is more like the 'Call of the Wild' predecessor 'theHunter Classic'.

Conclusion Way of the Hunter

Stunning landscapes in 'Way of the Hunter' - here in photo mode. Image: Zelenka

What will please most Call of the Wild hunters is the longer rendering distance. 'Call of the Wild' ends at about 350 meters and the animals disappear. 'Way of the Hunter' can render much further and the zeroing (zero point) reveals that you can shoot up to a kilometer. Three times more than the top dog - that's remarkable. A definite plus for the newcomer.

With the size of the cards, the development studio Nine Rock Games goes one better. In 'Way of the Hunter' you can move freely on around 140 km². 'Call of the Wild' maps are around 65km², but another comparison is even more intriguing: the recent title Elden Ring has a map of just 80km² and looks relatively small compared to 'Way of the Hunter'.

What's it like getting started as a "Call of the Wild" fan?

As a 'Call of the Wild' player, you'll find your way around very quickly in the new title. After a short intro, you start in your lodge, which is located in the game world itself. Yes, the cumbersome “extra loading” is no longer necessary. You get a gun, binoculars and follow the storyline.

A car is available for long distances and a shooting range is nearby for practice. You'll soon find animals and after a few kills you'll make your first money. 'Way of the Hunter' provides similar animal species as 'Call of the Wild' and the wild dwellers have areas of need where they can be found at certain times.

Conveniently, you can also fast-forward the time in the THQ title. Unfortunately, I miss an 'autorun' that could help with a lot of walking. Manual work is therefore required.

There are streams for that and your own protagonist speaks. The latter creates a nice gaming experience and often reduces a lot of reading. This worked excellently with Far Cry 1, then Ubisoft bought the title and muted its own character - after a few parts the 'feature' returned again. An indication that it couldn't have been bad after all. The paths of some design decisions are unfathomable. In the end, it's simple: what's good prevails.

The story is more appealing and varied than the top dog, but we don't want to spoil anything about that. In any case, the overall hunting experience in 'Way of the Hunter' is more challenging and, from several points of view, significantly better than in 'Call of the Wild', which was released in 2017.

No levels, no XP, no lookout towers

No levels, no XP, no lookout towers - you read that right: none of these elements can be found in 'Way of the Hunter'. Many, myself included, won't miss it either.

The levels in 'Call of the Wild' are designed to unlock weapons and ammo, and at level 60 that's the end of it. However, the level says little about whether you are good or bad at this game. This leveling also creates a barrier for newcomers who want to try many things. It's a good thing that 'Way of the Hunter' doesn't take part here and doesn't even give this often disadvantageous game element a chance.

Way of the Hunter impression

A look inside. Image: Zelenka

While I personally found the lookout towers in 'Call of the Wild' refreshing at first, after 300 hours of play it becomes just a chore to reveal the map through them. 'Way of the Hunter' also dispenses with this game element and you can instead buy hunting permits for areas. However, you have to shell out a lot of money, but it motivates you. You're encouraged to hunt a lot instead of just traipsing over to a tower and unlocking the new area.

And because you spend a lot of time at the gun, so-called perks (advantages) are automatically activated in 'Way of the Hunter' without even making a move. In 'Call of the Wild' you have a skill tree where users can decide for themselves how the converted experience points (XP) are used and you cannot unlock all of them. However, many perks are rather pointless (like in the Hunter – Call of the Wild: Tips and impressions reported) and there is no real turning back. Unless you do an expensive reset and then redistribute everything. The approach of 'Way of the Hunter' is very shallow, but for those who focus on hunting, it's manageable.

You've got the hunter sense

At the latest when the player in 'Way of the Hunter' gets the sense of hunting (in English 'Hunter Sense'), many must remember the striking words "You've got the hunter sense. Follow those tracks” think. This line comes from a sympathetic man driving the story in the Africa map, and these words are all too familiar to the 'Call of the Wild' hunters.

The sense of hunting allows you to visually identify where animal sounds and noises are coming from, but it also makes traces of blood more visible. Even though Hunting Flavor can be toggled on and off at the touch of a button, it doesn't make Way of the Hunter more arcadic. The developers have managed the balancing act between “take it by the hand” and “you are completely on your own” extremely well.

The Harvest Screen from 'Way of the Hunter'. Image: Zelenka

THQ Nordic's interpretation of a hunting game also offers different levels of difficulty. In 'Call of the Wild', on the other hand, there are no difficulty levels and the clues are always visible. They literally flash the screen full. While you can turn this off entirely in the menu in 'Call of the Wild', having the option at all during gameplay just improves the feel of the game. That's another plus point for the newbie.

Way of the Hunter with Dream UI

A major criticism of 'Call of the Wild' is the menu interface. The cumbersome scrolling, the errors in the display and the long searches in the menu are very tiring in the long run. There has been little improvement in this area in recent years. It's better to release a new paid DLC than to fix the user interface and big bugs. Yes, I'm talking to you "Expansive World"! Of course, you also have to bear in mind that a lot has grown historically and changes are often not easy.

Opinion Way of the Hunter

The house in the forest: holiday dreams with a shotgun. Image: Zelenka

A direct comparison with 'Way of the Hunter' makes many rave. Yes, I'm just talking about the menu! When you play for hundreds of hours, things like that matter too. You overlook a lot, but if it could be improved very easily and it hasn't been done for years, then it gets annoying.

The menu in 'Way of the Hunter' is intuitive, clear and you can use the buttons to quickly scroll through the options. In addition, in contrast to 'Call of the Wild', several waypoints are possible on the map in the menu and my personal highlight: You can show and hide individual areas of need. That point goes back to the newcomer, albeit very easily earned.

The cherry on the cake: photo mode

In the 'Call of the Wild' groups on social media you will find one thing above all: photos of the trophies. Users want to show what they have shot and often provide a screenshot of the "Harvest Screen". In addition to the animal, this also provides further information about the shot and the rating. But if you want to take a screenshot of the animal with the character - especially if the animal is in a breathtaking landscape - then this is only possible in multiplayer, where the hunting companion snaps a photo.

'Way of the Hunter' delivers a feature that many fans have been waiting for: a photo mode.

We already know this from other games, but an adjustable camera option for snapshots is very valuable, especially in a hunting simulation. The hunters can change the angle, adjust the time, but also the colors, and snap a nice photo for posterity. And again the newcomer collects a point.

Way of the Hunter Test Short

Because it's so nice: Again the photo mode from 'Way of the Hunter'. Image: Zelenka

But is there anything that makes 'Call of the Wild' better? Personally, I still miss the celebration in 'Way of the Hunter'. What do I mean? In 'Call of the Wild', the animals are categorized with different names when killed: Silver, Bronze, Gold, Diamond and 'The Big One'. In addition, Expansive Worlds has also built its own emblems that create a visual atmosphere. In 'Way of the Hunter' it's "just" stars from 0 to 4. A real turn-off.

Way of the Hunter: Point Victory!

Above all, the excitement is lost when I know in advance which star rating an animal has with my instinct for hunting. Of course I can also play without and let myself be surprised, but I find the mechanism in 'Call of the Wild' with a span much more exciting. So I can see if a tier has potential for a max rating, but I'll only really know after I pick up the tier.

On the other hand, you can see the exact course of the ball, which has its incentive and there is significantly more information about the shot than in 'Call of the Wild'.

I think it's great that the lodge in the game world itself is accessible, but it's too small for me and it will burst for me very soon. 'Call of the Wild' offers significantly more space. I love to invite my fellow hunters and take a tour of my lodge. I lead them to the bar with the ugly kills, across the aisle with the mule deer in different rare colors, past an albino bison to the wall with the diamonds. That won't happen with the Mini Lodge in 'Way of the Hunter'. The point goes to the top dogs, even if a lot is a matter of taste.

That makes it 4:1 for 'Way of the Hunter'. The four rather subjective plus points show that the newcomer can easily compete with the top dog. But the newcomer won't completely replace 'Call of the Wild'. Both have their own qualities, but it gets really exciting when 'Ultimate Hunting' joins in as well. Because we know that competition stimulates business.

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Author

  • Michael Zelenka Author Spielpunkt

    Michael studied applied game research (Master) and is the founder of the free print and play games platform papierspiele.at. He is also a professional game tester and mainly deals with game UX.

Last updated on 25.09.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API