This review mostly discussed the main issue the game has for most people – the pricing model. If you are looking for a gameplay or more balanced review, please Google for a “Let’s play” video or read another review instead. The positive recommendation only applies if you deem the pricing model as discussed acceptable.
First things first - This title is not Free to Play.
If you are looking for a free to play hunting title i have to start this review with some bad news: this game is not free to play by most interpretations of "Free to play". As a limited member you can do the following:
- You can enter all the reserves and wander around.
- You receive one basic rifle, a scope and unlimited ammunition refills for that rifle. You will also receive a deer caller.
- You can only hunt Cottontail rabbits and Mule Deers. Hunting all other animals is prohibited in the sense that you cannot do so at all. You can see them, but shooting them is not possible.
Unlike other free to play games you cannot feasibly unlock new content by playing the game a lot or by being good at it. You are stuck with what you have and that is it – and it’s admittedly not much.
The pricing model.
So, you made it past the initial post explaining the game is not free to play and might be considering picking the game up? In that case, let us talk about the games pricing model and what it entails. The games pricing model is twofold: there are both subscriptions and items purchases. Subscription
: Subscription starts at 9.99 for a 3 month period which is arguably quite good compared to most MMO's. In exchange for your subscription you will receive unlimited ammunition for all the weapons you own, and a license to hunt all species of animals in the game. It is also possible to buy ammunition and animal hunting licenses as separate items though the monetary exchange rate for this is fairly bad in comparison. (But perhaps worthwhile if you are a very casual player)Items
: Buyable items cover a broad range of possibilities. There is weapons, scopes, clothing, deployables (Hunting towers), utilities (Animal callers, storage increasing backpack) and temporally power-ups (Wind indicators, facial paint et cetera).
Except for the power-ups all items are permanent once bought, with the caveat being that you will need an animal license and ammunition to hunt specific animals. There is an additional caveat as well: Each weapon can only be used on a subset of the animals in the game - you cannot use a pistol on a bear or a rifle on a pheasant for example. If you want to hunt all animals you will need to buy multiple weapons. The utilities sold are somewhat more optional though a huge convenience: callers enable you to coax animals them out of hiding or locate them, while specific clothing will provide superior camouflage thus fewer running animals as you try to sneak upon them.
Bottom line? Expect to buy a membership and - depending on playing preference - one or more weapons, scopes and clothing if you wish to fully enjoy everything the game has to offer. Do some research and you may find a relatively cheap combination of items that allows you to hunt virtually everything. Still, don't be surprised if you end up forking 20-30 bucks over initially (that figure includes a 3 month membership).
Still reading? I suspect you may be one of just a few people to reach this section after having read through the pricing model. Despite the games price model arguably being overpriced I personally find myself enjoying the game quite a bit, so for me it is well worth the triple-a equivalent price I spend on it so far. Considering my current time invested, the subscription fee and my lack of a need to buy new items the game will be cheaper than a regular subscription MMO if I keep playing it another month or two, while spending a similar amount of time on it.
That said: I can only advice the game to people who – like me – enjoy hunting simulations quite a bit. If you plan on picking up the game you should be able to live with the thought of having to do a relatively sizable investment initially, followed by a fairly mild recurrent billing scheme. It is definitely not a good pickup for people looking for a decent free to play or people who don’t (strongly) enjoy hunting simulations. If that doesn’t put you off pick up the trial and give it a whirl, and keep in mind that trial its quite limited in scope.