Activision’s and Cabela’s long-running hunting series hasn’t had the best track record over the years, barely hovering on the mediocre for over a decade, but it’s hard to pass up a Wii game that allows you to track and kill everything from Grizzly Bears to Tigers.
Featuring over 25 different types of animals and nine locations to hunt, “Cabela’s Most Dangerous Hunts 2009” appears on paper at least to be the deepest and most polished hunting game ever released.
However, don’t let the intriguing premise fool you, this game is for the dogs.
You wouldn’t think that a hunting game could be linear, but that’s the best word to describe this one. Rather than have the ability to simply hunt, the story mode puts you in the middle of an environment and forces you to react, making it feel more like a mini-game than a fully-fleshed game mode.
This mistake could be forgiven if it was the biggest, but it’s not.
Far from it.
The actual plot of the story is one so ludicrous that X-rated movies have more interesting characters and depth.
The product description on Cabela’s website provides a solid sample of this:
“Flint Abrahams is on a mission. It’s your job to see him through it in Dangerous Hunts 2009. Flint’s friend and mentor was killed by a vicious bear, so he must increase his hunting skills to find the bear and take it down.”
All you need is Tony Danza as Flint, Bruce Campbell as the mentor and Louis Gossett Jr. as the voice of the Bear and you’ll have a more enjoyable B-movie than anything this game produces. However, while the story is a joke and is void of any type of polish, it gets even worse.
Controlling like a poor man’s Resident Evil 4 on the Wii, Dangerous Hunts 2009 fails to recreate the fun and precision of hunting. Usually forced to defend yourself against several animals at once, the controls don’t allow you to cover enough ground fast enough, resulting in getting mauled time and time again.
Not exactly what you want to happen when you’re hunting.
But then again, we’re talking about a game with a multitude of problems.
Making things easier for you is an “Adrenaline Boost” ability, that slows things down and pinpoints animals via infrared and somewhat makes up for the game’s shoddy control. However, this ability doesn’t save the game and manages to eliminate any realism it could have had. If that wasn’t enough to deter you, you’ll even be attacked by Elephants as soon as you get within their sights. The missions in career mode are timed as well, hurting the game even more.
This is not a hunting game, it is a disaster.
Void as well are any stealth elements that should be incorporated in a decent hunting game, forcing you to keep yourself out in the open and shoot animals that seem to randomly appear. Sure there are “prey calls” and other things you can do to attract animals, such as dragging dead animals and using them as bait, but it all feels rehearsed.
Graphically speaking, Dangerous Hunts 2009’s visuals are the best part of the game, but they too are miserable. Aside from a great-looking intro video and some nice character models of the animals, the game’s graphics look like a muddy PS2 first person shooter, making it another reason to stay as far away from this game as possible.
Considering all of this, regardless of how frugal a gamer you are and how desperate you are to kill endangered species all over the world, this is not a game that is worth any of your time. It’s brainless, rushed and lacks any of the true skill needed to recreate a hunting experience.
In a day and age where everything this side of checkers is being ported over to the Wii, do yourself a favor. If you want to go hunting, throw on a flannel jacket and some timberland boots and jump in your car with your trusty rifle.
Leave this one on the shelf.