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I’ve never been big on hunting games. It’s not that I take issue with gunning down (mostly) defenseless virtual animals with ridiculously overpowered military hardware, although it is pretty ridiculous all things considered. It’s just that I’ve never been able to get into them. And yet, oddly enough, I’ve found myself really getting into Deer Hunter 2014 and its simple yet oddly strategic gunplay.
Deer Hunter 2014 is basically a collection of simple hunts for various types of wild animals. It’s a bit less involved than most other hunting sims of course – most likely to cater to the pick-up-and-play mobile audience. Rather than tracking targets through the underbrush across acres of simulated woods, players simply strafe left and right across a limited area to get a better view of their prey. Instead of focusing on the chase, it’s all about the kill shot. Where the animal is hit (head, heart, lungs, etc) can make all the difference.
The money earned from each hunt can then be used to upgrade weapons or purchase new ones, which doesn’t just make one a more efficient killing machine. Hunts have recommended loadouts (which can make success difficult if the advice isn’t followed) and the occasional requirement that will prevent players from taking part until their gear is up to snuff, so no upgrades means no progress. Fortunately there are a number of different kinds of hunts to take on, including the more typical Hunting Series, the almost arcade-like Contract Hunt, and Trophy Hunts that can unlock new regions. There’s almost always something to do to earn a bit of cash towards that next scope or rifle barrel.
I was shocked to find myself having as much fun with Deer Hunter 2014 as I have been. Once I got over the initial shock of shooting an innocent fuzzy dear in the face, I mean. Honestly though, after the first few hunts my worries about overly-simplistic gameplay disappeared and I found myself taking my time while finding the best possible angle on three different black bears. Then using my earnings to upgrade my rifle with a new scope and stock. Then blasting ducks out of the air with a shotgun. And before I knew it, my entire evening was behind me.