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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Vivendi

 

Developer

High Voltage Software

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

September 2003

 

- Excellent storyline
- Hub-system
- Superb voice acting
- Character classes
- Replay value, but…

 

 

- …is that enough to keep you playing?
- Where are the options?
- No in game map
- Repetitive game play
- Linear levels

 

 

Review: Hunter the Reckoning (Gamecube)

Review: Hunter the Reckoning (Xbox)

 

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Hunter: The Reckoning Wayward

Score: 6.6 / 10

 

Last year Hunter: The Reckoning first appeared on the Xbox and was very well received by Xbox owners (and later by GameCube owners). One of the key reasons was because of its deep cooperative mode and interesting plot. Hunter the Reckoning Wayward (HRW) is the sequel to its popular Xbox predecessor. The Playstation 2 has a solid library of cooperative games, but none that can really be called a “killer app.” 

 

hunter-reckoning-wayward-1.jpg (57808 bytes)          hunter-reckoning-wayward-2.jpg (33028 bytes)

 

The story takes place about two years after the first game. Two years after things in the town of Ashcroft die down (sort to speak); the slow migration of people back into town causes a resurgence of tortured spirits. You play as a hunter whose job it is to face off against the spirits and eradicate them. HRW at first seems like a basic hack and slash game, which is true for the most part, but it also blends action elements with RPG elements. This really allows you to change your fighting technique as you can easily alternate between your pre-selected weapons and different spells among the five playable characters.

 

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One cool thing about HRW is the hub-system. The hub-system is set up in a hotel room and a police station. The hub features different categories such as Easter Eggs, trophies, level selection, etc. A welcome addition is the option of allowing the user to select which level they wish to undertake rather than having the game dictate this option.

 

There are two modes of play: single player and a two-player cooperative mode. The cooperative 

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mode is played on one screen like Gauntlet or Smash TV. The control scheme is excellent, but does take some time to get used to. Like most action games the R1 and R2 buttons are you primary attack buttons. But one big complaint I have with the controls is the lack of control over camera. It would have been nice to be able to use the right joystick to control the camera.

 

There are a lot of gripes I have with HRW.

 

Each separate level presents different objectives and enemies, but in the end all of the levels seem the same. The levels seem to linear. The linear levels lack variation and hurts the title in the long run. Another major complaint is the lack of an in game map. At the start of each level you must find the map somewhere in the level, but after you find the map you must continually switch back and fourth between the pause menu. You’ll often find yourself wandering through the same area more than a few times. This becomes a serious annoyance as you can spend up to an hour on a single level and because of the constant hacking, repetitiveness creeps in.

 

hunter-reckoning-wayward-3.jpg (49587 bytes)          hunter-reckoning-wayward-4.jpg (25877 bytes)

 

The graphics – the textures and models are fairly good and the cut scenes are excellent. There is some noticeable slow down when the screen fills with enemies, but other than that the frame rate is solid. The game’s atmosphere is captured perfectly as everything takes place in dark, ugly and depressing environments.

 

The audio is closely associated with the atmosphere of the game. There is a great deal of audio from the voice acting to the weaponry sounds. The attention to detail is evident – you’ll hear wolves howling in the night sky as you make your way through different levels. The audio also plays an important part in the hub-system. Audio files can be unlocked upon completions of certain parts of the game.

 

Hunter: The Reckoning Wayward may contain a high replay value (for some), but in the end that was not even enough to keep me playing. The uninspired and flawed game play hurts this title in the long run. Fans of the first game should give HRW a try as its very similar to its predecessor. At the most I would recommend renting HRW before making any decision to buy it.

 

- Siddharth Masand

(October 11, 2003)

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