Hunter: The Reckoning was anxiously awaited by many as the premiere offering in terms of co-operative hack, slash, shoot, and kill game play. The game was based on the popular tabletop, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons style role-playing game, “White Wolf”, which carries its own small following. The game should have been a surefire hit, by all accounts, but those looking forward to the game were let down in a big way when camera issues mired it directly into mediocre-ville.
It all should have worked: decent characters fun and effective weapons, endless streams of enemies, and friends to share the pain with. What more could a gamer ask for? High-Voltage Software, the developer behind the original beat ‘um up, would actually want to know. In their upcoming Playstation 2 update for the game, Hunter: The Reckoning Wayward, High-Voltage has been clamoring after opinions from everyone who played the original so that they could improve the game to as near perfection as they can get it. They promise to fix every niggling issue with the game; first on the list was the horribly broken camera system. As fast paced a game like Hunter is, a camera system that keeps the eyes on the action at all times should be paramount. Unfortunately, the system was a bit wonky and didn’t keep the focus where it needed to be. This is where Wayward comes in and improves over what the previous did wrong. Firstly, and admittedly a bit disappointing, the amount of possible players is now down to two, as opposed to the Xbox original’s four. This was done to help manage the screen a bit more, as there is far less to get in the way of a good view. Also, when a character goes up near a wall, or any other vision obscuring object, that said object becomes transparent. It may not be a huge technical feat, but it certainly goes a long way in trying to keep order within chaos. I have yet to see the characters blocked from view at all.
Each member of the cast was given an extra “edge” ability, making for a total of four ways to unleash bloody murder on the undead, along with the new weapons and power-ups. The game also features revamped character models and moves, ‘cause you must look cool while smacking zombies to oblivion. To round out the list of new additions to the game, there will be an over-world style level from which the characters can access the actual game play levels (like a game 'hub' sort to speak). Rumor has it that there may also be a fifth character joining the ranks of the other four hunters, but that's all just empty air for now, nothing concrete. The game play itself remains relatively unchanged. Run with one analog stick, aim with the other, destroy, and repeat.
Hunter: The Reckoning Wayward is obviously an action game to watch out for. It has all of the style and flair that fans would hope for, and now it has a solid game play foundation to support it. It’s good to see that there are some software development houses out there that actually care about what the players think. Taking all of the defects in the first game to heart will only serve to make not only Wayward a great game, but also High-Voltage a better developer. The game is set to hit sometime in the fall, so expect more details come E3.
3/14/2003 Wellington Moreaux