Hunt, Showdown, Repeat

5min read

You are a bounty hunter dredging through demon-infested Louisiana swamps in an alternate timeline of our 1895 but with some anachronisms thrown in. You need to find, then kill a demonic monster and, finally, leave the swamp as quickly as you can. Problem is… You’re not alone.

You better hope to God that you brought the right weapons and that you’re not caught off guard by other bounty hunters. One mistake and not only will you be going home empty handed; you’ll be returning to your friends and family in a coffin.

Hunt Showdown is the best multiplayer competitive first-person shooter I’ve played in a long time. If you’re looking for a strategic FPS with an amazing atmosphere and a unique core gameplay loop then look no further.

To start, you hire a named bounty hunter; outfitting them as you desire. Once you’ve prepared yourself, it’s time to hunt.

You and up to eleven other hunters in teams of two, three or going solo will start on the edges of the map. You will begin the Hunt by gathering clues in order to find the bounty’s lair. There might be one or two bounties on the map. These bounties include:

  • The Butcher: a constantly burning, cleaver wielding and fireball throwing mass of flesh.
  • The Assassin: a swarm of cockroaches that sneaks around the floor, walls and ceilings of their lair sometimes coalescing into one whole to strike when you least expect it.
  • The Spider: a giant spider that crawls all around her lair while spitting deadly poison at you and smashing into you.

If you find the lair of a bounty then you can try to take it out but beware, other bounty hunters might be on your trail; so being quiet is important. You may have to deal with other hunters, given that some or all of them are likely to be moving toward your location while you fight the bounty. If you’ve managed to kill the bounty without being taken out yourself then the next step is the Banishment.

Sending the bounty back to where it came from, Hell presumably, takes time. So, hunker down, watch your corners and listen. The Banishment takes a couple minutes and, during it, the location of the bounty’s lair will be visible to all other hunters. They know that the bounty has already been killed; so now they’ll be hunting you instead.

If you manage to survive until the end of the banishment, the bounty will yield two bounty tokens (one for you and your partner). You’ll have to pick these up and leave the area by moving to one of the three randomly positioned extraction points (horse-drawn carriages or swamp boats) on the edges of the map. Carrying a token makes you visible to every other hunter on the map. Although, the token also gives you the ability to see other hunters through buildings and vegetation for up to five seconds. This is a precious resource to be used wisely to help you escape the swamp.

If you hold your ground near an extraction point for about half a minute without other hunters contesting you, then you escape the swamp successfully and live to die another day. Your hunter collected a bounty and survived and so they gained valuable experience and loot. You can use the experience to improve your hunter’s abilities and you can spend your hard earned money to equip your hunter with better weapons and tools. All in preparation for the next hunt.

And that’s it.

Hunt Showdown lures you into its fantasy by immersing you in a unique and compelling environment filled with tense gunfights, stakeouts, hostage situations and deadly assaults. You start out as a hunter but you’ll become prey as you run from a threat for a better vantage point and, at the drop of a hat, you’ll become bait as you draw an enemy hunter’s attention away as your partner flanks them.

When playing with others, coordination and communication is key. The smart and patient hunter will have the upper hand on the careless hunter no matter the situation. Who you are and what you should be doing at any given time is fluid which is why I consider Hunt Showdown to be a “thinking man’s” FPS.

In Hunt, sound is king. Listen well and you’ll hear gunshots, explosions, monster growls of all kinds, wood creaking in the wind and more. Anything you can think of, you’ll hear it in the game. Crows and ducks make noise and fly away from you if you disturb them, this can be seen and heard by other attentive hunters from hundreds of meters away. Stepping on broken glass, walking through dangling meat hooks, stepping on small branches or legging it through murky swamp water makes noise too of course.

Due to the high lethality of the weapons, you’re strongly encouraged to navigate through the environment as stealthily as possible to bolster your chances of getting the drop on other hunters. Doing so requires thought and planning which makes even the less action packed times in the game thrilling and interesting. Music-wise, soon enough you’ll be humming to the surprisingly catchy Rise Up Dead Man main theme song.

Hunt Showdown is easy to learn but hard to master. The game eases you into the experience for your first couple of matches by making your first hunter immortal (even if they die, you can still keep playing them as if they had survived). The game has a lot of secrets to discover about the precise ways in which the game mechanics work and interact with one another. So, mastering the game takes a while, it’s common to see players with thousands of hours of playtime.

Last but not least, I’ve been playing using my PS4 controller on my PC and have been holding my own against keyboard and mouse players. Usually… Hunt Showdown is available on PC, Xbox One and PS4 unlike most games of its kind, it has amazing controller support on PC.

If anything I’ve said has piqued your interest in any way, then you should check out Hunt Showdown. Soon you’ll be trekking through the demon-infested Louisiana swamps with the rest of us. Hunting and being hunted. Good luck partner. May you live to die another day.

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