Ever since the E3 2017 trailer, I was obsessed with the newly announced Hunt Showdown. Coming from the ashes of a dying Left 4 Dead clone, Hunt Showdown evolved from Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age, a PvE zombie horde game, into Hunt Showdown, a game in which 5 teams of two fight it out for the bounty of the monster. The monster, after being killed, has an extraction period in which other hunters can come in and take the bounty token from the hunters who killed the monster. This sounds like a very cool idea on paper, but in reality it was none of that.
I was very fortunate to get to try out the game from it’s earliest stages by participating in the stress tests, which had an NDA on them. At this point in the game’s development, I loved the game so much. Sure, it ran terribly and had server issues, but it was a stress test, and that is expected from these early development states. Still, the game was a lot of fun, and nobody knew what they were doing. Everyone had the same weapons which made for an even playing field.
After this NDA stress test, came the closed alpha. I was fortunate enough to get into this one too, as I had been an active member of the community and one of the original 100 testers. There was no NDA for the alpha, which made it possible for people to upload video guides of the game, and it quickly gained popularity on Twitch streams. The game still had a lot of charm, but it still had very glaring server and technical issues that could now be seen by the public eye.
After this, the official game launched onto Steam’s early access program in a far too premature state. The game had almost no improvement on the server of technical side of things. It was the exact same game as it was in the stress tests and alphas, but now it was open to the average consumer. One thing that was added to the game, though, was a progression system that made the game heavy focused on grind. You started out with one of the worst weapons in the game, and to unlock the ability to buy things like better guns, perks, and consumables, you had to reach a certain level before these were available. All these things, along with guides for all possible monster spawns, turned the game into a crazy rush of luck of who was closest to the right spot first. Even after that, the person with the better weapons almost always wins a fight against someone with lower level weapons. This encourages grinding and not playing the actual game for the low level players, and for the high level players encourages camping in a corner until anyone else comes in. When you die, you have to recruit a new hunter, and buy all of the things over again, which encourages mindless grunt killing and extraction for countless hours until you can get your character high level enough to participate in the actual game, which sometimes can take over a month. Also, in a public state with the game out for anyone to buy, they still shut down their servers for hours a day, making it inaccessible to some people, including me, as it is down whenever I want to get on. There is no Oceanic servers available for the game, too. This game still seems like a cool idea, but you should definitely wait on your purchase until they work out the server and technical issues, balance and good business practices that encourages playing the game instead of grinding mindlessly. I will be waiting for when this game is in a playable state, eager to pick it up again.