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Why Hunt: Showdown is the FPS that creates stories

More than a shooter.

Hunt: Showdown is a decidedly different kind of multiplayer FPS experience. It puts a new spin on the PvE and PvP models featured in its peers, choosing instead to blend together different kinds of multiplayer match types into something that feels unique. And while it involves guns, looting and extraction, it’s a much more flexible game than you might expect. You can earn XP and join in on the monster-hunting action regardless of your play-level and style. There’s clues to be found, enemy teams to outsmart, and tactics to plan and execute alongside your friends. Hunt: Showdown’s maps are mini-sandboxes, filled with monsters and explorable environments that combine to create memorable stories made by the players.

Clued Up

The main objective when you enter a match of Hunt: Showdown is to track down a target, kill them, and extract with the bounty, either solo, or as a duo or trio. How you do this is up to you, and there are several side activities that you can carry out on your way to the boss. The maps of Hunt: Showdown are compact, but filled with ruined buildings, misty swamps, and other points of interest depending on which map you load into. Somewhere hidden away on each map is one or two of the game’s selection of four boss monsters, each different in the ways that they will defend themselves. The Butcher will throw fire bombs, while other monsters will be hyper aware to any sound that you make while moving in for the kill.

To track the boss down, you need to collect clues using your Dark Sight. It’s often great to have one member of the team handling this, as they guide players from point to point, slowly narrowing down the final location. As you make your way from building to swamp and back again, you’ll slowly dispatch monsters and earn Accolades that will award bonuses upon completion. Whether you’re taking out other players, collecting information on the boss, or hanging back and using traps, you’ll be rewarded for your particular playstyle.

Rules of Engagement

While stealth can be extremely advantageous in Hunt: Showdown, there’s plenty for players who just want to run and gun their way through monsters. Thanks to the binaural sound design, going loud will alert other players to your general location, but some may want to use that to their advantage, laying traps and setting up lines of sight to pick enemies off as they come running. Those who want to play more tactically and co-ordinate with their friends will find comfort in the melee weapons scattered around each map. These kill enemies (relatively) quietly, allowing you to explore with less chance of alerting other players. Every team member has something to offer during the Hunt, whether they’re a top-class shooter or more adept at exploration and stealth.

It’s these smaller decisions that really start to set Hunt: Showdown apart from other online shooters. Even fairly standard runs from spawn to boss fight can feel unique, given the sheer amount of options available to you. Sometimes you’ll accidentally trigger a flock of birds, sending enemies pouring in through the trees. Your teammate may misthrow a firebomb and set the building you’re in ablaze. Bite-sized stories like this punctuate every match in a way that really builds on the core FPS experience.

Let’s Show You the Ropes

With so many aspects at play during each round of Hunt: Showdown, it’s great that the game features an in-depth tutorial that players can use to master the basics. The tutorial is available in three difficulties that slowly add more complex systems and harder enemies. The character you level up and the bonuses you earn during the onboarding are carried through to the main game, meaning that your time invested early on is rewarded. Once you have grasped the basics, you’re given the freedom to approach each target any way you want. You’re given the freedom to carve out your own stories across the selection of maps and modes.

One of the most important things you learn during the intro tutorial is whether to take on a fight or not. Once you’re close to the boss you’ll get a flashing icon in the corner of the screen, either in white or red. White means that there are no other players around fighting the boss, giving you the all clear to move on your target. A red icon means you need to be aware of other players, but is also a great opportunity to set traps and ambush, as you swoop in to finish off the boss after an enemy team has whittled its health down. As each match evolves, you can decide on how you want to advance. Play it safe and wait for enemies to chip away at each other, or set lures and traps and ambush to get better gear early on. The choice is yours.

Banishing Trick

While the primary goal in Hunt: Showdown is to eliminate the target and extract with the bounty, there are many different options on when you choose to extract. You can spend your time earning accolades, finding points of interest and clues, and extract before you’re killed by enemy players. You’ll still earn XP for doing this, and sometimes it’s the smarter move to cut your losses and run. If you do manage to take down the boss, you’ll need to complete a Banishing to get your Bounty Tokens. Doing this alerts players to your location, so you’ll want to have your team ready, and all exits covered before proceeding. At times, luring enemies into danger in this way can yield great rewards, as you use the boss’ body to spring traps, earning yourself kills and more accolades in the process. Once the boss is Banished and you pick up a Bounty Token, all remaining players will be able to see your location on the map, so you’ll also need to bear that in mind before making your way to the extraction point. It’s this variety and player-focused storytelling that really shines in Hunt: Showdown. It gives players options to carve out their own version of each map’s main setpieces and makes every push, and each retreat, feel unique.

Hunt: Showdown presents a rewarding twist on familiar multiplayer mechanics. It balances variety and player-choice with a great tutorial and simple control schemes, allowing for a wide range of individual play-styles to be viable. By offering alternative ways for players to interact with its world besides shooting, Hunt: Showdown is a much more approachable beast than it has any right being. Through exploration, careful clue-finding, and axe-smashing action, Hunt: Showdown is a versatile FPS that rewards experimentation. As long as you make it to the extraction, that is.

Hunt: Showdown is available now on Steam, Xbox One, Xbox Series consoles, PS4, and PS5.

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