Hunt: Showdown was without question, the biggest surprise of E3 2017, in terms of skyrocketing to my most anticipated games list. It is still loosely connected to the previously canceled Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age project, as it still features two-player cooperative gameplay. Although this is subject to change pending player feedback, Crytek is open to increasing the amount of players per team (the game is currently in pre-alpha).
In its essence, Hunt: Showdown is about hunting monsters with a partner, although the game takes place on a massive map (with unique biomes throughout) with up to eight other players online (five teams of two) with the same goal in mind. Matches feature two main monsters, a major and a minor one, based on the reward for successfully killing them and reaching the extraction point without dying. During the presentation, Crytek hammered home the point of creating a truly high-tension, tense experience. Smaller creatures, zombies are littered throughout the map, but every shot you take can be heard from across the map. Hunt: Showdown is also set in the Victorian era, so keep your expectations for weaponry in line with that period. The dark, gritty, muddy, and unpredictable is the best way to describe the environment. Crytek is not against adding new maps to the game but want to nail down the gameplay on the game’s first map before creating new ones.
Players are tasked with finding clues that will lead them to one of the boss monsters, in the demo it was a massive spider infused with what used to be a human. If you stumble across it or find three clues that show the location on your map, you must engage and kill it. Killing it is only step one, and not to mention everyone on the map will hear every bullet and every explosion. One defeated, you must banish the creature to hell in order to gain the bounty for that particular monster. At this point, you must set up defenses as everyone on the map will know exactly where you are. Other players are free to engage and steal the bounty from you, claiming it for their own.
Health is broken up into different segments, and while it will regenerate, it will only fill the current segment. If you are revived, you come back with one less health segment, so if you are downed three times, you can’t be brought back from the dead. Not to mention, if your team is killed, Hunt: Showdown features permadeath. That means any equipment that you bring into a match will be lost. It’s a risk vs. reward system, as you may not want to lose your best weapons, but you may not win without them. If you do die, all is not lost, as you do have permanent upgrades and perk progression that will continue down your future bloodline.
Even in its early state, Hunt: Showdown looks highly promising. The tense gameplay shown is only the tip of the iceberg. In the future, Crytek has talked about adding proximity chat, as well as AI that reacts to your voice. Imagine, whistling to a nearby zombie, to lure it into traps. Even without these possibilities, everything shown already in the game looks menacing. Standard creatures are no pushovers, and you need to think about every engagement with the AI or other human players.