Deer Hunter 2014
November 9, 2013
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It’s November now: both Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts are now out for PC. Am I turning my powerful PC’s GPU to that task? Nope. Instead, I’m having a riot lighting up animals in Glu Games’ Deer Hunter 2014, the latest iteration in the Deer Hunter series for iOS. Compared to its predecessor, it’s still the same in concept and gameplay, setting the player as a hunter in diverse regions with the objective of hunting down animals for money and experience. However, Deer Hunter 2014 differentiates itself from its predecessor in the weapons shop, where region-appropriate weapons can be purchased with the money earnable in-game. The premium currency, gold, is still the only way to purchase the superior rifles and shotguns: these premium weapons have perks that make the game almost too easy, although players with a degree of skill will find that the standard weapons are sufficient for the job. We compare this with Deer Hunter Reloaded, where the 30-06 Elkmaster was the top-of-the-line weapon that could be bought with the standard money, and rifles afterwards could only be purchased in gold. Weapons can now be upgraded to extend their functionality, as well. Some upgrades are necessary, while others are merely bonuses that simplify missions. Deer Hunter 2014 also introduces the concepts of regions, different areas of the game that are unlocked by completing Trophy Hunts. This adds a degree of diversity to the game, and makes hunting more exciting: the different locales are beautiful and detailed, as the screenshots below demonstrate.
- The controls in Deer Hunter 2014 are similar to those of Deer Hunter Reloaded. I remember playing the contract missions in region one long enough to afford the region three standard rifle, and subsequently blew my way through region two. Then in region three, I bought the rifle for region five and fully upgraded its stability and zoom, allowing me to blow through region four. The standard rifles are bolt-action and have a very slow firing rate: in the standard missions, missing a shot is tantamount to failing the mission.
- After the introductory missions, the game will ask the player to buy a shotgun for some close-quarter stampede-style hunts. The shotguns aren’t that expensive (the region five one costs some 27000 dollars) and can easily be afforded even at the lower levels. When I first bought my second shotgun, there were only four regions, and that gun was only 14000 dollars, making it ridiculously easy to purchase. The stampede-style missions are very entertaining to play, while the objective missions are far more straightforward.
- Region three (British Columbia) is the most beautiful of all the regions, featuring verdant forests and coastal tidal pools. One guide recommends saving for the next region’s weapons while players are in their current region, but I recommend saving enough to purchase the most powerful weapons and upgrading it. This does mean playing through more of the contract hunts, and as energy depletes very quickly, it will take a while to accumulate enough money for the later weapons.
- The region four shotgun is inspired by the UTAS UTS-15, a police shotgun with a 13-round capacity and weighs 3 kilograms when unloaded. For people who don’t want to buy Battlefield 4 to try this gun out in a game, Deer Hunter 2014 offers a chance to use it. Check out the graphics here: it still impresses me that a mobile platform such as the iPad now has enough power to output graphics rivaling the Play Station 2.
- Some hunts recommend an assault rifle, but they can be completed using a bolt-action rifle if the player is sufficiently skilled. The standard rifles have a very long reload time, so it is imperative to ensure that every shot hits its target. By the time I finished region three, I had the region five rifle with fully upgraded stability and optics, allowing me to effortlessly complete the Trophy Hunts. These Trophy hunts are rare animal hunts that require weapons to satisfy some minimum requirements, and the upgrade costs aren’t cheap. As the upgraded parts improve, they are imported, meaning it will take time to actually use them. The import times for the region five rifle is roughly 24 minutes.
- Get a load of that scope. It is incredibly satisfying to line up a good shot in the South Africa region: in this map, the distances to the animals are great, and the bullets will take a few moments to get there in slow-motion, making a successful shot very rewarding to watch. There’s an awareness indicator in the top-right of the screen: when it fills up, the animals begin to disperse, and sometimes, I am able to lead my shots and complete what originally was turning out to be a failing mission.
- A while back, I finally unlocked region five and was grinding contract missions to afford the best assault rifle. The other assault rifles are inferior, and since I was going to buy an assault rifle, I might as well go for the very best. Assault rifles certainly makes the contract hunts easier with their semi-automatic fire and magazines, but a sufficiently skilled player could probably get by without an assault rifle for the contract hunts.
- The Alaska update brings to the game a fifth region and new guns. The Alaskan sunrise looks beautiful, and brings to the game a sense of immersion that one is actually hunting. The graphics in Deer Hunter 2014 far surpasses anything seen in Deer Hunter Reloaded.
- Players will have the opportunity to take on wolves, deer, mountain goats, caribou, lions, rhinos, hippopotamuses and even elephants during their travels. Once the player completes the Trophy hunts and standard missions, those are locked, but the contract hunts can be played indefinitely.
- Weather and day-night cycles add an additional amount of depth into the game. While not shown here, only rifles can equip an infrared module: these are necessary to hit the correct spot in the target on some missions, and heart shots are difficult to score. Infrared batteries drain very quickly, so it is advisable to upgrade those alongside the stability and zoom attributes. These are the biggest elements for Trophy hunts: assuming a player has a powerful rifle above the regional requirements, upgrading only the stability and optics will allow a player to progress quite quickly.
Deer Hunter 2014 retains the energy concept from Deer Hunter Reloaded; while still obstructive and limiting, the amount of energy each mission requires is easier to understand and the game also gives the player a countdown on when their next unit will replenish. The only weakness in Deer Hunter 2014 compared to its predecessor is the fact that the game does not support iCloud synchronisation, meaning that removing the game will cause all progress to be lost, and that progress cannot be imported from one device to another. All in all, Deer Hunter 2014 represents a substantial improvement over Deer Hunter Reloaded, minus the lack of iCloud support, and is an ideal game to play in short intervals. As a free-to-play game, Glu Games is quick to recommend spending some hard currency on upgrades and energy replenishment, but players can nonetheless enjoy the game fully without ever spending a penny. Just like Deer Hunter Reloaded, Deer Hunter 2014 is an excellent game to play periodically, such as while waiting for a train to show up.