The Cabela's Dangerous Hunts franchise has been successful over the years. It doesn't even need to sell that well to be considered a success to begin with, so expectations are pretty low. I didn't realize how low until sampling the recent edition on the xbox 360.
First off, the graphics are not as good as the promotional material suggests. This isn't much better than an original xbox title.
Second. The game is broken into three parts, accessed from the main menu. The first game mode is Story Mode. It is essentially this. You are on a big game hunt, you have an African guide helping you get from point A to B searching for endangered animals to kill or things to try and escape from. The voice acting is annoyingly corny and bad. But making things worse is the quest systems. Breaking it down. All the encounters feel forced and have no real driving force. There is no solid plot point getting you through yet this game is built like a traditional shooter. You aren't even required to collect animal hides etc. Once you make the kill, the beast disappears. WHAT? It's a hunting game. What?
This game is so bad it really only serves as a novelty reason to get the new Top Shot Fearmaster Wireless Gun accessory that was packaged with the deluxe edition of the game.
The second game mode is called Maneater. It's essentially a horde mode with rare animals as the waves of baddies. Beyond the pathetic reality that we really are irresponsible for making games that reward killing endangered animals cool, this game is not even that good to play.
The reality is, this game is even too arcadey for its own good. A panther can slash at you, you quickly plug him in the head with a shotgun, a lion suddenly rushes forward doing the same, it doesn't really harm you, then you rinse and repeat. Occasionally you have to stop and grab ammo or med packs that are just lucky enough to be laying around here and there in the middle of the jungle. (Patronizing design to say the least.)
The point of Maneater is you or a split screen companion head into a set of ruins, waves of attacking beast try to kill you both, you kill them first for points, if you are fairly accurate, you get bonuses and you win. You attempt to survive through as many waves as possible while the game gets harder and harder. This mode really brings out the poor hit recognition system. The developer solves the shotty recognition by making the targeting very forgiving. You will shoot at the ground in front of say, a lion, and get a head shot over and over again with the aid of the game's corrective aiming feature.
Even the decent assortment of creatures isn't enough to make up for the short comings of this game. Most of them behave similarly. A Croc charges you on land, just like a lion, even though they are known to be ambush hunters only. A panther or Leopard is not different than the packs of lion prides.
Hippos serve as boss battles but have relentless stamina they use to charge you over and over at high speed. Something no Hippo is capable of. There is so little though being put into the mechanics of this game, its a real violation of gamer's common sense, decency, and intelligence.
We do a lot of hunting in the Carolina's but its really pathetic that we are being offered such a cheap imitation of a hunting game. Activision has reduced the franchise to this sort of thing. Where are the tradition Cabela's hunting experiences? Why can't we just have a game where you choose a gear set, a weapon load out, and be thrown into a forest etc to hunt something in say, an open world. Choose where to seek your prey for yourself instead of these ridiculous ways.
Which brings me to the third game mode. The Shooting Gallery is essentially a themed target practice mini game. Nothing to really rave about. Its essentially a good mode for the wireless gun accessory.
Beyond the numbers of things to hate or be confused by there are troubling things about this game. The idea that the game is about accuracy and hitting an animal with specific shots like hitting the lungs, the heart, or another artery, it has an awful hit recognition system. How can a game built on this style of play be released with this core flaw. Activision is milking this series for all its worth, each one more arcade shooting gallery and less hunting experience.
Which brings me to the really annoying bit. The sound in this game is atrocious. The voice acting in story mode is bad enough but there are many moments throughout the game when a panther is charging you and you hear a lion. Or a monkey or ape is slashing at you and you hear a lion. There are even times when a Croc is hissing at you and suddenly you hear the same tree shuffling sound you get when leopards are attacking you. Its supposed to be the sound of the Croc scuffling across the ground.
So the final verdict. This is a novelty at best. If you completely ignore the fact that you are being rewarded for annihilating hordes of rare or endangered animals, its still not a good game.
If you really like this series. Wait for it to drop in cost or get it used. Its NOT WORTH the full price of admission.
Is it a traditional shooter like Call of Duty or is it still a hunting game? Make up your minds Activision. There are more than enough shooters on the market. There are zero good hunting games.