Out of Africa
Coming off the back of the awesomeness that was my Double Feature last week, Moh0k and I are reviewing two different games this Tuesday. We went hunting with two of the Cabela’s range of games. Both on the Xbox 360, he drew Alaskan Adventures and I got African Safari. I’ve never played a Cabela’s game before, and I’m fairly certain Moh0k hasn’t either, so this promises to be a unique experience at the least.
Starting up was actually pretty good. There seemed to be a lot of unnecessary menus, but it was otherwise harmless. I got to pick a difficulty setting, and opted for the easiest (Novice) as it was recommended for those like myself who’d never before experienced the thrill of the hunt. I also got to pick an avatar from a choice of 4 prefabs. Since there was no actual character creation process or options for tweaking, this seemed kind of arbitrary. So I went with the obvious choice and picked the one which most resembled Chuck Norris.
African Safari offers a selection of Game Modes, all of which boil down to “Kill Stuff”, which ironically was all I really wanted to do, as opposed to peruse various menus for another 5 minutes. Finally in the game, I learnt some amazing truths: the purpose of Africa is you can go there and kill animals, but not much else. Also, black people actually do call you “Boss” just like in the movies.
No, really. Each stage starts you off at a kind of Visitor’s Centre or Lookout with three guys Guide, Porter and Tracker. Guide is the black guy who calls you “Boss” a lot. Porter is the white guy who talks like an American putting on a English accent, but forgot what year it was and thinks it’s 1879 and he’s helping you defend the British Empire’s interests in the country. Tracker looks like a Nepalese Sherpa, also he spends a lot of time pointing at a map and isn’t big on conversation. Perhaps I’m being too harsh on the game.
Or perhaps not. I probably should have ramped the difficulty up a little bit. The game is basically a 3rd-person shooter, a genre with which I’ve had some small amount of experience. You can crouch, and that makes it harder for animals to detect you, but you still make as much noise when you walk so I wasn’t sure for a long time. You can zoom in, which is highly useful. You can also carry two weapons at a time, a rifle or shotgun or crossbow and a pistol, but you can switch guns in and out with whatever you’ve managed to unlock. None of this is explained to you in the game. I can only assume that someone finally decided to put all the relevant information in the Instruction Manual.
So it comes down to hunting. Hunting, tracking and following your mark til the time is just right is quite well done. I enjoyed setting up on a rocky outcrop watching and waiting, taking aim for a good kill shot, and then I was horrified when I actually pulled the trigger. Line up a good shot and you’ll be treated to a bullet-time-esque sequence following your bullet from barrel to beast and the payoff: the best rag-doll money can buy.
Clearly I wasn’t obessed enough with gunning down the African wildlife, nor was the game going to be challenging enough – even the more dangerous beasts or sturdier animals (leopards, rhinos and wild boar) can be put down with a single well placed shot. If I ever want to give it a try, a flight to South Africa is going to set me back about AUD$1620, so the game is not going to hit my hip pocket quite so much, but to be honest, it’s worth
It lives up to it’s promise, you get to hunt african animals, and it has fantasic “pick up and play” potential for when you just want something to pass the time, but after the first hour and there’s a ton of better games out there.