It’s been over a month since my review of Hunt: Showdown but how the game has changed.
Update 3.0, the latest big update from Developers Crytek, has brought a few balance changes, a big mechanical change, and even a new map: Lawson Delta.
First up, the mechanical change might be small, but it’s game-changing: ADAD spam has been effectively nullified. You can still do it – you just won’t exhibit jerky movements as with other FPS games (read: you’re still fairly easy to hit). As this is a brutally honest review I will throw my 2 cents in here – the fact that you can sidestep at all while aiming down the sights of a pistol (let alone a lever-action or bolt-action rifle) is amazing and something I feel still needs to be addressed: this is a tough call though – a hairline split between realism and the developers looking like they are “catering to casuals”.
New Map: Lawson Delta
Next up is the biggest part of the update – the open Beta release of the new Lawson Delta map. I was delaying this review until the map came out of testing but it turns out… I don’t want to.
As the north pole to Stillwater Bayou’s south. The black to white. The chalk to cheese. Use whatever analogy you want – Lawson Delta is something that quite simply could not have existed in the earliest days of Hunt: Showdown when the Winfield was a god-tier weapon, with other rifles following close behind. The real losers back then were shotgun-class weapons, however months of re-balancing ranges and scatter on these underdogs, plus tweaks made to line of sight on the Stillwater Bayou map have seen these polarities flip, and a ‘shotgun-meta’ is now in order.
Lawson Delta changes this once again, but not quite back to a rifle-meta as some might say – yes there are huge vantage points and long corridors of fire, especially from Fort Carmick and Nicholls Prison – the two dominating areas of the map, but the compounds themselves feel much more fleshed out, much bigger, and much more labyrinthine – if anything, Lawson Delta is demanding that you take a good balance of weapons for any occasion. Believe me when I tell you a Winfield won’t keep you alive long in the winding halls of Nicholls Prison or during skirmishes in and around the buildings of Arden Parish.
Another reason Lawson Delta seems to becoming a fast favorite is the fact there are little-to-no swampy areas. Swamps were always a dangerous area, dragging your feet through the mud made a lot of noise and left you very open to attack… and this was before the now-infamous Water Devil was released. One quick look at the map will make you realize how much of Stillwater Bayou is water or swamp, and approximately one third of the map is being actively avoided by many players; with some compounds being outright deathtraps.
Lastly onto the balance changes – Nagant Brawler is now a Nagant Officer Brawler – big thumbs up there. Every melee weapon and damage type has also been addressed with different enemies having more defined resistances and each weapon being balanced against each other. For melee and gun-mounted melee think of it this way – Romero Hatchet and all Talon weapons are the same as the Machete, except they can only heavy-swing 3 times in a stamina bar compared to a Machete’s 4 times. Similarly, Bayonets are the same as a Cavalry Sabre, except they can only heavy-swing 3 times instead of the Sabre’s 4 times. Dedicated melee = more value, but uses a weapon slot obviously.
Your left-most Hunter recruit is always Tier 1 and is now always free – coming with contraband gear (meaning it can’t be sold, only discarded). This is an awesome addition and is actually very fun when you pick up a free Hunter and take just contraband items, looting from those you kill and seeing how far you get without dying. It’s almost like its own minigame. Matchmaking Rating, Elo, call it what you want – this has also been implemented and games are vastly improved because of it.
Hellhound! Hellhounds are now not quite as deadly – their attacks are weaker but they cause bleed. Oh, and they jump around like real dogs meaning they’re a tad harder to hit… but at least they’re not kill-or-be-killed like before.
Too much healing?
Last word on this patch, as I’m not sure when it changed (couldn’t find it in these notes, but didn’t experience it before either) but this involves the ever-present issue of healing. First Aid Kits have been amended to heal 50 health rather than 1 health chunk – meaning it will always heal the same amount (1 large or 2 small) unless your chunks are ordered small-large, in which case you’ll actually heal 75 health (as the half-healed large chunk will regenerate). The Doctor trait has also been reinvented to double this benefit, meaning you basically have a quick (improved also by the Physician trait) 100-health restore with 3 charges. Couple this with the almost-mandatory 2 full vitality shots and gunplay with a number of weapons (notably the Sparks LRR) is completely destroyed. You could in theory heal up to full health after being shot by a Sparks LRR just as the attacker has reloaded his weapon.
I’m an avid fan of the Sparks LRR (and Sniper variant), but it was only barely usable before, and now the sheer abundance of healing is slowly killing it. I personally don’t think the full Vitality Shot should be in the game, but additionally I appreciate it’s hard to balance factors like this when small and large health chunks not only exist, but are allocated randomly to each individual Hunter as they are presented for recruitment. I feel it would be a lot easier to just give everyone 3 large health chunks; this would improve a lot of weapons in the game and you could call it balancing. Vitality Shots can still come in small or large variants but then change First Aid Kits to START regeneration on the next empty health chunk – not replenish it fully and instantly.
There are so many more changes – full patch notes can be found HERE.
To summarize, this is not only a continued enjoyment of everything Crytek has been throwing out, but a vastly improved state of the game as a whole. Crytek thoroughly test everything, listen to requests from the community, and are increasingly involved with live broadcasts, streams, their Discord server, and more.
You want a high-adrenaline, all-stakes first person shooter with realism and authenticity at every turn? Look no further than Hunt: Showdown and jump into Lawson Delta today.
Thanks for reading,