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Hunting Simulator 2 review: Doggone it

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Hunting Simulator 2 arrives a few years after a lackluster showing from the first game in the series. This new addition to the franchise aims higher with updated graphics, an array of licensed gears, and canine companions. In the end, the four-legged friendships you develop along the way are worth remembering. Hunting Simulator 2 feels like a step back in a few ways from its predecessor and feels so far behind its competition that it is hard to recommend for hunting fanatics or players looking for a more casual experience.

The lay of the land

The rolling plains of Colorado, drenched in the never-moving sun.
The rolling plains of Colorado are drenched in the never-moving sun.

The time you spend with Hunting Simulator 2 will be divided among a set of environments in Colorado, Texas, and Europe. Each of the hunting grounds offers a unique look and assortment of potential wild game targets. In total, there are more than thirty types of critters that you can track down and shoot, with some overlapping between environments. A lavish hunting lodge is provided to you at the outset and serves as a central hub for all hunting excursions.

From within the lodge, you can use your laptop to buy equipment such as rifles, bows, clothing, and accessories. Additionally, all licenses required for legally bagging your kills must be purchased from the computer prior to heading outdoors. There is a dedicated room for customizing your desired loadouts, which is helpful as each environment and type of prey have their own requirements for ethical claims. Different clothing types will have advantages in different locations and are the biggest factor in how visible you appear to wild prey. There is a nice array of licensed gear that is sure to appeal to real outdoorsmen.

Dropping into the wilderness

The in-game map will become populated with the camp sites, blinds, and stands you encounter while exploring.
The in-game map will become populated with the campsites, blinds, and stands you encounter while exploring.

Once you find yourself equipped for a trip, you depart the lodge and select the location at which you wish to hunt. You will start out at base camp where you can claim kills, refill ammo, or call upon hunting companions, also known as dogs. Canine companions are easily the best part of Hunting Simulator 2 and the only real selling point it has against its competition. The available breeds offer unique benefits depending on your target prey. As you spend more time with the dogs, they slowly begin to level up their skills and eventually become a critical tool for helping you quickly hit bag limits. Your dog can be given a custom name and order to complete tasks via a selection wheel. They will find evidence of animal tracks or poop and can be ordered to flush small game out of hiding. Certain breeds can fetch kills, specifically in the case of retrievers and waterfowl.

Once you leave base camp, you can take in the sights and sounds of the environments. The visual presentation is adequate enough but is a far cry from what you may find in The Hunter: Call of the Wild. The size of the hunting areas is also very underwhelming, as you can traverse from one side to the other in a couple of minutes. It kills a bit of the immersion when it feels like you are hunting in a small box. The European areas also feel rather empty compared to the densely forested area of the first Colorado map or either of the Texas options. You can select specific times to hunt but Hunting Simulator 2 does not offer dynamic time passage, further lessening immersion for those aiming to replicate real hunts. That said, the weather effects on display do work very well, even if they remain static for the duration of the hunting period. 

Wasting time in the tree stand 

Fail to hit this deer in the right spot and you will be fined.
Fail to hit this deer in the right spot and you will be fined.

When it comes to the moment to moment gameplay in Hunting Simulator 2, the assembled systems don’t come together in a way that feels exciting for a casual hunter or in a realistic fashion that would appeal to a sim fanatic. You can find tracks and other animal markings, but the simple act of interacting with them is needlessly difficult as you have to line up the mouse to find the arbitrary point where the interaction button prompt shows up. Sometimes, simply trying to claim a kill becomes a mild chore when the animal decides to die on a different creature’s marking. The haphazard placement of marking can also make keeping your dog fixed on your intended target tough to manage.

There is no UI indicator that lets you know how visible you are to prey, how much noise you might be making, or where the wind is blowing. There are sprays you can buy that will show wind direction, but this solution is awfully clunky compared to the 3-part triangle indicator found in Hunting Simulator 1 that quickly presented useful information. Each area will have blinds, stands, and campsites you can find while wandering around. The campsites allow for fast travel around the map, but the overall playing area is so small that this mechanic has limited function in practice. Any kill you claim auto-warps to the base camp and you must hoof it back there to claim your animals if you want to be paid (or end up being fined).

The in-game economy is a bummer and feels like a weird mix of free-to-play and premium game. Some licenses only allow a small number of kills before they expire and must be repurchased, requiring repeat trips to the lodge. A few of these only allow for a single kill. While out on the hunt, it feels like there are so many more ways to be fined or lose money than there are to make money. If you use the wrong firearm on a certain animal, you get a fine. If you shoot a female, you get a fine. You will get fined if you put too many bullets into specific animals — so much of a fine that the penalty is higher than what you make for selling the carcass. You can also be fined for not claiming kills. This system does not increase the fun factor and is seemingly included to artificially pad playing time.

Wrapping up

Congrats on snuffing out this bobcat!
Congrats on snuffing out this bobcat!

Like much of the game design and presentation, the overall polish leaves much to be desired. The simple character movement feels clunky at all times. Some environment interactions don’t make noise when they should (like when you walk through bushes) and your dog’s movements will often fail to affect prey as they should. Many types of prey don’t even render in the scene unless you aim down your weapon sights. On the PC, just using the menus is a drag as you need to hit escape to open menus, but are required to use backspace to close them or back out. Opening the in-game map always zooms into your position, making quick, repeated map checks feel like a time waste.

Ultimately, there are better options out there for those itching for a hunting game fix. Hunting Simulator 2 earns points for its selection of licensed firearms and novel hunting companion system, but little else. The whole experience feels unfinished and the lack of attention to detail works to undermine the genuinely good traits it has. 4/10 sad duck calls


This review is based on the PC Steam release. The game key was provided by the publisher for review consideration. Hunting Simulator 2 released on June 25 for Xbox One and PS4. It will launch for Steam on July 16.

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin’ tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don’t @ him.

Source: https://www.shacknews.com/article/119018/hunting-simulator-2-review-doggone-it

Gaming

Server status – Is Fall Guys down?

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Players are pushing one another out of the way to work out the server status of Fall Guys and whether or not it’s down for maintenance.

The Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout server status is brought into question every now and then. Players are often looking to work out whether or not Fall Guys is down, if there’s some ongoing maintenance, or if there are some issues with the server. There are also those who are wondering whether it’s a problem with their own game.


Is Fall Guys down?

Chance are, if you’re here, then yes, Fall Guys is down. However, there’s no telling exactly why Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is down or not working. Given that Fall Guys is an online multiplayer game, the servers are bound to go offline for scheduled maintenance. It’s likely going to be quite rare that the servers are down because of some overload or other problem.

fall guys server status maintenance
A live look at players trying to get into Fall Guys when the servers are down for maintenance.

One valuable source of information players should be aware of is the Fall Guys Server Owl Twitter account. This account tweets out server updates, maintenance windows, and other information pertaining to the Fall Guys server status. While the tweet that’s embedded below won’t apply, it is a good example of the type of information players can expect. Check this Twitter page whenever you suspect a problem.

Some bigger games also undergo weekly or monthly changes and updates. During these times, the servers will go offline. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout isn’t necessarily on the scale of some of these titles, like Destiny 2 and League of Legends, but there could still be times when an update is being pushed through and the team at Mediatonic need to take things offline.

In the event the Fall Guys servers are online and you still can’t play, there’s likely a problem on your end. Players experiencing server connectivity errors are advised to restart their games, turn their consoles and platforms off and on again, and even refresh their network connection by powering down routers and modems for a few minutes. If all else fails, you can also reach out to Mediatonic via the Fall Guys support page.


Whenever the Fall Guys servers go down for maintenance, or there is some confusion over whether or not the servers are down, players can likely become frustrated. By checking the Fall Guys server status via the Server Owl Twitter account, you can ensure you’re kept up to date on any situations. For more news and guides, check out the Shacknews Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout page.

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler is relatively new to the industry, getting his start a few years ago as a writer-for-hire. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and finding his feet, he’s found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There’s nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

Source: https://www.shacknews.com/article/119667/server-status-is-fall-guys-down

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Gaming

Evening Reading – August 6, 2020

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Hey Shacknews, it’s time for Evening Reading. Let’s officially close out our day of posting. Please take a look.


In case you missed it at Shacknews:


And now… Other Stuff From The Internet!!!

IRL GTA in Shibuya

Outstanding camera work.


Early rapper dance moves

It’s funny because it is true.


Tim Sweeney deepfake

We now go to Tim Sweeney for his reaction.


#KarenStrikesAgain

Imagine acting like this in public.


GlitchxCity catches a Shiny Psyduck

LOL @ “I farted in excitement.”


Total Eclipse of the Heart

This song still slaps.


Dunkey drops some wisdom on Twitter

Tostitos salsa is wack.


Excite-Truck but with F-Zero music

F-Zero Twitter is undefeated.


There you have it, Shacknews. Your Evening Reading for August 6, 2020. Please consider subscribing to Shacknews Mercury to support our site for as little as $1/month. Here is a photo of Lola to brighten your night.

Lola is the best dog.
Lola is the best dog.

What are you up to tonight? Let us know in the Shacknews Chatty comment thread below.

Asif Khan is the CEO and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary’s Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

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Source: https://www.shacknews.com/article/119666/evening-reading-august-6-2020

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Gaming

Grounded update 0.1.1 patch notes squashes bugs

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Players should expect an easier time joining friends in Grounded, as well as less omniscient Wolf Spiders.

Grounded is days away from receiving an update to version 0.1.1. The developers over at Obsidian Entertainment have given players a look into what’s in store for this update, which focuses entirely on bug fixes. Though Grounded has been a lot of fun to play, it’s still very clearly in early access, so these improvements are bound to be well-received.


Grounded update 0.1.1 patch notes

The following patch notes for Grounded come from the official Grounded site. While players are no doubt looking forward to more content, this update is all about fixing problems players have encountered. One of the biggest problems is the disappearance of BURG.L and the locking of the Oak Lab. Players that experienced these issues should find them resolved after the update goes live.

In terms of when new content is coming, a tweet by Adam Brennecke via the Grounded Twitter account reveals that Grounded will have monthly updates, the first of which is scheduled for August 27th. Whether Update 0.1.1 is August’s update remains to be seen.

grounded upate 0.1.1
Grounded upate 0.1.1 will make Wolf Spiders less likely to creep on players.

MAJOR ISSUES

  • Made changes to make finding, joining, and hosting games with friends more reliable.
  • We adjusted the handling of joining game failure (the game is full, the game no longer exists, etc.).
  • Added a way to allow players to resolve the issue of the game logging the player into the wrong Xbox Live account on PC.
  • Fixed issues with Windows 7 and Windows 8 users crashing when attempting to login. Those users should be able to load into the game after updating.
  • Fixed crash when saving or loading and the “Autosave Count” number in the options is set to 0.
  • We have implemented a fix for players who were getting stuck on the welcome popup screen and unable to move past it.
  • Fixed characters not being saved occasionally in save games. NOT RETROACTIVE: Unfortunately we are not able to bring back lost items, but hopefully this fix will prevent this from occurring in the future. If you still experience this after the update, please contact us directly at support@obsidian.net so we can gather information to continue our investigation.

GAME

  • Players will no longer be permanently stuck in spider webs after destroying them.
  • Fixed BURG.L disappearing in some games if you attacked him and saved and loaded. RETROACTIVE: BURG.L will appear in the games he disappeared from, allowing players to interact with him again.
  • Restoring save games that have lost progression state (ex. Oak Tree Lab doors no longer opening for players, Mysterious Machine not allowing players to hit buttons to finish the quest, time being frozen, etc.) RETROACTIVE: After updating the game, players should be able to load into their game and continue to progress. Should this issue happen again, logging out of the save and then loading back in should resolve the issue and allow you to continue playing.
  • Fixed an issue with endless larva spawning over time. Larva were also spawning each time a spike trap was built. This update will not remove the larva that has already spawned into games, but the larva respawn rate has been fixed.
  • Fixed issue where all item durability in your inventory incorrectly shows “full” when loading back into a game as a client.
  • We implemented a fix for an issue where games that were saved before Raw Science started spawning prevented Raw Science from appearing later. It also included an update for a problem with Raw Science spawning after analyzing and having additional players collecting it on join. Due to this, players may notice that the starting Raw Science they previously collected has respawned.
  • Fixed crashes when loading a saved game dealing with ant colonies.
  • Removed kill Mosquito Burg.L quest NOT RETROACTIVE: Players will need to speak with BURG.L to abandon this quest. Then, during the next in-game day, you will be able to talk to BURG.L again to accept a new quest.
  • Found the cause behind the issue where attempting to cook/dry an item slot with no item in it would crash the game.
  • Found a fix for the occasional crash caused by dew drops that have items stuck in them. It also included a fix for dew drops exploding and causing a major FPS drops on clients.
  • Fixed issue where clients dragging items from one slot in a storage basket to another would not reflect on the host causing item desync.
  • Disabled storage baskets and smoothie stations from being able to be interacted with by multiple players at the same time until other desync issues we are working on are resolved.
  • Block Tutorial now only plays once.
  • Tuned Wolf Spider hearing and investigation AI to creep on the player less frequently.

UI

  • UI changes made to the SCA.B OS screen.
  • Fixed trail markers not showing up on the map, and an additional fix added to prevent the game crashing if you tried to navigate them in the legend.
  • Reduced screen edge shimmer on Xbox One and Xbox One S under load.

Update 0.1.1 for Grounded will be live “within a day or two” according to the patch notes. While you wait for that day to arrive, take some time to look over the Shacknews Grounded page for some helpful guides.

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler is relatively new to the industry, getting his start a few years ago as a writer-for-hire. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and finding his feet, he’s found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There’s nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

Source: https://www.shacknews.com/article/119664/grounded-update-011-patch-notes-squashes-bugs

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