Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions: Slow and steady wins

November 14, 2012

In addition to Dangerous Hunts 2013, where you are the prey as much as the hunter, Activision also delivered a more traditional hunting experience, Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions. Hunting Expeditions features 15 territories for you to explore and a wide array of upgradeable weapons to choose from. It’s not quite the intense experience that you see in Dangerous Hunts, but it’s a solid game all the same.

Upon selecting one of the territories you’d like to hunt, you are given a choice of weapons to pick from. Initially, only a basic gun is available for you to use. Completing missions unlocks experience points and gunsmith points, which can be used to purchase better guns or upgrades for your current weapon. The upgrade options aren’t incredibly deep and are a bit disappointing, but they do allow you to improve the weapon in different categories such as stability, rate of fire or accuracy. Common upgrades include the stock, barrel and scope, with other guns carrying different options. Different weapons are best suited for different types of wild game, so it’s best to tailor your weapon to the territory you choose versus using the largest-caliber weapon you have.

Once the level starts, you are dropped into an open-but-limited world, where you are free to roam and explore. Each level is timed, so you’ll want to find the trail of the herd you are hunting fairly quickly. Levels feature hilltop spotting locations and shooting rests, that give you the ability of using the Strategic View to plan your attack and take wide-open shots. In Strategic View, you can tag the animal you are hunting, see some recommended locations for taking your shot and map your ideal approach using waypoints which are visible as you slowly creep through the brush. Be careful though, because if you move too fast or get too close, you’ll spook the herd and they’ll run off.

Once you’ve used your viewfinder to determine the optimal distance and you are in position, it’s time to take your shot. If you execute a perfect kill shot, you’ll switch to a cut scene that shows the shot and watches your target fall. Once on the ground, you need to make your way over to the animal to claim it. Doing so displays detailed stats on your target including the number of gunsmith points you’ve earned as a result. The cleaner the shot, the more points you earn. Landing a perfect kill shot gets much easier once you’ve purchased and equipped all available weapon upgrades.

As you track the herd, there are a few extra tools at your disposal. The first is hunting sense, which helps you spot the aforementioned hilltop locations and shooting rests. Secondly, as you explore you’ll no doubt come across animal tracks. When you do, you’ll be prompted to see data to help you determine if this is the target you are looking for. It lets you know the type and age of the animal to ensure it’s a suitable target.

Hunts vary in length and end once you’ve completed your mission, but they aren’t huge investments in time. It makes them fun like the shooting galleries in Dangerous Hunts, but they do require a bit more strategy and planning.

Hunting Expeditions appeared at first glance to be a budget title released to help sell copies of Dangerous Hunts, and that very well may have been its goal, but it’s actually a very solid title all on its own. In fact, I enjoyed playing Hunting Expeditions far more than Dangerous Hunts 2013 due to the strategy and planning of the hunt. It’s definitely not as fast paced or as intense, but I enjoyed the more methodical strategy-based approach. The experience isn’t complete without using a peripheral such as one of the Top Shot guns though, so you’ll probably want to pick up Dangerous Hunts anyway. Either way, I was happily surprised with this one, and I think it’s definitely worth checking out.

Pros: Very enjoyable, strategic hunting experience
Cons: Requires a peripheral, not bundled with one

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.