View Full Version : Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011: A surprise FPS survival horror game

04-12-2011, 12:39 PM
I picked up the 360 version of Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011 (DH11) for my son this last Christmas and just got through beating it myself last night. It's very easy to dismiss the hunting game genre as a way for rednecks with an extra dollar in their coverall pocket to kill six minutes in the game room of the local Wal-Mart. For the most part this assessment would be correct. But DH11 offers up something quite a bit different to the established convention.

What sets this game apart from others of its kind is the story mode, which honestly feels more like something out of Resident Evil than a stock arcade hunting game. The mood and tone are completely different. A lot of levels take place at night, and require you to move around unseen obstacles like bear traps, snakes or even land mines(?!). Occasionally animals will jump out at you from the sides or above, requiring you to execute a "skill shot" by putting a round straight through the beast's heart, and you have at most maybe 2 seconds to make this happen or you die, regardless of your current health level.

The cutscenes before the various boss-fights can actually be quite unnerving, because you're preparing to face off against an animal which you actually understand on some primordial level of consciousness. In the horror/sci-fi oriented games of this type, when you're preparing to square off against some sort of demonic apparition of natural abomination, the terror factor can be somewhat muted by a tactical curiosity one experiences upon encountering the unknown: "What is that thing, and what are its strengths and weaknesses?" In DH11 that element of guesswork is not necessary; that's a humongous grizzly bear, plain and simple; that's a pissed-off rhinoceros. So you spend less time sizing up your adversary's capabilities and more time going "Oh sh-t! Oh sh-t! Oh sh-t!" right before a big fight starts.

My main point here is that there is no reason to regard DH11's story mode as anything other than a straightforward example of survival horror gaming. Just because the enemies are more natural than paranormal in origin is not enough of a reason to dismiss DH11 from the survival horror canon. Actually, as the plot progresses it is revealed that there is a nominal science-fiction based catalyst to the events that are unfolding, but this is a ultimately a minor detail and does not distract at all from the direct kill-or-be-killed game play. Fans of survival horror would be remiss in not checking this game out.

I'll wrap up with a few brief words about DH11's gun controller, the Top Shot Elite. Put simply, this thing rocks. Player motion is controlled with a combination of the on-screen reticule and the analog stick mounted on the trigger grip, It takes a little bit of practice but quickly becomes second nature. Reloads are easily accomplished with the shotgun pump, and weapon changes are with cycled with a single button nearby. The infra-red scope is a clever trick, which will completely distort what's on the screen for anybody watching you play but looking through the red-colored scope it will make all the sense in the world to the player. Speaking strictly for the 360 experience, I'd much rather use a controller like this than go to some Kinect-based control scheme. And I sincerely hope Activision (DH11's publisher) has some plans to re-purpose this excellent controller for future releases outside of the hunting genre, i.e. - more conventional sci-fi/horror FPS's and survival games.

I don't gush over modern games often but I've had a lot of fun with this one. Has anyone else had a chance to play it? I'd love to hear from some other fans.

04-13-2011, 05:58 PM
I've been interested in this, but I mostly have been paranoid about the gun not being any good. Especially since I can't find a single place to try or rent the thing. But I've heard mostly good things and do wish to give it a shot.

I've also been hoping we see the gun/ another gun of some kind being supported for other games on the 360 though, there's at least one new game for it on wii, and that "Attack of the Movies 3D' game would probably benefit from a gun as well, if the box blurb is to be believed.

04-15-2011, 07:47 PM
Does this gun work on an HDTV? I've been meaning to pick it up but was wary about that. If it does, I'd consider that Attack of the Movies game too. It's cheap and looks interesting.

04-16-2011, 09:29 AM
I got this when it was released, and I'll echo that it's a lot of fun. One warning about the gun, though - you need a lot of room. I sit right about 6 feet away from my TV, and I tried putting the sensor bar on top of the TV. It was too close. I have to turn the TV and play from the dining room of my tiny apartment.

04-16-2011, 09:53 AM
Does this gun work on an HDTV?

Yes. It works pretty much like a Wii controller. The gun come with an infra-red sensor bar which you place atop or below the TV. Interestingly, the bar is battery powered and does not have any physical connection to the 360. One less cable to string about :roll:.

One warning about the gun, though - you need a lot of room. I sit right about 6 feet away from my TV, and I tried putting the sensor bar on top of the TV. It was too close. I have to turn the TV and play from the dining room of my tiny apartment.

I've read about this in some reviews. YMMV, for sure. The bigger your television the more space you'll probably need for aiming. I play on a 36" CRT, only about 6' away on the couch, and it seems to work fine. But I imagine if you're playing on something with a widescreen ratio and a larger surface area you're going to have to move back.