This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
Last year’s Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011 demonstrated that a hunting game could have depth and variety befitting a full retail console release. It had an engaging story mode, intense shooting action, and a very arcade-style approach to the genre that cranked up the fun factor when playing with friends. It also helped that its gun peripheral, the Top Shot Elite, is probably the coolest of its kind since the Super Scope 6.
And the game was successful enough, apparently, that this year Activision decided to make not one—but two— installments in the Cabela series: one that continues with the over-the-top dramatic story mode and arcade elements, and one with a focus on realism and the fundamentals of hunting. Big Game Hunter 2012 is the latter.
In the main campaign in BGH2012, you’ll have to treat the Top Shot Elite like an extension of your own body to be successful, much like a real hunter. Unlike the willy-nilly bullet-spraying of its sister release, Cabela’s Survival: Shadows of Katmai, BGH involves precision aiming, sometimes out to ridiculous distances. At those times the Top Shot’s scope will prove to be your best friend, enabling the pinpoint accuracy you need to take down your prey.
And in between shots, you’ll also have to think like a hunter—chasing your elusive mark with tracking abilities that limit your mobility while active but let you stalk your prey like the Predator you always knew you were. It’s not strictly on rails, either, giving you control over the thumbstick in the back of the Top Shot to sneak around and find the best vantage point to go for the kill.
Of course, not everything has to be about finesse. This is still a video game, and as such, there are high-score chasing on-rails mini-games for one or two players. It’s not as prevalent as in Shadows of Katmai, but still a nice change of pace from the tense shooting action of the campaign. Big Game Hunter 2012 is scheduled for release on September 27th.