The thrill of the hunt is back with Emerald Coast, the new reserve expansion for theHunter: Call of the Wild. This time, you will pack your gear and travel to the always remarkable sights of Australia, a country of beautiful plains and iconic animal species. From the outback to tropical rainforests, the flora is comprised of natural locations suitable for many exciting games of hide and seek, as you find and hunt your prey in a game of deadly patience.
The Waiting Game on the Outback
As it happens with other theHunter reserve updates, Emerald Coast eases us into this new territory with a story showing us the ropes. This time, it’s a lighthearted narrative at its core, mostly focused on long-lasting friendships and a few missions that may be little more than fetch quests, but the camaraderie between the two protagonists, Sophia and Robert, is enjoyable to listen to, even if sometimes bordering on awkwardness.
But dig a bit deeper and it’s hard to miss the care about ethical hunting, preservation of the most iconic species, and the concern over species that are destructive to nature and must be controlled for the good of the ecosystem. The story doesn’t dive into unnecessary controversy and tries to present a credible, realistic, and understandable point of view even for those who aren’t fans of the hunt.
The main story isn’t going to keep you busy for long, but the side-missions will, with a penchant for hunting quests, but also throwing in other types of tasks for good measure. For example, visiting the landmarks of this new region is going to take you a while, as the terrain is expansive and thankfully your ATV is going to be one of your best friends. Alongside the fast travel feature, I might add, as unlocking outpost after outpost makes exploration a lot swifter and enjoyable.
I found this region to be a pleasant mix of biomes that made for some interesting hunting spots. With arid landscapes, tropical and subtropical areas, and a diverse representation of plains and elevations, there was this patent Australian touch that felt great, including a little story mission with a scripted event that couldn’t be any more specific to the land, but I won’t spoil it here. Some areas may not be fertile in animals to hunt, namely the flat and dry ones, and in other places the vegetation could be too concentrated as to provide ample opportunity for enjoyable searching, but ultimately, it’s up to the player to patiently roam the land and find the best spots and need zones to succeed in the harvest.
This is indeed a game of patience and precision, and the Emerald Coast changes nothing about the core gameplay of theHunter. It’s still about using your binoculars, getting closer without alerting the animals, and holding your breath to take the shot. The thrill of firing your rifle and asking your dog to look around for blood patches, following the trail that may lead us to our objective is here, rewarding as ever. Countless mechanics are available to camouflage your presence, including sprays to hide your scent, as the game even takes wind direction into account, but this is a feature that fans are already familiar with.
Kangaroos and Crocodiles
Australia has its fair share of iconic fauna, and with this expansion you get 14 animal species, including the Eastern Gray Kangaroo and the Saltwater Crocodile. Learn their habitats perfectly and find their tracks, otherwise most of your time will be spent hunting other animals such as feral pigs or various types of deer. The update also brings the new Zagan Varminter .22-250 bolt-action rifle, a weapon of great accuracy that will truly come to its potential when you add a scope to it.
The number of new animals isn’t incommensurably large, but offers enough new challenges to keep you busy for a while, and your first sight of the saltwater crocodile is bound to give you some chills, a feeling that unfortunately lessens in the eventuality of it getting stuck on trees and going on an endless back and forth until it is finally free of that unnatural trap.
Emerald Coast Australia is a good update for the acclaimed hunting game, even if it doesn’t add anything new to the series or changes any fundamentals. The new region has some breathtaking near-realistic locations encouraging you to take a break and enjoy, almost as if the game doubles as a sightseeing simulator, and the missions should keep you entertained for enough hours to justify a purchase.
- Vast terrain with a few different biomes
- Over a dozen new animals, some of them iconic
- Lighthearted story with a good heart
- Side-missions aren’t very imaginative
- Some bugs in animal behavior
theHunter: Call of the Wild Emerald Coast Australia review code was provided by the publisher. You can read MP1st’s review and scoring policy right here.