There are so many things wrong with North American Hunting Extravaganza it is hard to find anything enjoyable, let along positive, about this game. It is as if this game was made by freshman college students who are taking Game Programming 101, where the basis of the class is to just create a working program. As long as the “1’s” and “0’s” line up and the game does not crash, a passing grade will be received. However, having it be entertaining is not required.
Playing the role of a hunter, it is the player’s objective to shoot wide life to hang on your virtual wall. At least it is safer and more morality sustainable than killing innocent animals in real life.
Before you can start shooting innocent bunnies, the player must select a pre-made avatar, each with strengths and weaknesses. But after scanning through all available hunters, there is no reason why anyone would choose a different hunter other than the female. Her stats by far outshine anyone else’s, making this choice a no brainer. This is the game’s first unbalancing act. But the programming behind this game is so broken, the stats do not really matter anyway.
After selecting your hunter, the game then let’s you choose which weapons to take to the hunt. The annoying narrator even asks something along the lines of “you sure you have the right weapon?” when you enter this screen. But this line of dialog doesn’t make sense because the player doesn’t have an option to switch guns/bows on their first hunting trip. This just points out another lack of detail.
I had no idea the Wii could even have such tremendous load times. Considering that the game is loading up a small 3D environment that is filled with nothing but invisible walls and shoddy collision detection, graphics and character models that look like they were ripped from PSOne, and a single wind sound effect that repeats every three seconds (no I am not joking), there is no reason for a single load time to be this long. In fact, the load time can even be longer than the actual play time when playing mini games like the skeet shoot.
As bad as the collision detection and invisible walls are, nothing cripples the game more than reloading. After you shoot a couple of bullets, the game tells you to reload. Through an on screen indicator that kind of looks like a traffic sign, the game tells you to reload your weapon by shaking the wiimote. But no matter how hard or fast I shook the wiimote, I could not reload my weapon. I mean, I tried everything from shaking left and right, up and down, even pulling the controller towards the screen. Since shaking the controller with a simple wrist flick did not work, I even swung my entire arm in random circle and even swung the controller like a lasso until my weapon finally reloaded. But because the wiimote acts as the player’s aiming reticule, swinging the wiimote around like a wild monkey caused me to not only lose sight of my prey, but completely disorient me and the direction I was aiming. Reloading is entirely broken as it literally makes this game unplayable.
To make things even worse, the game doesn’t let you quit back to the main menu. When you hit the pause/menu button, the screen clearly states to press “B” to quit to the main menu. After pressing “B” a dozen times, I realized the game only let’s you quit when you put the cursor over the section that says “quit” despite the fact that the game says to simply press “B.” Even the on screen instructions are not clear and lie to the player.
The game has a map feature, but this too is entirely useless because the player does not have the ability to mark it in anyway. You just kind of know where you are from a yellow triangle. Awesome.
It would have been great to give the player some insight about each hunted animal too. For example, an in-game hint screen could have stated something like “beavers like water so go find them there.” Instead, the player just runs around like an idiot trying to randomly spot a woodland creature. And when you do find an animal, they somehow know you are coming and start to run away. It is as if your character’s “stealth” attribute means absolutely nothing and the only thing the duck call does is annoy the piss out of the player. But because the collision detection and invisible walls are programmed poorly, animals will be running up walls and mountainsides as if running on an empty hill. It is bugs like this that absolutely paralyze the gameplay.
This game is absolutely terrible, but I thought there might be entertaining qualities in the multiplayer aspect. Holy s*** was I wrong. Thinking that I could challenge my friends to fun mini games like skeet shoot and fastest trigger finger, I was instead disappointed with the lamest form of “pass the controller” multiplayer. Basically, you play the single player game, pass the controller when your turn is up, then whoever gets the highest score is the winner. The multiplayer is so bad, I would rather play Sneak’n Peek on the Atari 2600.
The box art even claims to have a “bullet cam” and that it is “the only all-in-one hunting experience.” I am still looking for these elements in the game.
North American Hunting Extravaganza is one of the most broken gameplay experiences I have ever seen in a packaged retail game. If this was a final project for a freshman’s intro college course, then it would be passable. But paying money to have this experience is one upsetting thought.