Platforms
PC
Cabela’s African Adventures Review

Sometimes its good to have no expectations. Think about it, as gamers we live blockbuster to blockbuster and our expectations get loftier and loftier. Wouldn’t it be nice to sit down and play a game for what it is? I enjoy an expensive cut of aged beef at a fancy steakhouse as much as anyone, but sometimes you just want a chili covered hotdog. Well Cabela’s African Adventures is your chilidog.

In Cabela’s African Adventures (CAA) you play a quintisential stubble sporting, khaki-clad, loner, the loose cannon of the African wilderness, a rebel without a cause… okay, okay you get it. They didn’t reinvent the wheel with their Indiana Jones meets Nathan Drake main character; a typical gravel-voiced tough guy. Said tough guy is beckoned to Africa to murder a ton of animals by a snarky brittish counterpart. Apparently, a highly valued statue was taken from the locals (who they are, and where they are goes unmentioned) and broken into several pieces… pieces you agree to find, for a price. Where do you hide pieces of a treasured (unnamed) artifact? In caves? In trees? No, you hide them in the Alpha animals of different species across Africa!

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You begin your journey from a basecamp at each area. In CAA the basecamp serves absolutely no purpose to your hunting and once you start you have no reason to even know where the basecamp is located since all of your loadout changes can be done while inside of, or in proximity of your jeep-like vehicle. You may also switch equipment at the beginning of individually activated hunts. CAA boasts the largest hunting areas of any Cabela’s console title to date, and each area you visit is open world from the start. Initially the area map is blacked out and revealed in large blocks as you traverse the somewhat interesting terrain. Individual assets are rendered beautifully, but with little variety. The color pallet washes together in some sequences where you crouch in tall brown grass, wearing khakis, on an ocean of sand.  Animals are not exempt from the repetition in CAA either.  Its one thing for vegetation to be similar, but each animal of a given species is identical and the game only features maybe a dozen species. The Alpha animals that move the plot along are only visually different by size, with no real distinguishing features otherwise.  Visually this game isn’t ugly, just an underwhelming kind of repetitive.

This game of course is not about visuals, but the thrill of the hunt! And by hunt, I mean mowing down countless animals for no good reason. To be honest, I had a clash of conscience for a moment when I realized this game is rated T for Teen, and is marketed as a hunting game. There is no cleaning or butchering, no accounting for the weight, no monetary system for the pelts… no collecting of the pelts! Furthermore, im not sure anymore what animals are endangered or protected, but im sure mowing down 20 zebras as a side quest is something worth frowning upon, at least in the absence of making use of the kill. Its Grand Theft Auto on the Savanna.

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But wait… here comes a loop hole for my conscience!

A beautiful young woman, also dressed in the official khaki cargo uniform of Africa, is introduced.  Her occupation is following around loose cannon, lead farmers like yourself and collecting the dead… I mean cleaning the kill for the desperate locals to get by with. Again, these poor locals, first their generic statue get broken and stuffed inside some angry predators, now they need Americans to come and force feed them 100 pounds of hyena meat. This woman forces her help on you by hijacking your radio frequency, and begging you to engage your bloodlust as you enter each new area (for the locals, ya know). ‘there are wild elephants roaming this area, the hides and meat would really help out the locals, could you hunt them to extinction please’. I’m paraphrasing, she may not have said that.

Hunting breaks down into two types: ‘Opportunity Hunts’ and Activated Hunts. Opportunity Hunts are labeled on your map with an icon showing the animal in the area. When you go to that area, random packs of the given animal will spawn as you walk around. ‘Opportunity Hunts’ are a part of the open world, and are used to fill your objective quota for the area. Even after the quota is met, the animals will continue to spawn so you can hone your hunting prowess. Activated hunts are not marked on the map and must be found. They are glowing circles which are entered on foot, and after a run through your equipment and power ups, they begin with a small cut scene of the hunting area.

Each hunt has a difficulty rating up to five stars, and also one of two types: Stealth or Combat. This is where the games repetition is at its worst. Each of the two types plays out the same each time. Stealth hunts involve you creeping from grass patch to grass and dive rolling behind rocks for cover, inches away from animals that can’t see you because of your ninja like ability to blend in to the thin grass. You move from one end of the hunt to the other without being seen, then you finally get a shot at your target… a target that looks exactly like every other animal you just crept past but aren’t allowed to shoot. Combat hunts are significantly more fun, and pretty much involve you versus a dozen predators in the ultimate display of khaki manliness (have I mentioned everyone is in cargo khaki? Just checking).

In game though, a simple dodging roll will easily thwart the clumsy and uncoordinated leopards, lions, and hyenas. The highlight of Combat missions came when I faced the Alpha leopard. In a multipart hunt, you face him and his comrades (because they’re Russian now) in open battle, unarmed predators who need justice… your justice. Once an adequate amount of leopard juice spills, you follow the Alpha into his cave (or his private home, where you don’t belong) where for the first time you require your automatic flashlight. The surprisingly tense music, coupled with your flashlight slowly failing made this a thrilling experience, which I wish the rest of the game could have lived up to.

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CAA also can be purchased with the Top Shot Elite peripheral, and while I did not play the game with the Top Shot, the aiming mechanic was far from the biggest problem this game had, and im not sure it would have made a huge difference for me. Having not used it however, I cant say how different the experience might be while using the Top Shot Elite.

In closing, I have to bring this full circle and perhaps contradict myself immensely. I really, really enjoy this game. I know, it doesn’t make sense, the shortcomings are glaring but there is something about dodge rolling a buffalo initiating the slow motion ‘adrenaline’ mechanic, and picking three or four of them off before time speeds back up. This game is more fun than it has any right to be and as I said in the opening, isn’t it nice to sit down and play a game for what it is? The answer is yes. Enjoy all your chili dogs.

 

 

AUDIO/VISUAL: 3/5 – The voice acting is entertaining, and the music is tense at the right moments, yet over all generic. Visually, the landscapes are appealing, and the motion comic story scenes are a plus.

 

GAMEPLAY: 4/5 – With or without a hunting background to your credit, this game is still just an entertaining shooter. For whatever reason it pulled me in and I’m glad I didn’t miss this game.

 

INNOVATION: 3/5 – Does it reinvent 3rd person shooters? No. But in the niche market of hunting titles, this one steps up.

 

VALUE: 2.5/5 – This game is good but I’m not sure it has replay value since its completely linear. You may find yourself in a field mowing down hyenas long after the accomplishment is complete, however that doesn’t save this title from one

TheGamersHub Score
Reviewer: Ric King
3.0
10
+ Pros
- Cons
Cabela's series is the leading edge of hunting games, and this title fills that niche nicely. Don't pass up an opportunity to try this one, it's more fun than you think but I'd advise borrowing not buying.

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