Hunting is a cherished tradition, a bond with nature, and for many, an adrenaline-pumping adventure. While the real outdoors offers an irreplaceable thrill, hunting video games have bridged the gap between the wild and our living rooms. Here's our ranking of the best hunting games of all time, complete with their histories and available consoles:
1. Cabela's Big Game Hunter Series
Available on: PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and mobile devices.
Brief History: Launched in the late '90s, the Cabela's series has become synonymous with hunting games. Over the years, it has expanded its horizons, introducing players to hunting adventures worldwide.
Why it's great: The Cabela's series offers a blend of realism and adventure. With its diverse terrains, range of weapons, and various game species, it provides a holistic hunting simulation, making players feel like they're in the great outdoors.
2. The Hunter: Call of the Wild
Available on: PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.
Brief History: Developed by Expansive Worlds and published by Avalanche Studios, this game was released in 2017 as a successor to "theHunter" (2009). It brought significant improvements in graphics and gameplay.
Why it's great: The Hunter: Call of the Wild stands out for its breathtaking open-world environment. The dynamic weather, detailed animal AI, and immersive soundscapes make it one of the most realistic hunting simulations to date.
3. Duck Hunt
Available on: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).
Brief History: Released in 1984, Duck Hunt was one of the first light gun shooting games. It became iconic with its dog mascot, which would laugh at players if they missed their shots.
Why it's great: Duck Hunt is a testament to timeless gameplay. Its simplicity, combined with the challenge of aiming with the NES Zapper, has made it a beloved classic that resonates with both old and new gamers.
4. Deer Hunter Series
Available on: PC, mobile devices, and some older consoles.
Brief History: The series began in 1997 and quickly gained popularity. Over the years, it has seen numerous sequels and spin-offs, adapting to the changing gaming landscape.
Why it's great: Deer Hunter offers a mix of strategy and action. With its mission-based gameplay, players must strategize their hunts, choose the right gear, and adapt to various environments, making every hunt a unique challenge.
5. Hunting Simulator 2
Available on: PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.
Brief History: Released in 2020 as a sequel to the original Hunting Simulator (2017), this game expanded on its predecessor's foundations with more animals, gear, and hunting reserves.
Why it's great: Beyond the hunt, this game shines in its attention to detail. The inclusion of a hunting dog adds depth to the gameplay, and the vast landscapes, from Colorado forests to European plains, offer varied hunting experiences.
6. Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter
Available on: PC, PlayStation, and mobile devices.
Brief History: Originating from the late '90s Carnivores series, this game was revamped and reintroduced to modern platforms, bringing prehistoric hunting to a new generation.
Why it's great: It's not every day you get to hunt a dinosaur! This game offers a unique twist, challenging players to track and hunt creatures from the distant past in an immersive prehistoric world.
7. Ultimate Duck Hunting
Available on: PC and Wii.
Brief History: Released in 2007, this game aimed to provide a comprehensive waterfowl hunting experience, from setting up decoys to training retrievers.
Why it's great: Ultimate Duck Hunting captures the essence of waterfowl hunting. The game's emphasis on realism, from dog training to decoy placement, offers a genuine feel of a duck hunting expedition.
From retro classics to modern simulations, hunting games have evolved, offering diverse experiences to players. Whether you're reminiscing about past hunts or gearing up for the next season, these games provide a taste of the hunt year-round. So, power up your console and embark on a virtual hunting adventure!