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June 6, 2014

Bass Pro Shops' The Hunt (Part 1)

(Note: Any text between asterisks indicate actions from me or other characters; When I am speaking, my text is not preceded by my name, but it's the case for the other characters, which are, well... not me.)

*theme tune begins, revealing the title: Virtue/al Hunting!*

Now welcome your hosts, Douglas aaaaaaaaaand... Robert!

*Douglas and Robert enter.*

Douglas: Thank you, thank you! Welcome again to Virtue/al Hunting, where we play the noble virtuous sport of hunting, based on hunting video games!

Robert: Exactly! Today, we have a special guest who will play along for the show. His name is Nicolas, he's a first-time Virtue/al Hunter, and he also happens to be the creator of the video game review blog Planned All Along! We have him on camera right now. How are you doing, Nicolas!

Um... I'm doing fine, thanks. Just wanna say it now: It's an honor to be a part of this show, Virtue/al Hunting! You're sure it wasn't just “Virtual Hunting”? Without the dash? It just looks weird.

Douglas: Of course not! We want to make sure all our viewers know that the sport of hunting is a virtuous one that can also be... virtual!

Still sounds like a lame title found at the last minute by a network exec desperate of getting a raise.

Robert: Of course not! I'm sure Douglas' family is very happy that he got said raise. Now, tell us why you're playing with us today.

Okay. Um... So, basically, I bought this game once, it was called Bass Pro Shops' The Hunt, because it seemed fun and I had never tried hunting games on the Wii before. I popped the disc in the Wii console, I grabbed my Wii remote and the Nunchuk, and I played for a long time on it. I just feel like I must talk about it, as very few people have covered the game. And if I understand well, I picked this stupid plot-like review style just so I could fake being part of the game and part of an actual show. Is that right so far?

Robert: Sure is! By the way, be careful with that fourth wall, don't break it. We got only one. Are you ready to start?

Yeah, I guess. Just let me make the usual starting stuff. I name my save file, then I pick a “character” among the ones presented to me, and then I'm ready to go.

Douglas: But you know that this won't serve much of a purpose, since YOU are going to be hunting the animals, for real! Yes, this is Bass Pro Shops' The Hunt, LIVE!

...Really? Guess that explains why I spent the day with an instructor that explained to me how to shoot with a gun, how to drive an ATV, and how to use numerous hunting tools...

Douglas: You can explain to us how the game will work, since you know about it. Can you? If you can't, we can; we're here for that.

Oh, no worries, I can. So, basically, this game brings us in ten famous national parks around North America (though most of them are located in the United States). Each of those parks is the home to many species of wild animals, ranging from rabbits to deer to alligators to moose to bears. In every park, your first mission is to kill one of the tournament animal in that park. I should explain that within the game, you're normally playing against nine computer-generated opponents that you'll never actually see. When you shoot the required animal, there are a few rules:
-It must have a tag;
-You cannot shoot females;
-Only that species will give a score for you; no trying to disguise another species into the required one.
If you make two mistakes, you are fined and must restart a day over. Which means everyone else will have gotten ahead of you. This won't bring back the animals you've wrongly killed or shot, but that's video game logic anyway. If the game was realistic, the corpses would stay around and attract carnivorous wild animals.
The next important thing to know is that you get a score depending on the weight and the size of the antlers on the animal you've taken down. They measure the size, and your score is calculated as the length between the tips of the antlers on both sides of the catch's head. In other words, you could shoot just any male deer that comes by, but it's more rewarding – and you have more chances of winning in the end – if you wait for a male of the species with a large set of antlers.
Also, in order to unlock the next park, you need to collect an amount of Reputation Points. To do so, you need to shoot the required animal, yes – but you also have to participate in minigames around the parks, speak to people, and shoot other animals around, all while respecting the rules said earlier. Is that right?

Robert: You got all that right! You are currently standing at the entrance of our headquarters, in the State of Washington. How does it feel to be in the wild green wonder?

Sure feels different from sitting in front of my computer screen writing my reviews. So, do I start now or are there more things to explain?

Douglas: More things to explain. To this, we're going over to Bradley, who's presently in the Trophy Room of the Virtue/al Hunting Headquarters! You hear us, Brad?

Bradley: Damn right! ...Er, I mean, yes, yes I hear you. In order to replicate the game's atmosphere, we've recreated the Trophy Room from Bass Pro Shops' The Hunt. There's about thirty stands scattered around the room, each one of them will be used for a species of animal killed by Nicolas during his playthrough. We'll always keep the largest one he has killed of that species, so it's alright if he kills more than one; we're always gonna keep his biggest catch. And yes, we're practicing taxidermy on the catches, so that they'll never move again.

*Bradley moves to a room adjacent to the Trophy Room.*

Bradley: And here is... everything else! This is the Bass Pro Shops Store, in which our hunter will be able to buy numerous tools for his weapons. He can also buy all sorts of hunting weapons, from shotguns to sidearms, even bows! As for tools to help him during his quest, we've got scents that he can spread on himself to eliminate his real scent, doe estrus to attract males, and finally we have whistles to call the animals that he needs to shoot!

*Bradley moves to a wall at the end of the store.*

Bradley: And this is the King of Bucks Wall! In every one of the ten parks visited by the hunter Nicolas during this game, he has a chance to meet the King of Bucks, a one-of-a-kind animal, the one in that park with the largest antlers! If he does shoot such a magnificent beast, the antlers would be kept for this wall! Only the best skilled hunters would have the talent and patience to hunt down these wonderful animals. Will Nicolas do it? We'll see... Now!

Douglas: Hey! That's my line!

So, can I start now?

Robert: Sure. All you have to do is get aboard your ATV and go for a ride through the forest in this beautiful park. All the animals will run away from you, though, so you should just find a spot, get off the ATV, and walk slowly to find some prey. Oh, and remember: For the park in Washington, you don't have to kill one animal in particular, you just have to collect a number of Reputation Points!

*I go on the ATV through the forest until I reach an open space with a construction.* What do I do here?

Robert: This is where the game really begins! Park your ATV near the construction over there. Then, go at the center of the open space and release the doe estrus scent. After that, climb into the blind over there and wait.

Oh, I think I get it. In the wild, a big deal is made about rut and the menstrual cycles of the females. So basically, this scent here called the Doe Estrus is supposed to mimic the scent of a female deer in heat. This is supposed to attract males, which means I can then shoot them when they come close to investigate the scent. I hide in these blinds because the incoming animals are less likely to see me shooting them. And last but not least, I can also hide my own scent with the Scent Eliminator.

Douglas: You got bottomless versions of the scents for this whole game. This is an amazing product for Bass Pro Shops' The Hunt's players: They never have to buy refills!

*I do as I just described. Hidden inside the blind, I wait till I see a Continental Blacktail deer approaching. I look at the size of its antlers. However, I don't aim well and shoot right beside the animal, which runs away* Great! Now, what do I do? Because of the sound my firearm made, all nearby animals have run away!

Douglas: Go and explore around the park, then! Go and find another place from which you can shoot some game!

Robert: Remember that you're going to get more points for your game if you kill the animal cleanly: In other words, aim for the heart, the lungs or the head and your prey will be killed in a single shot.

Yeah yeah, I know all that! Gosh, do you think I'm stupid?

Robert: Of course not, of course not! All I meant to say is that if you aim at other parts of the animal's anatomy, if it's a large animal, it will require more bullets before it's finally down.

Douglas: It's normal for learners to get help on their first kills. You don't send a pee-wee hockey player to the NHL immediately!

Okay, fine! If I'm still a “learner”, tell me what else there is to know!

Some zones of every park are very pretty, by the way.
Robert: In Bass Pro Shops' The Hunt, there are two neat little features: Stealth Mode, and Tracking. When you go in Stealth Mode, the screen turns to black and white, and your walking pace will be slower. In that mode, you're not making any noise while walking, so you can approach deer and other animals without them hearing you. It also helps to line up the perfect shot! In that mode, the animals will appear in color in these black and white environments, which means you can spot them more easily. Just look for color in a gray world! The second feature is Tracking. Basically, vertical lines of light will indicate where you can find animal tracks on the ground; by going to these track, you'll find out where an animal went to. You can then chase that animal until you find it and take it down!

Ostie de câlisse de crisse de tabarnak!

Douglas: I've just been informed that these are curse words from the province of Quebec, in Canada. What seems to be the problem, Nicolas?

Your co-host distracted me while I was getting closer to a Continental Blacktail deer! Dammit, I missed it and it ran away! It had beautiful large antlers, too! Tabarnak!

Douglas: Sorry for that. Have you still heard what Robert was saying?

Yeah, yeah, something about stealth mode that helps you follow black and white animals through their slow walking tracks on the ground! I understood perfectly.

Robert: That's not actually-

Go on to the next lesson already!

Douglas: You seemed to already know how to use the blinds and the doe estrus, so we figured you were able to do the rest on your own. Now that you've finished the tutorial, it's time for you to finally go and explore, for real! All you need to do for this park is collect 1,000 Reputation Points.

So, anyway, I try the doe-estrus-and-blind technique again and I FINALLY manage to shoot a Continental Blacktail deer. And its antlers are of a decent size. I've reached the required number of Reputation Points, which means I move on to the next park, located in...

*Jump-cut to the next location, which looks like a bayou*

Douglas: We meet with Nicolas again on the second day of this great game, down in Georgia, where the Devil goes down!

Urk! No wonder the Devil likes this place, I feel like inside an oven. Is this what Georgia really feels like?

Robert: During summer, yes. Now, the real game starts. You have to shoot a Whitetail deer. And your score will be based on the weight of the deer and the size of its antlers. Also, in the normal game, you're playing against nine computer-generated hunters. For Virtue/al Hunting, you're alone, but you're still facing the dangers of the bayou! There's crocodiles in the shallow water, and they can attack you at any moment!

They're alligators, not crocodiles.

Robert: Oh, yes, um... Anyway, beware the alligators. You can also chase wild geese here. So bring one back, we'll be giving thanks to you!

I wonder if there really are alligators in the bayou. Gonna make sure of it right now. Just give me time to walk in the water-HOLYCHRISTOHMYGODWHATTHEF-INGFLYINGHELLISTHAT?

Douglas: Alligators. We told you about them.

All things considered, I prefer the cheaply-rendered
alligators of the game to those real, scary ones.

Robert: *offended* Well, you got a gun, use it to get out of this trouble!

Oh, right! *I shoot the alligator a few times and it goes down* Phew, I came close to dying. What the Hell is wrong with you and your TV show, morons?

Douglas: That's the dangers of hunting around. You might run into the local fauna. You lived a whole life with random encounters in RPGs and Pokémon games, you should have guessed it would happen in real hunting too!

Yeah, maybe you're right. I'll just go hunt for some geese and then find and take down a Whitetail... and then I'll finally leave this horribly hot place. Seriously, the skies are freaking orange here.
Half an hour later, I finally got my catch. Decent weight and antler size, nothing special (I wouldn't be in first place in the regular game, that I'm sure of). I can move on to the next park, located in the state of Wyoming.

Robert: That will be next time. The show is over for this Friday, so goodbye audience, tune in this Monday...


Douglas: -the “Bass Pro Shops' The Hunt” edition. Okay, bye!

...I don't even get to say a wor-*end credits begin*