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Hunter: The Reckoning - Wayward on PS2
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Reviewed By LessonNo5

With almost every successful pen and paper RPG comes a lame video game version that basically takes the fun of the table top game and sits on it until it cries. You could probably count the number of good transfers on one hand. A lot of people's first choice for a good example is Hunter: The Reckoning, a GameCube and Xbox release that was the basis for Wayward. I couldn't argue that the original wasn't a fantastic game, and this sequel does not leave room for want.

If you haven't played Hunter: The Reckoning or the pen and paper version, then you might be a little lost at times if you play Wayward right out of the box, so here's a little background. The first game showed us that an execution at the Ashcroft prison has led to a rift that has allowed demonic souls to leap forward and possess corpses. Four heroes, with the ability to stop the evil seal the prison, saving the nearby town... All is well until a year later when a rave is held at the prison. All Hell literally breaks loose and the demons have at the town. After the smoke has cleared from that battle, our heroes are dropped back into Ashcroft to discover what happened to two Hunters that were holed up in a hotel room. Thus, "Wayward" Hunters.

Hunters, by the way, are a special breed of person able to see the demons and are willing to risk their lives to contain the evil. The four Hunters have different "Creeds" or abilities. There's the Avenger, the muscle of the group with axe in hand. The Martyr is the speed, and comes equipped with dual pistols as her default weapon. There's the Defender, a cop that serves as the most well rounded of the group. Finally the priest serves as the Judge, and his ability is the special use of "Edge" attacks. This game also introduces a new Creed: Wayward. After you discover the whereabouts of the missing Hunters, one of them will become playable. This new Creed is like the Defender on steroids with a sweet default melee weapon in a giant crowbar. "Edge" is the word for spells, by the way. As you increase in level you earn more and better Edges, which fulfill a variety of capacities like extra attack strength while active.

Sounds complicated, doesn't it? Well it's not. As a matter of fact this game and the one before it are surprisingly familiar to anyone that's played Gauntlet or Smash TV. It's got a nice, simple formula and some genuinely creepy scenes. Like I said above, this is one of the rare games based on a pen and paper game that's actually worth a damn. I should note, however, that this is not because of its trueness to the original game. As a matter of fact if you go into this expecting it to be just like a tabletop game, you're mistaken. I say this is a good version because in and of itself, it's a fantastic game. It's all action from start to finish, with varied tasks, multiple weapon options, and a slew of Easter eggs to keep you playing for weeks. Basically, this game is to Dawn of the Dead fans what Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick is to Evil Dead fans.

So that's the good news. Here's the bad: This game has some problems. Mostly with that goddamn camera that plagues every 3D shooter. You can't see the targets half the time, which is a real problem when you're surrounded. If you've played the first game on either Xbox of GameCube, then there is one bonus. The control systems been tweaked to make it MUCH easier to move around. Another piece of bad news is the length and challenge the game possesses. Really, the game is short and what little bit you do play is pretty easy. Finally, the biggest bad news I can give goes back to those of you that have played the Xbox/GC version of the first game. The bad news is with the number of players. The whole fun of the series is that you can get a bunch of people together on the screen to down some Rots. But this is the PS2, and it only has 2 ports out of the box, so you're limited. Oh, well...

The graphics in this sequel are very decent. They're not quite as good as the first game, but it's not so horrible it detracts from the overall enjoyment of the game. The sound is just as good, but to be honest we've already seen sound like this in so many recent releases that it's lost its luster and become second nature. But, again, none of this makes the game any less great. I'd still recommend this to action gamers, or veterans of the series and tabletop games. The reason being that it is such a simple formula it's a no-brainer. If you're on the fence about this game, just take this survey:

1.) Do you like to mow down hordes of zombies with a variety of weapons? Yes / No

If you answered "Yes" to this question, you can't go wrong.


(Out of 5)

There's a lot of extra missions and features to unlock in this game. Keep your eyes open and don't be afraid to explore.
The goddamn werewolf. Trust me, it's a real pleasure to finally nuke that furry bastard.

Playstation 2 - 09/09/03
April 13 2004
Walkthroughs/Maps at
Vivendi Universal
High Voltage Software
White Wolf Game Studio

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Q1 2005 - PC/XB/PS2