Ever since I was a kid I have been a fan of "hunting" games on PCs. There was a long period where I didn't play any, but that changed when I got into theHunter:Call of the Wild. With a renewed interest in the genre I grabbed Way of the Hunter on Steam and added to my backlog. Now I've gotten around to giving it a whirl!
As most of the game reviews on Steam note it is impossible to evaluate Way of the Hunter (WotH) without making comparisons to theHunter. The games are similar, if not almost exactly the same, at least at the surface. WotH differs in some key areas and I've found myself enjoying it more.
The first aspect of WotH that I found more enjoyable than theHunter is the story and missions. I never spent much time on them in theHunter but in WotH I've found myself following along the main story line. It is not anything to write home about, but it has a much better storytelling mechanism with it's comicbook-like cutscenes.
Another aspect of WotH that helps with the story line is that travel feels much faster. Whether walking or taking a vehicle I feel like I get from A to B much faster than I did in theHunter. There are still moments where you slow down to hunt, but between then it feels much faster. WotH also gives you a vehicle from the start which is a welcome sigh!
WotH also has a much larger render distance than theHunter. In WotH you can spot animals and landmarks for what feels like thousands of yards/meters where as in theHunter it cuts off abruptly at 430. Combined with faster travel I spend a lot less time "roaming" in WotH than I did in theHunter. In WotH I can find targets at a distance and get there quickly.
The inventory management in WotH is more straightforward and simplified. While theHunter offers a ton of variety as far as load outs go the interface to manage all of it is a mess (better than it was in the past with recent patches but still a long ways off from what I expect in games made in the last decade).
Speaking of variety that is one area that WotH lags behind theHunter. theHunter has more reserves (aka maps) than I can remember and the variety of target species to hunt to go with them. theHunter also has more weapons and hunting options such as bow that WotH does not have. You can spend a lot of time with theHunter before you have to repeat content (if you pay up for the add on packs that is).
As far as how the games play they are very similar. Find animals, stalk, shoot, follow the blood trail, and harvest the animal. Starting out both games felt the same, but the more I played (and paid for add ons) the theHunter became "arcade-like" as far as hunting went. WotH has yet to get that "arcade" feel. Hunts in WotH feel purposeful and engaging even if it sometimes takes a bit of time to track down an animal that you shot. I shoot and kill less in WotH than I do in theHunter but somehow it feels better in WotH and unlike theHunter I never struggle to find animals in WotH.
I am still early in WotH and I am enjoying it. If asked I would recommend WotH over theHunter, but we'll have to see if that new-game sheen wears off and where the team behind WotH takes it.