'Cabela’s Trophy Bucks'

The very idea of a hunting video game seems doomed from conception. The rub for games that re-create activities the average American could do lies between being true to the experience and making the game fun. Trophy Bucks achieves neither.

Place the blame on the solitary game mode for the lack of enjoyment. “Career hunt” repeatedly drops players somewhere in North America with a small arsenal and fills the valley, desert, or mountain with game. Hunting – or what I know of hunting, anyway – entails a fair amount of downtime punctuated by hushed speech and finally a rush of excitement. Kinda like golf with guns. Trophy Bucks’ pickin’s are easy: Shoot from a distance with your scope, or knock some antlers together and wait for them to come running to the gun barrel. There’s little else to it. If hunting were this easy, I could single-handedly feed a Third World country.

There are limits, though. For example, a rifle can’t be fired in the air according to regulations; the game recommends a shotgun for that. Morbid curiosity led to the additional discovery that shooting your duck-scattering canine companion is likewise forbidden. Good thing, too. After taking out a charging sika deer at point-blank range only to have its once-bounding gait become a slack-limbed somersault ending at my feet, the last thing I needed was to see Bowser (my name, not the game’s) go to the big duck blind in the sky.

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cabela's trophy bucks

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