The first gameplay video of Crytek's Hunt: Showdown has arrived and makes the monster-hunting multiplayer FPS look a lot more interesting than expected. I was disappointed when Crytek revealed that they'd turned the cooperative Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age into the competitive Hunt: Showdown [official site] and teased the change with a video of some cowboys shooting some other cowboys. Turns out, it's not nearly as rubbo as suggested. Showdown will see five two-person teams roaming around big monster-filled levels, trying to find and kill a boss monster with a bounty on its head - while making sure they live to claim it. Watch:
That's the pre-alpha preview Crytek showed to tired journos during E3.
For those who can't or won't watch right now, I'll recap. This ten-minute pre-alpha video is the edited highlights of one round, where players are hunting a monster in a pleasingly dark and ugly swamp. The swamp is filled with loads of monsters -- zombies, giant leeches, and whatnot -- which might be in the way but aren't super-aggressive and players can sneak past them. It seems rounds come in several phases. First, players are creeping around to key points which have portals offering glimpses of what the bounty target is and where it might be. After peering into three hellholes, the squad in this video realise that a giant spider is lurking in the barn. (Reading around, it seems players can figure out a monster's location just by being attentive but after three portals the game straight-up tells you.) While creeping, looting, and killing monsters with guns and gadgets, this squad try to entirely avoid other players.
When they do reach the barn, they find OH GOD the spider is hideous. It is truly awful. It darts with great speed. It walks across ceilings. It hisses. It skitters away and hides. It is everything you wish spiders weren't. But they kill it, and they set about 'Banishing' it. Starting the ritual (pressing F) sets off a beacon making clear to all other players where they are. And so they come, trying to off our heroes and (I assume?) grab the spiderguts or whatever it is they need to deliver. Gunning down other players, they peg it to an evacuation point.
Going on my understanding of what I see, it seems pretty interesting. Creeping around a swamp and picking the right times to engage monsters and other players sounds a right lark. I'd trace a line from it back to DayZ but Showdown is sufficiently removed and meshed with other things to look, yeah, an interesting objective-driven competitive FPS. I'm cautiously hopeful.
No firm word yet on when Hunt will launch.