Hunter: The Reckoning Review

Hunter: The Reckoning is set in the universe of White Wolf's World of Darkness role-playing game.  In World of Darkness, creatures of the night, zombies, vampires, and the like, live among us and sometimes take form to wreck havoc with the living.  Some are blessed with the ability to see these creatures and the power to send them back to their world.  These people are the Hunters.

Hunter: The Reckoning's story opens in Ashcroft prison, a place used by the dark creatures for feeding.  During an execution, the souls of the dead prisoners revolt, and all hell literally breaks loose.  Four people present at the execution gain the ability to see and fight the undead, becoming the four playable Hunters in the game.  As a hunter it is up to you to stop all of the evil creatures and put an end to their incursion into our world.

The four Hunters each come with a special melee and ranged weapon, and belong to one of four classes, or creeds as the game refers to them.  The Avenger is like an RPG fighter, slower than the other creeds but the strongest of the bunch.  The Martyr is physically weak, but very fast.  The Judge has the strongest spell power, or conviction.  Finally, the Defender is the most accurate with ranged weapons.  Each creed also comes with a separate set of three special spells, or edges.  The edges fit the characters' creeds; the Avenger's edges cause increased damage to enemies, the Martyr's do damage at a cost of health, etc.  As you kill enemies you gain experience, so each character will improve as the game progresses.  If you feel that you made the wrong choice you won't have to start the game over; each time you load a game you can specify which character that you want to play.  Switching between the characters adds some variety to the game, but it comes at the expense of sharing the experience gained between several characters instead of one.

The game begins with a simple subway level that serves as a tutorial to the game and its controls.  Once you leave the subway station, though, things get hectic and fast.  Hunter: The Reckoning is very heavy on hack and slash gameplay, and throws hordes of monsters at you at a time.  The zombies crawl out of the ground, graves, sewer pipes, just about everywhere, and they keep on coming.  You'll eventually clear them out of an area, but it can sometimes take a while and you're not given any feedback as to how close you are to eliminating them all.  The game has 20 different types of monsters, but the most common by far are the zombies.  There are even zombies armed with pistols, machine gun, and a flamethrower zombie.  I'm not sure why zombies need flamethrowers, but apparently they do. 

Control takes a little getting used to.  For example one button switches between your default weapons, but another is used to select from the weapons you've picked up along the way.  Also, the control stick is used for movement, but the C-stick is used for your firing direction.  You'll get used to it before too long, and the two stick system actually works well when you are being chased down by a mob of zombies.  In addition to your melee weapon, you get a slow firing projectile weapon with infinite ammo.  You can also pick up a variety of other, more powerful weapons along the way such as shotguns, machine guns, and chainsaws, but they all have limited ammunition.