Hunter: The Reckoning – Wayward brings the action RPG to a setting other that they typical fantasy setting. Filled with zombies and other animated undead based on the White Wolf pen and paper RPG, it’s a refreshing change from the typical skeletons and wizards. A setting can make a game stand apart, but it doesn’t necessarily make it a good game. Will this make a memorable game experience?

The graphics are very well done for the most part. Throughout the game, the characters will go through the city, a church, a graveyard, a prison, and a subway, among other places. Each of these places have their own unique feel. However, most of the game is dark, and there seems to be more fog, although there really isn’t much problem with draw-in. While the game is supposed to have a dark setting, sometimes the game feels too dark, even with the gamma correction.

However, the characters are well animated, and blowing up a zombie and having only the legs come at you is very satisfying. Tattoos on the Avenger show up nicely, as well as the other details of the other characters. Melee weapons are swung and each character has their own mannerisms. When edges (the magic powers of the game) are used, the particle effects shine in an impressive display of light.

The sounds of the game are done well. The clank of a melee weapon hitting a zombie is different from hitting a stone statue. The shotgun sounds different from a machine gun or pistol. There are ambient sounds throughout the game that add to the spookiness. Why then would the sound be marked so low? Well, the music is great….when it’s there. The driving rock beat gives you the feeling that you are ready to slaughter some zombies, but it only is there occasionally. The music should be there more often in my opinion. Getting the adrenaline pumping would help to not make this game feel so monotonous. The game is fairly silent, which is such a shame.

The game is fairly easy to control. The left analog stick controls movement while the right analog stick controls your aim. The face buttons switch your weapons and edges and select them, while the R buttons are used for firing/swinging.

Although the game is fairly simple to control, I felt sometimes like you needed to constantly hit the R buttons against the characters. Also, I felt that aiming sometimes was off, but you will get much better aiming with certain characters. Hitting the R1 button three times will start a combo with your melee weapon. It just feels like you will be constantly doing the combo to hit the characters. Also, swinging your melee weapon will take some getting used to. Sometimes it seems difficult to get it swung in the right direction.

Those blessed, or cursed depending on perspective, with the gift of seeing the evil that lurks in the city of Ashcroft and fight the evil minions are called Hunters. At the beginning of the game, four of these Hunters are available to be chosen, each with a different creed, or class. Eventually another character will be made available. Two difficulty levels are available at first, with a Nightmare difficulty available after completing the game.

Each character has its own strengths and weaknesses. The Avenger is strong, while the Martyr is fast. The Judge and the Defender do feel more balanced. The Avenger’s shotgun feels for my tastes. While the Avenger’s accuracy isn’t that great, it still should be more powerful.

A major improvement from the original Hunter: The Reckoning game is the “Hunter’s Lair.” Emails are checked here between missions, as well as unlocked models and videos. Missions are also selected from here. Although certain missions must be completed first before other missions are available, it does give the player some flexibility.

Characters gain experience as they play through the game. The characters that don’t go through a mission will still get experience points, but those that play will have more and increase their statistics to gain more edges. Characters can be selected at the Hunter’s Lair, so one character can be used throughout the entire game or they can be switched for the mission.

The missions are varied, but most of them come down to destroying almost all the bad guys while hunting for some items, destroying the boss, or escorting or protecting someone for a certain period. Also, once an area has been cleared, certain missions will require revisiting. It feels tacked on and a way to make the game longer.

The camera can be controlled by the digital pad during the single play game, but the camera never seems to zoom out far enough most of the time. The camera can be even worse during two-player games. Some missions require the streets to be searched, but the camera never zooms out far enough so that two players can walk along opposite sides of the road.

Having multiple characters helps drive the replay value up. However, since any character can be used for any mission, it doesn’t make sense to go through the game again unless the player wants to try a higher difficulty level. The advantage of choosing the character at each stage is a disadvantage to the replay value. However, the game does have a very good “pick up and play” value to it for when friends come over. Unfortunately, it would have been nice to have four player support instead of two.

The game does have several unlockables, but most should be unlocked through one play through of the game.