Remington: Great American Bird Hunt Review

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Remington: Great American Bird Hunt Publisher: Mastiff
Developer: KouYouSha

Platform: Wii
Reviewed on Wii

"Remington: Great American Bird Huntis a fast-paced bird hunting game for one to four players featuring Remington shotguns. The object of the game is simple: get the highest score by hitting lots of birds and bonus items. Main targets are ducks, geese, wild turkeys, grouse and pheasant."

Kyle Ackerman

Remington: Great American Bird Hunt aptly captures the sense of hunting, if hunting means sitting languidly on the couch with a beer in one hand and the Wii remote limply hanging off the edge of the couch in the other to shoot down geese that have flown just this side of the horizon. Of course, if hunting involves shotguns with recoil, fresh air and a lot of patience, Remington: GABH isn't much like hunting at all. Honestly, Remington: GABH just illustrates that light-gun style hunting games haven't changed much in 25 years, since the play is far too similar to games going as far back as Duck Hunt on the NES.

Good Aim for a High Price

This isn't a hunting simulation where you wait for hours, then bag a single bird. It's more of an arcade-style shooter where birds pop up constantly, and you can bag a dozen ducks in the space of a few seconds. The game is set up as a series of tournaments, in each of which you fire at moving birds on a static background. Some tournaments are limited by time, other by the number of missed shots (or both). You get high scores and medals for each tournament by hitting a chain of game birds without missing, increasing the score multiplier.

To the game's credit, the action is good. The shooting is accurate (meaning I accurately hit where I point the Wii remote), targets are plentiful, the game functions smoothly and it didn't crash during my play sessions. The fundamental problem with Remington: GABH is the price. This game simply isn't worth $30. As a downloadable WiiWare or as an impulse purchase near the cash register in a gun shop, Remington: GABH might justly command a $10 price tag.

Don't Shoot the Hens!

As a gamer, Remington: GABH is worth a few minutes of fun. There are 12 tournaments, each consisting of five rounds. Sadly, most of the levels are extremely similar, and very easy. I never had any trouble hitting game birds at even the furthest distances, so the game gets hard by introducing birds you are penalized for shooting that (when they are specks on the horizon) are hard to distinguish from legal birds like ducks. Learning to play only meant learning not to shoot hens and illegal birds, and getting used to distinguishing legal from illegal birds. I'm not particularly adept at light-gun-style shooters, but I got a gold medal in every round of the first half of the tournaments on the first try. Five gold medals in certain tournaments translate to better guns, making things even easier. Sadly, you have to work through the tournaments one by one, so you can't just jump ahead to ones that might pose a challenge.

There are a few minor elements of strategy in Remington: GABH. You can activate "hunter vision" that charges when you kill several birds in a row without missing. Hunter vision can help distinguish game birds from illegal birds and slows things slightly. Other birds will drop power-ups like ammunition, bird calls or better shotguns. There is a tiny amount of strategy required to reload at a time when you won't miss game to preserve power-ups, but Remington: GABH is almost solely about pointing and shooting.

Better Than Boots and a Dog?

Gamers won't find this game particularly taxing, so what about hunters? The only thing that even vaguely approximates hunting skill is being able to distinguish a red-tailed hawk from a goose. Otherwise, Remington: GABH is set to an appropriately casual difficulty that shouldn't frustrate anyone. But a hunter would probably rather blow the $30 on actual ammunition and practice with a real Remington, because the Wii Remote is never going to feel like a shotgun, even when inserted into a plastic frame like the Wii Zapper. I liked that I sometimes got the help of a poorly animated black Labrador retriever, but he's not a companion – he just flushes out bonus game.

The game can work briefly as a party game, but the novelty wears off quickly. Up to four players can compete to shoot the same targets, but Remington: GABH is just too simple to hold anyone's attention for long. Fundamentally, Remington: GABH isn't a bad game, it just has the longevity and production values of a vastly cheaper (and older) game. If you are in the mood for some target shooting, and see this one on a shelf for $10 or less, then you should consider Remington: GABH.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on December 1, 2009 9:29 PM.

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