I never really enjoyed hunting let alone the arcade games with that single-shot rifle peripheral. I missed those damn woodland creatures way too much for my competitive ego. My playstyle was much more suited to fast-paced, hair-trigger shooting games where reflexes and quick movements ruled the day. Big Buck Hunter Arcade though has altered my perception ever so slightly. Turns out the issue may have been lugging a lifelike replica of a rifle in public. The MARS System and its LIGHTCONs bring a completely different approach to the hunting game all ’90s and 2000’s arcade rats know. This game still requires patience and aiming, don’t get me wrong, but doing so from the comfort of your own home changes things for the better. Especially when Big Buck Hunter Arcade is only one of three launch titles for the MARS System.
What’s arguably the best hunting arcade game brand is very straightforward in terms of single-player content. You can go on hunting adventures to fell the likes of deer, moose, and elk. Each game has three different areas with fifteen levels to complete. So you’ll be hunting in a handful of distinct settings like snowy forests, Autumn valleys, rocky slopes, and more. Some will even let you hunt dangerous predators like bears and lions. Additionally, foxes, birds, raccoons, squirrels, bats, and other critters can be shot for bonus points throughout the journey. All of which can be completed in one go and in order, or you can choose each region as a standalone outing.
The setup and game mechanics remain unchanged for anyone who’s even looked at Big Buck Hunter Arcade elsewhere. You take up a stationary position in a pre-determined spot with wildlife around. Once the countdown to begin reaches zero it will be up to you to take down your prey. Do only shoot the designated targets as hitting does or cows will end the given round and any further point totals you could have racked up. This is harder than it sounds since the camera pans occasionally, you only have limited time to conquer your pray, and plenty of animals will get in the way of your light of sight. This is where the patience comes into play as the three quarries per round will run behind their brethren or stop short and turn back. One wrong move may very well end the current mission. Overall, how well you do is decided on your point totals. The more accurate you are, the further away you bring down your targets, and where you shoot them will all play a role.
Now to talk about actually bringing down these beasts with the MARS LIGHTCON controllers. Aiming your gun peripheral at the TV works for the most part, whether using the small iron sights or clicking the settings to bring up a reticle on-screen. Pulling back on the LIGHTCON barrel will reload your digital rifle – and do remember it is a single shot. So after every trigger pull, you will have to reload. Funnily enough, pushing the round button on the back of the peripheral will also reload. Unfortunately, this style really affected my accuracy. It should be said though that the DualShock 4 can be used in place of the MARS System guns. However, seeing as how this review pertains to the launch bundles of the MARS System, I did not attempt this method of playstyle.
Big Buck Hunter Arcade meets Voyage of the Dead’s and Qubit’s Quest’s tracking somewhere in the middle. It mostly works well and is accurate. There were infrequent bouts of laggy tracking and framerate, though, but the game’s auto-aim settings and options compensate for those problems well, but it still sucks when they crop up for a game that emphasizes accuracy. You’ll notice through these stutters that the graphics could be much better, too. They look like they’re from a late PS2 release. I didn’t find this game-breaking, as the allure of improving my skills and getting higher and higher scores kept me going, even with the single-player content lasting 45 minutes for one playthrough.
This MARS System launch title has some extra modes, too. There’s a handful of bonus stages that give you an allotted amount of time to shoot as many objects as you can: moonshine jugs, electric eels, ducks, etc. Then you can invite a friend to test their hunting skills against yours. You both can take turns unloading hot lead or go head-to-head at the same time. I wouldn’t recommend the latter though until the aforementioned stuttery issues are resolved. Navigating to the corners of the screen with two players in particular. There’s a bit of dead space there where the MARS system or LIGHTCONs refuse to acknowledge. Regardless, I see Big Buck Hunter Arcade being more of a superior singleplayer title.
Big Buck Hunter: Arcade PS4/MARS System Review
Overall - Very Good - 7/10
The classic hunting game being on the MARS System is a no brainer. It’s simple and straightforward with an addicting point system that creates replayability on its own. Which is saying something for Big Buck Hunter Arcade since it has less than an hour of base content. The majority of the time the LIGHTCONs work well with the experience, but tracking and stuttering issues do arise to the point where gamers who have no interest in this genre might be better off waiting until this thing is polished.
- Simple and fun process
- Levels and point systems create challenging replayability
- Not as much content as one would expect for a nearly twenty-year-old game brought to modern technology
- Frame rate stutters and tracking issues pop up a little too often
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.