Backlog Quest II: Day 14 – Cabela’s Survival: Shadows of Katmai – Tomb Raider meets Buck Hunter

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Dear Journal,

Today I learned to be careful for what I wish for.

I made sort of a weird statement when I was reviewing Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2012. I lamented the lack of a crazy mountain man father figure that made Dangerous Hunts 2011 so interesting.  Well Cabela’s brought back the crazy in Shadows of Katmai, as well as a few other things (including a Husky that looks rather husky).

Shadows of Katmai is quite the change from the normal Cabela’s games. You don’t play as one of the top hunters in the world, and you are in fact rarely ever hunting in this outing at all. You are a pilot that has crashed his plane while attempting to get a very high-strung woman to secluded small town during a snowstorm. The game basically has you starting off by fighting for your life from some wolves and wonky controls. Yes, I said wonky.

Wonky.

Wonky.

Unlike most other Cabela’s games, Shadows of Katmai is actually in the third person. In a very Tomb Raider fashion the cross hairs are simply on the screen and you aim them as you run from whatever set of teeth is trying to eat you. Combat, for lack of a better word, is really awful (much like it was in Tomb Raider games) and it makes you really wonder why they decided to go this route. Until you get to the platforming. That’s right, platforming in a Cabela’s game.

A significant portion of Katmai is spent climbing and navigating rock ledges. Once again, the game clearly rips off draws inspiration from Tom Raider. The platforming elements are not what you would expect from a game with Cabela’s on the title, but these fairly straightforward periods of the game where simple but enjoyable. Though whether or not they were enjoyable or it was just a welcome relief from the combat I’m not sure.

Stolen right from the Ace Ventura 2 opening.

Stolen right from the Ace Ventura 2 opening.

The only “hunting” moments tend to come towards the end of a level where you must hunt a random animal for food. Generally speaking the crazed mountain man has sent you on some mission and food is part of it.  After all, Shadows of Katmai is a survival game (it says so right in the title!) rather than a hunting game. Also, there is at least two dog sled levels. Nothing says struggling to survive like a dog sled run.

The game ultimately ends (about two, maybe three hours after you started) with you facing off with a bear. Again. That and shooting mountain lions (of which you do plenty of here again) can pretty much always be counted on in a Cabela’s game. I’m almost starting to think the developers are big Packers fans with how much they hate bears and lions…

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One last note, the game is Top Shot Elite compatible, but I can not imagine playing either the combat or platforming parts of the game with it. It was bad enough with the much more precise controller.

So if you really are in the mood for some of that Cabela’s flavor but have either played the rest or are in the mood for a rather boring platformer added in you’ll probably wind up skipping Shadows of Katmai. Or you should anyway. In reality, the best selling point for Shadows of Katmai at this point is that it has been clearanced so heavily at many places that you can get the bundle with the Top Shot Elite for pretty cheap now.

Tomorrow I’ll sink alien battleships with my battleships in the game Trvia Pursuit. (Just kidding, it’ll be Battleship)

Final Rating: 4.5/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: Xbox 360
Time to completion: ~ 2.5 hours
Gamer Score Earned: 640/1000
Price Bought at: $9.99
Current Price: $20.00 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: Under $10
Why you should buy it: The story actually sucks a tiny bit less than I suggested.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Short, plays poorly, awkward Tom Raider rip-off.

Check out all the Backlog Quest II journal entries!

Check out all the Backlog Quest II journal entries!

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About Tristan Rendo

I’ve made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.