Cabela’s Survival: Shadows Of Katmai review


When the inevitable nuclear/zombie/killer-dolphin apocalypse arrives, only three things will remain. Cockroaches, Tom Selleck’s adamantium-coated ‘tache and the 18,000 versions of Cabela’s that Activision has somehow pumped out over the past decade.

Not that I’m complaining – I enjoy slaughtering cougars as much as the next gun-toting Southern gent. And, actually, Survival is easily the most interesting entry in the wildlife-hunting series yet.

Where past Cabela’s titles worked as clunky, budget first-person shooters, this operates as a clunky, budget third-person actioner. In fairness, said clunkiness only really pops into your rifle sights when played with a DualShock.

Clearly designed with Move and a navigation controller in mind, an on-screen reticule appears in front of your stranded pilot to help you off absurd numbers of grizzlies, wolf packs and overly aggressive elk. Neither over-the-shoulder nor a traditional targeting system, it’s an odd blend of styles – although, thankfully, one that works fairly well with Sony’s glowy wand. Basically, think of it as a third-person lightgun game. Ooh, cosmic.

Not that you spend all your time wiping out enough Arctic critters to make the WWF (the panda version) implode with sadness. Stranded in the Alaskan wilderness, your beardy bush pilot has to forage for food and navigate the savage, frosty tundra in platforming sections.

These jumpy bits play out kind of like Uncharted… if you stripped out the excitement, tension and polished controls. Worse, the snow-covered ledges you have to hurl yourself between are often buggers to spot, making the already dull, semi-automated Cliffhanger acrobatics even more tedious. After 20 minutes of Drake-lite leaping, I was gagging to shoot Yogi and his homicidal pals in the kidneys again.

Actually, that kidney part isn’t an exaggeration. Thanks to Focus mode, you can zoom in on your feral foes’ vital organs for easier kills by using L2. Hell, the beasts’ spleens and such even glow, to make your animal-annihilating extra easy.