COLUMN: Aaron's Backstage Pass: Cabela's Hunting Games Review

Updated: 11/22/2012 10:03 AM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

Image you are out in the woods and it’s winter. All of a sudden you hear a howl and you look up and see a pack of wolves coming right at you.  

One of them is black and you know that if you take him out the rest of the wolves will run away.  You raise your gun and you get the black wolf in your sights. 

Your heart is racing and your breathing is out of control while the other wolves are surrounding you and growling. You try to stay calm and you take your shot and hit the wolf.

He goes down and the other wolves run away.

This is one of the scenarios I just played in an amazing hunting game from Activision called “Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013.” I have to say that this is the greatest hunting games that I have ever played.

This week I received two Cabela hunting games to review for the PS3 from Activision. I chose to review both games in one review because they are both made by the same company and are hunting games.

Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013

The first game I want to talk about is “Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013.” Once I started playing this game I couldn’t stop, because I had to see what dangerous animal I was going to hunt next and the game is very intense.

It’s probably one of the most intense games I have played, because the game can detect your heart rate and stability. The game comes with the “Top-Shot Fearmaster” gun which is one of the best peripherals that I have used in a shooting game. 

It has a sensor on the stock and also on the barrel which detects your heart rate. It is also very accurate and I had no trouble at all using it.


As you are playing the game and come across an animal, you can raise your scope and you go into a special in game mode. Your heart rate is shown on the screen and if it’s low enough and you are steady the game will zoom in closer to the animal and will show its vital organs.  You can then aim on one of the organs and take your shot.

I thought that the “Top Shot Fearmaster” gun was a new and unique way to make a hunting game more intense and fun for the players. It adds so much to the game because you actually feel like you are hunting all of these dangerous animals and if you don’t stay calm you won’t be able to get a good shot.

Setting up the “Top Shot Fearmaster” was very easy. It comes with a wireless sensor bar that goes either on top of your TV or on the bottom and it takes two AA batteries. The gun takes two AA batteries also. There is a USB stick in the barrel of the gun that you take out by unscrewing a cap on the front. 

This just pops into one of the USB ports on the front of the PS3. To turn on the sensor bar you just push a button on the side and then you also have to turn on the USB stick in the USB port of the PS3 by pushing a button on the front of it. 

It took me a while to figure that out, but once you turn everything on you will be shooting bears and lions in no time.

Whoever designed the “Top Shot Fearmaster” really put some thought into it, because the buttons are laid out perfectly on the gun. The gun is basically a PS3 controller. You have all of the buttons, the directional pad and the analog stick. The buttons are really easy to access.  The controls are really easy to use and figure out also. As you play the game there are tutorials that explain everything.


There were times where I found myself stuck in the game and I didn’t know where I should go.  I would use a tool in the game called “The Hunter’s Eye.” This would reveal where you needed to go next, ammunition or health that was close by, or even blood trails. This was very helpful.

One thing that I would like to mention is that when you are in certain situations with animals a “Marksman Target” will appear. This indicates the leader of the pack and if you take him out the rest of the animals will leave.

The graphics are also very good. The animals are very lifelike that you hunt and the scenery is breath taking. You are going through jungles, mountains, hills, snow, and many other terrains on your hunts. Everything is so detailed and you feel like you are in Africa hunting lions.

I also really liked the story in the game. I wondered what the story was going to be and it made sense and was very creative. You, your brother and dad are hunting a grizzly bear. 

Your dad is eventually killed by the bear and the brothers are torn apart. The game jumps a head ten years and you and your brother are back together hunting animals again.

In addition to story mode, there are a couple of other modes that you can play. There is a mode called “Maneater.” You have to survive ten rounds of different animals attacking you and in between attacks you also have to complete tasks.

For example, you have to fix a radio while wolves are attacking you or you have to protect a wounded person out in the woods for a certain amount of time while cougars are trying to eat him.

Another mode is a “Shooting Gallery.” You can choose different areas of where you want to hunt and you can also choose different weapons. You have a certain amount of time and you have to try and get as many critical hits as you can on as many different animals that are running across the screen.

I really thought that both of these modes were really fun and exciting to play.

Overall I really liked Activision’s “Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013” a lot. The Top Shot Fearmaster really made the game fun and unique. The story was great and the graphics were amazing as well. I really liked the variety of places you could choose to hunt and also the variety of animals. I know that people who enjoy hunting and people who want to play something new and different will really like this game a lot.

Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions

After playing “Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013” I threw in “Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions” and once again I was hooked on this game. I really thought it was fun and exciting. 

You can use the “Top Shot Fearmaster” gun with this game as well and it worked perfect. It didn’t detect your heart rate, but the gun made the game really easy to play and easy to control your character because of the button layout.

In “Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions” you can hunt in fifteen different environments in North America and Africa.  You can also hunt many different types of animals that include caribou, bears, lions and elephants. The game also features realistic animal behaviors, such as herd mentalities and fights or flight responses.

As you hunt, you can track and look for animals on foot or you can drive an ATV, truck or dune buggy to get to your hunting spots faster.

I really liked the vehicles a lot and thought that they were great and made travel easy.

I also thought that the graphics were amazing. The landscapes and hunting terrain were very detailed. The animals looked great and moved smoothly. I really liked how when you were in tall grass and if the wind was blowing, all of the grass moved in the direction of the wind.

I thought that the controls were really easy to learn. The game had a tutorial that explained everything when you first start out and I thought that was very helpful. Like I said earlier the button lay out on the gun made controlling your character really easy.

You can also use “The Hunter’s Sense” in “Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions” also. You use this to locate animals and where you need to go to find animals. “The Hunter’s Sense” also tells you where you should go to get the best shot.

Once again I thought this was very helpful.

One thing that I thought was neat was that you can tack animals. As you are walking along you will come up to animal tracks. If you look at them, a screen will come up and will tell you what kind of animal it is and all of the details about it. This made finding animals to hunt a little easier.

There are many different weapons that you can choose to use on your hunts and you can upgrade them by using gunsmith points. You gain these by getting critical shots on animals and also by doing different tasks in the game.

“Quick Hunt” and “Career” mode are the two modes you can play. In “Quick Hunt” you choose the area you want to hunt and you have to try and shoot a certain amount of animals in that area.  Once you get your limit the hunt is over.

In “career mode” you control a hunter and this is where you get the “gunsmith points” to upgrade your weapons.  You unlock different environments to hunt in by getting your limit of animals in each level. I really liked both of these modes and thought that they were fun. 

I also liked Activision’s “Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions” a lot. I really thought the game was fun and very entertaining. The graphics were great and controls were easy to learn. The game is very challenging and exciting. 

I know that I will be playing both of these games a lot.  I had a lot of fun reviewing them.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.