Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Cabela’s African Adventures Playstation 3 Review

Updated: 10/20/2013 10:01 PM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

Photo courtesy of Activision.
Photo courtesy of Activision.

Last year I reviewed Activision’s  “Dangerous Hunts 2013,” and I really enjoyed that a lot. 

Activision just released a new hunting game called “Cabela’s African Adventures,” and I got the opportunity to play a review copy for the Playstation 3. 

“African Adventures” is a lot of fun, and it’s a very exciting and intense game to play.

You play an expert hunter named Mr. Mason and you are hired by a mysterious person in African to find five pieces of a statue that have been hidden in five lairs that are protected by the most dangerous animals.  The statue is a religious relic that belongs to a village. They want it back and will pay a large sum of money.

I thought the story was pretty good and was interesting.  I wanted to keep playing to find out what happened when I found all five pieces of the statue and to see what type of wild animals I would be hunting.

The graphics are fabulous. The animals look life-like, and they all have their own unique features and movements. The scenery looks amazing and was very detailed. 

I really liked how when you were hiding in tall grass, you could see every individual piece move and react to how you were moving through it.

Some of the animals that you get to hunt are elephants, leopards, hyenas, lions and many others.

I also really liked the animation in the story scenes. The story is told through drawings that really look amazing and are very unique. 

The controls are very easy to learn and there is an in game tutorial that will explain how to control your character.

You can either use the controller or one of the Top Shot guns. There is a very nice tutorial that you can watch on how to sync the gun with the game.

Your character can run, roll, crouch, shoot, reload, heal and climb by pushing the various buttons.

When you are hunting you have a GPS, so you can see where you’re located, and there are icons on the map that show you where there are animals to hunt, your next mission (hunts), vista points (you can see a panoramic view of the area you are in), and your camp.

You travel by Jeep, and you can go right to it at any time during the game by accessing the map in the menu and by clicking on the Jeep icon. 

One nice thing about navigating through Africa is that there is an icon that will appear on the screen that will show you how far you are away from where you need to go. There is a number and it counts down to zero the closer you get to the specific area.

You have a certain amount of ammo and supplies that you can carry. By going to your Jeep or your camp you can get more ammo and health. You can also equip items and upgrade your weapons.

Mr. Mason has an adrenaline meter and it appears at the bottom of the screen. So when you run or do a lot of rolling it lowers and once it’s used up you have to walk. There is one mission where you have to out run a heard of animals and you have to watch your meter so you won’t all of a sudden stop and get trampled.

As you are hunting animals and completing missions, you will earn ability points. You can use these ability points to upgrade your character and give him abilities that will increase his odds of survival.

There are two kinds of abilities: active and passive, and you can equip two active and one passive ability at one time.

There are three categories of abilities: Offensive (rapid fire, see animals vitals), defensive (stagger, warning shot) and Stealth (stealth sprint, disappear). There are many that you can unlock.

The active abilities have circle icons and the passive have square icons, so you can tell them apart.

The active abilities show up on the bottom of the screen and will show you which button you need to push to activate it. For example, if you have the rapid fire and you use it, a timer will appear on the icon and when it is lit up you can reuse it.

There are also enhancements that you will earn by complete missions and by doing certain tasks. These will also help Mr. Mason survive. Some of the enhancements that you learn are: fast hands, improved adrenaline, improved hip shot and increased roll. There are many enhancements that you can learn that will make you the ultimate hunter.

During your hunts, you will get new weapons, and the mysterious person that hired you will also leave weapons for you at the beginning of the hunts. You can upgrade your firearms by finding fossils that are hidden around Africa.

You have a carrying capacity that you can access through your menu, Jeep or camp. This shows you how many items you can carry or have.  You can only carry a certain amount of items, and this is shown by a series of weight icons on the top of the screen. 

If the icons are all white, then you know you are okay, but if the icons are red then you have to get rid of something. Every item has a number of weights next to it, so you know what you can and cannot carry.

One thing that you will be using a lot is your menu. If you push select, a menu will come up that will show you your map, your abilities, enhancements, inventory, and regions.

The one thing that I really liked about the main story mode is that you can play through the level at your own pace.  You don’t have to rush through everything, and you can take your time exploring.

The animals are a lot smarter and more dangerous in “African Adventures.” They can sense where you are and there are a lot of times where you will have to use stealth to sneak up on animals. If you are detected, red arrows will appear and will show you where the attacking animal is. You have seconds to react. You can either roll out of the way or shoot it before it gets near you. I also liked that you could see the animals’ vital organs, so you knew where you could shoot it with one hit.

There are two galleries that are really fun and will test your marksmanship. You can play either a single player game or a “hot seat” game with up to four players. Here you have to try and shoot as many animals as you can without losing all of your health. You have to switch between weapons and use the correct weapon for each type of animal. 

For example you need to use your shotgun when there are birds, and then you have to quickly switch to your rifle when you see a bunch of zebras running by or are about to be attacked by hyenas. You can also get extra ammo and health by shooting certain animals that have the ammo or health icon above them. The more animals you hit in a row, the higher your score. Once you complete a level, you will unlock the next level that is more difficult and has new animals to hunt.

Overall, I really enjoyed Activision’s “Cabela’s African Adventures” a lot. I really thought it was a very fast-paced game that was action packed. I really liked how you could either use the PS3 controller or one of the Top Shot guns. 

The controls were very easy to learn, and the graphics were amazing. I would highly recommend “African Adventure” to anyone that really enjoys hunting games or to anyone that wants to play a very intense game that tests your reflexes.

“Cabela’s African Adventures” is rated “T” for blood and violence.  It is available for the PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and PC via Stream.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com, covering the latest entertainment news.