Hunt: Showdown is one of the best games in the burgeoning extraction shooter genre, and my current favorite game overall to play regularly. A PvPvE FPS, set in 1895 in the Louisiana bayou, it pits teams of bounty hunters against each other all with the same mission: collect clues to discover the location of a boss monster (or two), kill it, grab its bounty, and extract from the map. Simple, right?

Fun though it most certainly is, it does have an extremely steep learning curve that can turn a lot of people off if they are used to more run-n-gun shooters that are easy to pick up like Call of Duty or Halo. As one of the streamers I watch recently put it, anyone with less than a thousand hours in this game is still considered a beginner. I can assure you, however, that if you are willing to put in the time, this is one of the most rewarding multiplayer experiences you can have in gaming today.

What I’m hoping to do with this article is help those of you newer to the game understand some of the things that may make the learning curve a little more forgiving and keep your frustration levels low when you find yourself dying a lot (and we all die a lot in Hunt).

10. Look Through the Cracks (and Everything Has Cracks)

Almost every building, every fence, every structure of any kind in the game is riddled with cracks and crevices, and you can bet that in almost all cases, you can shoot or throw items through them. In the early game, you may be surprised how you were shot when you thought you had cover, or you may be wondering how someone was able to throw a dynamite stick into what you thought was a secure compound. The majority of the time, they found a crack and they exploited it.

Whether you are attacking or defending, take some time to make yourself aware of all of those places that a consumable or a bullet might fit, and then use that to your advantage. It’ll help keep you from being caught by surprise, and it may just help you surprise someone else.

9. Move, Move, Move

I feel like this applies to most shooters, but I can’t stress how much staying in constant movement is to your advantage in Hunt. Not always, of course—there are times when holding an angle or moving very slowly are to your benefit. But because of the design of the maps and compounds in Hunt, you should assume that you are nearly always being lined up for a headshot from afar and act accordingly.

This is especially true once you are engaged in a firefight or if you are peeking corners or windows looking for enemy hunters. A moving target is a harder target to hit, and in a game where a given rifle might only have one shot before a lengthy reload, having your enemies miss that shot can work to your advantage. As you get better at moving, you’ll be able to wiggle your way out of dangerous situations and bait people into shots that they can’t afford to take or that will reveal their location to you or your teammates.

8. Cover Ain’t Cover Until It’s Total Cover (and Even Then…meh)

With the group of friends I play with most often, I can’t tell you the number of times they have cried foul because they thought they were behind cover and then they are unceremoniously taken out by a headshot. There’s a lot of cover you can take in Hunt—more variety of cover than I’ve encountered in any other game—but always remember that if you can see your enemy, they can see you.

If you are hiding behind something that is penetrable, someone doesn’t even need to see you to know that they can penetrate that cover and take you out. Also remember that your head extends upwards beyond your eyes, so if you’re only juuuuuuuust behind the lip of some cover to the point where you can’t see anyone, the top of your head is probably still ripe for the shootin’. The only times you can feel reasonably safe are when you are behind dirt mounds, rock faces, thick brick walls, and large, dense tree cover. Anything else should not be considered completely safe.

7. Do Your Homework: Read Up On Guns

This one is less fun, but absolutely crucial. While it may be fun to pick the gun that looks the coolest, or packs the most punch, or has the best report when firing (and those are perfectly valid reasons to pick a gun, don’t get me wrong), it is very important to understand how each of those guns work and what to expect from them. And the best way to do that is to pay attention to the specs on each gun.

Some are obvious—damage, for instance, will tell you how much the maximum damage is that this gun can do with a body shot to center mass, but other stats are just as important.  Muzzle Velocity is going to help you understand how much you will or will not need to lead targets. Effective Range is going to tell you the maximum distance at which a headshot will be effective. Every ammo type for every gun is going to tell you what, if anything, that ammo can penetrate, and how much. Some guns can penetrate stone or small trees or corrugated tin—that’s good to know if an enemy hunter ducks behind cover that they think is safe.

Learn your guns and you’ll not only understand your own picks better, but you’ll also understand what your opponents are capable of in the midst of a heated firefight and you can make your decisions accordingly.

6. Look Down

This may seem like an odd one, and it’s a hard one to always remember, but it will save your butt from some nasty and embarrassing situations if you’re able to keep it in mind. Not only will you generally be looking down to avoid sound traps like crows and branches that can give away your position, but all of the traps that can be set for you in the game are placed on the ground.

This is especially true when you are approaching a boss lair where you know a team is already holing up, but it can also be true for compounds where a team has passed through and they’ve set a few traps just for fun. The number of times I’ve died running past a red barrel without looking down only to find someone had trapped it with an alert trip mine is shameful, quite frankly.

When you are passing through thresholds and windows, keep an eye out for bear traps and concertina or poison trip mines (or the dreaded and deadly combo of both of those things). You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache if you can remember to be alert and keep your eyes low.

5. Diversify, Don’t Specialize

There can be a temptation in this game to find a gun you like early in the game, and then use it forever. One of my buddies that I play with just decided that there was no better gun than the Vetterli Deadeye early on, then he played that gun and only that gun for the next several hundred hours we played together. His game was stalling and he wasn’t getting the kills he wanted, and I was finally able to convince him to try out different guns. Since that started, he has been flourishing, most recently falling in love with the Berthier and getting mad kills as a result.

The great equalizer in Hunt, it is often said, is the headshot. What people mean by this is that there is no gun that is inherently better than another, and you can get killed just as easily by a Nagant pistol as you can by a Nitro Express rifle, if it’s in the right hands and their aim is on point. So get used to all the weapons! Get a feel for how they fire, how they reload, how they feel—and then try something else. A lot of the fun of this game comes from playing around with different weapon combos and testing your own tactics and skills against others, and finding out not just what works, but what is fun.

Remember, that’s why we’re all here.

4. Reload on Corpses

Let’s say you have just finished a heated firefight and you’ve got a few enemy hunters’ corpses lying around. You’ve come out victorious, but you ran through a ton of ammo during the fight. You can’t for the life of you find a nearby ammo box, and the closest supply point is halfway across the map. How do you top off your ammo so that if you encounter more hunters, you’re not left with the dreaded click-click-click of an empty gun?

Take your ammo from dead enemies, that’s how! If you happen to have a gun that is of the same ammo type that a hunter has dropped, and that hunter has not been burned out, you can do two quick weapon swaps and you will reload your ammo for that gun based on whatever ammo pool the enemy had remaining.  So, you have a long ammo rifle that you fired 13 out of 15 shots on, but this corpse was killed early in the battle and still has 10 bullets remaining?  Well, swap your weapon for theirs and then swap back again, and now you’ve got 12 bullets available for all the shooting you need.

Same goes across the board for any ammo and any gun (with the exception of anything that uses special ammo—“special” doesn’t translate, for instance, from a Nitro Express rifle to a bow). But a Nitro for a Nitro or a bow for a bow? You’re good to go.

3. Watch Streamers

Before playing Hunt: Showdown, I probably never would have recommended this, especially not to new players to a game. But I have seen the light, you might say, and been converted into the Church of Streaming.

Watching streamers playing Hunt has helped my game immeasurably by showing me not only what elite players do right, but also the things that they do wrong. It helped me understand that my blunders are not unique; even the best players can do misguided things sometimes or get betrayed by the RNG gods when someone is randomly firing at them from 80m out.

Personally, I love watching Psychoghost, Neenoh, Kerrty and TheChedwin, but you can find the streamers that fit your own taste best. Whether they’re having a good or a bad day, whether they are dominating or playing a more supporting role on their team, whether they are playing seriously or just memeing for the streaming, I always learn something watching them—and you can too.

2. Learn the Sounds of Guns

Related to the following point about listening, this is a skill I did not develop until several hundred hours into playing the game. Even so, it is one that has served me incredibly well now that I have developed it.

Learn what all the different guns sound like, and you’ll be better able to strategize how to engage your enemies. You can kind of do this as you play by getting used to the sounds of the guns that you and your teammates are using, or you can try to figure out what your enemies are using after they are dead, but that’s the hard way.

There’s a much easier way to study up: on the main screen, go to the Arsenal tab where you can see all the weapons in the game laid out. Select the gun you’d like to learn, and once selected, you can choose an option in the corner called “3D View”. This will show you an isolated 3D view of the weapon, which is kind of neat on its own, but the real utility of this screen is in the “Shoot Weapon” button in the lower right. Additionally, you can see directions on the screen for adjusting the distance from the weapon.

In combination, these controls allow you to hear what every gun in the game will sound like at any distance you care to, as far as the complete other side of the map.  As you hone your ear, you’ll start to be able to identify what you’re up against as you approach a firefight. You’ll find yourself being able to say “Oh, this hunter has a Lebel, we’d better watch ourselves because I’ve only got 100 health” or “These folks have shotguns, we’d better keep our distance.” Soon enough, you’ll be able to know who has been killed or whether or not new hunters that you cannot see have joined the fight, based solely on what kinds of weapons you can hear.

1. Listen

This one should become obvious the moment you start playing the game, but I can’t stress how absolutely crucial it is in this game—more so than any game I’ve ever played. It’s clear that Crytek put a massive amount of time and resources into designing the best-sounding and most responsive binaural audio ever developed for a video game and made it so integral to the actual gameplay that you would be foolish not to take advantage of it to deepen your play.

Some things will be obvious very quickly: startling horses, or ducks, or the dreaded crows that litter the map will set off sound traps that will alert faraway hunters to your locations. Gunshots will obviously have this effect, as almost every gun in the game can be heard on the complete opposite corner of the map. But learning how to “see with your ears” as the popular streamer Psychoghost likes to say, is absolutely crucial to playing the game and playing it well. Even if you disregard the sound traps and go blasting through the map, hoping that everyone will converge on your very noisy location for some good firefights, sound still comes into play: with locating your enemies; knowing if they are running, crouching, or walking; hearing if they are cooking explosives to throw; and knowing when you or your teammates have scored a kill with the dying grunts of your enemies.

It can also help you hear when people are in your vicinity—if a hive gets set off but your teammates are not near it, for instance, that gives you valuable information about enemies nearby. Same goes for the sounds of someone jumping, or falling, or attacking a grunt with a melee attack. All of it is valuable and the more you are able to listen, the better your gameplay will become. I can’t tell you the satisfaction of blasting someone through a wall with a shotgun that I was able to locate based entirely on where I heard them walking.

Andrew Warner is an actor, comedian, and podcaster based out of New York City. A lifelong gamer whose first true gaming system was an Apple IIGS, he still thinks the original Deus Ex is the greatest game ever made. He’s written and narrated for movie site Fandor, acted for CollegeHumor, and is now excited to be writing for Hipsters of the Coast. You can occasionally catch him streaming games over at

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.