Review: Way of the Hunter: Aurora Shores – A Meaty DLC

Review: Way of the Hunter: Aurora Shores

Developed by Nine Rock Games and published by THQ Nordic, Aurora Shores is a brand-new DLC for their previously released Way of the Hunter. Way of the Hunter brings hunting to a new level with brilliant mechanics and massive open-world maps and its new DLC Aurora Shores is no different. Picking everything from the base game, Aurora Shores brings a new map featuring the cold and warmth of the Alaskan Wilderness to the game. This is our review of the PC Steam version of Way of the Hunter: Aurora Shores in which we put on our jacket and hunt down the mighty Wood Bison.

In Aurora Shores, you will step into the shoes of the recently graduated cadet Jacke Mackovich who is part of the Wildlife Trooper School and is tasked with protecting the wildlife of the beautiful landscapes of Alaska. Similar to the first game, the game is not heavy on the narrative and while the DLC tries to give a little depth to Jacke’s character, it is not something that you would pay a lot of attention to while playing the game. There is no character development or anything here as you complete the story missions which are fairly similar to the base game as you have to hunt specific animals but then again, this is a hunting game, so it is natural.

Review: Way of the Hunter: Aurora Shores

Jacke is not alone in the wilderness and although you will never see another human soul in the game, she will be in constant contact with her friend Nina via a walkie-talkie. Both of them will give each other challenges, and missions and will randomly chat. Apart from Nina, Jacke will also get in touch with other hunters and NPCs out in the wilderness for some missions but other than that, there is not much human interaction in the game. This gives a sense of freedom as well because even with the missions active, I was following my own path, hunting down whatever animals I was coming across and either filling up the new and cozy lodge with trophies or selling them for money so I could purchase the new items added to the game.

Aurora Shores adds new weapons such as the new crossbow to the game along with some new calls as well. Most of the items are reasonably easy to obtain if you have been playing the base game but the new variants of the new vehicle are priced insanely high. The base variant of the new vehicle is cheaper, and you can get it after a little bit of grinding, but the color options are absurd and will require you to grind the game a lot just for some different skins. It certainly looks good but just like the base vehicle, the skins are just for aesthetics and the base stats of the vehicle are fine. It certainly gives you a brand-new way to explore the new map as you use the new whistles to call animals and then use the new weapons to hunt them down. Most of the game mechanics are pretty much the same as the base game and even the items that you own in the base game will carry on to the new map so if you have the best weapons from the base game, you will not need to grind a lot in the map.

Alaska sure is beautiful and this is evident right from the first time you start exploring it. After leaving your lodge, you set out to complete the first mission and during this mission, you will just see how much it differs from the base game and somehow looks even prettier than it as well. Sometimes, you will just spend a little bit of time looking around at the views and taking in the scenery. The weather is also much harsher here and if you want to hunt during a bad weather scenario, it will be a real challenge for you to complete. You will find each animal type living their lives according to their own schedules in their own regions. The scenery is diverse as well and you will be exploring open valleys, dense forests, lakesides, and a lot more areas where you will find the animals grazing, hunting, or drinking water. There are also some cool points of interest that will certainly catch your eye while you are exploring.

One major difference that I noted between the base game and the Aurora Shores DLC is that the DLC seems to have a lot more animal activity than the base game. It might be because the map is much smaller than the original one but then again, you can find different animals a lot easier in the Aurora Shores DLC than the base game. At one time, I was sitting in a hunting post and there were three different species of animals just moving and chilling around me for some time. I had a pack of wolves, three wood bison, and a herd of Alaskan Moose all moving around in the same location. Even if you are not sitting in a hunting post and moving around the map on foot, I had a lot more animal engagements if I compare the base game with the DLC.

Way of the Hunter Aurora Shores

Another major change that you will notice while playing in Alaska is that this map is more open and straighter than the Nez Perce Valley. There is plenty of verticality in the map and there are tons of hilly areas to find here as well but the open areas are plenty and it makes the hunting a little more fun as well. Open fields and areas mean that you will find hunting animals at a larger distance easier. For the first time ever, I managed to kill an enemy from a distance greater than 500m and this was only possible because of an open field-like area where it is much easier to line up the perfect shot and little foliage blocking your view or hiding the animal.

Aurora Shores pretty much runs the same as that of the base game but there was one issue that I faced while playing the game and that was that at high speeds, sometimes that game would not load the area around me and the road properly. This would result in grass, trees, and high-definition details popping up way later after I have arrived at that particular location. As far as I can remember, I did not experience this issue with the base game or even the PS5 version of the game. This was new to me, and it happened to me mostly while I was driving at high speeds around the new map. I am not sure whether it was my PC or the in-game engine acting up but I had this issue in different scenarios and I hope that the developers look into this.

Review: Way of the Hunter: Aurora Shores

Overall, the game optimization is pretty decent, and running on a year-old high-budget build, Aurora Shores looks gorgeous and runs fairly well as well. I did notice a few frame dips in certain areas since the game map is huge and mostly just flat areas so a lot more area gets rendered at the same time. Still, the game managed to run pretty well on my system, and I thoroughly enjoyed the new map. After a year of the base game’s launch, Aurora Shores adds a fresh breath into Way of the Hunter and if loved the base game, you are definitely going to love the new DLC as well.

Final Verdict:

Packed with new species, items, and a cool, new vehicle, The Aurora Shores breathes new life into THQ Nordic’s already brilliant hunting game. The map looks beautiful, and I love how much different it is from the maps featured in the base game. If you have already played the base game, this DLC is a must-purchase for you and if you are just starting the game, you should know that Aurora Shores is a worthy DLC if you are willing to dish out the extra cash. You will get to explore a beautiful playground, hunt down some of the best games and get a cool new set of items to use in the game. Fans of Way of the Around need to play it asap and even if you are considering picking up the base game, get the DLC along with it and you will have a hunting game that will last you hours and hours of good fun.

Final Score: 8.5/10

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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