For this article, we hand-selected the 7 most realistic hunting games. If you’re into hunting, these games reflect the intricate details and heart-pounding moments of the real pursuit, allowing you to immerse yourself in lifelike environments as you track, strategize, and take down virtual prey.
Additionally, these are games with huge wild environments, day-night cycles, and dynamic weather events. They will take you through different biomes across North America and the world, trudging through swamps and desserts or hiking through the snow next to a clear mountain lake.
Some of the more realistic elements of these games may not be for everyone as you’ll have to move carefully and will often be rewarded for patience. While some players may find the slower pace of these games relaxing, some modern players may choose to opt for something more action-packed.
However, if you understand and appreciate what hunting is about, you will love these games for their ultimate stealth action, where cover is necessary, and any sound, or even your scent on the wind, could give away your location.
So, pack your bags, lace up your boots, and let’s get moving.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is an action-adventure game by developer Rockstar Games. The game was first released in 2018 and has a 97 out of 100 score on Metacritic for the PC, making it the best-reviewed PC game of 2019 on Metacritic.
This isn’t technically a hunting game, but we still had to sneak it onto the list. In our defense, there are around 200 species populating the game world, which is more than most hunting games, so there is some justification here.
In Red Dead Redemption 2, you traverse the Wild West on horseback through grassland to frigid mountain peaks and boiling hot springs. It’s almost hard to believe that a game that looks this good came out in 2018. The natural environments are beautiful and artistically rendered, helping the overall sense of immersion.
Hunting in this game still takes patience, practice, and preparation. For instance, you’ll likely want to buy something to mask your scent so that animals aren’t so easily spooked by being alerted to your presence.
You’ll also need to move slowly and make sure you didn’t leave the correct weapon for whatever you are hunting still packed away in your saddle bags.
Although Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t a full-on hunting game, it still brings enough depth, realism, and fun to its hunting gameplay to land it the number seven spot on our list.
Play On: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Hunting Simulator is a hunting simulation game developed by Neopica. The game was released in 2017 and has a 58 out of 100 score on Metacritic for the PC version of the game, meaning it received mixed reviews.
Imagine walking by a gently flowing stream through a grove of aspens, their leaves lit up by the evening sunlight while making sure you step softly. This is just one of the many lush environments on offer in Hunting Simulator. The game’s characters and animal models sometimes feel dated, but overall, the environments are realistic and enjoyable to look at.
There are 12 different regions to explore, including the dry plains of Texas, the forests and lakes of Alberta, the mountains of Colorado, and even the French Alps and Scottish Highlands. The time of day and weather have dynamic changes, so you’ll need to be prepared for the various environments.
The game has a campaign mode that features over a hundred missions, as well as a shooting range for you to practice in, and a “free hunt” mode in which you choose the type of game you want to hunt. The game also features 17 different hunting weapons as well as accessories such as wind powders and lures.
Although Hunting Simulator made our list as one of the most realistic hunting games available today, it doesn’t have a lot that sets it apart from the other games on this list and is far from the first we’d recommend.
Play On: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Hunting Simulator 2 is a hunting simulation game developed by Neopica. The game was released in 2020 and has a 63 out of 100 score on Metacritic for the PC version of the game, meaning it received mixed reviews.
You’ll move through the misty evergreen forests of Colorado, the dry boulder-dotted hills of Texas, and the marshlands of Europe. While the character and animal models sometimes leave something to be desired, similar to those of the original Hunting Simulator, the game’s environments are appealing, if not surpassingly so.
Different animals will appear with different frequencies depending on the areas in which you are hunting. Keep in mind you will need to buy and manage licenses in order to hunt in the three different locations, as hunting an animal without the correct license will lead to a fine.
This game gives you a dog companion to aid you in tracking animals. There are different breeds, such as German Shorthaired Pointer, Beagle, and Labrador, each with different distinctive looks and attributes.
Hunting Simulator 2 trades some of its realism for convenience, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, depending on what you’re looking for. Despite this, it still struggles with long periods of waiting around hoping to see an animal, which, although relaxing at times, can be boring at others.
Play On: PC, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One
Cabela’s Big Game Hunter: Pro Hunts is a hunting simulation game developed by Crytek. The game was released in 2014 and has a 7.6 out of 10 user score on Metacritic for the PC version of the game.
Imagine yourself on a sparsely wooded mountain, making your way through the remaining patches of snow that still cover the ground. This is one of the environments that await you in Cabela’s Big Game Hunter: Pro Hunts.
Although the 2014 area graphics aren’t the most visually impressive, it’s not a bad-looking game, and the light changes depending on the time of day are a nice touch.
The game has you hunting a wide variety of animals, including moose, pronghorn, ring-necked pheasant, wild boar, and snowshoe hare. These animals are found in the four quadrants of North America as presented in the game – Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest.
Cabela’s Big Game Hunter: Pro Hunts does its best to simulate real-life aspects of hunting, such as the need to stay downwind from animals, moving slowly while finding cover, and even the use of animal calls. This means that sometimes the game feels like a stealth game, but it also means that sometimes its pacing drags a bit.
Play On: PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360
The Hunter Classic is a hunting game developed by Expansive Worlds and Avalanche Studios. The game was released in 2009 but has received consistent updates since that time. It has a 68 out of 100 on Opencritic.
In this game, you’ll make your way through miles of changing terrain, walking through golden farm fields, green valleys, and marshy wetlands. Although it came out in 2009 and shows its age a little compared to some other games on this list, this is still an attractive game with believable environments.
This game helped to raise the bar for realism in hunting games. With day and night cycles, changing weather, nuanced animal behavior, and systems for the way both sound and your scent on the wind travel, this is a game that aims for immersion and true-to-life hunting simulation.
It’s worth mentioning that the base version of this game is still free for those who want to try it. There are paid DLCs that add more content, but they aren’t required for you to start playing.
The Hunter Classic remains one of the most realistic hunting games out there and is definitely worth the attention of simulation enthusiasts patient enough to take part in its slow, methodical gameplay.
Play on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Way of the Hunter is a hunting game developed by Nine Rocks Games. The game was released in 2022 and has a mostly positive review rating on Steam, with recent reviews being very positive overall.
This game is definitely a contender for the best graphics of all the games on the list. Although some texture pop-in and frame rate drops do hold it back some. The environments are beautiful, and the draw distance on animals and foliage is impressive.
There is an in-game story, and while some players may enjoy it, we think you’ll have the most fun by getting past the story and start walking around the game’s huge open areas as soon as possible.
This will allow you to focus on other activities like selling meat to local restaurants as a way to make money to buy hunting passes as well as new gear.
Way of the Hunter has true-to-life environments, a complex tracking system, and plenty of gear. While the story is a bit lackluster, and the game has some technical issues, it’s still one of the best hunting simulators out today and easily one of the most realistic hunting games you can play in 2024.
Play on: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
The Hunter: Call of the Wild is an atmospheric hunting game developed by Expansive Worlds. The game was released in 2017 and has a very positive review rating on Steam, with over 100,000 player reviews.
This game looks amazing, from the environment to the animal models, and the details of the landscapes are enhanced with complete day and night cycles as well as dynamic weather events.
There are lots of areas to choose from, such as the North American reserve Silver Ridge Peaks with lakes and sparsely wooded mountains. The reserve is separated into five regions: the Saguache Plains, Burnt Rock, Settlers End, Prosperity Pass, and Crooked Hills.
More importantly, the game has a large variety of animals, each appearing in its own unique habitat. These animals range from American Alligator to Plains Bison to Water Buffalo and many, many more. There are also animals, such as weasels, placed in the game for the sole purpose of greater immersion in the game world.
The Hunter: Call of the Wild excels in realism from its rich, believable environments to its animal models and behaviors. It may not be a perfect hunting simulation, but it’s as close as it gets, sitting atop our list at number one.
Play on: PC, Xbox One, PS4
- YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Best FREE Stealth Games