Sir, You Are Being Hunted impressions after a month of play

I’ve been playing Sir, you are being hunted for a few weeks now, and so far have really enjoyed the tense atmosphere of the game. It has just been updated to version 0.5.4725, code name ‘Dead Haggis’, and brought with it quite a few new features. So I think it’s a good time to get some thoughts and feelings down.

Sir main menu

For those who don’t know, sir is a stealth based game set on a series of procedurally generated islands. For each of these islands (except for the centre island, which is defaulted to rural) you chose a ‘biome’ basically a theme for how the terrain is laid out, at the moment the themes are the above mentioned rural (typical country side, with small towns, fields and winding little roads), fens (like rural, but a lot more open, presenting less cover to sneak from) and mountain (as the names suggest, very tall mountains, seems to be a lot less buildings).

ruralBiomeA typical scene from the rural biome

The goal is to collect 25 pieces of a device that have been scatted around the islands. During your time you also have to managed your ‘vitality’, which is basically hunger. Having a low vitality prevents you from healing and can lead to death. Vitality is constantly dropping, making you have to take a break from collecting fragments and start raiding villages for food and supplies every so often. I’ve never run out of vitality during the games I’ve played, although it has come close a few times and the mechanic adds a nice tension to the game.

The main adversary’s of the game are robots, the basic hunter, dressed in a manner of a stereotypical country gent from around the late 19th century, roam the island in packs of 2-5 (size depending on how many pieces you’ve collected). They are armed with shotguns, which will take you down quickly up close, and can cause you to bleed, which you need bandages to heal otherwise you’ll bleed out. As they roam the island, if they come across a fragment or building they will sometimes start guarding it. More then once I’ve come back to retrieve some goods I stashed ‘safely’ in a building to find it guarded and having to sneak past them.

Aiding the hunters, are balloonists, they float round the maps and look for you with a searchlight. If they find you, they’ll sound an alarm and alert other hunters to your location. Hunter also sometimes have hounds with them, these will attempted to pin you down and hold you still while the hunters come in for the kill. The final robot you’ll encounter is the squire, unlike the others he is non-hostile and patrols village, but if he catches you stealing he will then become aggressive.

The stealth system itself is very similar if you’ve played any of the thief series of games, you have a visibility meter, which shows how easy you are to see, if you well hidden enough a robot could walk within a few metres and you will not been seen, on the other hand, with a maxed out visualise you can be seen from very far away. It worth noting, that unless your under hard cover, the balloonist can see you no matter how low your meter reads.

So that’s a brief overview of the game, so what have they changed? Well there is a new inventory system. In previous versions you had items assigned to the number keys, these were hard coded and not be changed. Now you can assign items to the keys 1-7. At the moment you can only have items that can be ‘used’ i.e. guns and other devices, you can’t place food items in the slots to give you an quick way to eat without having to go into the inventory, which is a minor annoyance, but not big one.

new-inventoryThe new inventory, notice the additional slots to assign items to

I’ve just created a new world, but have only been able to get a hour or so of play on it at the moment, but have some across a few of the new items. The first one I discovered was the torch, in this new versions night is a lot darker (but does add a bonus to make you harder to see) and the torch really helps you find your way and see what you are doing. It also unsurprisingly makes you very easy to spot.

torchOffIts gets dark a night!

Torches make it easier to see, but also make you easy to spot!

I then got to try out one of the new distraction devices. In previous versions you only had rocks or bottles, which you could throw to distract robots. I found them not very effective as they tended to not travel far enough, and robots didn’t investigate them for very long mean you didn’t have a lot of time to snatch the piece. You now have some better options.

I came across a piece being guarded by two robots, a short distance away I placed a toy train on the ground I had picked up from a village earlier. I had a few seconds to circle round to the other side of the fragment before the train horn sounded, the robots rushed over to investigate it allowing me time to pick up the pieces and make my getaway.

The games currently in alpha, so I’m not going to be too critical of it as it can change on a weekly basis. But I do have some thoughts, some of the things I would like to see, such as more types of enemies and biomes I know are in the pipeline to be implemented. I would like to see a biome representing a modern rural area. With perhaps an area of farm buildings to hide in, and more regimented field with some different crop types like wheat in them, more modern’s road and larger villages. Perhaps some farm vehicles to hide behind and round.

I do have some other issues, in game there are will-o’-wisp that lead you to the pieces, however I often find myself standing around a waiting for them to appear to lead me to the next piece, and sometimes you don’t see them for quite a while wasting vitality, You can also end up with several moving in different directions make them hard to track. A scanner device has been introduced to make finding pieces easier, but I’ve not come across it yet so don’t know yet how helpful it is.

Other then that, I’ve no real problems. If you like stealth games, then this is worth a look, it still in alpha so theirs plenty more stuff to look forward to. It given me many hours of enjoyment so far and I can recommend it.

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