Wii Game Review: Deer Drive
A review of the deer shooting game called Deer Drive for the Nintendo Wii.
Deer Drive, released in 2009, is a crazy shooting game for the Nintendo Wii where you shoot at a variety of running animals in different forest settings. One might classify this as a hunting game since you do shoot at animals that are hunted throughout North America, but in reality this is just a shooting gallery type game. It’s still pretty fun for short periods of time and requires no learning curve - you just point and shoot. Be warned that the shot deer will stumble and fall in fairly realistic ways, although there is no blood or gore.
Deer Drive is a shooting gallery with live targets, sort of like Duck Hunt with deer. A nonstop barrage of deer come running out of the woods and you have to shoot a certain number of them before a time limit is up. If you shoot a doe you will lose points, but you gain points for the harder to kill targets like squirrels and birds. Occasionally, a grizzly bear will charge out of the woods and attack, so you have to shoot them before they get to you. While playing, you do not move around and just stay in one spot and shoot until you have shot enough of them to move on to the next level. It’s not a complicated game at all.
While the single player portion of the game is kind of simple and repetitive, the multiplayer game can be a ton of fun with up to four people shooting at stuff on screen. It can make for some heated competition and really amps up the gameply. Of course, if you have a gun controller and nobody else does, they might be a little jealous. I've heard this called a great party game, and I agree.
The AI in this game is virtually non-existent. Instead, the deer and other animals come from the same few places every time and follow predetermined paths. After you’ve played through a few levels you can guess where they will come out and where they are going. The challenge is that they move fairly quickly and it’s quite hard to get a good shot unless they are closer to you. Even when the screen is full of running deer, taking more than one down before you have to reload can be difficult.
I found the controls in this game to be kind of annoying because it didn’t seem to register the shots very well. You get a small crosshair to put over the deer and you actually have to hit them in the front half of their body to make it count. I swear there were countless times where I had the crosshair exactly where it needed to be and I completely missed. This is one game that could benefit from the Wii MotionPlus extra sensitivity, but it does not support it. I can see a lot of people getting angry at this game for not properly registering your shots. Having a gun controller (including the optional rifle attachment pictured here) does make it a little more fun, but it still isn't as accurate as I think it should be. The need to constantly reload makes it even more difficult.
Graphics and Sound
I was pretty impressed by the graphics in this game, especially the animation. Each forest setting is kind of basic, but it is wide and lets you pan back and forth with the crosshairs so you have a pretty good size playing field. What I liked was how well the animals were animated when they moved, and it shows the deer jumping over stuff and things like that. What kind of creeped me out was how realistically the deer died when you shot them. They will slow their run, stumble, or just keel over and sometimes you’ll even see a leg shake while they are on the ground. For a game like this, the deer death animations were a bit too realistic, though I don’t remember seeing any blood. The sound effects are very basic with gunshots and animal running sounds.
Deer Drive is too simple of a game to be taken seriously, so I won’t judge it too harshly. Other than the aiming system sometimes not being very accurate, it is still genuinely fun to play and makes a great party game with its 4-player support. You can buy just the game alone or spend a little extra to get the version with the rifle attachment to help make the experience more realistic. If you’re looking for a shooting game that you can play for a few minutes at a time without getting too involved, then get Deer Drive for the Nintendo Wii.