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The Huntsman: Winter's Curse Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . If this game's goal was to get me excited to run out and watch the movies, then I don't think The Huntsman: Winter's Curse did its job. If anything, this card-battler sends the message that the movies are bland and filled with miserable characters. That's probably not true, but I had a hard time mustering up much enthusiasm while fighting my way through this adventure game. No wonder Snow White wanted nothing to do with this disappointment. Rating: 40%
The Huntsman: Winter's Curse
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  • Review Score:

  • C-
I'll admit right at the top that I was a little dubious about The Huntsman: Winter's Curse even before pushing the download button. You see, I somehow managed to miss the big budget Hollywood adaptation of Snow White and the Huntsman, as well as its 2016 follow-up -- The Huntsman: Winter's War. I'm also not especially keen on collecting, sorting and battling with cards. But I didn't let this skepticism get me down, because I like fairy tales and sometimes a movie tie-in can turn out to be a real surprise.

As it turns out, I was right to be dubious of The Huntsman. It's a poorly paced role-playing game that suffers from far too many repetitive missions and some of the driest dialog I've seen in ages. It somehow manages to turn what should be an exciting fairy tale world into a bland and boring slog, making me question the appeal of the film franchise. And in an odd twist I didn't see coming, the card battling gameplay I feared the most ended up being one of the few things I liked about this misguided adventure game.


You play a no-nonsense chick named Elisabeth, who has decided to set out on a lengthy journey to rescue her brothers. She fears they have been killed in combat, completely unaware that the evil Enchantress had other intentions in mind. Elisabeth is ready to be taken seriously, and she knows that the amulet around her neck will help guide the way and rescue her careless siblings.

This sets up a predictable loop where our hero gets into a lengthy conversation, chooses a dialog option and then jumps into battle. Once you've defeated the enemies, you'll move on to another lengthy conversation, followed by another dialog choice and more fighting. You'll occasionally jump into different quests, but they largely all play out the same way.

The good news is that the combat is engaging, even if it is a bit on the simple side. Instead of collecting and organizing a deck of cards, you'll quickly discover that the different cards are associated with the various types of weapons, armor and accessories. This couldn't be any easier, and it's great for those who love turn-based RPG battles, but don't want to bother with the headaches that go along with card games.

The Huntsman: Winter's Curse (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

For as much as I like how streamlined the combat is, it simply isn't deep enough to stay compelling after hours of repetitive battles. It's not an exaggeration to say that you'll fight the same grouping of enemies four or five times in a row, clumsily sewn together by long-winded conversations between Elisabeth and her companions.

Taking a page from modern episodic games, Winter's Curse forces players to make important decisions that will change how the journey plays out. While they are nowhere near as gut-wrenching as Telltale's Walking Dead, the decisions you make often come with serious consequences. For example, the actual Huntsman was barely in my adventure. But I got the impression that if I wasn't a complete jerk to him on our first meeting, he would have been an ally throughout the game.

Beyond the repetitive battles and simplistic mechanics, the real problem ends up being the movie license. There's nothing fun or compelling about this world, it's a painfully generic slog through one bland background after another. This is a fairy tale world, yet the scenery is constantly drab and there isn't a single interesting location on the map. Without being constrained to the film series, the developers would have been able to create a much more colorful and vibrant world with likeable characters.

The Huntsman: Winter's Curse (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It doesn't help that the game is at least twice the length it needed to be. For whatever reason, the package is split up as a series of bite-sized episodes. While I'm certainly not opposed to this idea, not spreading them out felt a bit puzzling. I played them all at once, one right after the other, and I couldn't shake the notion that every chapter was stuffed with filler. This led to so many conversations that were entirely unnecessary, only reinforcing my disdain for certain characters. There are only so many times you can listen to Elisabeth arguing with her half-raven/half-human companion about the moral ramifications of using magic.

And did I mention that the adventure is riddled with bugs and technical issues? I was disappointed by how many times The Huntsman crashed on me, and that wasn't even the worst of it. I ran into issues where I had to completely restart battles because I couldn't select and use cards. And let's not forget about the three hours where I couldn't upgrade or customize the characters, no matter how hard I tried.

If this game's goal was to get me excited to run out and watch the movies, then I don't think The Huntsman: Winter's Curse did its job. If anything, this card-battler sends the message that the movies are bland and filled with miserable characters. That's probably not true, but I had a hard time mustering up much enthusiasm while fighting my way through this adventure game. No wonder Snow White wanted nothing to do with this disappointment.
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