Wild Earth: African Safari

When the words ‘safari’ and ‘videogame’ appear in the same sentence, we can’t help but think of the Cabela hunting ‘simulators’, as they refer to them. With targets that include everything from polar bears to leopards, and gameplay ranging from crap to sewage flotsam, it’s little wonder that we’d be skeptical.

In direct contrast to Cabela’s lust for slaughtering our furry friends, Wild Earth is all about snapping photos of them. Playing as a photo journalist, you cruise around Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and take pics of the creatures; making sure you don’t disturb them as they go about their daily business of mating, grazing or eating each other while, presumably, trying to avoid being trampled or eaten yourself. For some missions your photos will have to meet specific criteria. For instance, there might not be quite enough wildebeest entrail on show in your composition. You’ll also have to take into account the behavior of the animals. Meerkats, for example, have better early warning systems than a guided missile destroyer, so you’ll need ninja skills to get close.

The ‘story’ mode will consist of 11 different missions, with primary and secondary objectives to complete. Once a mission is over, your pics are placed into a portfolio along with info on the animals. Is that edutainment we can smell, or is it zebra dung? In addition to the story, there’s a mode that ‘allows you to play from the animal’s perspective’. It sounds intriguing but we’ve seen nothing on this yet. There’s also co-op play, with one player at the wheel of the vehicle while the other takes the snaps.

Endless Ocean on land? Could be.

Feb 22, 2008