Channeling my inner Liam Neeson in Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013

Video games are great because they let you do the things you either couldn't do in real life or wouldn't want to do. A guilty pleasure for me has always been the Cabela's line of games, a series focusing on hunting animals in their natural habitats. Through this franchise, I've been able to channel my inner Liam Neeson; a man known for punching wolves in the face.

Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013 let me do something pretty amazing: I got to fight a pride of lions with a shotgun, alone, in the woods. I shot every single one of them and it was pretty intense – though completely the opposite of what I would do in real life if pitted against the horde: run, screaming like a small child.
%Gallery-166050% I should preface by saying I'm not some guy who just thinks it's fun to kill or torture animals – this is a video game where I'm free to portray that kind of monster. I can escape from being the upstanding concerned citizen I am in my normal life and become a bloodthirsty animal murderer whose only respite from this painful world is sweet, sweet lion blood.

It's a narrative I've invented in my head, just go with it.

Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013 is designed to be a more dramatic and embellished experience. You aren't the nameless hunter plodding around some African desert tracking down a zebra to shoot. There's an honest-to-goodness story here about two brothers.

But its story-driven experience was of no concern to me, I only cared about the multiple animal shooting scenarios. In one encounter, you stumble upon a group of lions and their alpha male, a situation with two choices: shoot the alpha male and all of the females will scatter, essentially killing the entire species in the region because when lions mate with an alpha male they mate for life. It's like how it is with penguins. Look it up.

The second option is to shoot any lion other than the alpha male and have the whole pack charge you. This was obviously the choice I had to make, so I went ahead and clipped off one of the male lion's harem. Immediately teeth and claw came barreling down on me.

As a hunter, I was pretty mobile – I could roll to either side and contextual prompts let me know when a lion was jumping at me from behind. Hitting the right button at this moment slows down time and you get a few seconds to aim at a vital organ on your attacker. These lions don't observe the classic kung-fu movie stereotype of never attacking when the good guy is turned away, of course.

Surrounded by a pack of lions, I had a few weapons: my scoped rifle, a shotgun, and a magnum. The shotgun was clearly the choice here, a good option for controlling crowds of anything. It's also a good gauge to judge any shooter by – flat shotguns mean flat game, I've found. This boomstick really fit the bill.

After that encounter, I was shown a "Horde Mode" variant in Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013 where lions attack you forever. I was in heaven and stacked the bodies until my co-op partner – Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013 only supports split-screen play, I should clarify – eventually died. Me, I killed a lot of lions and lived to tell you all about it.

Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013 is an attempt to capture a subset of gamers that have evaded the series: those searching for uncomplicated shooting action and fans of narrative-driven experiences. Though I didn't get a chance to learn much about The Brothers Cabela, shooting lions was fun. A few more hours behind my boomstick and I could've knocked another offender off the endangered species list and into extinction.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.