I’ve always sort of felt guilty for never really allowing myself the chance to get into the Monster Hunter series. I briefly played MH3 Ultimate but never got too serious with it. After the latest entry was unveiled at E3 in 2017, I pranced at a perfect new opportunity to try once again.
Right out of the gate, World begins in a far more visually impressive manner than its predecessors. The dialogue and voice acting are both excellent, although some of the lip syncing can be off. It certainly wouldn’t be unusual for players to get the impression that the characters of World won’t really grow on them (I mean come on, most of them don’t even have real names). Still, the slight enhancement to a more narrative-driven Monster Hunter experience is certainly a very welcome addition.
Shortly upon starting the game, players are given the the opportunity to create both a player character and an assistant, otherwise known as a Palico, which you will be seeing your fair share of throughout the game. While not a new addition to the series, the customization here is quite robust. Appearance is pretty important in a game where you could be seeing your character for potentially hundreds of hours. I also found that mixing and matching the armour sets I crafted almost always looked good on my character no matter what other equipment I was rocking, which is quite impressive on Capcom’s part.
Shortly after players design their character and Palico, the opportunity to embark on World’s first quest is presented and serves as the foundation for showcasing the Monster Hunter experience at its core. New to World are Scoutflies, a small swarm of flies that can guide players to monsters they are searching for. Though only a small addition, it has a tremendous impact as players no longer have to worry about tracking down monsters entirely on their own.
Needless to say, the real meat and potatoes of Monster Hunter is tracking down beasts, both big and small, engaging them in combat, and harvesting fragments of their bodies to craft armour and weapons. All of the different weapon types and ways to fight makes hunting down monsters a constant thrill, even if they are ones you’ve fought plenty of already. The co-op aspect of World is impressive as ever, as you work with up to four other players to take down monsters. World introduces SOS Flares, the ability for players to request assistance from other hunters and help them combat formidable monsters. In my experience I found that whenever I needed to rely on SOS Flares, at least one player always showed up, even if it may take a small while.
One of Monster Hunter’s greatest assets comes not in its combat, but in the experimentation associated with it. The numbers that surface from monsters reflect how much damage you are outputting, so if those numbers seem low you can try attacking the monster from different angles in an effort to pinpoint potential weak spots.
Learning the ins and outs of fighting monsters has been simply invigorating, but once I successfully took down my first “big” monster I knew World had only fastened my seat belt for what will no doubt be one hell of a ride to come. While my initial few hours had me overwhelmed learning new concepts, I ended up spending a total of 20 hours of my weekend with the game. The more I play, the more I learn and the more I want to play.
Monster Hunter: World is absolutely one of the most impressive game release of 2018 so far, and you should definitely consider trying it if you haven’t already. It is out now for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with a PC release scheduled for sometime this fall.