Monster Hunter World is the newest instalment in the long-running Monster Hunter series from Capcom. The first game was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2004 gaining huge popularity in Japan and other Asian markets. The series failed to gain the large following it possibly deserved in the west. I use the word ‘possibly’ as Monster Hunter World is the very first experience this reviewer had of the series. According to many sources, this is the most accessible of the series, I shudder to think how dense and unintuitive previous entries must have been.
the gameplay loop is rewarding and addictive
A Story that Doesn’t Really Matter…
In Monster Hunter World you play a hunter who travels to an island full of monsters as part of a large fleet, on the trail of a gargantuan elder dragon. That’s really all there is to say about the story, it serves its purpose of introducing the player to different areas and monsters on the island, but the star of the show here is the hunting. You hunt a new monster, you hopefully slay it, collect some parts which you can then use to craft armour and weapons, repeat.
The fragility of your character, of course, adds challenge and makes a lot of sense with the scale of the monsters
Monster Hunter World is a dense game, there are complex mechanics and an occasionally very steep difficulty curve but the gameplay loop is rewarding and addictive. There is a lot of information Monster Hunter World has to give to the player but it’s meted out in very digestible portions. The player’s hunter has an assistant and she is the one who fills the player in on what they need to know and who in the base camp ‘Astera’ they need to talk to next.
The hunts are wonderfully dynamic
…What Matters is the Hunt
The satisfaction of bringing down a creature many times the size of the player never wanes. The player will be expected to hunt the same creature over and over if they want enough to complete the armour set but it’s never a chore. The hunts are wonderfully dynamic, with chases through the undergrowth and enormous monsters blasting through the large pillars of stone the player was just cowering behind. As a main attraction around which to base a game, the hunts are magnificent.
Missions can be completed with up to four players online and offline the player is joined by a bipedal cat or ‘Palico’, who is usually a lot of help. Taking the place of a good team of humans, the Palico will gather materials in the environment, heal the player and occasionally, and vey helpfully distract the current target of the hunt. There is a robust character creation for both the player’s character and their anthropomorphic feline buddy.
The monsters the player fights have a variety of moves that can take a negligent player for half their healthbar
There are missions to complete where the player is tasked with hunting a specific creature and for some reason all of these missions have a timer. They are generous to the point where one wonders about their inclusion, the best guess this reviewer came up with is that this is a leftover from earlier games; feel free to correct that assumption though.
Be careful of that enormous monster that wants to eat you
The monsters the player fights have a variety of moves that can take a negligent player for half their healthbar. Two or three direct hits, depending on the monster, and the player will faint, waking up in camp. Usually, missions will allow you three faints before you fail the mission completely. The fragility of your character, of course, adds challenge and makes a lot of sense with the scale of the monsters.
The hunts will often span large distance as at some points the monster the player is hunting can flee, though they are easily followed. This is due to the scoutflies which will guide the player along the shortest path to find the monster that’s just legged it due to the thrashing they have been on the end of. The scoutflies will also point out collectible herbs and bugs in the world.
Lots of ways to hunt them monsters
In terms of weaponry the player has a lot of choice; we have are a total of 14 weapon types available here. With many different versions of each weapon for the player to unlock as they play, slay and gather more crafting parts. There are enormous slow moving hammers, fast twin daggers and several ranged weapons including bows and something that looks like a light machine gun.
The amount of play-styles catered for here is certainly impressive. For this review I decided to focus on three different weapons as this review may be posted in March if I took an in-depth look at all 14. The Long sword, the dual blades and the bow were the ones chosen, they all brought something different and much more impressively they were all viable.
The UI looks like it’s a combination of three UI’s all onscreen at the same time
The player doesn’t level up as would be expected in a more traditional RPG, instead, as hunts are successfully completed the gains hunter ranks. The stat boosts come from the new armour and weapons that the player will craft as the end monsters. All the armour and weapons in Monster Hunter World can be upgraded to keep them viable.
Stop showing me that
There are a few things here which will annoy some people. The one that irritated this reviewer the most was the fact that every time the player orders a meal or forges a new weapons there is an unskippable cut-scene. These cut-scenes are only around 5 seconds long, but every time they started it was like nails on a chalkboard. The UI looks like it’s a combination of three UIs all onscreen at the same time. Some of the menus can be a bit overwhelming.
Looks Alright, Sounds Better
Graphically Monster Hunter World is…. fine. The areas all look quite different, with different climates and the changing of day to night add variety. The creature and character design movement are top notch all of the monsters look like they could exist in some nightmare. There are issues however the framerates could occasionally be described as shuddery. If there is distance between the player and some of the flying creatures their movement looks very shoddy. None of this really impacts the enjoyment to be had here and Monster Hunter World usually works when it has to.
The roars, howls and cries of pain of the terrifying giants the player hunts are fantastic. There are plenty of visual cues when a Monster is about to attack, the audio cues are just as important, the player has to be on the move all the time and getting those clear indications of danger even with their back to their quarry is very welcome.
A Worthy Investment of Time and Money
Monster Hunter World is a game that held the interest of this reviewer for many tens of hours and will be played for many weeks to come. The gameplay loop is repetitive from a distance but the appeal quickly becomes apparent. As the player starts to unlock more armour sets and there are only a few monster scales missing to construct the helmet and the greaves, this reviewer happily ventured back out into the wilds sometimes to slay the same monster over and over again. The Monster Hunter series deserves to attract many more fans in the west with this robust and entertaining entry.