Back in January 2018, Capcom released Monster Hunter World. But a recent urge to hunt some creature brought me back to the game since I last played back in the early months of 2018. I’d be playing the franchise since the old days of PSP addition, Monster Hunter: Freedom 2. So when there was a version coming to the next-gen home consoles, the excitement was too much to bare. For those of you who are new to the franchise, the premise of the game is for you and a group of up to 3 other hunters, to visit a number of different biomes and hunt a variety of creatures.
You and your friends are part of the Third Fleet Company, who are making the journey to the New World, to investigate the “Elder Crossing”. In order to complete your mission, you must visit different areas of the New World, where you investigate the beautifully designed surroundings in order to learn more about your next hunt. The attention to detail in the next-gen creatures is incredible. Each creature exhibits unique behaviours, which is nothing new to Monster Hunter, but MHW takes it to the next level. I’ll never forget the excitement, Dale and I had over the Radobaan rolling around in the boneyard to rebuild its defences. Each creature presents its own challenge and it’s up to you too study the movements and trace its tracks, so you can update your Monster Hunter Guide and discover it’s weaknesses, drops and breakable parts.
Multiple creatures can now be found in one quest, some of which appear unannounced and can interrupt your task, which can come of as a nuisance. When two or more creatures met in an area, they engage in a turf war, which can be used to your advantage and provides you with some sweet research points. You are also now able to use your environment to your advantage, as you kick Paratoads to paralyze or cut vines holding massive rocks to drop on your prey. But my favourite part of the game is that it is up to you to learn about creatures, weak points and survey your environment to discover new ways to bring down the creatures.
To improve your chances to capture or slay the next creature, you must improve your arsenal of weapons and armour and your Palico (more on your trusty companion in a moment), from the carcass of your previous kill. I know, not the most ethical game. Certain creature provides different elemental and status effects, you have to prepare for each hunt, using this knowledge to your advantage. Your Palico, is your trusted feline companion, who is used if there is one or two of you in a quest. They provide a number of different advantages, such as melee and defence bonuses. However, they take the challenge away from the game, as they provide you with constant healing, taking strategy away from using potions and other meds at a certain time.
You have a choice of 10 styles of weapons, which provide their own benefits and weaknesses. I have a tendency to switch between long sword, bow and charge blade. You are provided with the very little tutorial on the best combos, although you can practice in the training arena and there is a button map on the top right of the corner of the screen. Again, this makes the game a little more challenging as you learn the best combos and what best suits your style of play through practice and eventual failure.
One complaint I do have about the game is the pacing, the investigations can really suck the fun out of the game, as you walk around the areas, aimlessly looking for the smallest details and can feel like hours have passed. In fact, this was the reason I stopped playing back in February. Whilst you also have to go off and complete collection tasks to improve your farm, weaponry and gadgets. My friends and I have easily put 40 plus hours into the game and find ourselves only around half way around the story. I understand longevity in a game, but Monster Hunter World can at times feel overly repetitive, as you have to hunt a certain creature eight to ten times in order to get a full armour set. Or you have to visit the same area about 1000 times before you reach the next. But they have done well to introduce new creatures at a steady pace through updates and not paid DLC and there seems to be a long-term plan to the game.
This game is best played online, you can join up to three other hunters, who can join through the use of SOS flares or through preplanned quests. You can invite players to your session’s gathering hub, where you can arm wrestle and trade Guild Cards. Guild Cards provide information about what type of hunter you’re getting involved with, as you can see what weapons they used and their most hunted creature. I have developed a really bad OCD with my Guild Card, the first impression does count after all. You are also able to set up guilds with other players and set up sessions specifically with these players. The online system does allow you to control who enters your game, through the use of passcodes.
The game is amazing as the graphics are top of the range, fulfilling a balance between anime and realistic. The environments are beautiful and unique, constantly keeping you on your toes, as you fight a large range of creatures, large and small. Although badly paced, the story can keep you intrigued for several hours, as you feel the urge to discover why the Elder Crossing takes place and understand the creatures. The challenge of the game comes from needing to learn about the creatures behaviours and weaknesses, your style of play and what weapons suit you, the sometimes annoyingly high HP of the creatures (which can take you up to a good 40 minutes to capture or slay).
Monster Hunter World gets a high 8 out of 10 from me.