Titles to video games don’t get much more spot on than with Monster Hunter. There are monsters, you hunt them, kill them and then hunt more monsters. At a glance, this is all that the game seems to be and both its glacial pace and seeming simplicity has rebuffed players for years now. However, Monster Hunter World looks to be the game which might change that.
The words “broader audience” are something which many fandoms have come to rightfully fear, but Monster Hunter World is one of the few which does this right. It’s still extraordinarily hard, still requires considerable time and deduction on the part of the player, and the combat is notably layered. However, the world this time has undergone a notable upgrade. Along with a stunning improvement to the series’ visuals, there is a much higher number of transitory quests and memorable NPC appearances. Figures will more readily come and go from the hub areas, with many proving to be remarkably memorable and even join in with certain quests.
The monsters themselves are a broad mix of varied designs, body types and species. From ten meter tall Dodos to Godzilla-lite, you have no shortage of creatures to hunt down and ambush. From this point on, the real challenge comes from learning their weaknesses, attack patterns and just how to slowly overwhelm them. The fact that many are extremely persistent to the point of chasing you for miles at a time, or even over dangerous terrain, creates new dangers and strategies to exploit. Even here you can find a way to bounce back though, as the addition of an SOS flare mechanic can be used to call other players into the battle.
Where the game falls short is in certain player choices. While the variety of weapons is a welcome addition, there’s no denying that a distinct few have major benefits over others here. Many of the slower and heavier types lack the same versatility as their lighter counterparts, and all too often leave you open to being abruptly squashed. Furthermore, while many essential systems have been streamlined for player use, farming the resources needed for it is frustratingly time consuming. Often to the point where you can feel as if you are performing MMO style skill grinds.
Monster Hunter World is set to be the Yakuza 0 of its franchise. Capturing much of what made the series so engaging, it remains open to new players and even throws in a few welcome twists on old formats. Fans who can enjoy the clunky but highly focused combat of Dark Souls, or even simply the idea of stalking vast behemoths for their bones, should add this to their wishlist immediately.
MONSTER HUNTER WORLD / DEVELOPER & PUBLISHER: CAPCOM / PLATFORM: PC, PLAYSTATION 4, XBOX ONE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW