Release: January 26, 2018
Series: Monster Hunter
Genre(s): Action role-playing
Developer & Publisher: Capcom
Director: Yuya Tokuda
Producer(s): Hironobu Takeshita, Shingo Izumi, Kazunori Inoue
Designer(s): Teruki Endo, Yugo Togawa
Programmer(s): Yuuki Ooi, Kota Fukasawa
Artist(s): Kaname Fujioka
Composer(s): Akihiko Narita, Zhenlan Kang
Engine: MT Framework
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer
Monster Hunter World is the latest entry in the Monster Hunter franchise which smashed its way onto the Playstation 4 and Xbox on January 26,2018. This entry certainly shares a lot of DNA with it’s predecessors, but ultimately steers the series in a newer more open experience. Monster hunter is just as it sounds: a game where you hunt monsters. The game is completely 3D and multiplayer, fights are real time action, the environment is immersive, and there are so many things you can do. The game features main (hub-like) towns where you will establish a base, accept quests, craft, eat food, do more crafting, and finally, CRAFT. This game has a lot of crafting and it works really well. A lot of new and returning features are present in Monster Hunter World and we will break them down below.
For starters, the game features a rather meaty story with quite a few quests and quirky NPCS. While the quests are pretty standard and usually range from finding a missing person, protecting a person, charting a map, they usually end in the same way: a boss fight. This works because fighting is where the game really shines. The combat is very fluid, responsive, and balanced (difficulty wise)… except for when you get to that first T-Rex that spits flames, chews you up, calls you funny names and steals your girlfriend (but for real… FU#% that guy). Aside from the main story missions, players can partake in a series of other activities:
A free-roaming mode where you are free to explore the map, research the monsters, kill/capture the monsters, and collect/harvest materials.
These consist of the main quests (without the cut-scenes) after you beat them if you wish to farm a particular boss. As well as other requests that NPCs might give you along your journey.
This is where the game really shines. These are basically mini quests that you that often require the killing or capturing of certain monsters. These quests are found randomly throughout the game. These are super helpful when you want to farm a particular boss because they will Always spawn when on their investigations. These also offer a series of other world modifiers like: increased materials from the boss, increased harvesting/collection points and other interesting alterations.
These are like normal quests but are more difficult and usually offer unique and powerful rewards.
To complement the above gameplay modes there are wide arrays of gear options to tackle any challenge. While the shear amount of weapons and armor is not new to the series, the way in which players can farm the materials and craft the pieces feels much more user and time friendly. The game wants you to spend as much time kicking teeth as possible and I think the changes to crafting and farming allow for this.
It should be important to note, that weapons and armor are independent and can be used in any combination the player wants. This will allow you to mix and match armor with the skills and effects that suit your play style. Here is a list of all available weapon types:
Sword and Shield
That is a LOT of choices, and luckily your player starts with the basic version of each weapon and can take advantage of the training grounds available through your housekeeper. This will teach you the combos and offer any tutorials for the more unique and advanced weapon mechanics. The game features the usual RPG status effects such as buffs, debuffs and elemental attacks that can be supplemented by armor and weapons. Aside from this, players will be able to outfit their own little palico helper! A friendly cat that will aid you in your journey (and hit you with CLUTCH heals).
For a game that is full of giant monsters (that want to know what your insides look like) the ability to have meticulously placed attacks and retreats is a must. Luckily, this game is mechanically solid. The core mechanics consist of running, dodging, climbing, swinging, some (limited) jumping, some flying, and of course fighting. The combat can best be described as a mix between the original monster hunter games and ‘the Witcher’ series. That is, it combines all of the great weapon combos from Monster Hunter with the fluidity of The Witcher 3. I was worried at first that the enemies would feel overpowered or that I would often feel cheated… but no, this game found the right balance and tempo for combat. The bosses have unique, but learnable move sets and the sheer amount of weapons and armor that can outfit your character gives each play style a completely unique feel.
Mixing and matching weapons and armor to find the best combination that works for you is what this game is all about. Everything feels really well-balanced, and the variety of monsters you will encounter will force you to use other weapon and armor combos, which might normally be a bad thing, but not in this case. The improved crafting and fluidity of the gameplay makes learning new weapons an absolute blast. To those who might be new to monster hunter franchise, weapons do not use a traditional durability statistic, but rather a gauge that drains as you use your weapons (from green to red). The sharper your weapon, the more effective it is. To combat this, each player has unlimited sharpening stones that can be used anytime in the field… I would advise refraining from using it while… say… idk…a giant t-rex is about to ingest you (which NEVER happens… EVER). I would encourage all players to experiment.
Aside from the weapons and armor, this game also features an extensive amount of items that a payer can use at any time. Healing items, items to buff you, items to capture monsters, items to distract monsters and SO MUCH MORE. The HUD can feel a bit overcrowded and overwhelming at first, but after your first few hours it will become second nature and you will find it very helpful. I will say that the scout flies (which highlights collectible items and tracks monsters) can be a bit confusing at first. The game would benefit from having different colored scout flies for the different tracking’s (i.e Green for monster trails and red/blue for collectibles).
The gameplay is rock solid, fluid and responsive. The interface has been given a serious overhaul and is far less overwhelming to new players. Harvesting high use items (potions etc.) is now a breeze with the option to auto craft once the materials are collected in the field. Re-sharpening weapons is also much less stressful since whetstones are now infinite. The monsters themselves can have unpredictable move patterns and can actually fight each other so each fight feels fresh. The variety of game modes and equipment are fantastic and implemented in a way that is not overwhelming. The graphics are beautiful for all characters, monsters, and the open world, there are very few FPS drops, and everything flows together nicely.
The Not So Good
Although the game has a lot of good, some elements seem a little off. Most of these are easily fixable and will hopefully be addressed in coming updates.
The climbing mechanic:
The ability to climb (sometimes) on the larger monsters is awesome, but the indicators for your current grip is confusing to read and is inconsistent at best.
The lack of a damage indication:
This can be a real problem in larger fights. It is not always obvious when a player takes a hit and receives damage. This is problematic because without an indication, players will have no reason to look at their health bars. I have died a few times because of this (also, I suck).
When fighting bosses, they often retreat to different zones periodically throughout the fight to heal or regroup. The issue becomes when a boss is close to death and limping but can still limp faster than I can sprint. I understand this it to make killing them more challenging, but it feels artificial in a game that normally feels so organic.
Like many of the other Monster Hunter titles, there is co-op multiplayer mode (no PvP). You can join or create a game server and work with others to complete quests, or just explore. In a game like monster hunter this is a key element however there seems to be some problems that Capcom should probably smooth over.
Currently, there is no direct way to join an expedition (the free roaming mode) with your party. In order to explore the open world in a group you must shoot/respond to an SOS flare or complete an investigation or mission together and return to camp together (this automatically starts an expedition). The story mission has some serious flaws (this one is important so listen up). Currently, you cannot join another player’s story mission until both players have watched the required cutscenes. This offers two huge problems: it completely breaks the flow of the game, and in order to join a story mission, players must watch the cutscene, wait for the game to prompt ‘SOS Flares are now available’, ‘return’ from mission and THEN join it together. The cut-scenes are unskippable, so why can’t players join together to start? The timing should be correct if all players are watching the same unskippable cutscene at the same time. Clearly some aspects of multiplayer gaming needs some work, and hopefully Capcom will get on these issues soon.
The gripes that I have this game are easily offset by the hours upon hours of fun I have had. The main issues all have workarounds (while annoying, it’s worth it to play). The game is vast, has a great difficulty scaling and will leave players wanting more. This game offers a lot of help to those who are new to the series while keeping with the traditions of old to please even the hardest of core veterans. I would strongly recommend this game!