The Monster Hunter World reveal at E3 2017 left a gaping hole in my heart: one that can’t be remedied simply by playing other hunting games. There was something so different about it compared to its predecessors, and I’m not just talking from a visual standpoint. The teaser showed various new features such as hiding from monsters, tracking down your target via footprints, and effectively trapping or damaging them using the environment. Everything just looked so different, and I for one was ready to drop my many hunting titles so I could give this new game a shot. The more I watched, the more curious I became as to how this new Monster Hunter will play once it makes its way to the current generation of home consoles and PC. Alas, the wait is over, and now we can finally see how life is inside this new world.
Monster Hunter World is the latest addition to the Monster Hunter franchise, bringing with it a myriad of changes that not only smooths the experience for veteran players, but it also streamlines the series to be a bit more welcoming to new hunters. While some fans may feel alienated due to the streamlining of content, Monster Hunter World does enough to please both new and veteran players alike; the said changes feel more like modernizing rather than dumbing down what is known to be an overwhelming series. Monster Hunter Wold is indeed different from its predecessors but does a good job showing that sometimes ‘being different can be better.’
Welcome to the New world
The subtitle ‘World’ sums up the game pretty nicely. Monster Hunter World’s areas are brimming with life, from the treacherous vine-filled terrain to the hustle and bustle of the main towns. The game has established somewhat of an ecosystem that perfectly complements the game’s theme of a monster inhabited world. This increases its overall immersion with moments such as a pack of Jagras attacking a wounded predator, or a Diablos engaging on a territorial dispute with another monster. Monster Hunter World breathes life into its behemoths like never before, further fleshing out their habitat as they coexist with other prey and predators in their respective zones. It gives you a clearer idea of each monster’s placement in the world’s respective food chain, which at times make for good popcorn moments.
Another new addition is the story mode, pitting the player as a member of the Fifth Fleet, who made their way into the New World in search for a migrating Elder Dragon. Sad to say, if you’re looking for a rich storyline with highly fleshed out characters and satisfying twists then you will be sorely disappointed. Monster Hunter World’s story is as basic and straightforward as it can be and merely functions as a lengthy tutorial for the new players to get better acquainted with different monsters, status effects, and some of its key features before attempting the latter tiers.
Monster Hunter has always been about doing your best to prepare for the next hunt. You always need to know which armor set to wear, what food to eat, and what items to place in your bag in preparation for what you might get inflicted with, especially in the latter stages of the game. Indeed, what I truly enjoyed about the franchise is how it values preparation, such as how bringing a few Astera Jerkies can turn a hunt from a bleeding nightmare to a game of whack-a-mole—-err–Odogaron.
Monster Hunter World still carries the same grindy loop of hunting, looting, and crafting, albeit with a series of quality of life changes that not only makes it more accessible for new players, but also a smoother experience for returning ones. Hunters are now able gather materials while running across the map, as well as not having to wait ages per swing of your pickaxe. It ‘s a welcomed change as it makes for a better uptime on your target.
Moving on to combat, the game still retains its precision-based strikes and tight attack windows, with some added fluidity via sliding down slopes and jumping off platforms to give you more attack variants depending on the situation. Bringing more depth to its battle system is its arsenal of 14 different weapon types to choose from. Each type has its own unique playstyle and upgrade trees for you to spend your spoils on. The implementation of weapon trees are indeed very helpful as players are now given a more detailed graph of what to expect upon upgrading their gear. In addition to that, being able to downgrade your weapon from a certain state and refund materials effectively lessens the overall grind as well.
Returning players will also be glad to know that you will now be able to move around while chugging down potions, or even roll out of specific actions to avoid heavy punishment. Gone are the days of posing like a complete idiot and eating that fireball. Most of the downtime have also been addressed via the inclusion of a Canteen and loadout selection inside the camping grounds, along with the option to start a new quest from there without having to leave the premises. You can even send out an SOS flare to seek the aid of other players online, in case you started the mission alone and are having trouble with a certain monster.
The areas in the game feel more diverse than ever before, with an intense amount of detail and interactivity that really breathes life into these dens. The visual overhaul delivers in making the new world feel unwelcoming and hostile, which is important to portray how dangerous these missions are from the hunter’s perspective.
The traditional instanced zones were also phased out in favor of large encompassing maps, eliminating the need for loading screens when moving from one section to another. Zones no longer appear as flat as they once did, catering maze like structures that require a lot of traversing. Expect to slide down ditches, swing across ledges, and squeeze through tightly knit vines as your Scoutflies lead you towards your target. These areas also contain a series of interactable elements such as loose boulders to help you turn the tide against the monster you are hunting.
Monster Hunter World is crazy generous with things to do, and you will always find yourself working on or for something of significance, making it easy to forget the hundreds of hours you’ve invested into its enjoyable grindy loop.
As far as hunting games are concerned, Monster Hunter World has taken the hunting genre into the next generation. One of the biggest changes in the game thus far is how tracking monsters is handled. Unlike the previous titles, Monster Hunter World equips players with Scoutflies, which highlights various portions of the map, revealing monster tracks, skid marks, and evidence of them preying on other beasts. Investigating these points of interest will enable the flies to track your target, as well as some gatherables around the map. It’s no different from using an item to pinpoint a monster’s location in older titles, and it functions much more intuitively than simply running off to where you saw the monster on your last hunt. It’s an immersive system that does well in emphasizing your role as a monster hunter.
Hunting is made more efficient by the inclusion of the Hunter’s Notes, featuring a gradually expanding Monster Field Guide that contains various information on all the monsters you have encountered or hunted. Key information such as the monster’s physiology, vulnerable parts, or which limbs to break for a specific drop was long hidden from fans of the series and would often prompt some wiki page visits to not waste precious time. It’s really nice that we can have this feature in-game. The presence of damage numbers also helps in optimizing your hunting performance, with the numbers’ colors delivering feedback on the vulnerability of a specific part. You can turn this feature off, should you wish for a more old-school hunting feel.
Learning Curve: 8/10
The past Monster Hunter games have always been known for their high and intimidating learning curve. While fans of the series do see it as a justified difficulty spike in comparison to other games, it’s also what deters new players from ever picking up their first Monster Hunter title. Those who are well versed in ‘feel-good’ hack-and-slash titles may find themselves at the mercy of a Rathian’s poisonous tail if they’re not too careful. Thankfully, Monster Hunter World was made with new players in mind, offering helpful tips and tutorials that prepare neophyte hunters for the more convoluted parts of the game. The weapon tutorials are still a little cryptic, but having a weapons training ground does well in letting players practice weapon combos and situational swings. I guess it’s not really Monster Hunter if it holds your hand all the way to the end.
Graphics / Sound: 10/10
Despite the game’s sequential releases since the PS2 era, this is perhaps the first time the series has undergone a complete visual overhaul. Monster Hunter World looks gorgeous and outshines all of its previous iterations visually. It now sports a pseudo-realistic tone that still captures the humorous essence of the franchise, while giving it that much needed visual spit shine expected from a ‘next generation’ title. Seeing the old armor sets in this new engine was highly satisfying, and really highlights the series’ transition to the current gen’s graphical fidelity.
The musical score is superb and really adds a lot of tension in fights, from the sense of urgency brought upon by Zorah Magdaros’ music to the haunting melody that accompanies the vicious Odogaron as it stalks you from afar. The sound effects are also very solid and deliver that loud and satisfying crunch whenever you land a clean hit on a monster’s vital point.
I pride Monster Hunter World for being a complete game amidst the sea of DLC centered titles rampant today, especially with the trend of games charging for half the game’s content via season passes and the whole lootbox fiasco. There’s just so much to do in its current state, with micro transactions revolving around cosmetics and stickers only at the moment. While some may be turned off by being charged for vanity items, I’m glad that those who buy the game can expect the whole experience out of the box—unless they bought it for said cosmetics of course.
Monster updates are said to be free of charge, with the first major DLC coming in the form of everyone’s favorite triple-threat partner: Deviljho. While we still don’t have any news regarding G-rank, it’s something I wouldn’t mind paying for. With a price tag of $59.99, Monster Hunter World is worth every penny.
Monster Hunter World is, bar none, the best Monster Hunter game to date. Not only did it succeed in delivering a solid hunting game to the new generation of consoles (and the PC at a much later date), it also implemented a series of much-needed quality of life changes that makes the overall experience better for old and new players alike.
The game is overflowing with content and, regardless of what you are farming, there is little time that feels wasted. The Scoutflies were a nice touch, replacing the brainless area scouting with a more intuitive way of tracking down monsters. Adding the Hunter’s Notes were also a vital change, as players can now have access to key information without having to browse wiki pages and other unofficial guides. Monster Hunter World has really set the bar high, not only for itself but for the hunting genre as a whole.
- Amazing visuals
- Great quality of life changes
- Literally hundreds of hours of content
- A great game for players who are interested in trying the franchise
- Weapon tutorials are still a little cryptic
- Storyline could have been better
- SOS flares are a bit bothersome to find at times
- Matchmaking options may take some getting used to