PREVIEW – After many years of absence from all other consoles, Monster Hunter is finally going multiplatform, as the fifth main entry in the series will be released on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. While predominantly the series has been mainly on the Nintendo consoles (with a brief beginning on the PS2, and an MMO version on the PC) – many have been clamoring for a wider release of the franchise, and for home consoles no less with spectacular graphics.
Well, the wait is finally over as Capcom is bringing the series in 2018 to the wider audience, and with that many hardcore fans of the series were left asking: „Will there be a lot of dumbing down, and streamlining?” Based on the footage we have seen so far the answer is: Maybe?
The Original Souls
While Dark Souls exploded into the mainstream media, Monster Hunter has always been on the fringe in terms of popularity. Sure it was beloved on Nintendo’s consoles, but many felt that the presentation (and the exclusivity to a handheld console), was not enough for many people to jump in and experience the franchise. With Monster Hunter World, Capcom is spreading its wings updating the franchise in ways that many will revitalize the series (since pretty much the 3DS not much innovation has been made). Monster Hunter has always been a bit of a conservative series when it comes to major gameplay overhauls. The fans of the mainline series are very finicky about change – and the series could alienate some of them, it really does seem to open up the franchise for the less skillful players in a few ways. People need to remember that before Dark Souls, this series was „Dark Souls.” It was an obscure series, with back breaking difficulty, a weird lore, and the game barely provided any explanation of its mechanics.
One world, many foes, and new ideas
This all changes with Monster Hunter World. The graphics are now powered by a modified MT Framework which powered such games Lost Planet series, Resident Evil 5-6, and Dragon’s Dogma. It looked gorgeous and compared to the old Nintendo 3DS, and even the Switch version it is a blessing to see the series in such visual quality finally. Instead of low-quality polygons, and blurry textures we now see the monsters and weapons in full detail – and all the effects based on the footage looks superb.
Not only the graphics have changed, but the way the levels are connected, and how it functions. With the added power of the PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, the levels are now interconnected so there are no loading screens that interrupt the gameplay flow. Almost all of the weapons return from the previous games will return, although the different special features from Monster Hunter 4 and Generations have been cut (Hunting Arts and Prowler Mode has been cut). Instead, we will get a grappling hook, that allows us more verticality, and also scout flies. The scout flies are small green flies that help us track a monster in the world, and we have to search for clues for a certain monster so that the flies will have a better chance of tracking them. This entails scanning footprints and searching the environments for clues so that in the end the flies can hone in on the beasts. In singleplayer we are aided by a Palico (cat like species.), and in multiplayer up to four players can go against the beasts.
There will be a story included for the low-level quests, but that needs to be considered as a tutorial of sorts, and the true game will begin at high-level quests. Furthermore, with the new platforms, Capcom is also thinking of implementing limited time event quests., for the players to experience with special rewards.
A new world order
In the end, Capcom seems to be taking the series in a direction that while makes it more accessible, does not lower it in terms of difficulty. The new graphics engine and gameplay elements are a welcome change since the series has been chained to the Nintendo system for such a long time.
These might make it a success:
+ Monster Hunter finally on mainstream consoles!
+ Grappling hook, and open worlds without loading screens
+ Four player co-op
These might make it a disappointment:
– Too much streamlining
– Could become too easy due to the changes
– Might be repetitive
Genre: Action role-playing
Relase date: Q1 2018