REVIEW – After nearly a decade of not being on a home console, and with many fans clamoring for a high-resolution version of Monster Hunter to be enjoyed by fans of Xbox and PlayStation users.It was not just about the graphics though, as Monster Hunter needed a revival of sorts. As ever since the 3DS era there has not been many refreshing ideas within Monster Hunter, and the franchise while boasting Dark Soulsian difficulty never became a cultural phenomenon since it was limited to the handheld. It is also an obscure game, that does not like to inform the player outright on how the mechanics work within Monster Hunter’s world.
This has all changed with the release of Monster Hunter: World, and after playing nearly thirty hours of it, capturing, killing, and surviving monster battles I can safely say that this is the point to jump into the franchise for those interested. As while Monster Hunter: World is streamlined, it is by no means a simplistic, or dumbed down game. Capcom has gone above and beyond for World, and the four years it was in development definitely shows, the question remains though if the player base from Xbox and PlayStation is up for this monster slaying game.
Onwards to the New World!
A new addition to the franchise is a fully fleshed out story mode with voice actors. The game starts out with the player arriving on the Fifth Fleet’s ship that is heading out to The New World. A place where monsters migrate to every ten years for some unknown reason. This is what Humanity has been trying to figure out for a while now, but all previous fleets have failed. Now with Elder Dragons also migrating to the new continent, it is up to us to figure out the nature of the migration… or just try to slaughter all of them, or capture them.
The story is pretty simple, and generic, plus the lipsynch is all over the place with sometimes the voice acting simply just cutting out for the text to take over during missions. Plus there is nothing else besides all of the NPCs lack any depth, all they can talk about is how long they have been on the new continent, and how the Hunt is the only thing they live for. So if you were expecting a Shakespearian storyline, you have come to the wrong place.
Guides, Manuals, and Slaughtering
The game’s first two or three hours is mostly an extended tutorial, providing depth, and information for the player. It is not advisable to rush through the text as it does give the necessary, and even provides tactics to defeat certain monsters. In order to learn more about monsters, the player needs to track monsters, pick up monster parts, or analyze footprints. Finding monsters is assisted by the scout flies – these green flies allow you to track monsters, and also highlight valuable resources around the environment.
After doing enough of these trackings for the monsters, the map will reveal where the actual monster is. Also once in a battle with a monster, and defeating it, you will gain additional notes to a guide called The Fieldguide. The field guide has two sections, one is for the scout flies as to how quickly they can track monsters, and the other is for the monsters themselves showing what weak points they have and what elements the monster is weak to. It provides an in-depth summary for players, and ease of access. Plus it is never enough just to grab a sword and to hit the monster forever – as the game requires the player to use a bit of tactic.
The main hub world is called Astera where the player can trade, gather allies, and forge new items and armors.
There are fourteen weapons (including melee and long-range weapons) in Monster Hunter: World, that range from the simple longsword to the more complex weapons such as the Switch Axe, or the Iron Assault. There is a combination of weapons that serve as a close and long range such as the Gun Lance, and furthermore, all weapons have an upgrade tree which allows the player to forge new types of weapons. Materials are gathered from defeated monsters, and also from quests that give the player special rewards. While there is an abundance of weapons, it is advisable to pick a weapon to master, as all of the weapons have their distinct animation, strengths, and weaknesses. There is also an option to toggle that shows on the screen what attack combo can be made after pressing a button, which allows newcomers to the series to create devastating attacks against monsters.
Combat itself can be frustrating, as there is no auto lock on for attacks so that the player will need to time and distance itself properly from the monsters. There are myriad of ways to trap, kill, or capture a monster and it is up to the player as to how they decide to resolve an encounter with a monster. While this game might seem like your typical whack-a-mole MMO / or Diablo grindfest there is quite a lot of preparation needed to deal with a monster.
The gameplay of Monster Hunter: World, in the end, might seem for some as a grind with no depth, but that is far from the truth based on the time I had with the game.
Sights and Sounds of a New Opportunity
The game runs on the MT Framework engine, and while that looked good for Devil May Cry 4 or for Lost Planet, here the engine seems to be struggling in certain situations. The world looks diverse and full of intricate places to explore. The monsters are also detailed, have fluid animations, great sound design, and unique behavior patterns.
The struggle for the engine starts happening on the base consoles, where on the PS4 and Xbox One S it ran okay, but in more intense situations the machines chug a bit. Also on the bases machines, the textures are blurry and lack sharpness around the edges. Luckily if you have a PS4pro or an Xbox One X, the game looks great, especially on a 4K TV. Sound and music design is okay, with the music being a bit repetitive on the trying to be epic scale. Weapon and monster sounds are impactful, and some of the monsters are scary as hell when you hear them charging against you. Sadly though lipsynching is a bit messed up, and can result in some bad storytelling during the campaign.
There’s also a bit of an issue with the multiplayer, which has not been properly working up until today, as a new patch rolled out. Even with the patches though joining, and dropping into games is not as easy as it seems. There are certain limitations such as viewing a cutscene before people can enter a session, or people needing to meet up at the gathering hub to start a quest together.
In the end Monster Hunter: World looks great and sounds good, but there are some technical issues that do not elevate it to the best.
The Hunt is On!
Monster Hunter: World is probably the most friendly entry of the franchise and a great starting point for newcomers. Yet that does not mean it is easy to play, or not difficult. Instead, it provides enough explanation for players to understand the basic mechanics and not to get stuck on the first monster attack.
+ Lots of monster variety
+ Combat is tough and fun
+ Environments are well designed
– Combat can be a bit janky
– Storyline is generic
– Graphics, and sound design can be lacking
Genre: Action Role-Playing
Release date: January 26, 2018