Ever since the reveal trailer, we’ve all had high expectations for this game. It showed a lot of promise and there was definitely a lot of expectations.
It’s pretty clear that Monster Hunter: World was definitely worth the wait and hype.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: January 26, 2018 | Fall/Autumn 2018 (PC)
This review is based on a review code provided by Capcom. Another review code was provided for multiplayer purposes.
From the very moment you boot up the game and see both the loading and title screens, you’ll feel as if you’re about to embark on one hell of a quest to take down monsters of epic proportions. The game looks great, sounds great, and most importantly, it plays out great.
First up, let’s talk about the story. As part of the 5th fleet, your character is tasked with venturing over to the new world and helping out the Research Commission by either capturing or killing a wide variety of monsters. The whole point of this is to learn about them and understand why they behave the way that they do. However, things get more complicated as there are threats that not even the Commission is prepared for. So it’s up to you to find out what you can about the new world and the monsters that inhabit it.
It’s not much in terms of story and it’s pretty standard for a Monster Hunter game, but its simplicity does not reflect the entirety of the game. I’ll give it this, the cutscenes really make you feel like you’re going up against something that poses an actual threat, especially if you’re watching an intro for a new monster that you’re about to encounter for the first time. It’s just a shame that the English dialogue isn’t exactly the best, but you can tell that the voice actors are trying.
And if you’re expecting any sort of character development, then don’t get your hopes up. None of the important characters in the game have names! One would expect that the companions your character interacts with would at least have something you’d be able to call them. Sadly, you’re stuck with either calling them by their titles like “chief” or “handler”. It’s honestly disappointing, but this as much as you would expect if you’re a veteran of the franchise.
Besides, it’s the gameplay that’s Monster Hunter’s greatest strong·point, and this game really came through with it. If you haven’t played it yet and that you’re planning to soon, then you should understand that Monster Hunter: World will not hold your hand as you go through the game. While it’ll teach you some of the basics such as climbing, attacking, and redirecting the camera, the rest is shared through tutorial windows. If you want to learn more about the different mechanics of the game, then you have to read up on these windows as they contain and provide all of the important information you’re going to need. Don’t skip out on them and take in as much as you can. You can always revisit them through the options if you want.
While this might put off some people, this shouldn’t stop them from playing the game. There are a lot of new mechanics that was tailor-made for both upcoming and returning players.
First, you can now see how much damage you deal with each attack. This may not seem like that much of a big deal, but old players are most likely thankful for its inclusion. By knowing how much damage you’re doing to a monster, you’re easily able to pick out which parts of its body are the ones you should focus your attacks on to bring it down faster. If the damage counters are colored white, then you’re most likely hitting the monster’s tough spots. If they’re orange, then that means you’re hitting their weak points. If you’re having trouble with using weapons or understanding how much damage they deal, then there’s a training area that will let you test them out.
Second would have to be the Scoutflies. These little critters are really helpful as they’re what allow you to pick up on a monster’s trail and lead you straight to them. The only thing that you have to do is find enough footprints, claw marks, dung or basically anything a monster leaves behind for a trail until the scout flies pinpoint the way to the monster for you. And they don’t just lead you to monsters, they can also help you spot any materials that you can gather nearby! This makes it so much easier if you’re running out of stuff to craft consumables or ammo for your weapons.
Third are the mantles. These are new pieces of equipment that are introduced while progressing through the game, and they have a number of effects. One mantle will grant you the ability to stay hidden from enemies temporarily, another can do the exact opposite and draw in monsters toward you, and then there’s one which reduces specific types of damage and the list goes on. With each new mantle you obtain, you’re given new options on how you’re going to approach certain monsters. It’s all about using the right one and this brings a lot of diversity to the game.
And finally, we have the monster battles. This is where the game tells you that the A.I is definitely a step up from all the previous entries in the franchise. While you’re hunting down monsters or taking them on in battle, there’s a chance that another monster might show up and take on whatever it is you’re hunting! There’s nothing more amazing than seeing two gigantic monsters dueling it out and seeing which one of them has the upper hand. Seeing it up close?Even better. You can use this to your advantage by taking down your target while it’s being attacked, you may even get the chance to nab yourself another monster if you think you can take it down! Be warned though, there’s always the possibility where they’ll decide to take you down before finishing each other off. But I have to admit that getting too close to a battle then suddenly getting whacked by a giant monster’s tail and losing a life, as a result, is definitely something I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
The rest of the game is pretty much the same as the previous ones. You have the monster battles, looting their dead carcasses once you’ve taken care of them, using the materials you’ve gathered to create better gear, rinse and repeat. Although it sounds boring, it’s the exact opposite. It’s a game where you can practically lose yourself in as fighting monsters can be a ton of fun! I was playing for what I thought was 15 minutes. When I took a short break just to see what time it was? BOOM! I actually ended up playing for an hour! You can literally lose track of time if you’re that engrossed in the game. Even the simple act of tracking them down can feel rewarding as it made me feel like I was a part of this big hunt.
Speaking of tracking down monsters, old players will know how tedious it is whenever they have to chase down a monster they’re after once it runs away, but thankfully Monster Hunter: World fixes that with their all-new open world environment.
In previous Monster Hunter games, you enter missions in which the entire stage comprises of different areas divided across the map. This would mean that every time you enter and exit a new area, you’re forced into this loading screen which usually takes away the immersion of hunting down a monster. Monster Hunter: World does away with that by turning everything into one big environment where there are no load times, allowing players to explore freely. Every single area that you go through is beautiful and all of them are just the right size in which they’ll allow you to truly appreciate everything that they have to offer.
You can even use the environment to your advantage as there are a ton of different things that will help you get that edge over whatever monster you’re hunting! Just remember to use them wisely as there are some that can negatively affect you if you’re not careful (Paratoads…those goddamn Paratoads).
Oh and this game also brings back the Palicoes! They’re basically feline companions that accompany you throughout the entire the game and they’re a ton of help during combat. They can either deal damage to monsters or they can heal you if ever you’re low on health. They’re pretty handy during rough times and they’re really cute too. I just love seeing these little guys attacking monsters because it actually looks and feels like they’re giving their all for you. Sadly, one hunter only has one Palico though so…tough luck cat lovers.
Now let’s talk about the weapons, armor, items, and most importantly, the monsters. After going through the game’s opening sequence, you’re introduced to Astera; your base of operations and the place that has everything you need from your home, a smithy, a canteen, a quest board and much more. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with it, you’ll find that it’s the place you’ll keep coming back to if you want bigger and better gear and items.
As mentioned earlier, you create new equipment and items by either taking down enemies or gathering materials found in the environment. And no, you don’t just take down monsters by running off into the new world. You’re going to have to do one of two things.
First is you can take on a quest. You can choose between different options such as assigned quests which basically progresses the story, investigation quests where you do specific tasks like hunt or capture monsters, bounties wherein you literally take down monsters for the sole purpose of loot, or arena quests that appear after you’ve captured a monster and take them head-on in an arena. Each of them offers unique rewards so you can tackle them in whatever way you wish.
The next method is by doing an expedition. If you take on a quest, you’re given a time limit of around 50 minutes as well as 3 lives. Dying 3 times or using up all of your time would mean that you’ve failed the quest. By going on an expedition, you won’t have to worry about any of that. This basically means you can travel to an area without worrying about the time or dying too many times. This is great for when you have to gather materials for crafting or if there’s a specific monster you need for weapon and armor parts. Just take note that a monster will leave the area if you take too long to take it down, meaning that it won’t appear until you take on another expedition.
All of this can be a lot to take in, but you’re definitely going to have to learn about them as well as take part in them if you want your character to have some sweet gear.
For weapons and armor, you go to the smithy to see what you’re able to craft. An armor set contains pieces such as the helm, plate, greaves, belt, and leggings while weapons consist of bowguns, greatswords, bows, lances, dual blades, etc. You can even forge equipment for your Palico. With every new monster you encounter and defeat, the list of gear that you can forge grows. Also, the requirements for creating pieces of equipment will take up a good amount of resources. Each monster will allow you to forge an equipment set based out of the materials they drop. The problem is that each piece of the set requires that you have a specific amount of these materials, meaning that you’re going to have to grind for them.
Trust me when I say this, you’re going to spend majority of your time grinding.
Let’s take a step back and talk about this for a second. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to go after a monster over and over just so you can kill it and scrounge through its remains? I’ve had to track, take on, and beat down monsters just so I can take a few parts that may or may not even be enough for the piece equipment that I want!…but damn if it wasn’t so cool to do! Yeah, it can be frustrating, but it always feels intense whenever you these monsters on, seeing how your skills develop whenever you take on the same one, and learning their different patterns to the point where you literally charge and roll your way to victory.
Back on topic, take note that each armor and weapon set have their own infused skills. They’re really useful as these skills will give you an advantage such as recovering faster, gathering more items, increasing your stamina, etc. You can mix and match different pieces of armor to suit what you need for combat. Remember that each piece of a set contains different skills. So if you have 2 pieces of equipment from different sets with the same skill, then equipping them both will enhance the effects of their similar skill.
With weapons, that’s an entirely different beast altogether. As mentioned earlier, they have a creation tree which branches (heh) out into different paths. Depending on the materials you make and the weapons you forge, you can create specific paths to which you will upgrade your weapons further. Just make sure that you’re on the path that you want as choosing the wrong one could end up with you losing materials on a weapon you don’t even need. Just go through it thoroughly and properly to see what weapon it is you want, remember the materials you need, and to make sure that it’s exactly what you need before accepting and commencing its creation.
Then you have the items. You can craft things such as your standard consumables (potions, mega potions, antidotes, etc.) weapon ammo (arrows and bullets for your bow and bowguns respectively), coating for your arrows, and traps. If you don’t feel like crafting anything, then you can always buy items at the provisionary stockpile in Astera. This will really make you think about what you’ll want in your inventory pouch as there are a lot of things to craft, and you only have a limited amount of space in your pockets. While you can always send whatever you craft back to your inventory box where you can pretty much just throw whatever you want in there, you want to have a couple of important items at hand. So think about what you need before you start crafting as you want whatever is in your inventory to be useful during your hunts.
On a side note, always make use of the canteens in the game. The reason as to why they’re there is because it’s the place where you can order meals which will give you additional status buffs. Just remember that these buffs are only good for one quest or one expedition, so you’re going to have to eat again to gain bonuses for the next ones.
Now let’s focus on the meat of the game, the monsters. They’re bigger and worse here and their designs are just downright beautiful. The way that they interact with the environment is staggering. One minute you see a couple of cute and docile monsters running around and grazing the grass, then next you might see a giant dinosaur-like one killing them and consuming their carcasses for a quick snack. Capcom really outdid themselves as the monsters actually feel like a part of the environment, and that makes hunting them down even more satisfying. Their designs also mesh well with the areas that they’re found in and all of them are unique in their own special way; thus guaranteeing that you’ll have to fight every monster with a different tactic if you want whatever materials they have to offer.
Take note that once a monster is close to dying, it’ll start limping. Once it does that, it’s going to start running off to find a place where it can rest up. So just make sure you chase it down and kill or capture it once you’ve tracked the dang thing down.
And now for the last but most important feature of the game, its online capability.
To sum it up, it’s awesome..for the most part. Players have the choice to hold an online session or join in on one that’s available. You even have the option to set a passcode if you don’t want any unwanted visitors joining in.
Me and a couple of my friends ran into a bit of trouble connecting to each other’s sessions. And it wasn’t just us, there were a ton of others within the region who most likely experienced the infamous “error code 5038F MW1″message. This one little message annoyed the hell out of us as we desperately tried to connect to connect to each other for nearly 3 straight hours! Every time we tried to join our session, we crossed our fingers praying to God that we’d get in. Alas, that didn’t happen…on the first day we tried it.
On the very next day? The problem was gone! Like it never existed! It’s weird how we were just suddenly able to connect with each other without going through that damn error message, but we weren’t complaining.
While there were some initial problems at first with connectivity, everything turned out fine in the end.
There are also a couple of great features specifically added for online play.
First is the gathering hub. It’s a place where players who joined a session can interact with another and take on quests together. If they don’t feel like doing that, then they can use the hub for general gesture fun or they can take each other on in a new mini-game, arm wrestling!
Next would be squads. Think of it as a guild in an MMORPG. Your squad can consist of 50 members, with one assigned as the leader. That person has the added bonus of being able to send out messages to every clan member whenever he/she wishes. In the event that you end up being a squad leader, just be mindful of your squad members as some of them may not enjoy whatever it is you have to share. If you want, you can join up to 8 different squads. This offers a ton of diversity as this means you can play with a different set of players whenever you wish! Also, you can create your own banners and logos for your squad, which will help yours stand out from the rest. If you plan on making yours as one of the top squads online, then it better be one that a lot of people will remember.
Every quest and expedition can be taken in groups of 4, so be sure that you’re traveling with the people that you want. If you want, you can even have random people join in by sending out an SOS flare while you’re on a quest. Firing an SOS flare signals to every online player that you need help, and it’s up to them to decide as to whether or not they want to help you. You have no idea how many times I sent a signal and a bunch of random strangers suddenly showed up to help me. While I appreciate their help, it was most likely just so they can reap the rewards to collect more materials for new gear. Meh, I did the same thing with other sessions once I found out that you could do this and it really helps.
To sum it all up, this is most likely the greatest game in the Monster Hunter franchise and it definitely blew 2018’s doors wide open for amazing games. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and you shouldn’t miss out on all the action. So get a copy, play with your friends, and hunt down monsters in ways that you only imagined possible!