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Monster Hunter World Review

Marc Kaliroff, Editor

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In an industry that struggles to create strategic multiplayer online games, Monster Hunter World perfectly executes fun cooperative action while also bringing in elements of judicious instinct that will have you screaming with jubilation after attempting to use new ideas that would not seem possible in the majority of games out on the market. The long-running Japanese role-playing franchise struggles to decide whether it is in the past or the present of game design during its opening segments, but it manages to pull through and provide addicting gameplay that will have you constantly coming back for another hunt. If this is your first time entering the world of Monster Hunter, then this is the perfect place to begin your adventure into its prehistorically advanced world.

What is it that you do in Monster Hunter World, you may ask? If the title was not obvious enough, it’s a game where you simply hunt down and kill various creatures that constantly put the entire crew your traveling with and yourself in danger. While the concept may seem simple, it is Monster Hunter’s well crafted and deceptive gameplay that will make you think both strategically and judiciously. The mind of the player is the greatest obstacle within the world of Astera. Every action you take will have its consequences. There were countless amount of times during my play sessions where one of my teammates or my unfavorable sense of judgment and planning completely decimated us after spending almost a half hour on one single quest. While it may seem like a simple enough task to kill a monster, the game challenges you with time limits, learning about your environment, mastering your weapons, adapting to different playstyles, and the endless spawning off recurring enemies. Monster Hunter World provides unique obstacles through simple mechanics that challenge the mind of the player by sabotaging their norms. For example, the game challenges the player by providing them with a dozen different weapons. While the weapons you wield are useful tools, they come with a massive learning curve. Each weapon plays differently, as it naturally should. Due to every player thinking and reacting in a multitude of ways, not every tool provided will be useful for an individual player and that’s okay. One of your many obstacles is learning how to use the weapons you do not naturally adapt well to. Every weapon resonates with a different natural feeling. I personally found myself adapting to the long swords and bows the best, while axes and spears were my weak points. By challenging myself to use these efficient tools, my perception of my very own playstyle completely shifted. I would have never thought that overcoming the basic control scheme would provide me with so much entertainment rather than frustration. It was not just learning foreign playstyles that challenged me throughout my adventure through Astera. Overcoming the large maps by going on massive expeditions and studying enemy patterns makes Monster Hunter World feel like your actually hunting a monster. The title “World” perfectly summarizes what the newest entry in the series is. It’s a world that emanates realism by creating a hunt that nearly nails the sentiment of hunting.

 

My greatest recommendation for Monster Hunter World, and the series as a whole, is to gather a group of three or four friends to play with or make sure you are always playing online with random people. PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live are required in order to play online, but if you do not own either, there is still a large amount of enjoyment to be had from its single-player campaign. The single player campaign is the entire game without multiplayer. Unlike some of the other despicable practices within the industry, Capcom has delivered on their promise. You are not being cheated out by not being able to play online with others. However, I highly recommend you buy an online pass for the game as the fun factor for Monster Hunter World is beyond what you would expect from your typical multiplayer game. Communication is key to completing a quest with ease. If you manage to kill your targets quickly enough then you will be highly rewarded for your actions. The game also contains no loot boxes or purchasable downloadable content. In other words, there are zero ways to cheat the system.


You are guaranteed to have a different experience every time you enter one of the six locations. Each environment is remarkably different from the last. Just like real hunting, it’s important that the player does some recon and begins to develop an understanding of each environment. I personally encountered dozens of new players online when the servers officially opened that got themselves killed at the beginning of our hunt due to having no knowledge of their environment. The monsters that you will be hunting know where they are. You should never underestimate what you’re up against as they are more likely to succeed then the player. Similar to how the military guards in Metal Gear Solid V adapted to your playstyle, the later in game bosses will pull the same exact scenarios. The game pushes you to try out new and unexplained strategies. I found myself in a position where the boss was being taken down by its surrounding enemies rather than myself all because I was able to figure out how to ensure all out war between multiple hostiles. There are immensely detailed tutorials, but the protracted reads that display in an unseeable font can be skipped the majority of the time. They provide the basics of the game and very few indeed need to to read. The only tutorials that truthfully need to be examined are the ones that teach you on how to navigate the menus. Menus are a cluttered mess and it’s baffling that a company making such complicated games would not have nailed down such basic features over their four decades of experience. The system’s architecture is completely doable, but certainly annoying and a roadblock for newcomers of the series.

 

 

Final in-game screenshot of the recurring franchise enemy Rathalos.

One of the game’s biggest issues is how it’s online matchmaking works. In order to gather up with three friends on a quest, you all need to have watched any newly discovered monster intro cutscenes, if you want to start the mission from the beginning. This is acutely irritating as you have to do this for virtually every other mission. It is truly tedious and almost feels like a chore to play with friends at times. Luckily Monster Hunter World provides some the most challenging levels I have played in recent games. While it is indeed possible to get through every quest in the game by yourself, it will be extraordinarily difficult. In order to compromise for players who do not have anyone to play with, the game has a built-in system called the SOS flare. After watching your targets intro, you can simply fire a flare into the air that will send a “help” signal internationally across the world to other players who are around your level. These players can either be replaying the quest or might be looking to help others struggling on the same mission they are stuck on. This is one of the smartest workarounds that I have witnessed in a multiplayer game. While you may initially sound skeptical of the idea, know this: the SOS flares worked for every mission I used them on. When I was stuck in deep waters, I was able to breath easy knowing that reinforcements had been on the way. Even when you are playing alone, you will never feel lonely as your Palico buddy is always at your side. These vicious yet witty cat creatures can not only be customized just like your avatar, but they will always be fighting alongside you, from the start of your journey. You will have to upgrade their gear along your adventure so it’s important not to forget about them. The Palicoes will never give you problems as they always follow exactly what the player does and your personal Palico can call upon the help of its fellow species if you do happen to encounter one mid-quest.

Monster Hunter’s Palicoes.

Speaking of the avatar and Palico customization, the opening segment provides one of the most in depth character customizations I have ever witnessed. It puts games such as Fallout 4 to shame which should already reside inside a lot with gamers. From eye color to jawline, there is an absurd amount of customization in the game. Its disappointing that I can not go back and make more changes to make my character look more like me, but Capcom has provided a recent statement saying that if fan demand for “at any moment customization” is highly requested amongst fans, then they will make it a reality. Capcom has delivered on the majority of their promises, so its likely we will see this implemented into the base game in the coming months.

A questionable problem is how the characters and non-playable characters interact with the environment. Traversing across the large landscapes can be troublesome at times due to simple control issues. It is as if the developers were still stuck in their last generation roots. This is most annoying during the latter half of the game when your stuck in a adrenaline rushing chase. Sometimes characters also clip through different objects within the environment and even your avatars own gear at times when wearing some of the larger armor pieces. There are moments where the game will make you facepalm by these results, but its outstanding graphics outshine these mishaps. Compared to the previous games in the franchise, the only loading screens you will find out on your expeditions are cutscenes during the main story. The games prerendered loading and outstanding ability to track every single object’s position at a time is pushing the PS4 and Xbox One’s power at times. There are noticeable sudden frame-rate dips every so often, but it is hard to not just smile at the games prehistoric atmosphere while playing. The tutorial menu fonts are also far too small; even on a seventy-inch television, I still had trouble reading it at times. The user interface is also cluttered during gameplay. While it can be turned off entirely, I still find the need to sometimes use it during my play sessions. It’s a shame the developers could not find a way to reduce the majority of the UI as it takes up almost ten percent of the screen. It’s a needed addition, but will always be distracting.

Monster Hunter World rightfully deserves to be on your shelf of games this year. While at times it may feel like a game that was built for a last generation system, its drawbacks are far too small to keep it from achieving what is large outcome attempts to accomplish. Its captivating world will keep you coming back for hours on end and its fifty-hour campaign barely scratches the surface on the buried potential that the player will have to discover on their own. Capcom has absolutely shattered my expectations. This was the Monster Hunter game I had always wanted. The title “world” captures what the entire game is; an interconnected sandbox that never feels lifeless. Its without a doubt the best entry the franchise has to offer.

Final Score: 9.0/10

Reviewed on standard PS4

*Available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, upgradable framerate and graphics with PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X models; PC version will be available at a later date. All downloadable content free upon release across all consoles (Horizon Zero Dawn character outfits only on PlayStation 4)*

 

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Monster Hunter World Review