Monster Hunter: World Review
It’s time to set sail to the New World! The Commission has sent you along with the fifth fleet to investigate a strange phenomenon that happens once every decade, called “The Elder Crossing”. It’s time to face many new dangerous monsters and traverse beautiful landscapes along with your trusty Palico.
Monster Hunter: World is the latest and greatest Action-RPG developed and published by Capcom for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and – later in 2018 – Microsoft Windows. The console versions have been released world-wide as of today (26 January 2018) and has seen many copies sold already! The game was first announced at Sony’s E3 2017, carrying over most of its systems from its handheld predecessors and adding new and better ones too, alongside taking advantage of the higher processing power sported by consoles and PCs. Many changes have been made to this game, without removing a lot of the features and systems that long-time fans have come to known the game for. In my opinion, the game has merely been refined to what it should have been even on consoles. So does the game live up to the hype?
A Whole New World
You play as an A-List Hunter, part of the Fifth Fleet, on the way to a land called the New World, as part of an Research Expedition to uncover the cause for an event called the “Elder Crossing”, where every decade, elder dragons travel across the ocean to the New World. The Research Commission sent you with the Fifth Fleet, this time in pursuit of an elder dragon called Zorah Magdaros, a colossal magma dragon the likes of which could make Godzilla blush. The ships were nearing land when Zorah Magdaros rose out from the ocean, with your ship unfortunately caught in his rising, giving you an unexpected piggy-back. You and your Handler, who is a quirky and excited female Hunter, fall off of the ship and onto the elder dragon‘s back, needing to climb to the top and find a way back to the ship. That plan soon flies into the water, and you need to find another way to get to land by hitching a ride on some of the flying monsters tagging along with Zorah. The game starts teaching you controls at this point, and once you reach land you are given more tutorials and guides, such as hiding from monsters in bushes, etc. Eventually, you find yourself in Astera, the Headquarters of the Fleets that have been sent their. You meet with the Commander who briefs you and your Handler on the situation, and sends you to investigate the activity of the Jagras, which leads you to find clues on Zorah Magdaros. The Commander’s goal is not for the faint of heart, but fortunately the more you play, the more accustomed to, and the more prepared you will be for, the various monsters you will find in the New World.
The story and the environments really pull you into the game. The attention to detail and story-telling was done impressively well, immersing you completely into this new land and the challenges that need to be faced. In essence, it still feels like a Monster Hunter game, however, with enough changes to make it enjoyable for anybody. The aim was to add and change enough things from their previous game to make it enjoyable for new players whilst also providing a fresh take on things for the veterans, without ruining the game they have come to know and love. How does this game fair against those who, perhaps, tried the game and hated it? From my experience, I have gone from hating the series and not wanting to play another Monster Hunter game, to absolutely loving this one. Like I said before, it still feels like a Monster Hunter game, but without all the over-complicated menus and systems that made no sense. The control-scheme is a lot better and easier to understand. The Monster Hunter games was the type of series where there was a chance the game would draw you in or push you away. In my case, it pushed me away, more so, specifically, in Generations. With this port, and the changes to the systems and features, there’s an even higher if not guaranteed chance that this game will grab you and cause you to want more. This game has taken what its predecessors had and refined it to create one of the best Monster Hunter experiences you will have to date.
One improvement is the way that the world is much bigger than it ever has been. There are still “zones” in the game, but there is no loading in between each zone. Everything is procedurally loaded in the background, giving us a more seamless experience while traversing the beautifully dangerous areas. As can be expected, the graphics is also improved upon greatly; taking advantage of the graphic prowess that the consoles offer. After even 30 hours of gameplay, one area still feels bigger than you can handle, since there are higher and lower levels that can be explored within zones. The game is split into 4 different explorable areas; The Ancient Forest, Wildspire Waste, Coral Highlands, and Rotten Vale, as well as other smaller areas only playable during the main story line. All 4 of these places are hugely unique in the visuals that it boasts. I’m still battling to choose a favourite zone. Another thing I am very happy was changed and improved is the way you navigate through menus now. Before, there were menus, within menus, within menus. Everything has been simplified to a more understandable format, without feeling like there is anything missing. You manage equipment via your Item Box, or when you visit the Workship. The icons are the same as before, and it took a while to get used to the differences between the Charge Blade’s icon and the Switch Axe’s icon, or the different Bowguns, but it isn’t a deal-breaker. When selecing Start/Options, there are only a few tabs, under which you will find all the appropriate menu items and options, like Item Crafting, or your Item Pouch, various Gestures, Game Options, etc.
I used to have a major bone to pick with the way you weren’t able to change the direction in which your character is swinging their weapon while in a fight with a monster, though not so much now, and I have no idea why. I feel like that has also been polished somehow. Even though you still cannot change direction mid-swing, it feels easier to manage than in the previous games. Fights don’t feel clumsy anymore. There are no “Hunter Arts” or “Prowler Mode” like there was in Generations. The developers instead opted to re-evaluate the existing weapons classes and add new moves and abilities to them, making every single weapon feel like a completely different style. You choose your weapons according to your playstyle, and I have always appreciated approaches like that. I surprised myself by starting with a Heavy Weapon first, namely, the Charge Blade. For those who don’t know, the Charge Blade is a huge shield and sword that can transform into an even huger Axe by combining the shield with the sword. When attacking with the sword, you charge phials within the sword. You are able to release the power stored within the phials once you go into Giant Axe Mode and attack with the appropriate buttons, damaging your enemies with Elemental damage. I moved on to other weapons later on, mainly because I wanted to experience what the others had to offer. You are able to stop mid-combo and change direction if your foe manages to break free of your flurry or dodge. Also, even though there is no button to jump with, you are able to jump and mount a Monster and attack it while riding it. This is done by running off a ledge and attacking the target simultaneously. Your character will automatically jump when reaching the ledge, although, to ensure a 100% possibility of a jump, I press the Evade button when I reach the edge of the ledge as well, and then swing. This will make your character mount and attack about 70% of the time. Sometimes you just do a jumping slash, which still deals a good amount of damage, anyway. If this happens, just try again until you succeed.
What I enjoy the most, after a successful hunt, is spending time at the Workshop and upgrading my existing equipment, or forging new equipment, using the materials I gathered from the Monsters I hunted. Every monster has specific Scales or Quills or Claws, etc. that get used to forge and upgrade equipment. When you get given the tour of Astera, and you pass the Workshop, being told that this is the place you will in actual fact be spending most of your time, I had no idea how true that statement was. The Workshop is the first area I visit after every single mission, considering the armor and weapons and thinking which would be better for my next outing, finding out which materials I am missing and need to get, zeroing in on a specific Monster and hunting it on my next Expidition. You learn, through playing, that it is far better to play it safe, and watch your surroundings while hunting a Monster. Sometimes monsters will even fight each other and weaken each other, which you will be able to cash in on. It’s also a lot better to capture a monster instead of slaying it. Capturing the monster yields twice the amount of Bonus Rewards upon completion, and is a lot more satisfying, in my opinion. Aside from the Main Missions, you get given Optional Missions from the surrounding NPCs in Astera, which will unlock things such as more food at the Cantina, or Cultivation options at the Ancient Tree, so it is well worth the effort to complete the Optional Missions. There are also Bounties and Investigations which will grant you rewards like Armor Points which are used to upgrade your Armor.
Hunt of the Century
Monster Hunter: World is a lot more Online supportive than before, evident by the fact that when you first start the game, you are asked to join an existing Online Session, or create your own, and if it should be private or not. The game features a drop-in multiplayer feature, allowing you to send up an SOS flare to the worldwide server, allowing anybody from on any Online Session to come and assist you in your Quest. If you want to form a Squad with your friends, you can do so by going to the Gathering Hub after finishing the first few starter missions. Your Handler will tell you when this area has become available to visit. When you arrive, there will be a lady called the Squad Manager, sitting at a desk in front of you. You will go to her and Create your Squad. From there you will send invites to the friends who are online and who you want to play with, and they will have the option of joining you. You won’t be able to see them running around in the main parts of Astera, but when you Post your Quest on the mission board, they can go and Join your Quest, and they will appear in your standby window. When you are ready to leave, you can choose to depart. You can even depart without them selecting ready, and they would be able to drop-in and join you while you are busy with your mission at any time. Without spoiling too much, when you reach the endgame content, you will want to have a few extra hands to assist you. Although certain missions, like one specific mission to assist Astera find Zorah, will be a lot more fun with one or more friends. You can have up to three people join you in your missions.
Unfortunately, the cooperative mode isn’t as flawless as we had hoped. When doing the main story missions, your friends are only able to join you after you have watched all the cutscenes in the mission. This can be especially frustrating when your only able to jump in at the last 5 minutes when the mission has already taken 20 minutes. The cinematics are aimed at having your avatar be the only other Hunter in it, which I can understand, but I know of a few Multiplayer-focused games where this isn’t a problem at all. The cinematics will still play out, with only your character in the cinematic, and everybody else will experience the same thing with their characters being in their cinematics. Maybe we will see this fixed in a later update? We can only hope so, because this can become a real bummer for new players who want to make the most of the Co-op feature. Beyond that, the multiplayer quests during the Optional missions and Investigations and Expeditions is seamless. Having more people opens the game up to strategise on different ways to slay or capture (mainly capture) the monsters. You can have a squad member laying in wait with a trap or bomb as you guide the monster to him or cause it to run away in his direction. Even so, making use of the co-op feature isn’t a requirement, but is a lot of fun, and will be something you miss out on. Speaking of traps and bombs, you can prepare various items before or during a Hunt. Your Item Pouch has a set amount of slots, in which you can store materials such as Herbs, Traps, Tools, Mushrooms, Bugs, etc. All of these items can be used to make bombs, potions, traps, ammunition for bows and guns, poisoned meat, etc. Gathering resources in Monster Hunter: World is a lot easier and faster than in previous titles, making it a lot less of a hassle to craft.
Be sure to have a look at me and my brother’s “shenanigans” from today’s stream to see for yourself the things I have mentioned! Click here!
Monster Hunter: World has been a blast so far and I can see it being a blast for a long time to come. Even though the game supports online features a lot more than the previous titles, it can still be seen as a Single Player game. Not being able to see friends in Astera, when you’ve made a squad, is a downer, although you are able to see each other in the Gathering Hub. Not that it makes that much of a big difference, since the meat of the game happens during Hunts. The graphics is really impressive, and the controls and mechanics are comfortable yet challenging, if that makes sense. Forging armor and weapons is a great way to pass time inbetween missions, preparing armor with Fire-resistance for the next Hunt, and a weapon that will deal more damage. Your trusty Palico is still as quirky and pawsome as ever! And being able to navigate menus without being overwhelmed by the amount of text on your screen is also a major improvement. The World of Monster Hunter has gotten a lot bigger, and a lot more fun! You can grab your copy, at the time of this review, from Raru for R879.00 for both PlayStation 4 and XBox One! Hurry before they run out of stock! Otherwise you’ll need to consult your local game shop for a copy of your own. Happy hunting!