I’ve tried to get into the Monster Hunter series quite a few times now, but my attempts have never been successful. It always felt like such a daunting task, with countless crafting combinations and weird systems and mechanics to get into. Not to mention making sure you have the necessary tools to track down your prey and nail it so you can actually capture it. From an aesthetics standpoint, the Monster Hunter games have never really looked that pretty either, and the 3DS games always appeared way too dated and jagged for me to ever really take a proper interest.
Enter Monster Hunter World. The biggest and baddest entry in the series yet.
During my short time with the game, I could already tell that I’d have a much easier time getting into this one. Right from the get-go, the whole system of collecting materials and using them to craft equipment was completely smoothed out and streamlined. You can pick up materials quickly by walking to them. The crafting menus look much friendlier and easier to get around in. You can access your character’s armor and change up all aspects of their outfit from the same screen. There are so many small, quality of life changes present in Monster Hunter World, and my short time with the game was enough to convince me that this was one entry I could easily get into. And the same probably goes for all series newcomers, too.
The demo had me and a group of three other hunters stalk a dinosaur-like monster through the jungle. This process is fairly standard Monster Hunter fare. You’ll have to look for the monster’s tracks, try to catch its scent, and then follow the trail to its location. When we finally tracked down the monster, it became a matter of whittling down its health so that it’d get weak enough for us to capture it. Armed with a heavy gunlance, I went to town on the thing, with every swing and shot fired from the weapon feeling supremely weighty and powerful.
One thing I will say about Monster Hunter World is that the combat still feels a little bit clunky. This is most likely due to my choice in weaponry, but even so, there were time where I felt like the gunlance was a tad unwieldy whenever I swung it, and it could lead to some frustrating moments. Once I’d gotten used to the weapon’s weight, however, I was more careful with how I used it so I wouldn’t be leaving myself completely open after a missed swing.
Aside from your primary weapons, secondary equipment like smoke bombs and traps also make a return in this entry. That’s where the real fun lies; our group was able to distract the dinosaur as a hunter pelted it with a smoke bomb, blinding it temporarily, and allowing someone else to jump on top of its back to try to subdue it. Monster Hunter World also allows you to make use of the environment to get the best of your foes, and that was made clear when the dinosaur started knocking down large trees (that can hurt you, by the way), and getting entangled in its vines.
Before too long, the monster began retreating as its health got lower, and it was left to us to continue stalking it. The most pleasant improvement made to Monster Hunter World has to be the absence of loading screens. The map was dazzlingly beautiful, and being able to explore it seamlessly with no pesky load screens in-between was nothing short of jaw-dropping. Our group eventually found the beast’s lair and we prepared for a final showdown. After a final fight with the monster, it finally fell to the ground dead. We weren’t able to capture it in the end, but it was no less satisfying being able to loot its carcass for meat and other valuable materials.
For the most part, the battle with the dinosaur felt adequately challenging, but it was also a little drawn out because we had four players teamed up together, thus increasing its overall HP. Because of this, some multiplayer hunts will most probably end up being a little too long for a fight that you should be able to complete relatively quickly if you were alone. Still, that’s a rather minor complaint, especially when you take into account the fact that Monster Hunter World features seamless drop in/drop out multiplayer. The online features allow players to join your hunt just in case someone from your group drops out, meaning you’ll never have to worry about losing an ally.
All of these small changes and improvements to the Monster Hunter formula, along with the insane graphical overhaul, makes Monster Hunter World the most accessible and downright beautiful entry to date. Most of its core systems are still in place, and the game can be punishing if you don’t know what you’re doing. But for once, I finally feel like Capcom’s made a Monster Hunter title that I can actually get into.