The Monster Hunter World Review is a monster of a task itself. To condense a game with such depth is often difficult to do. But I imagine not quite as difficult as it was for Capcom to develop this challenging action adventure game with a myriad of weapon styles to learn and systems to take advantage of. Not to mention the monsters themselves, with their unique attack patterns and incredible designs, both of which I imagine pop even more on the Xbox One X and Playstation 4 Pro. That PC release is going to be a real treat later in the year.
Monster Hunter World is exactly what it says on the tin: a world where Hunters hunt Monsters. In a sense, I wish it had a much better story wrapped around it, but the satisfying gameplay loop more than makes up for the shortcomings in its plot and character development.
Mostly though, Monster Hunter World shines when engaging online with other hunters in the multiplayer. Particularly on a quest that puts you up against the game’s equivalent of boss fights; its various, vicious monsters.
It’s fair to say that if you actively dislike Monster Hunter, perhaps due to the very deliberate attacks that require a lot of consideration, or due to the amount of grinding you’ll likely have to do in the end-game; World won’t change your mind. This isn’t a revolution. Instead, it’s a realisation of Monster Hunter’s best features on hugely popular platforms. Along with some of its less desirable quirks.
Review Side Quest
If you could have ANYTHING as an additional hunt in the game, what would it be?
Mine would be cats. Not the Palicos; Palicos are cool. I’m talking real-life, shitty cats. Friends; I don’t like cats, in case that wasn’t already apparent.
How does Monster Hunter World play?
Monster Hunter World is a third-person action game that does exactly what the name suggests: provides the player with monsters to hunt. Players undertake a quest from the main hub area, either alone or with three additional party members, and return upon completion (or fainting too many times to fail).
With fourteen weapon styles to choose from, each with many upgrade paths that bestow various perks, and a vast array of armour sets that have their own skill-sets, Monster Hunter World can appear daunting. Even when you’ve found a weapon style you enjoy (usually by giving it a shot in the training area), whether or not you’ll be able to manage the very deliberate, long attack animations and seemingly slow pacing of combat are another thing entirely.
But for me, it was a fantastic system. I’m a huge fan of the Souls series and, as my first Monster Hunter game, I’m glad to see a similar play-style in a much brighter, light-hearted experience. If the boss fights in Souls games were appealing to you, you may find something to love in Monster Hunter’s moment-to-moment gameplay.
Health Bars Be Damned
More than anything, Monster Hunter World makes me love something I usually despise: no health bars. The game doesn’t give an obvious visual cue as to whether or not the monster you’re fighting is ready to be captured and/or near death.
Instead, the developers trust the player to take note of how a monster acts. Though it may put up a spirited fight at first, the way they hang their heads; the slow limping that makes any hunter with a heart feel sorry for the once-ferocious beast, so many things indicate that this monster is ready for the Pitfall Trap and Tranq Bombs to get us that sweet, sweet loot and upgrade our gear.
Hunting With Friends Could Be Easier
I love much of what Monster Hunter World has to offer. At its best, the game forces you to craft and prepare potions before heading out to a difficult fight against third-stage tempered versions of monsters. At its worst, it has you searching for minor gathering points but gives decent rewards all the same.
For all that I love about the game, it does a pretty poor job of encouraging co-op throughout the main story. Ordinarily, players can join your squad from the quest board or mid-quest after you’ve fired an SOS signal – the best way to get random Japanese players in to show the local Rathalos a bad time!
However, during the main story, the player must see a cut-scene before the other players can join in. It’s off-putting, especially when you’ve gathered a group of friends, to have to wait around for ten minutes because FunkMaster82 hasn’t seen a Legiana yet or visited the Rotten Vale before.
That’s why the game gets better after you finish the shallow main story. Though it looks great visually, it’s a bit of a nonsense blockade just to ensure that the player happens upon the cut-scene and monster naturally for the first time. I understand the intent, but it’s poorly executed.
Addictive Loop of Love and Loot
Once the minor gripes are out of the way however, Monster Hunter World offers up mountains of content. The pacing of the story does do a good job of drip-feeding the learning curve to players, thought it tends to leave many mechanics unexplained.
That said, I simply love game. It’s easy to call Monster Hunter World repetitive, but each fight I’ve had with the monsters has been a learning experience. I recall my first wall; the new monster Anjanath.
Try as I might, I couldn’t effectively take him down with the Katana. Whenever I’d swing, he’d trample me. If I tried to get some distance, he’d cough up a stream of fire the likes of which acid reflux sufferers could relate to. He was a tyrannosaurus nightmare.
Until I switched to the Bow.
My cousin and I switched to the Bow weapons, started experimenting with ammo coatings to put the Anjanath to sleep, paralyse it or poison it to name a few. By not having to get close to Anjanath, we learned his attack patterns. His tells. The way his unexpected wings sprout up when he’s coming with that hot breath to ruin our day.
Eventually, I chose to learn the Charge Blade – a complicated, heavy-hitting melee weapon – and returned to these early fights with astounding ease. All because of the initial struggle. The learning curve that refused to yield.
Meowscular Chef’s Guide to Prep Work
The Palicos; cats that can talk in meow-based puns, are a main feature of the game. You create your own, along with a detailed character creator, at the beginning. Your own Palico can assist you in various ways, from health restores to buffs and stealing monster parts from enemies during battle.
The greatest Palico, however, is the Meowscular Chef. A God amongst both Humans and Palico. In MC’s Canteen area of the hub, players can pay for a meal using either their zenny (money) or research points (gained through various adventures wherein tracking monsters and gathering materials is involved.
An incredible cutscene will then show you the food being made. This cutscene changes as the game progresses and the canteen grows in size and utility. It is, without a doubt, one of the highlights of the game.
Not only is it visually appealing, meals also provide important buffs. New ingredients can be obtained through certain side-quests given to you by various people (often MC himself). The more ingredients you have, the better the buffs can be.
Ultimate Gameplay Thoughts on MHW
There are aspects of Monster Hunter World I don’t like. Aspects that I feel are archaic, such as only being able to take one quest at a time. That it can sometimes take thirty minutes to find a monster you’ve never researched before by gathering its tracks when in the field. How awkward its co-op antics are during the lengthy main story, which gates the more enjoyable content, making it necessary to engage with.
But it all melts away when I land that fully-buffed Charge Blade Shield and Sword “Super Amped Elemental Discharge” (SAED) on a Black Diablos, carving off its horns and knocking it to the floor in the process. When I’m scrambling through my quick-access item menu to heal up after a nasty Azure Rathalos tail took me down to near-death and inflicted poison.
That side-step that narrowly avoids a Paolumu’s puffy head smash, giving me just enough time to get my bearings. I relish Monster Hunter World in victory and defeat. Silently screaming at myself for getting hit by that Odogaron tail whip before posting the quest again because I refuse to be taken for a fool.
All this, after nearly 200 hours, and I still feel the same as I did at hour 20. Even more enthusiastic, even.
Presentation and Graphics
The visuals in Monster Hunter World are breath-taking, and they’ve delivered incredibly well. Whether its the Hunter’s initial, chaotic dump in to the New World or the introduction of an Elder Dragon, Capcom have nailed the fidelity and delivery of its moments using in-game graphics.
Frustrating as they can be sometimes, the environment design for each of the quest areas are incredible too. Everything feels deliberately designed, with an impressive amount of depth.
Everything presented to you in Monster Hunter World feels as if it it’s uniquely “Monster Hunter”. The aforementioned Meowscular Chef food prep cut-scenes, the scroll-like designs of the quest information, the incredible armour sets and weapons made of monster parts – it’s all exquisite. I adore it.
At the Cost of Gameplay Sometimes
For as beautiful and finely-crafted as it all seems, sometimes fighting on these fields is bothersome. Kirin, a nightmare unicorn sent from the depths of hell to shaft high-level hunters, loves to fight players in the Coral Highlands’ petal plateau region. It consists of several flower-like cylindrical structures with just enough room to manoeuvre at varying heights. Eye-catching though they may be, it’s annoying to fight a monster with attacks both long and wide in range with very little room to breathe.
But the Monster Design Trumps All
Ultimately, my gripes are negated when I see a Legiana roar at me before pouring a frosty batch of “ouch” in my face. Both startling and majestic as it flaps its big, blue wings in the air. Even the monster I loathe the most – Kirin – is awe-inspiring to behold. I could give a resounding compliment for every monster on the roster in all honesty, but suffice to say the team have crafted both a captivating world as well as monsters that do it justice.
Monster Hunter World has one main mode. Think of a hub with branching departments, but all of them involve hunting monsters or gathering materials.
Where it shines as how simple it can be to get people in to help out in your game. How easy it is to join other people’s games. The main story debacle aside, it’s simple to choose “Join Quest” from the job board and “Respond to SOS” to help out some random person in the world, or filter it to find a monster that *you* need to hunt as well.
The four main choices are: Assignments (Main Story), Optional (Repeatable Side Quests), Investigations (Extra Rewards with limited runs) and Events (Limited Time Events). Most of which permit others to join you on the adventure.
There are other activities in the Gathering Hub area on the top floor of the main Hub, such as Arm Wrestling or the Arena. That said, the bulk of the content I’ve already explained.
Should I play this?
Monster Hunter World is worthy of your time. It has already consumed my life, and it’ll consume it even more-so with the free DLC content to come, including new monsters to hunt. It’s certainly not for those looking for an easy time, nor does it tell a particularly gripping tale, but its core gameplay that sports a wide-range of weapon choices that are easy-to-learn and difficult to master will always have my heart.
Even in moments of frustration, I still love this game. I love being challenged by gameplay. Knowing that most of my deaths are my own fault. Much in line with my love of Souls and Souls-like games. But where games like Nioh took me back to the dark, grim scenery once more, Monster Hunter showed me a lush, thriving world filled with life rather than death. That’s why this game works for me, and why it has me in its grasp even after 200 hours.
Gamers who should…
Everybody should give Monster Hunter World a shot, but particularly those that like a challenge and some third-person fantasy action. Loot and crafting enthusiasts will also find a lot to enjoy.
Gamers who probably shouldn’t…
Those that don’t have a lot of time on their hands or patience will likely bounce off of Monster Hunter World very quickly. The slow, deliberate attacks could also turn some people off. This is a game about tactical action and learning through failure. Five hours isn’t going to cut it here.
Dark Souls / Demon’s Souls / Bloodborne / Nioh (boss fights in particular)
|The Good||The Bad||The Bugs|
|Great presentation.||Main Story gates better content||Nothing significant in my lengthy time.|
|Tons of content.||Can be a rough grind in the late end-game|
|Fantastic multiplayer experience.|