Monster Hunter: World Review
Monster Hunter: World is the latest title in the long-running Monster Hunter franchise and is the first mainline title to hit non-Nintendo consoles since Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on the PSP in 2008. This title also marks the first Monster Hunter to release simultaneously in North America, Europe, and Japan, also allowing for cross-region play. With a passionate fanbase and now the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (and PC later this year) markets available, Monster Hunter: World has the opportunity to be a mainstream hit.
The narrative of the game is quite simple, though story is obviously not the main component of the Monster Hunter franchise. You play as a Hunter of the Fifth Fleet in pursuit of Zorah Magdaros, a colossal elder dragon heading to the New World as part of the Elder Crossing. As part of the Research Commission, discovering more about the New World as well as the Elder Crossing phenomenon is the primary objective. One could consider the New World to be a metaphor for the franchise’s journey to mainstream gaming.
Like previous Monster Hunters, Monster Hunter: World is an action role-playing game with a focus on hunting monsters, equipment progression, and skill-based combat. There are fourteen weapon types such as the Long Sword and Hammer, each of which is uniquely useful as players hunt and capture monsters, and use their parts to craft better gear. Players also receive various quests and assignments that have alternative objectives such as gathering mushrooms. As players progress through the story, the monsters get stronger and thus the progression of equipment is a vital component of the gameplay. While having better equipment is important, player skill and, to a greater extent, player knowledge is vital to besting the game’s tougher monsters.
As for the actual hunting, players begin at a base camp and search for tracks or other clues to track monsters in one of five regions with the aid of Scoutflies. These regions are seamlessly connected without loading screens between areas, while online multiplayer lets players call in friendly assistance mid-quest. The multiplayer portion can be a bit frustrating to set up but playing with friends is a great experience. When playing either alone or with just one other, players can opt to bring their Palico (cat sidekick) along for the quest.
Monster Hunter: World takes everything the series does well and arguably does it better. Part of this is due to the improved capabilities of the hardware it now runs on, as well as quality of life changes that make the game much more accessible to new players. Various improvements and new features such as the aforementioned Scoutflies, mantles, the slinger, and interactive wildlife only help to improve the experience. Even taking all those creature comforts into account, the different mechanics at play and overcrowded inventory system make Monster Hunter: World seem overwhelming at first. Thankfully, time and experience will help alleviate this feeling.
The core of the game just feels good. The movement and combat are smooth and precise but punish arrogance and greedy play with a quick death. Most of all it’s satisfying to see a solid plan come together and take out a particularly nasty monster, both on your own and in a group.
“Monster Hunter: World takes everything the series does well and arguably does it better.”
Freed from the confines of the Nintendo 3DS, the series has never looked better than in Monster Hunter: World. The game is vibrant and runs well, and even more so on the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. With a variety of settings, colors, and visual cues, Monster Hunter: World is truly a sight to behold. The vistas are striking, the characters uniquely stylized, and obviously the monsters are top notch. Much like the inventory and new features, the user interface of Monster Hunter: World is relatively crowded, with a lot of information provided to players at most times.
While Capcom has done an excellent job in improving accessibility for Monster Hunter: World, the game may still be tough to get into for new players with so many mechanics and features being presented at once. For fans of the series and those dedicated to learning the game, Monster Hunter: World is an experience that can last players for a long time. With strong gameplay, a decent narrative, and a great aesthetic, Monster Hunter: World is one of the best entries in a series now accessible to many more players.
*** A PS4 review code was provided by the publisher ***
- Most accessible iteration of the franchise yet
- Tight, addicting gameplay
- Visually impressive
- Still a deep learning curve
- Overwhelming amount of information