Generally, I really enjoy playing and discussing older and retro-style games. In fact, I plan to write more than a few articles about them over this year. However, as you may have read in my 2018 resolution’s list, one new game definitely has my full attention, Monster Hunter World.
The Monster Hunter series sells like hotcakes in Japan, with 40 million sold, worldwide, over the years. Essentially, Monster Hunter is their version of Call of Duty, with a new iteration coming out nearly every year. However, most western gamers, myself included, found it unapproachable in the past. What makes Monster Hunter World worthy of my attention? Let me give you five answers.
5. Improvement upon Improvement
While many players enjoyed the original Monster Hunter, many also found it unapproachable, clunky and difficult. My friend Mike explained how some of the older iterations of the game required the use of the right analogue stick to attack. YUCK. Yet, players enjoyed it for numerous reasons and convinced enough friends to buy copies that Capcom created new installments. With each one, they took feedback from the fans and improved the controls, gameplay and subsystems.
Yet, Monster Hunter World (MHW) does not promise just the usual level of enhancement fans have come to expect. Capcom took their time with this one. With butter smooth combat, quality of life improvements and a massive overhaul in graphics, MHW promises to not only to be the best Monster Hunter game, but a serious contender for 2018 game of the year.
4. Awesome Single Player and Multi-Player Experience
Most games now a days focus on either single player or multi player experience. When a game tries to do both, it tends to suffer in one or both areas as a result. However, Monster Hunter games are built from the ground up for both. In multi-player, parties of up to 4 work together to take down massive beasts. Tag teaming ancient dragons with your friends proves awfully satisfying. When you play alone, you can bring along a Palico companion to help you out. The game adjusts a few numbers under the hood to ensure a challenging, yet fair experience. Speaking of Palicos…
This trailer says it all.
2. Fourteen or so ways to play
MHW features 14 weapons. You might think that with so many weapons, that a few feel alike. Yet Capcom does a great job developing each one to feel completely different. If you want to swing a heavy hammer that knocks a monster senseless, you can do that. If you fancy yourself a high flyer, the insect glaive affords you aerial mobility that can even plant you right on the back of the monster you hunt for the craziest bull ride. The weapons feel so distinct that Capcom made a trailer video for each one. And while they were all viable weapons for end game in previous games, here they feel more exciting and balance across the board. No matter your play style, you will find one or weapons that put a smile on your face.
1. It’s an MMO that is not an MMO
Ok, hear me out on this one.
I really like the ideas that many MMOs bring to the table. Working together with friends to repeatedly beat intimidating bosses to earn drops that improve your character sounds exciting! Most of them have deep crafting systems which not only make you feel more invested in your character, but also allow you to further customize their abilities. Often times, you gather additional resources from the environments you explore to create consumable items to better your odds in tougher fights.
Yet, the time investment they require, often through some of the most arbitrary time sinks out there, often taxes my limited free time well past its limit. That’s where MHW comes into play. It takes those awesome aspects I just mentioned, and refines them further. And when you fight that monster, only your skill, your preparation and your armor/weapons matter. You will not find yourself in an impossible situation because the monster has a higher level than you, as hunters in Monster Hunter have no levels or stats outside of the armor they wear and the weapons they wield.
This results in a game that progresses as fast or slow as you wish. Don’t get me wrong. Monster Hunter World promises a beefy experience that you can sink dozens, if not hundreds of hours into if you wish to conquer the end game. Yet, you will find more often than not that you set the pace, rather than the game always slowing you down with level limitations, grindy side quests, and massive, time consuming overland travel.
Bonus. The Monsters
You know a game called Monster Hunter clearly features two things that simply must be done right. Hunters/hunting and Monsters. I spoke a lot about how the game promises to have smooth, fun combat with tons of variety. But I did not talk about the monsters. Honestly, they are awesome. Over the years and iterations, Capcom built up a deep lineup of vicious beasts who each have wildly different approaches in how they attempt to separate your head from your shoulders. This makes fighting new monsters (which come often) fun and exciting. Having played similar games, such as God Eater Burst, made me really appreciate the time, effort and creativity put into the bestiary of Monster Hunter 4 Ulitimate. MHW will likely feature more monsters, and with new interactions (such as monsters attacking each other based on hierarchy in the food chain), you can rest assured that the monsters will pull their weight in making this title an unforgettable experience.
I hope to see YOU out there hunting monsters by my side in a few short weeks!