My first experience with Monster Hunter: World dates back to E3 2017, where I was exposed to the game and the franchise for the very first time. Having never played any of the Monster Hunter games, I was enthralled by the graphics and open world that I witnessed in the snippets I saw. Plus, Capcom displayed one very large and captivating dragon on the E3 show floor that simply demanded my attention.
Monster Hunter: World is an action RPG developed and published by Capcom. Set in an open world, players take on the role of hunters who are tasked with trapping or killing dangerous monsters that roam about. Upon successfully defeating a monster, players are rewarded with an opportunity to collect material from the monster, as well as material surrounding them, that may be used to craft better weapons and armour. This is essentially the loop that carries through the game, with the tasks and monsters becoming more and more difficult with each step.
The game does not only involve solo play. Instead, players are also able to play cooperatively with up to four others via the game’s online multiplayer mode. As someone who has very little experience and finds games such as these incredibly challenging, I thought it would be best (and easier) to play with others but boy, was I wrong.
I began my play-through of Monster Hunter: World on my own, learning the ropes through the games ‘tutorial’. Right from the beginning, the game caught my attention. The world within the game was absolutely breathtaking. I tend to be a stickler for good graphics from AAA titles and Monster Hunter: World certainly didn’t disappoint.
Like several other titles, Monster Hunter: World allows players to create their own customised characters. I particularly enjoy customising and creating my own characters and spent a good deal longer on this aspect of the game than presumably most others. Not only are there a decent variety of styles and appearances to choose from for your character’s physical features, but there are also a small selection of armour to choose from as well.
Most notably, players are given a Palico companion, an adorable feline sidekick of sorts. It was absolutely fun to be able to customise my Palico pal as well, choosing the cutest variety and being able to name it.
Unlike most games, Monster Hunter: World does not include a difficulty level, which I wasn’t certain whether it was a good or bad thing. As a beginner, it’s often much easier to delve into a game on easy or normal mode. However, with Monster Hunter: World, I couldn’t tell what level of difficulty I was experiencing.
The game began with a cutscene which sets up the narrative and the world of Monster Hunter. Once again, the stunning graphics followed by a captivating soundtrack caught my attention. You quickly learn the basic movements and controls right after the cutscene, which makes things much easier for when you arrive in the New World.
The New World consists of a sort of base of operations for hunters, fully equipped with a Smithy (a place to upgrade weapons and armour, much like a blacksmith) and a canteen (wherein you ‘eat’ to buff your stats after a battle). The canteen scenes are by far one of my favourite scenes in the game and one that I could be entertained by over and over again. Essentially, the chef at the canteen and his assistants are all cats and the animation that occurs after you’ve selected your food choice from the menu selection is rather amusing.
Now, onto the actual gameplay itself. Players, as hunters, are made to select their weapon of choice right from the get go and are given special quests that can be done either on their own or with others. Selecting a quest puts players on the path to hunting a particular monster or a set of monsters. While on the hunt in the wild, players are able to gather raw materials to craft special items such as health potions and other buffs to assist with the hunt.
Combat is different depending on the weapon chosen. I initially chose the Buster Sword, which was rather heavy and slowed down my attacks. Switching to a Hunter’s Knife and Shield, which I thought would be better due to having a shield to block attacks, didn’t help either as I struggled with the controls of both blocking and attacking (I’m an absolute beginner at games like these remember?). In the end I went back to the Buster Sword and simply adjusted my play-style to suit the large sword and its heaviness.
After defeating each monster and succeeding in a quest, players are given 60 seconds to collect material from the monster and run back to the starting line where the quest began. The materials collected are then used to upgrade weapons and armour at the Smithy. Each win is followed by a leveling up of your hunter, which then provides for a higher level of quests (or rather a higher level of difficulty).
One would think that going at it solo would be more difficult, however, hunting monsters with friends or complete strangers actually proves to be much more challenging, especially for someone who hadn’t fully grasped the game to its entirety. Not only are the monsters more difficult to defeat, but joining an online match seemed like a rather tedious exercise as well. To play an online match, players need to speak with their ‘handler’ or search through the Gathering Hall’s quest counter to choose from a list of online sessions that best suit the player.
Monster Hunter: World has certainly received plenty of well deserved praise and is a game worth giving a go, particularly if action RPGs are your genre of choice. WIth visually striking graphics, brilliant soundtrack, fun character and Palico customizations and the opportunity to utilise a variety of weapons and equipment to take down various levels of monsters, Monster Hunter: World is easily January’s top rated titles.
From a beginner’s perspective, the game is one that requires a good amount of practice and some ‘grinding’ to do well. However, once you’ve got the rhythm of the game down and are able to adapt to using different weapons and fight styles, Monster Hunter: World quickly becomes rather addictive.