The long awaited return to console for the Monster Hunter series is finally over, and Capcom did not disappoint. While some minor issues, and I mean minor, hold it back from being perfect, Monster Hunter: World delivers on practically every front.
While it isn’t exactly the easiest accessible game to get into, those that take a few hours when they first start out to learn the essentials are rewarded with high octane monster slaying and enough content to keep them coming back for months. It is important to note as well that while it isn’t “easily accessible”, it is by far one of the most accessible games in the series. Tutorials are not scarce in this expansive installment. Those that take the time to explore the HUB will find help where they need it, and every new merchant, menu item, and activity comes with an explanation of what does what and what goes where.
That being said, it isn’t surprising if some feel a bit overwhelmed when first starting out, I myself found my eyes glazing over a bit after reading my twelfth tutorial in the opening hours of gameplay. However, this game has A LOT going on, so it’s important to understand that going in. As I stated already, those that take the time to get into this game will not be disappointed. Underneath all of the mechanics and tutorials is a deep, immersive, rewarding experience that is extremely hard to put down.
OK, so now that all that technical shit is out of the way, lets get into the really important stuff. THE MONSTERS. These things are incredible. It never ceased to amaze me how different and unique each one was. There was never a hint of anything being recycled in terms of their design. Whats more is while these creatures are extremely creative, they FEEL real, like they belong in the environments they inhabit. That in itself is a testament to what Capcom has created here. If a giant, puffy bat-like dragon feels like it belongs among the sprawling, coral structures it flies around you’re doing something right.
Monster Hunter: World rides a fine line between monstrously huge and borderline ridiculous. Creatures like the Zora Magdaros put Godzilla to shame in terms of size, but this is one of the more utterly ridiculous resigns, yet Capcom makes it work for the most part. Meanwhile the TziTzi-Ya-Ku, for example, is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum and is just a few heads taller than your character. Fights against these smaller creatures are a great way to level out the experience and make you feel more comfortable during these fights. I felt much more capable of taking down an over-sized velociraptor than I did when I first encountered an enormous pissed off snapping turtle with a volcano on it’s back.
To make my character feel even smaller, fighting the Nergigante while we rode on the back of the Zora Magdaros really put things in perspective. While some… okay most, of these creatures can get massive in size, that makes the feeling of taking them down all the more rewarding. Nothing felt better than driving my Charge Sword into the skull of these over-sized monstrosities and watch as they toppled over while I scrambled up to them to reap the rewards.
Speaking of rewards, the crafting system in Monster Hunter: World is huge! Literally everything has a purpose, which led to some anxious moments as I tried to decide if hanging onto some snow herbs was more beneficial than taking another Latchberry. Sadly item management is an ever looming factor as you explore these vast landscapes. In an effort to counter this issue, Capcom implemented a fantastic tool, Auto-Craft. By simply going into your crafting menu and selecting from a list of craft-able items I was able to more easily manage my inventory. Basically, if you pick something up, like an herb, while traversing the world, it will automatically take that and combine it with the necessary items to make the designated craft-able item.
This system, when utilized properly, is a great way of keeping space available in your inventory while exploring the world around you. However, buying the items while in the HUB will not auto-craft the items. There were a couple times, until I caught on, where I would buy a bunch of Herbs off the merchant and go into a mission expecting to have a full stock of potions, only to find I had none. If you purchase anything from the merchants, you then have to craft the materials yourself, which is easy enough to do, it’s just not explained that way.
Subtle things like this can make Monster Hunter: World confusing at times, especially for those that struggle to understand all the different mechanics Monster Hunter has to offer. So again, take the time when you’re first starting out to soak in all the knowledge this game drops on you!
Items aren’t the only things you can craft in this game. Monster Hunter doesn’t rely on a leveling system to progress through the game. Your character grows from the equipment you give them. Making better armor and weapons is the only way to progress deeper into the game and is the only way you’re going to be able to withstand the harder, MUCH harder, fights down the road. Thankfully, this system is much more cut and dry than the item crafting. Making new gear is as simple as hunting the monster you need to carve up in order to get the materials you necessary for making the equipment.
Again, Monster Hunter: World‘s insane variety comes into play here. Armor and weapons are completely unique from one another and all of them boast different perks and elements after being crafted. For example, the Barroth armor is more resistant to fire while the Rathian gear might make you more resistant to dragons. Underneath the cosmetics of the gear, and this gear looks incredible, lies another mechanic and that’s managing elements. Each monster has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Understanding what gear and weapon types you need before going on a hunt could mean the difference between success and failure.
Thankfully, you don’t always need to rely solely on your gear to take a monster down. The environments you find yourself in have a wealth of tools that can be utilized to take down the beasts. Being aware of your surroundings can make certain encounters MUCH easier. If you run out of Shock Traps, maybe position yourself behind a large tree holding a vine trap. Getting your mark to run into this tree and knock it over sets the trap. After that its just a simple process of being on the other end of it and luring the creature into it. On top of that, Capcom has created fully realized ecosystems!
For those that have yet to see it in action, there is an obvious food chain that each area adheres to. You’re never alone on your hunts and more times often than not other monsters will show up and interfere with your fight. As long as you are aware of your surroundings however, this can be used to your advantage. Having the Rathalos knock off some of the Anjanath’s health for me made the intense fight a bit easier to manage. Subtle, sometimes not so subtle, things like this flesh out this game and make for one incredibly immersive experience.
While the story leaves your character hovering around the Monster Hunter Rank 12 or 13 there are over 50 ranks to climb and a number of ways to keep you grinding! Between Optional Quests, Event Quests, Investigations, and Matchmaking Monster Hunter World has enough content to keep me coming back for a very long time.
When all is said and done, Monster Hunter: World is easily one of the greatest games to have come out in the last decade. With a huge variety in every aspect of this game from weapons, to armor, to the monsters themselves, Capcom has set the bar for action RPGs and for themselves. After a game like this, a sequel will have some BIG shoes to fill!