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Monster Hunter World Review

The Monster Hunter series started on the Playstation 2 back in 2004. There have been many iterations in the series since then, and admittedly this is my first foray into the series, this latest one being Monster Hunter: World.

You start Monster Hunter: World off as part of the ‘Fifth Fleet’, a group of mercenaries and researchers on a journey to the New World, a separate and uninhabited continent in which the Research Commission are studying. Your fleet was summoned for more support, and you play as the main protagonist who provides, as expected, most of the grunt work.

As your ship heads towards the New World, your journey is interrupted by Zorah Magdaros, a massive Elder Dragon that nearly destroys the entire fleet. Afterwards you and your companions survive and eventually make it safely to the established base in the New World- Astera.

The game’s main plot revolves around Zorah Magdaros and trying to uncover why it has arrived in the New World.

Monster Hunter: World
Your home in Monster Hunter: World- Astera

First of all it’s great that this game has a story, but to be honest, this game is all about hunting monsters and crafting gear. I’ll talk about those particular points later, but in regards to the story, it really is there just to tie everything together.

That’s great and all, but don’t be expecting an epic, amazing story that’s along the lines of The Witcher 3. I’m not saying the story is bad or anything, it’s just not the reason you should be playing this.

As I mentioned before, the actual hunting of the monsters is the main attraction to your adventure. There’s a vast amount of missions you can undertake. Whether it be main missions (called “Assigned Missions”) or optional missions (which generally involve slaughtering monsters), will push your skills and patience.

Monster Hunter: World
The Anjanath is a tough and surprisingly agile creature.

Just to add to it all, there’s even more missions you can undertake such as bounties and investigations, so this game will certainly keep you busy for a long time! You’re going to want to stay on top of the optional missions, as you can use the rewards and materials gained to create even more powerful gear using the materials that monsters drop.

Just as important are the bounties which are essentially fetch quests, and usually I have a probably with fetch quests in a lot of games, but I’ll admit it works well here. You’ll earn crucial Armour Spheres necessary to upgrade your armour, so be sure to always have a new set of bounties accepted.

Whether you call this a positive or negative comment, you have to be prepared to grind in this game, which may bore those not committed to the adventure, or could cause others to become addicted to it. It could work either way!

If you want a particular piece of gear you want to craft, you may have to battle a certain monster repeatedly if you want specific materials.

Monster Hunter: World
There are multiple gorgeous regions to explore.

Let’s now talk about crafting. If you’ve played any difficult action RPG that allows you to craft better gear to raise stats, in order to give you a better chance of survival, you’ll be familiar with this. But the amount of decision-making involved in creating gear is not as straight forward as whatever has the highest defense.

There are elemental resistances you need to consider too, as well as skills which can influence combat and other areas too. Armour skills range from boosting attack and defense, to allowing you gather more resources or sharpening your blade quicker.

I feel like I’ve spent more time deciding which armour piece to craft than actual hunting monsters!

But if you’re willing to commit to the grind, you’ll need to be prepared to battle the same monsters again and again. But then when you finally get the required materials you need, it’s a very satisfying feeling, and sprinting to the blacksmith once you’ve returned from your mission is equally as satisfying.

Monster Hunter: World
You’ll be making a lot of tough (but fun) decisions here.

Now to talk about the main focus of the Monster Hunter: World- monster hunting and the epic battles you’ll experience! Monsters range from large lizards to underwater behemoths to flying fire-breathing dragons.

Each battle feels unique in its own way where every monster has their own attacks you’ll need to learn, while others may have elemental attacks where you’ll need high defense for those elements so you don’t die too quickly.

Preparations for each encounter is emphasized by the game too and wearing specific pieces of gear can help you survive because these monsters don’t hold back! They’re powerful, agile and want you dead. Luckily you have your Palico (cat-like creature) companion by your side to distract the monsters and heal you on occasion.

The action is fast-paced and exciting and character movements are nice and fluid. It may not have the high level of polish like Bloodbourne or the Dark Souls series for example, but it’s still right up there.

Once you’ve hurt your target enough they’ll flee from the fight due to the pain you’ve inflicted upon them. These moments are a relief as they give you time to heal, sharpen your weapon, and do anything else you need to do to prepare for the next round.

By extending the fights like this, it makes it feel like a real, epic battle. Once you’ve taken that final swing and finally slay your target, you’ll feel a great relief, followed by greed as you hack off the monsters materials for your next piece of gear.

Monster Hunter: World
Monsters will leave their tracks behind which you can use to track them down

To add even more depth to the action, there’s a total of 14 weapon types to choose from, catering to all different play-styles. There’s the Long Sword or Dual Blades for those who like faster (but weaker) strikes, or the Great Sword or Hammer for those who like to hit hard (but slow) for more damage.

My weapon of choice has been the Charge Blade because you get the best of both worlds, being able to charge your weapon with quick sword strikes, then to unleash that stored energy when you transform your weapon into an axe. Hitting your target with a charged, slow, but powerful axe strike is immensely satisfying!

One of the downsides to the combat is the targeting system for locking onto your enemies. It’s just feels messy. Pushing in the right analogue stick targets a certain group of monsters, and you scroll through the monsters in that group with the same right analogue stick. If there are more types of monster nearby, you need to push the right stick again to target them.

Normally with almost every game that has a targeting system, you simply scroll through any enemy with the right analogue stick and you can target whoever you want fairly quickly, whereas this particular system is fiddly and slower, which is definitely not what you want in the heat of battle. Also the camera has given me grief multiple times.

Targeting big monsters while they’re moving around quickly and you’re trying to get in close to attack will make it hard to follow the action. Sometimes the monster will be stuck between yourself and the camera, making it impossible to see what’s going on, and you’ll be hoping you don’t get attacked because the camera isn’t behaving.

Monster Hunter: World
Some monsters you’ll need to face are truly terrifying.

Being a challenging game, you can tackle these monsters with a friend or four, though the game does scale the difficulty accordingly. There’s also the Gathering Hub, a social space for fellow hunters to get together, chat, and arm wrestle(?).

I’ll admit I’m more of a solo gamer, so I haven’t really done anything in co-op yet, but it definitely would be a thrill to take on the monsters with a group of friends (or even randoms).

But it’s that loop of doing missions/bounties, grinding materials for gear, and the huge amount of content, that makes this game addictive and keeps you coming back for more. At this point in time I’ve yet to finish the main story, but I’ve already played more than 70 hours, and it feels like there’ll be plenty more hours to come.

Though I am starting to feel the fatigue of repetition in the missions, but that is what I signed up for! I’m still look forward to seeing how this game deals with its post game content though. I have a feeling I’ll be coming back and playing this game throughout 2018 as my ‘go to’ game.

Even though this game is apparently more accessible than previous Monster Hunter games, that doesn’t mean this game is accessible to all. Impatient casual gamers will be put off by it, but the dedicated, hardcore gamers will enjoy diving deep into this time-sink of a game. A great start to 2018 for gaming!

Score: 9.2/10

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