The Monster Hunter franchise comes to PS4 and Xbox One
As a fan of the Monster Hunter series, I was both shocked and filled with joy when Capcom announced that a brand new HD Monster Hunter game was coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You see, Monster Hunter World is the first new entry in the series on a home console in quite some time.
In this new entry, Capcom has simplified the traditional Monster Hunter formula in an attempt to widen the series’ appeal to a general audience. Then end result? One heck of a good game that you will find hard to put down. Let’s take a look at what makes Monster Hunter World the masterpiece that it is.
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One
Embark on a new journey
The story of Monster Hunter World is more involved than previous games and yet is quite simple. You are a member of the Fifth Fleet, the latest group of hunters to follow an elder dragon to a new world. These gigantic beasts are dangerous and threaten all mankind.
They command the forces of nature itself. So, when something like this giant fire dragon starts to move around, the essential creates volcanoes everywhere they go. The only way to keep the world in check is to hunt down these beasts. Luckily, there is an entire army of young eager soldiers who are ready and willing to slay these giant beasts.
You play as a member of the group and as some of the most skilled soldiers in the entire force. I found that each character through out the game that you encounter have an extremely high-energy. They are just as excited and ready to destroy the enemy as you are. It really helps you to get invested in the story when you see that virtually everyone around you is dedicated to your cause.
Streamlined gameplay that will please new and long-time fans of the series
If there is one thing that I could say pulled me into Monster Hunter World, it’s definitely the gameplay. The world itself and the drop dead gorgeous environments are easy to look at. However, when you hit the ground running and are hunting down a target, there is something very special about the entire experience. What I really enjoyed was the fact that the game takes things slow, which results in making the intense moments all that more mesmerising.
A typical mission involves a single target that you must take out. You won’t know where your target is at, or even what it looks like—you’ll only get a vague description and nothing else. You must look for footprints, inspect smear marks on the wall, and collect data to figure out where and what your target looks like.
You’ll get some help via your trusty scoutflies. They look like glowing energy and have a magical ability that allows them to detect the patterns of a creature’s movement. Naturally, the more data you collect, the easier it will be to detect where you target is.
However, hunting down these gigantic beasts is only half the fun. When you do find your target, be prepared to engage in an epic battle. These creatures’ sheer size and skill will ensure that you won’t finish them off quickly. I highly recommend to approach these beasts carefully and keep your eyes and ears open on the surrounding environment.
It’s not uncommon to find herbs to heal yourself or to make medicine to cure yourself if you get poisoned. It’s very important that while battling your enemy, to keep track of how your target’s attack patterns change. The lower the amount of health they have the more desperate they will get, which results in dramatic changes to their attack patterns.
Armour and Weapon Upgrades
As major aspect of Monster Hunter World and the Monster Hunter franchise as a whole are upgrades. You start out the game with basic metal armour but to take down these giant beasts you need to get some upgraded gear. In order to do this, you must go out and hunt.
A quick little tip, when you first begin in the Ancient Forest area, take down and carve Jagras for a basic armour set. Then, investigate ores and bone piles for quick and easy weapon upgrades. Ores and bones are the starting point of every weapon tree and these basic upgrades will get you started.
You can also farm certain items from monsters such as horns, which you can take back to the blacksmith to make some heavy duty armour for yourself. Depending on the parts of the monster’s body you target, you can snap off different things. For example, if you target the legs of a tyrannosaurus rex, you can get legging armour. The possibilities are endless.
Drop-in, drop-out multiplayer
It’s easy to see once you have played multiplayer in Monster Hunter World, that the game was designed around this. Sure you can play the game as a single-player experience but when you are on a mission with other players, it’s a much more enjoyable experience.
It’s clear to see that gameplay is focused around everybody complimenting each other’s skill sets. There are a total of 14 different weapons that you can master, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, someone can be equipped with a gigantic sword that deals out a lot of damage but is slow to attack.
While, someone else in the party can dish out long range hits or someone else can distract the monster with a faster weapon. It shows that each person of the party compliments each other and has an important role in taking down the beast.
Getting into Monster Hunter World’s multiplayer component is a lot harder than it really should be. There are two ways to go about playing with others. The first is to search for a mission that has already began, which I did not have much luck with. The second is to go into a mission, find your target and after watching the cut-scene, fire off an SOS flare that lets other players join your game.
A living, breathing ecosystem
Usually Monster Hunter games have been released on handheld devices such as the Nintendo 3DS. Although beautiful in their own right, nothing compares to Monster Hunter World’s absolutely exquisite graphics. Not only is each of the five areas bigger than in previous games, the environments are packed full of life creating a living and breathing ecosystem.
Both the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X offer three different graphical modes to choose from. One prioritizes frame rate, while another focuses on resolution and the last graphical effects. To be quite honest, none of these modes offer a truly stable frame rate, so it’ll really comes down to what you feel most comfortable playing the game in.
Interestingly enough, neither the PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One X achieve 60 fps in any of the modes. You can expect in the ballpark of 30 to 40 fps depending which mode you choose. Additionally, on a standard PlayStation 4 and Xbox One there are some frame rate issues present, but they never really take away from experience. All things considered, I was extremely satisfied with Capcom’s effort.
Overall, Monster Hunter World is a fantastic experience. Even if you have never played a game in the series before, Monster Hunter World is the perfect place to jump in. It is easy to play, the monster designs are amazing, and it is fun to play with friends or by yourself.
If you’ve previously played a Monster Hunter game before, you’ll feel right at home. Veterans of the series will notice they can do a lot more things like change weapons during hunts or move, even run, while using equipped items. I can confidentially say, without a doubt, Monster Hunter World is the best game in the franchise to date.
+ Visually impressive and immersive
+ Loading between zones is nonexistent
+ More accessible and approachable than any other game in the series
+ Virtually endless replay value
– Multiplayer component harder to get into then it should be
– On PlayStation 4 and Xbox One frame rate drops below 30 fps
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5