Why fill levels with simple enemies, if you can also fill a game with only blood-curdling boss battles? For years this has been the philosophy behind the Monster Hunter games, which have been successful in Japan since the PlayStation 2. After a few cautious trips to the West, Capcom with Monster Hunter World is ready to really focus his sights on our regions.
Monster Hunter World
- Developer: Capcom
- Price: € 59.99
- Genre: Action role-playing
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (later this year)
That attempt to conquer the West is not half-hearted. Monster Hunter World is perhaps the most controversial game that has appeared in the series over the past decades. The core is still the same: you prepare for a hunt, get fifty minutes to make a monster and make new armor and weapons from his body parts. However, a gigantic part of the unnecessary fat has been cut away.
For example, World almost never asks you to collect ten plants or five mushrooms, but you almost immediately get hunting missions thrown into your lap. New is a system for separate side missions, which instructs you to search for a few objects or to kill small monsters from time to time. That is possible at any time, spread over multiple missions. It means that you do not get a quest to find that one object, but you do this while you are doing other, nicer things.
There is now much less of micromanage. You no longer need a pickaxe, butterfly net or rod to collect ore, insects, and fish in the game world, but you can just press a button at collection points to search around. Once you are in the city, objects for forging are automatically put in your collection box, so that you no longer need to store them by hand.
Perhaps the most useful is the Wishlist option, in which you can note your wanted armor and weapons. The game then automatically creates a list of required items and sounds an alarm as soon as you have enough to forge something. This means you do not have to constantly walk back and forth between the blacksmith and your missions – and you do not have to keep your endgame gravel with a notebook A feature that hopefully also many other games will take over.
Each armor contains, just like previous games, skills that improve your character. For example, a shirt will allow you to run a little longer, while gloves will speed up the sharpening of your weapon. That system was in previous games as well but was then restrictive and confusing. A skill that had to reach a fixed value of 10 or 15 to be activated, so you almost always had to make an outfit determined by the developer.
In World, every skill point activates something, which makes variation much easier. You can combine a helmet, gloves, and shirt to get three points of attack, to give your belt and pants two points in a different skill. It offers more space for creativity, where you can create an armor that matches your personal playing style. A system that only gets better when you get the opportunity to stop accessories in armor that add other skills.
The core of the combat system has remained the same. Although panthers and weapons provide statistics that facilitate hunting, your skills, reflexes, and knowledge are many times more important. You learn to recognize attacks so that you can roll away at the right time, discover weak spots on the monster bodies that you can abuse and learn to instinctively roll aside and hand out blows at a time when you are safe. That is badly needed because later in the game one blow immediately means the end.
That mercilessness of fighting is what makes Monster Hunter great. You do not grow in this game by stopping more experience points in a character, but by paying attention and learning more about your opponents. A good hunter can cause naked as much damage as a beginner in an endgame armor, simply because he or she knows how the smallest nuances of the game work.
This combat system has also been made more accessible with a number of changes. For example, when a sample is being saved, figures will appear to show you how much damage you are doing. It makes a system that was once abstract in Monster Hunter suddenly accessible to everyone. In previous games, players often had to revert to guides to learn the most efficient attack positions, but now the game shows this A relief.
Finding samples is no longer a matter of aimlessly walking around through levels. Instead, you will find traces in the environment that you can investigate to increase your knowledge about the being. You know enough, the game will lead you towards the enemy. With enough knowledge, he is even shown on the map. With this, you fill a book with information about weak spots and what objects are dropped by which sample.
You hunt down every monster in separate missions, but for the first time, these assignments are talked to each other through a story full of films and voice work. It is certainly not a story that can compete with games like Bios hock, but it is more than enough to motivate newcomers in the series to continue playing. This makes the game a lot more attractive than previous parts on the Nintendo 3DS, in which the only goal was to achieve the next assignment.
The environment plays a more important role than ever. For example, you can shoot a water dam to rinse a sample from a cliff – after which it is vulnerable on the ground to perform a few blows. If you kick a frog, it can paralyze or poison an enemy. It is even possible to swing from vine to vine to attack a monster from above.
Every time you start Monster Hunter World, the game will automatically connect you to an online game hub with up to fifteen other players. In this way, the game hopes to constantly encourage you to enter into missions with others. According to Capcom, you automatically end up in a room with players around the same level, but during the review period, too few people were online to check that.
Players can compose a Squad – which is, in fact, a guild or a clan in other games. When you start the game you have the option to automatically connect to a Squad session, so you only play with a group of regular friends from the same Squad. It is a subtle way to ensure that you meet all your friends’ in-game, without having to constantly connect with the same rooms. One character can be part of multiple Squads, so you do not have to leave constant inactive groups to join another team.
The single-player and multiplayer missions are no longer split into Monster Hunter World. If you play solo you have the same missions as in multiplayer, so you do not have to do a double job something that was often the case in previous games. Optional missions are finally split from the quests that are required to grow in rank, eliminating the need for dozens of unnecessary side missions to reach a higher level and to work with friends.
Perhaps our only problem with the game is the story mode. In order to make progress, you have to carry out fixed assignments filled with cutscenes once in a while. If you do that together with a friend, then one of you must have already played it out to be allowed to join the other So one of you will always have to achieve the mission only, in order to complete him with the second cooperative. Fortunately, this only applies to the story and the majority of the game is played without any hassles.
We took twenty hours to finish the main story. A new player should probably add an hour or five to ten because we felt that our progress was accelerated by our knowledge and skills from earlier Monster Hunter games.
At that point, however, the game starts. It’s a cliché, but also with Monster Hunter, the majority of the game is in the endgame. After completing the story you play the so-called high-rank mode, in which old samples come back stronger and new samples are introduced. Here you will have to grind hard for a new armor set, a single blow can bring you down and you sometimes come across monsters that you can only beat after dozens of attempts.
If you want to get everything out of the game in high rank, then Monster Hunter World easily swallows dozens of hours of your time. Before you know it, you look for new strategies to fight better at every free moment of the day, while at work you daydream about how you manage that one super-beasty animal. This is a game that can become an inherent part of your existence for weeks or even months – in a more accessible way than we have ever seen with Monster Hunter.