Thoughts on Monster Hunter World

For the first time in a long time, I was hit by the hype train a picked up a game for its full MSRP. I went into this purchase pretty blind, not watching anything but the trailer on its Playstation Store page, which really doesn’t give you much of an idea of the depth that this title seems to pack. It shows some big beasts and various characters attacking them, and that’s about all you need to know I suppose, though the RPG elements add some needed feeling of progression. I had never played a Monster Hunter game before, but I knew that it was a successful franchise and people were raving about it. I was actually given a glowing recommendation by one of my long time blogging friends over at Socially Sour, and he compared it to Dark Souls, and that did it for me. My Internet has been spotty as of late so I decided to order the game from Amazon and avoid the large download, so I had to wait a few days to play after pulling the trigger. I fired it up the day I received shipment, but only ran through the brief tutorial, but managed another play session in between other things last week. You start out creating your hunter:

The character generation in this game is pretty robust in most areas, though I was disappointed to find that you couldn’t pick a different pet that follows you around. I would have preferred a dog to a cat, but that’s just me. You can also set yourself up in beginner gear — either leather or chain armor (I assume better variants are available later on) and pick a starting weapon. This is where I had my biggest stumbling block, but more on that later.

The tutorial was effective enough. I was surprised by the combat. It is sort of like Dark Souls in that you need to be semi methodical about your actions and try to avoid the enemy’s telegraphed movements. It feels a bit more button mashy, but then doesn’t at the same time. It’s definitely more forgiving than any Souls game I’ve played, but I haven’t pushed too far into it either.

As I said, there are various weapon styles you can choose from, ranging from the traditional to the absurd. Pictured above is a “bowgun” which looks like a fucking cannon. I stayed in this training area for a long time testing out the various styles and settled on the Spear with the bug launcher. It seems to suit my playstyle well enough, but perhaps I’ll change things around at some point.

I don’t know what it is about food in JRPGs, but between this game and Final Fantasy XV I’ve seen so many different things being cooked and consumed by my characters. Food plays a role in many games but it’s never quite as celebrated as it is in JRPGs.

I’ve also heard of comparisons to Destiny, in that the game sort of takes place from a hub city where all of the vendors and quest givers hang out — which also serves as a lobby where you can meet up with friends (or strangers) as the game is a co-op title. There are various NPCs that will give you quests or you can visit the quest board. You’ll be greeted with the above screen where you can select a mission and either host or join an instanced area where you’ll complete your objective.

Along the way you’ll pick up ingredients. They’re everywhere! Not only will you gather plantlife and mine minerals, but you’ll also be able to harvest meat and other materials from the monsters you’ll be killing. With these ingredients you can upgrade your existing weapons and armor or create new ones.

Eventually you’ll end up on missions where you have to fight a real monster like this huge lizard, and then the game becomes more like what you’d expect from a Souls title or even Shadow of the Colossus. The creature will be bigger and badder than the things you’ve encountered, and it will take a ton of effort to bring it down. One of my abilities allows me to vault into the air so I was able to hang onto this guy’s back and repeatedly stab him. There were still three separate times you had to fight him — he runs off in between each encounter.

When I quit after my last session this big ugly thing had just been revealed, and rather than being just a bigger version of something I had already seen, this looks like a proper monster. I’ll be heading off after him the next time I play!

When you complete missions you’ll earn various materials and watch various scales increase in value. Apparently my little cat buddy is level 4 now. It doesn’t appear that my character has a level though? It’s all so strange and new to me I really don’t know.

Overall I think Monster Hunter is unique enough to keep me entertained. It’s not my favorite title ever by any means, but I see enough potential here to play it through. Now if only I could convince one of my friends that they should pick up their own copy so I could co-op my way through it, that would be even better.

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