Disclaimer: The impressions written here was based on the playable PS4 build available for demo at the time of publishing

Hey Guys! It’s your friend, your foe and everything else in between – Anonyburr, and along with The Mistress and Colocoy, and we got to play the Monster Hunter World (MHWorld) Demo at ESGS 2017. We’re dropping our first impressions on the much anticipated latest installment of Capcom’s well-beloved franchise.

Let’s get this out of the way, the graphics are great, decked from head to toe with all the niceties of current generation engines. We feel though that fans of the franchise shouldn’t take the graphics into great consideration about getting the game considering many long time fans have played it in the PSP and/or 3DS (and we all know how that looks like). If you’ve clocked in 300 or so hours of hunting on your PSP/3DS then I’m pretty sure you will simply be appreciative, if not be a little overwhelmed, at how it looks like now.
Instead, I want to jump immediately into impressions of the gameplay and mechanics, at least those presented during the demo.

First off, it retains many of its tried and tested mechanics. There’s one initial hub, with a house wherein you change equipment – which now has its own interactive background (rather than just selecting stuff while your character stands in front of a box), a place to eat for buffs, and a Quest Giving NPC. Picking a quest from the NPC then lets you depart to the quest map starting at the base camp. We didn’t notice a “sleep” function but again, this was just a demo.

What used to be small separate, interconnected maps is now one vast hunting ground that you can get lost in figuratively and literally. I was lost for a few good minutes looking for the monster to hunt in question and Mistress literally got lost and hunted a different monster, only finding the target monster and running out of time. Our tip? Follow your Scoutflies. This is a new mechanic added in MHWorld wherein you collect traces of the monster (footprints, mucus etc) and these green fireflies would lead you to where the monster is.

There were some arguments that Scoutflies would replace the Paintballs. But we felt, after playing the demo, that the Scout Flies served more as a wayfinder at the initial part of the hunt rather than a tracker of the monster. It felt like they were addressing the idea of rather than running around for x minutes looking for where the monster spawned, you instead spend those same minutes instead collecting information like a hunter should and be ultimately lead to it. Of course, running the same map multiple times should allow you to memorize it but we still feel that the Scoutflies were a general good idea rather than a flashy, unnecessary gimmick.

The weapons do have new movesets added and there are a lot of videos floating around the net that cover what those moves are so we won’t delve into it. What we would like to tell fans alike though, is the control scheme. If you’ve been playing this game in the 3DS for as long as we have, then you will probably have trouble with the special move scheme change. In the 3DS version, weapon special/alternate (Guard, demon mode, weapon transform etc) was accessed via the Right Trigger (R1 for the PS) with some moves adding the Right trigger with X and A (Triangle and Circle respectively for PS).

In MHWorld, this has been transferred to R2 (!!). The shift of special moves from R1 to R2 quite honestly scrambled us much more than we expected but this is probably just due to muscle memory. We do advise our fellow hunters to be wary of the same.

The other control schemes more or less retains itself with few changes. Camera lock is R3 (used to be on the touchscreen) and a new hunter equipment, the Sling, is mapped to L2. Tapping L1 still serves as a reset camera and holding L1 opens the item menu (no change here) and R1 is now just a sprint button. One thing to note about the item menu when you hold L1 is that there is a quick item use menu as well by moving the Right analog stick, very nifty for using a Whetstone real quick. X (B for other consoles) serves to evade, Triangle and Circle (X and A) still serve as attack buttons, Square (Y ) to sheathe weapon, if it’s drawn, or use currently selected item, if weapon is sheathed.

Speaking of using items, you can now use a Potion while moving and I think you can cancel out of the animation by evading, although you won’t get the same amount of heal it should’ve given you.

One of the major changes that MHWorld is marketing, and that we did notice and feel, is that the environment can be an advantageous or disadvantageous place for both you and the monster. The monster will sometimes get caught in vines or in nets laid out by angry Palicos the target monster probably pissed off, allowing you to freely attack it. You can get lead by the monster into a hollow tree and if you think you can hide in it, think again. The monster can easily crush the tree with you inside it. There are frogs dotted around the map that when you kick them, they excrete a gas that paralyzes the monster. We noticed a few, free flying Flashbugs that had allowed interaction with them without a Bug Net and upon interaction, said Flashbugs just exploded into white light, blinding us. Now, knowing the map intimately seems to be just as important as knowing your own gear.

Another big change is now, when monsters meet each other, they will fight. And we don’t just mean the Large monsters. We noticed the small monsters do get in on the action if the large monster is weak or vulnerable. In old MH titles – if you were hunting a Barroth for example, and there are Wroggis in the area – the Wroggis will vacate and stay at a certain area and not really do anything. In MHWorld, they do vacate but when the large monster (IE The Barroth) is trapped, paralyzed or toppled over, the small monsters (IE the Wroggis) will come in and swarm at the downed monster, attacking it. We are very interested to see how this mechanic applies to hunts in the long run. Can you imagine how much damage a Deviljho will do to everything?

We’d like to go into this more but we’d rather stop. Some genuine surprises about the map are better left felt!

All in all, MHWorld feels very much like MH4 and Monster Hunter Generations (MHCross/MHX) when they came out. It’s the same game with a refreshing coat of paint and new inspiration. We are pretty excited about it and staying in line for two full hours was pretty worth it. We encourage every fan of the franchise to try it before completely dismissing it. It really does bring a new breath to the game that you will appreciate, if not love. If you are not a fan and this is your first time hearing about Monster Hunter, we don’t blame you, it does have a history of trouble being released in the West (and in turn, the Philippines). That said, MHWorld is a very nice (if not “too nice”) introduction to the series.

Monster Hunter World comes out on the PS4 and XBox on January 2018 and PC at a later date. We will be doing videos on the game and a review once it does come out but we will probably wait for the PC version.

This is your friend, your foe and everything else in between – Anonyburr and you just got Otakultured!