Hey guys! It’s your friend, your foe and everything else in between – Anonyburr, and today we journey into the frontier of the much anticipated Monster Hunter World!
This review is divided in two pages. This first page is tagged “The Primer” are for players new to the franchise. For my fellow veteran hunters, you can move on to the section titled “1 Step Back, 3 Steps Forward“ and onwards.
The Primer: Monster Hunter?
To start our journey, you should be properly equipped!
If you’ve never heard of Monster Hunter before and is wondering why MHWorld is so anticipated then don’t let anyone fault you. Monster Hunter has had a track record of difficulty of releases outside of Japan. Generally, Monster Hunter games released internationally have title changes with some titles not being released/unavailable for access for the west at all. Monster Hunter is produced by Capcom and was originally released for the Playstation 2 back in 2004 with titles thereafter being released in other consoles, PC and most notably – portable/handheld consoles. Its western popularity started to rise only on its 3rd installment which we will touch on in a few. Monster Hunter generally releases its games in two installments. The first is its core game and thereafter an expansion of the first game with additional content.
At its heart, Monster Hunter is an action game with RPG elements wherein you take the role of a Hunter who goes to hunt monsters to protect the village the Hunter resides in. It has a rather difficult learning curve and encourages players to play cooperatively. This may have attributed to its relatively low popularity in the Western market whom favored Home Consoles and had difficulty finding players versus Japanese market wherein handheld consoles were generally much more popular and players were able to find hunting parties much easier. Its popularity in the West, while still a niche group at the time, started taking off with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, released for the 3DS – which had a good foothold on the Western Market. Capcom saw the potential of this and made steps into localizing the title more with Monster Hunter 4 being the first in the series to break one million sales in the West.
The Primer: Life of a Hunter
The core gameplay loop of Monster Hunter is to take a quest from your central hub and then going out to various wilds to complete the said quest within its designated time limit.
In midst of this, you can gather materials from the area to craft potions and tools that aid your hunt and materials gathered from the Monsters are used to craft and upgrade your weapons and armor. It might sound like a slog but there are elements in the game that serves to improve this gameplay loop in one way or another. For example, as you complete your main quests you will eventually open a subquest that will open a farm for which lets you cultivate materials to make potions while you’re doing another quest. A canteen may catch your eye as you explore the central hub and if you decide to pay money to eat, you will gain improved stats temporarily. Researchers may bug you to take samples from monsters, in return, they provide vital information on the strengths and weaknesses of the Monster.
This doesn’t mean that it completely eradicates the farming. There will be farming, its still that kind of game and while these improvements are generally optional, it is introduced in a way that it integrates itself into your daily gameplay loop that it eventually becomes a rhythmic, daily routine.
The Primer: Difficulty
Monster Hunter has always had a certain difficulty to its gameplay. You can’t just hit a monster and expect it to go down easily. Each encounter with a monster is, in essence, a boss fight (yes even the small ones). Monsters have their own strengths and weaknesses, vulnerabilities to elements and parts that are impervious to certain damage. Certain actions like sprinting and blocking attacks drain at your stamina. On top of this, ranged weapons have finite special rounds and melee weapons’ sharpness decreases with each attack, much more if you hit a particularly hard part. This sharpness can be restored using the Whetstone item but this means disengaging from combat or finding a safe opening to do so as sharpening your weapon as well as using restorative items does make you vulnerable.
This difficulty is prevalent but not constant. As mentioned above, you can eat at a canteen before a hunt to temporarily increase your stats and we suggest this verily. Along the course of your questing, you will inevitably pick up items that you can craft into potions that increase your power and/or defense. Some items help you with the hunt like flash bombs to blind your quarry, tinged meat that you can bait your monster to eat and it paralyzes them as well as traps that can hold the monster in place.
The monster materials you gather can be used to make stronger weapons and better armor. Armors in particular have innate skills that give players the edge they may need in a hunt. One skill in particular increases the speed at which weapons are sharpened, another piece can decrease the rate your weapon dulls. Some armors even give you a boost to certain damage types. These armors can be worn as sets or mix it up to match your playstyle. For an example, I personally like weapons that allow me to be as agile as possible like the Dual Blades and Insect Glaive so I generally go for armor that increases my evasion window, distance and decreases the rate at which my stamina is consumed by actions.
Difficulty in game is also determined in three tiers. Low Rank is where you begin and wherein the game trains you, the challenge may look daunting but there is always some semblance of a “safety net” for you in the form of free supplies in your base camp should you have forgotten to bring some potions with you. High Rank, the second tier, is where the game starts testing you, slowly but surely removing some of your benefits from Low Rank (IE the free supplies). Finally, G Rank, is where things get serious. This is where all the things you’ve learned are put into practice.
OF course this is not to say you won’t have any trouble. There are still Monsters who will just hand you back down and there are just some Monsters who are really just seemingly broken but this makes besting them all the better!
Monster Hunter: World!
Now that you’re geared up, let’s take you around the New World!
Monster Hunter World is the 5th generation entry to the franchise (IE it’s canonically Monster Hunter 5). You take on the role of Hunter who is a member of the “Fifth fleet” and is often referred to as “Fiver” and your job is to explore the New World and unravel the secrets of the Elder Dragon Crossing.
The game itself references that this New World is a part of the overall world of the franchise, referring to older titles as “The Old World”. This is important because #MHWorld was made in a way that wanted you to look at it through new eyes.
HEAD ON TO PAGE TWO!