1 Step Back, 3 Steps Forward
Monster Hunter always introduced some new fresh take on their release titles. Monster Hunter 2 (Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite in the west) introduced readily available independent weapon types (for those who didn’t know, some weapons like the Longsword and the Dual blades used to be part of the Greatsword and Sword and Shield weapon upgrade tree respectively), Monster Hunter 3 had underwater battles and bowgun upgrades, Monster Hunter 4 re-imagined the environment’s vertical-ity and allowed you to mount monsters and Monster Hunter X (Monster Hunter Generations in the West) introduced weapon styles and special hunter skills that turned the anime dial to 11. Every release since the first had always been, in one way or another, about improving the Hunter.
#MHWorld took a step back, looked at the bigger picture and worked from there. Like #MH4, they decided it was time to work on the world. The best way I can describe this change is from an “Environment” to an “Ecosystem”. In the original Monster Hunter games, the map was just a map. Terrain only played to serve to your advantage or disadvantage because of poison swamps and some breakable obstacles and height difference that had some effect on your hunt but nothing really major, hence, a simple environment.
In #MHWorld, there is interaction among the hunter, the map and its denizens – an Ecosystem. Fauna will scurry away from you or lead you to some secret treasures. Your quarry leaves traces of its movement in the world, footprints and such that can lead you to it. Monsters guard their turfs viciously, attacking any large monster that wanders in and Apex predators will often assert their dominance on both the monsters and you.
Forgot to bring a flash bomb? It’s alright! You’ll find wandering Flashflies which can serve the same purpose or you might see a bloated toad somewhere, decide to kick it and get paralyzed. Monsters themselves will wander off, hunting and going about their own business.
This world and interaction can now be used to your advantage. Monsters, if baited enough can get stuck in vines. In one instance, I was able to drop a hanging boulder on top of the monster’s head, knocking it down. In another instance, there was this natural dam that I baited the monster into destroying, washing it away from me. It wasn’t just about learning the Monster anymore, it was also learning about your surroundings.
The Hunters of the Frontier
Of course, the Hunters themselves were not left out. Weapons at your disposal received balancing and changes, many of which we are still trying to figure out, and there are alot of quality of life changes.
You come equipped with a new mechanic called a Slinger. It is a small crossbow like device attached to your left arm. It’s the new delivery device for previously thrown items like poison knives and stones but going back to our earlier discussion of ecosystem, the Slinger can also be loaded with various nuts and fruits you gather around the map, all of which have effects. For example, a monster called Barroth will generally roll itself on mud to make a protective shell. You can pickup these waterpods that can be loaded to your slinger that can wash mud off when shot at either the Barroth or your teammates who are covered in mud.
Your Hunter also has scoutflies. These luminescent insects can lock on to the scent of a monster and lead you to it once enough samples of the said monsters are collected. In previous games, players used an item called paintball to mark the monster’s location. In #MHWorld, the scoutflies do that for you. In addition, if enough samples are collected and returned to the scholars at your central base, Your scoutflies does not even need samples anymore on your next hunt and can just lead you straight to it. Collecting samples isn’t just for the scout flies either as if enough research has been done to a monster, you can get a handy guide in your Hunter notes about the creatures strengths, weaknesses and vulnerable parts.
We spoke earlier that using restorative items made you disengage combat or find a safe area. The same still applies but in a less of a restrictive case. In the older titles, using a potion made you stop, drink the potion and flex happily at your newly restored HP – thus opening you for a possible attack. In #MHWorld, you are still able to move while drinking a potion or eating that well-done steak, albeit a bit slower. You can even cancel out of the drinking animation but you will only restore health to that point.
Hiding in tall bushes also allowed you to hide from a monster, giving you that well needed leeway to sharpen that weapon. If that isn’t enough, you literally get a Ghillie suit that just hides you from plain sight of the monster – for a limited time. There are different types of these suits, one protects you from being knocked back while another helps you mount monsters easier.
Speaking of items, are you running out? One of the newest changes in #MHWorld is an auto-craft system which allows you to craft potions and other hunter tools as you roam around and pick them up in the wild and as long as you have the right components, that item is immediately crafted and placed into your inventory. Items themselves received an overhaul to the requirements. Previously, the Potion was made by combining a Herb with a Blue Mushroom, now you only need the Herb. What this means is, if you ever run out of Potions while hunting and your Potion is on Auto craft then that means picking up Herbs while in the hunt will automatically turn it into a potion. Handy, right?
Doing well on your hunts? Want to craft that piece of armor but can’t remember the requirements for it? One of my personal favorite to the Quality of life changes is the “Wishlist” system. This system allows you to queue a piece of equipment you want to build into the wishlist (a total of 8). When you pick up materials related to that certain piece, there will be a pop-up that informs you of it and if it ready to be built. Additionally, this wishlist can be viewed any time through your hunter’s note, allowing you to easily keep track of it. This is a big time saver for me as I don’t have to always check the smithy anymore just to make sure what I’m missing.
New World, Old Ways, Small Changes.
Of course, some ways have been tried and tested and have always been effective. Previously mentioned is the canteen. The canteen has been a staple of Monster Hunter titles as a place wherein you can receive temporary stat boosts. In #MHWorld, the canteen can now also be accessed in your base camp, should you have forgotten to eat before setting out on a hunt.
The Base camp also had minor changes, you couldn’t sleep anymore – which was a way to restore health – but in return, you were now allowed to change weapons mid hunt, which was previously not allowed. This means you never had to worry about not bringing the right weapon for the right job.
The Farm is also back (although you’ll have to unlock it), allowing you to grow herbs, mushrooms and various plants and insects – components for hunter tools – as you hunt and/or gather them yourself, effectively doubling your yield.
Returning from #MH4 is the Expedition. Basically, Expedition is a free hunt – allowing you to explore, gather and hunt to your heart’s content without worrying about victory conditions and time limits.
The list of quests have been changed as well. Previously, the quest list was a wall of text with no clear indication which quests advanced the story or increased your Hunter rank (what we used to call Key quests). Now these can be found at a section called “Assigned”. Optional quests are generally quests you get that help unlock certain game mechanics (like the farm) or increase the food selection of your canteen – increasing the effectiveness of the meals.
Wanna take on that certain monster again for materials? Head on over to Investigation which you can set through a menu. These Investigation quests only have limited access but often provides extra rewards. Previously, there were quests that only involved you collecting x number of items which used to serve as a tutorial for crafting. These kinds of quests are now called Bounties, which can be set and completed while doing other, more important quests. Now you don’t have to spend one whole questline collecting 10 herbs, you can do it while hunting a Jagras or throughout multiple quests at your leisure.
Lastly, Event quests are still here which are cross promotional quests that net you some special gear.
Your Palico also still accompanies you through your hunt. These cats assist you by attacking monsters, taunting them or even healing you. These versatile buddies are indispensable to any hunter.
Hunters One and All
I could go on and on about the small details but all in all but #MHWorld is such an amazing addition to the franchise. Sure, there are still flaws in it like how the camera can always get in a weird angle and essentially making you fight blind or how online matchmaking still seems buggy but even then it would still be generally great.
#MHWorld demands that it is played by its own rules by new and veteran hunters alike. It has enough of the old stuff to reel in veteran hunters but enough new inspiration to take these same old, grizzled veteran hunters and turn them on their heads. It is unforgiving and relentless at this that it sometimes even feels like its trampling on your old experiences but it is through this same medium that it conveys its fresh, revitalizing take on the Hunt.
I personally had mixed feelings when this game was announced as my fondest memories of Monster Hunter was hunkering down with my buddies in a cafe and just hunting with our 3DS but #MHWorld just brings a new dimension to the franchise that now, I just can’t wait to be online hunting with the same buddies. We will always have our treasured hunting stories but now we have room for bigger, badder and more outrageous ones!
If you’re still on the fence about getting the game then take it from a Veteran Hunter and just get it. You probably won’t like everything about it and you might bounce off but the experience is something and I can guarantee you could do worse. As for my fellow veteran hunters – especially those who never got to play the 3DS versions, just grab it, you won’t regret it.
#MHWorld is out now for the PS4 and XBox One and is slated for PC release on October 2018.
This is again your friend, your foe and everything else in between – Anonyburr! And you just got Otakultured!