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MONSTER HUNTER: WORLD Review

Edited by: John Gerritzen

Capcom’s Monster Hunter series is one well known in the gaming industry for its brutal and gratifying experience of tracking down monolithic beasts before challenging them for dominance on the food chain. Though the bulk of the series has been confined to portable platforms or hidden behind the veil of Japanese-exclusive release, Capcom’s newest crack at the genre has aimed to change all that. Ambitious in its scale and breathtaking in its execution, Monster Hunter: World is the first of its kind to make it to the PC and it feels well worth the wait. A near-flawless port from the consoles, this sprawling and brutal hunting game should give PC Monster Hunter fans the experience they’ve been waiting for.

Welcome to the New World

In Monster Hunter: World, you and take the role of your personalized hunter attached to an expedition fleet to virtual unclaimed land of a continent across the sea. At the heels of an ancient and truly monolithic creature classified as an Elder Dragon, you and your fuzzy Palico companion will set across a variety of diverse and beautiful ecosystems to discover the mystery of the Elder Dragon’s crossing of the sea and kill a heck of a lot of monsters along the way.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Monster Hunter is much like a genre all unto its own; action adventure games that pride themselves on your ability to explore its fantastical lands and the sheer variety of insanely unique and breathtaking creatures within them. The system and mechanics of the game are almost solely centered around these monsters. Quests will see you dropped in the middle of the wilderness where you are responsible for tracking down your target monster and spending the better part of the quest competing in a battle to the death with these monstrous beings. In victory, you will have captured or killed the beast, using parts of the hunted creature to build for yourself new weapons and armour, each with specific stats or abilities that you can choose from to fine-tune your character and playstyle. Once you’re all done, you’re out once more to hunt your next monster.

Out on the Hunt

As one of the latest additions to the series, Monster Hunter: World holds true to the rinse and repeat methodology of the series and fine-tunes it to a razor’s edge. Nearly every aspect of the game’s core mechanics has been elevated to present a far more gratifying experience that alleviates some of the tedium from previous titles while never straying from the path that had come before it. Like all Monster Hunter games, World stays true to the process of hunt, kill, forge, and has maintained each of them in their heightened form to retain that authentic Monster Hunter experience.

Hunting, one of the most important aspects of the game, has been almost completely redesigned. Rather than running through loading screen after loading screen of bite-sized zones of a specific area as you chase after a single monster on the mini-map, Monster Hunter: World allows you to hunt in one contiguous and sprawling biome without the tedious pause of any loading screens, save for your initial entrance. An additional mechanic has been added in the form of glowing flies trained to help you track down the monsters, involving a atmospheric mechanic of collecting DNA from tracks and remnants to pick up the scent of your quarry and help you hunt them down while also making it less of a pain if you lose sight of them.

Combat itself is much the same as it has been before. Once you catch a glimpse of the monster, you’ll be spending the better half of the quest time wailing on the beast, blocking heavy blows or dodging out of the way while trying to monitor your health and stamina in the process. The combat can be broken up if you’re crafty enough with use of the environment as well, using things like poison plants and hanging boulders to strike the beasts with a hefty sum of environmental damage that should help expediate your kill. While much of a hunt may be a constant smashing at the beast, the game offers fourteen different weapon types with completely different playstyles and combos that can allow you to crush a beast or see you leaping in the air like an acrobat. There’s no one class that you’re shoehorned into at any point of the game, so if you ever feel you’re getting bored of any single weapon, you’re more than free to just pick up another and give that a whirl.

The final, but no less important step of the process comes when you have returned back to base from your successful hunt with a veritable mountain of bones and hide from your slain quarry. With these pieces, Monster Hunter: World allows you the very visceral experience of moving up in the world based on your accomplishments, as every weapon, piece of armor, or item is almost exclusively made from what you gather on the hunt or carve from defeated monsters. Every piece of equipment is based on the monsters that you kill. Nearly every major monster has an armor set, each with its own unique set of abilities and enhancements, while all fourteen weapon types will typically have one or several iterations that will provide you with bonus elemental damage or a difference in base stats. The amount of variety and customization that you can commit to in the game is simply staggering, but is presented at an even pacing throughout the game that allows you the opportunity to slowly ease into the process and not simply drown you in undecipherable options from the get go. Because each piece of equipment has a specific set of resources it requires, you will find yourself having to hunt the same beast more than once, and this can become a somewhat tedious process, but the amount of variety that you can commit to one fight and the gratification of finally making that full set of awesome Rathalos armor makes it feel so very worth the wait.

Breathtaking Ecosystem

In terms of its visuals, Monster Hunter: World is a truly wondrous experience. While there is only a small range of biomes available, each one is a sprawling and expansive ecosystem that is a genuine joy to explore, from the parched desert of the Wildspire Wastes to the awe-inspiring color of the Coral Highlands. This is where the game triumphs most, for the land and its creatures are a joy to experience as much as they are to interact with. Nearly every single monster in the game is a completely unique experience with a host of quirks and traits that presents the feel of a living, breathing animal that interacts with the world around it. The way they move and participate helps bring them to life, while things like territory wars between monsters can provide a sense of atmosphere and a reminder that there is a food chain in this world, and you’re at the bottom of it, working your way to the top amongst truly monolithic beings.

Fantastic Port

As a port and the first game of the series to hit the PC market, Monster Hunter: World is a genuine treat and a fantastic port. As someone who spent about a hundred hours playing the game on Xbox One from its initial release, I was more than pleased to see that the game performs at a stellar level ahead of console. The game runs smoothly with loading screens taking little time at all and the game rarely, if ever, encounters any sort of bugs that proved a problem during my time. In terms of performance, I had no problems whatsoever with the game and, despite the complexity of everything you can do in the game, playing with mouse and keyboard was far less of an issue than I had initially expected. Admittedly, I still prefer playing with a controller.

The only issue that arose was the method by which you are able to play with your friends. In the console versions of the game, Monster Hunter: World allowed you to create guilds which let you immediately connect to your guild’s server directly without any issues or hassle. With the PC port, the game has done away with this option altogether and forces you to use Steam Groups in its absence. While in theory, this wouldn’t seem so bad, but it rarely works properly and it often becomes just the case that you must try to directly connect to your friends rather than smoothly just join the guild server everyone was connected to. It is a slight annoyance, but not really something that diminishes the enjoyment of the game after your initial login.

8

The Verdict: Excellent

The first of its kind to be delivered to the salivating grasp of PC gamers, Monster Hunter: World has been well worth the wait as it delivers a breathtaking experience through a near-flawless port.

Alexander Leleux
Written by
September 13, 2018
Published in Adventure

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Alexander grew up with a controller in his hand and remains the annoyance of his gaming friends for being ‘that guy’ who continues to use one even when he’s playing on his PC. By day, he is a graduate student in medieval literature and a freelance writer. By night, he is an avid gamer, hobbyist, and victim of an unhealthy Warhammer addiction. With a passion for stories of all kinds, he firmly believes that video games are an excellent means of communicating a narrative and hopes to one day make his own mark on the Gaming Industry.

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