Since 2009 I’ve been tracking, capturing and slaying giant monsters then turning the spoils of battle in to works of art in the form of beautifully creative armor. Monster hunter Tri on the Nintendo Wii opened up a whole world of brutally hard monster battles merged with beautifully realised environments that have living, breathing ecosystems of animals and plants. This standout franchise has lived on Nintendo platforms since 2009 and now, in 2017, Monster hunter has returned to the PlayStation platform as well as the xbox one and I’m happy to report the move has been nothing but beneficial to one of Japans most popular games!
Monster hunter world begins with placing you, a veteran hunter, on an expedition to a new world. Quickly your introduced to why this new location is of such interest and that is due to what they call an elder dragon. These elder dragons are of a colossal size and have been causing problems, destroying homes and even changing the landscape due to their sheer size. However it’s been discovered that these giant beasts return to this new world once every 10 years and this expedition is tasked with discovering why. And thus begins your journey of discovery and monster slaying. It’s not a ground breaking story thats going to set the world on fire but it does enough to justify moving you along to new locations while introducing you to interesting characters.
Some NPCs are Hilarious
Character creation does enough to help you feel unique
What is far more interesting of course is the games main event and that’s monster hunting. The monsters in monster hunter worlds have been designed to perfection. Each is completely unique and behaves in its own unique way. Discovering a new monster then working out its behaviour, where it feeds, where its sleeps in order to fight it more effectively is one of the most rewarding cycles you can go through in a video game. You may struggle through your first encounter with these behemoths but after your fourth or fifth battle you’ll feel like you know the monster inside out and will know when a devastating attack is coming. It’s this cycle that keeps you coming back for more. It makes discovering new monsters an intriguing and rewarding challenge.
Monsters don't just attack you in monster hunter, they'll also interact with local wild life around you. Numerous times I would be battling a giant T-rex type monster only to turn around and find a giant lizard come out of no where and join the battle. The amazing thing about the world Capcom has created is that it feels alive. Boasting a living breathing eco system with well defined food chains. You can use this to your advantage by luring certain monsters toward each other to fight it out while you watch from the sidelines or join in at you peril. These battles are a marvel to behold and the first time you experience it your blown away by the power a ferocity they have. Monster hunter also does a great job of letting you know when its not quite time to fight a specific monster. The first time I saw a Anjanath I ran, I ran fast and I ran far. I could tell just by the way it looked and how it acted that I wasn't ready so I ran but That didn't stop the Anjanath chasing me in to a cave. When I felt I was safe I thought I would casually stroll to the opposite exit of the cave only to find it there laying in wait for me. It stuck its head in the cave to try and grab me so I ran the opposite way yet again. I found myself becoming the hunted rather than the hunter. Its these kind of unscripted moments that give you a sense of brave caution as you explore this new, wonderful world.
Monsters are huge, detailed and have personality.
First time I saw a Anjanath I ran. I ran fast and I ran Far.
More replayability and discovery comes in the form of monster hunters 14 unique weapons. I opted for the dual blades which offer quick attacks and fast mobility. However I could have just have easily of decided to go for a ranged weapon such as the bow and arrow or a heavy weapon like the great axe. All these weapons control and play completely differently and almost change completely how you play the game, you can switch these weapons at will. Feeling a bored of running in for quick attacks? no problem switch out for a bow and arrow and approach a monster from range instead. Feeling sluggish from using slow but heavy attacks? Great switch out to a staff and pole-vault yourself into the sky and attack from above. Its astounding how many ways there are to approach a monster and attack a monster, simply switching for weapons can feel make the game feel completely different.
But that's not to say Monster Hunter world is not without its flaws. The game doesn't do a great job of explaining ... well anything. If this is your first monster hunter game you have a steep learning curve ahead of you. Tutorials for the most part take place through small description boxes that feel like it assumes you've played every monster hunter game in the series and Iv been playing them for years. Online has also been handled in the form of guild cards and random matchmaking in groups which results in a bit of a clunky mess that sees you jumping through a few to many hoops to play with people you know and actually want to play with. However the inclusion of flares is a welcome addition that gives players particularly playing on their own the opportunity to simply fire a flare in to the sky and let anyone join the fight and help you with that pesky monster you just can't get past on your own. And to help you veteran single players out there, your provided with your very own feline friend called Palicoes. You can create your own just like in the initial character creator at the start of the game and you even create armour and weapons for it just like you can for yourself. Your Palicoe will fight by your side while battling monsters, distracting them, dealing damage and even healing you when you need it most. I can't tell you how many times iv been on the brink of death only to have my pal Vivi (yes I called my cat Vivi deal with it) come flying in and heal me just before I got stomped in to oblivion. The AI is fantastic and sometimes your companion will even do a better job than human players.
Your Palicoe can find others help you in a battle!
Palicoes take out their own adorable rafts in high water.
The PS4 exclusive Horizon zero dawn content is amazing!
Each location in the game is breath taking.
Monster Hunter World is a fantastic culmination of all the best aspects of the previous games while throwing in some new ideas for good measure. If you can get past the vague tutorials and clunky online you'll discover a living breathing world thats begging to be explored. Its challenging, rewarding and most importantly its fun. There's so much content here and with the promise of more to come with updates and events you'll certainly have no shortage of activities to do throughout the year. You can tell the developers where excited to get more powerful hardware and what they have created is nothing short of amazing. Morality wise people may view this game as cruel towards animals however I see this game as more about survival rather than killing for sake of it. This may be a sticking point for some but for me personally I find it to provide adequate reason for the hunt and it gets our glowing recommendation.