Reviewed for: Xbox One and PS4 Release: 2018
Monster Hunter World is the latest instalment in Capcom’s already established Monster Hunter franchise. As a new player, MHW is my first taste of the series and I am pleasantly surprised by how in-depth and visually stunning this action-packed RPG truly is.
From the moment you are flung into the new world as a member of the fifth fleet, MHW allows you to begin engrossing yourself in the gameplay. MHW adopts a ‘learn as you go’ tutorial style, which is refreshing after the many cut scenes you are forced to sit through in the tutorials of other complex RPG style games. The basic controls are straight forward but the magic of the game mechanics shines through once you are introduced to the MHW combat style.
Throughout the game you can experiment with a plethora of unique weapons all with their own combat styles, difficulty levels and advantages. At first you will be limited in the weapon variations you are able to forge, but within a few hours of gameplay and a handful of fallen monsters you will be able to climb the elemental tree of your choosing to further add to the damage rating of your preferred weapon type.
The locations in MHW are breathtakingly executed, all individually characterised by the unique flora and fauna abundant in each area. From the lush greenery of the Ancient Forest to the marine style landscape of the Coral Highlands, the openness and complexity of each area is extremely impressive. Whilst playing I often found myself deviating from my current hunt to take in the scenery and appreciate it in all it’s glory. Pillaging the landscape for forging materials, consumables and ammunition is surprisingly not as tedious as it sounds given the variety of the areas you explore and the opportunity to find rare or high-quality materials.
The real stars of MHW are the actual monsters, big or small the design of these antagonists is impeccable. Some smaller monsters are friendly whilst you are out on expeditions but other more insidious foes resemble a furious fire breathing tyrannosaurus rex or giant flying wyverns hell-bent on toasting you like a marshmallow. The variety in the monster design is great and each monster is perfectly executed, particularly in the way MHW is able to marry the artistic design of each monster with its behaviour and elemental attacks.
Each hunt or capture you complete within the game is incredibly satisfying and as the hunts become harder the ways in which you can give yourself an upper advantage becomes more complex and interesting. As you successfully track and slay each type of monster, you gain more insight and knowledge into their strengths and weaknesses allowing you to equip yourself with the appropriate weaponry and materials prior to the hunt. One great element of MHW is your ability to fire SOS flares or hunt in a party if a battle becomes too difficult for you on your own, although this function is great in theory it is often a bit awkward and slow when used but a valuable asset nonetheless.
The character customization at the beginning of the game is robust but the real highlight is your ability to create your very own cat side-kick which is known as a palico in the Monster Hunter universe. Your palico stays by your side throughout the game, if you so choose, and assists you in combat and foraging. I loved this feature not only for its ridiculous level of cuteness but also its actual functionality during gameplay, the palico is much more than just a furry friend and helps you slay monsters and find useful materials on numerous occasions.
You are further able to customize your palico and avatars unique appearance through the ability to forge an abundance of various armour sets that utilise parts of the monsters you have slain in their creation. Each set is fantastically designed to resemble its corresponding monster’s appearance and elemental abilities and it is a lot of fun to preview each new armour set as it becomes available in the smithy after you have returned from slaying a new variety of monster.
The one aspect of MHW that bothered me was the somewhat tedious main story-line centred around the ancient dragon Zorah-Magdaros. For a main plotline it felt like it took an uncharacteristic backseat to the rest of my adventures in the new world and became the last thing on my massive priority list. The NPC characters are also slightly disappointing, each with one-dimensional personalities that are exacerbated by a bucket-load of bad voice acting.
Monster Hunter World is a fantastic RPG game full of complex areas, unique monsters and high action combat perfected by the ability to fully customize your gameplay experience.
“When in doubt, take a bite!” – Monster Hunter World, 2018.