Review

Review: Monster Hunter World (PS4)

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Monster Hunter has always been a game with a cult following that is infamously known for being difficult to get into. Does Monster Hunter World continue that trend?

At a Glance: 9.8/10

Monster Hunter World is the definition of an amazing sequel. It takes everything the games have done before and improves on what works and leaves behind or changes what doesn’t. The moment to moment gameplay of the series has always been excellent, but the work it asked you to get to it previously was too much for a lot of players. While the menus still remain, and sometimes playing a story quest together can be a pain, the game is extremely accessible in a way it has never been before. I’ve no doubt that once you go through your first hunt and experience what the series has to offer for yourself that this new entry into the franchise will instantly hook you.

Whether you’ve played Monster Hunter in the past and never really gotten it or have never picked one up this game is for you. If you are a veteran of the franchise then this is the absolute best the series has ever been, and that is saying something.

I’ve trekked through this lush, green area  before, hunting other large beasts that reside here. Each time while hunting these other beats I’ve avoided or run from a large monster named an Anjanath, which is basically a huge T-Rex crossed with a vulture. It isn’t long before I find footprints from the beast and then mucus, my scoutflies honing onto the scent and leading the way.

I slide down an incline to a lower valley, deep beneath huge entwining trees. There in the clearing is what used to be my hunter, now my prey. Above it I spot a recent rockslide has been caught in the foliage and vines and I aim my arm mounted crossbow. Firing several stones I’d gathered earlier at the vines they fray and then snap and the boulders crash into the monster below.

Running, I draw my blades and as I reach the edge of a small incline I leap from it, crashing down onto the monster and attacking him ferociously. The beast isn’t stunned for long and when it regains its feet it towers over me and roars. I stumble holding my ears as just the noise of his roar shakes my screen and makes me immediately question my sanity for attacking.

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Timing and a quick dodge are the difference between victory and becoming a snack.

I don’t really have time to second guess for long as he charges me, snapping with his powerful jaws as I dive out of the way. As he comes down on the space I was seconds earlier I go into Archdemon mode with my dual blades, slowly draining my stamina, but allowing me to do powerful attacks. Blades spin, arcing into the beast, but I’m locked into place as this animation takes place, part of the gamble of using it.

I pay for my mistake as he turns bashing me with his shoulder and throwing me to the ground, before using his weight and pressing down on me, dragging me across the floor of the forest; similar to a crushing attack of an elephant. My life is impossibly low, I roll out from underneath him and chug a potion I crafted earlier from some herbs as he rushes back in. Arrows slam into him with arcing electricity and he stumbles and falls as I nod thanks to my brother, even though he was arriving somewhat late.

Good thing I had fired that SOS flare, making my hunt available to search through online. Next thing I know I’m not alone, it is me and 3 other hunters paired with the beast. I leap from the cliff again and land on top of the monster stabbing it over and over as my comrades fire arrows and crash hammers into it. Clinging to the beast for dear life I manage to fell him and we close on him raining blows.

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Every time these beasts clash it is amazing to behold.

Hurt the creature runs, no health bar is visible, we only know his pain because of the way he pants or limps. We give chase to a canopy retreat the monster made it to and begin the fight anew when suddenly another roar rings above us and a huge dragon crashes into the T-Rex. Now we are witness to a struggle of titans as it carries the T-Rex into the air and then drops it, following to attack with giant talons. It then faces us, a giant roar shaking the screen, and even though we know the danger; I can’t help but smile.

This is Monster Hunter World.

That was an abnormal opening to a review, I admit, but it gets to the heart of what Monster Hunter is; all about the hunt. What makes the series so magical is that these huge boss monsters all act like real creatures and every one of them is completely unique in the way they behave. You have to learn these monsters to fight them, read their movements and attacks, and adapt to how they react.

Monster Hunter World takes that and turns it to 11, by allowing you to fight these monsters in an open world. Gone are the loads between segments, these creatures live in this world alongside you in real time, as do the other large monsters you’ve seen. Often this will lead to these amazing clashes where to goliaths crash into each other, and though I’ve seen it dozens of times now, it never gets old. Such is the weight and personality they’ve given to these creatures that you feel you are ringside to the strangest Planet Earth episode ever.

I could go over each mechanic independently, but there are a lot, so we might be here all day. Unlike previous iterations of the franchise World does a good job in showing you the ropes by slowly integrating these things over the course of the campaign. The campaign is focused around hunting down an enormous mountain sized elder dragon, that wrecks your vessels at the beginning of the game, in an effort to better understand the world in which the hunters live.

The main bulk of Monster Hunter World is easily boiled down into a core concept, you hunt monsters. You’ll go out into these open spaces and gather materials that will help you to hunt the monsters by allowing you to create potions and meat that you can consume to raise your health and stamina. You’ll hunt down these monsters in the world, solo or with three other hungers, and you’ll fell them to gather their materials and craft new armor and weapons.

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This is a good example of some of the awesome gear you can craft.

It sounds simple on its face, but the hook is extremely addictive. The game has an expert hand at how much to dole out and when to keep you coming back for more. If the loot was the only hook it simply wouldn’t work, but felling these monsters is the best part of the whole game. The first time you face the Anjanath, chances are it’ll soundly defeat you. As you learn how it fights, how it hunts, and take down other creatures leveling your armor you become a force to be reckoned with.

When you finally face off against the beast and after a grueling fight manage to take it down, triumphant, well there isn’t quite anything else like it in gaming. It isn’t hard in the way that Dark Souls is, where it constantly punishes you and expects memorization, instead if wants you to watch and observe these monsters; learn what makes them tick.

Everything is improved in this game, in every facet. Gone are all the boring mushroom fetch quests, replaced instead by bounties you can undertake as  you accomplish your main quest. Weapons are more approachable than before as every prompt for a combo shows up at the top right of the screen as you fight, giving you gentle reminders if you forget, and if you are a veteran they can be turned off entirely.

A new training area lets you try out the 14 completely unique weapons before you head out into the world, giving you a good feel for each. No matter who you are there is likely one that you’ll love and the game doesn’t punish you for swapping in the early game as materials are abundant. Trying out sword and shield and don’t like the damage you are doing? Swap to a Great Sword and see those numbers skyrocket. Feel too slow and grounded with the hammer? Pick up the insect glaive and take to the skies.

Multiplayer is so simple to do, though it is somewhat restricted in the main campaign. This is probably my only gripe of the game as I had to jump through hoops playing with my brother in the story. In an odd move we would both have to start quests separately, see the cutscene for the quest, and once you can fire off an S.O.S. flare we could then join each other and both get credit for completing the quest.

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Eep.

In every other hunt it is exceptionally easy, if a bit of a process at first, to start hunts and get others involved. Certainly with the power of PSN’s netowrk, compared to something like 3DS, the game is easier than ever to play with others and you will want to as this is where the game truly shines. If you are in the middle of an expedition solo, and feel overwhelmed, you can simply fire off a flare into the air and other hunters will see your call and can respond if they wish.

Of course if you want to play entirely offline you can, instead teaming with your friendly cat warrior Palico in order to take on the monsters. It is entirely doable to play the entire campaign by yourself, as the creature’s difficult scales down, and the game is still quite fun alone.

Monster Hunter World is the definition of an amazing sequel. It takes everything the games have done before and improves on what works and leaves behind or changes what doesn’t. The moment to moment gameplay of the series has always been excellent, but the work it asked you to get to it previously was too much for a lot of players. While the menus still remain, and sometimes playing a story quest together can be a pain, the game is extremely accessible in a way it has never been before. I’ve no doubt that once you go through your first hunt and experience what the series has to offer for yourself that this new entry into the franchise will instantly hook you.

Whether you’ve played Monster Hunter in the past and never really gotten it or have never picked one up this game is for you. If you are a veteran of the franchise then this is the absolute best the series has ever been, and that is saying something.

Score: 9.8 out of 10

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14 thoughts on “Review: Monster Hunter World (PS4)

  1. I picked up this game on the weekend and I’ve been struggling to get into it over the past few days. But everyone keeps telling me how good it gets so I’m determined to persevere!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would say the hooks get into you once you start upgrading your gear, but the big draw is playing with friends obviously.

      My biggest tip to everyone is if you are trying a weapon and not having fun, change weapons. The play styles are so different and all approach combat in much different ways, so there is sure to be something you’ll enjoy.

      Like

      1. Funnily enough, that’s what everybody else has been saying to me! I think I need to dedicate some time to messing around with the weapons in the training ground and see if I can find one which feels better. Thanks for the advice. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think the Dual Blades could be spot on… I was previously doing the sword and shield because that’s my usual weapon of choice but it’s just too slow. Again, thanks for the tips!

        Like

  2. Enjoyed your review as someone who has been playing the series since the PSP. To anyone struggling, keep at it! This game is quite rewarding after you’ve put in the work and try to play with people! The community for this game is already pretty well established with Wikis and Youtube channels. I’d recomend Arreks Gaming for video tutorials about MHW! Keep hunting!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually went out and bought a PS4 specifically for MH World! I just could not wait until the fall to play it. Plus, it justifies my purchase of a PS4! I’ve been interested in getting one but there wasn’t anything that compelled me to spend that much money, AND I had just gotten my Switch in November last year. Worth every cent and I’ll be getting the PC version when it comes out so I can play with my friends who aren’t currently playing!

    Awesome review! 10/10 for this review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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