Cop or Drop: Monster Hunter World Beta Impressions
Just shy of a week before its official return to PlayStation and Xbox platforms, Capcom has provided us with the final beta for Monster Hunter World.
As someone who didn’t enjoy Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the Wii U yet loved it on the 3DS, initially the idea of Monster Hunter World on a home console did little for me. After spending time with the beta this past weekend this feeling has taken a complete 180, as Capcom opened my eyes to the full potential of Monster Hunter. From the improved controls allowing me to fairly try out ranged weapons for the first time, without the fear of dooming myself with premature arthritis. Along with improved visuals finally providing an immersive environment on par with the gameplay. Monster Hunter World’s beta left me excited for the countless hours of monster slaying, capturing, and resource farming I have ahead of me.
For those new to the Monster Hunter franchise, the title is fairly straightforward in telling you what to expect. In your experience playing, you’ll hunt down a wide array of monsters; ranging from the tiny raptor-like Jaggi to grandiose dragon-like behemoths. Each monster has a unique feel to it forcing you to interact with the mechanics of the game in new, rewarding ways. Much like what you would expect from a soul’s game, you’ll constantly feel yourself improving as you adapt your playstyle from each victory and defeat.
What has always made Monster Hunter special to me, and remains true in Monster Hunter World, is its lack of skill trees. Rather than placing attribute points turning your character into an invulnerable killing machine. Every sense of growth you get playing the game truly feels earned, as every victory doesn’t feel like an improvement for your character, but for you as a player. Rather than upgrading your character the only way to make it past a tough fight is to upgrade your playstyle. Sure, you can grind monsters in an attempt to make better gear, but even that will only get you so far and even with the best gear victory is not guaranteed.
Monster Hunter has always been an overwhelming game to begin. With hardly any onboarding time players are thrown into battle, forced to quickly decide among the game’s 14 weapon types, with little more than a pat on the rear and an unconvincing, ”you got this, champ.” While much hasn’t been done to alleviate those issues, there has been some lead way in making this title one of the most accessible entries I’ve personally experienced.
With the last release of the Monster Hunter series being exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS. Capcom is fully taking advantage of the power of the PS4 and Xbox One. For veterans of the franchise, the first change you’re likely to notice is the addition of your new hunting assistant, Scoutflies. Gone are the days of aimlessly roaming around the map in hopes of tracking down your monster, just to be disappointed as the beast slips away before you can tag it with a paintball. In Monster Hunter World, we’re introduced to Scoutflies, a small swarm of fireflies that highlight resources you can interact with the world and even clues to lead you to the target. A change which I welcome with open-arms, remembering the numerous quest I timed out on after being unable to locate my hunt playing the 3DS titles.
The next major change is the lack of loading screens between individual zones on the map. In Monster Hunter World the maps are more interesting and complex than ever. When I was playing with the Geeks of Color crew the other day, I found myself completely abandoning the mission and my team just to explore the map. I was much more intrigued by scaling trees and swinging on vines through the lush jungle. Before when I would have been interrupted by loading screens, allowing a moment to reevaluate my explorative urges. I was now completely immersed in my environment finding myself amazed that the answer to my constant question “wait I can keep going?” was always a rewarding “yes!”
When I reconvened with my party, alerted that they had located our hunt: the Great Jagras. I never found myself missing a beat in the fight. On the 3DS I often remember letting out a sigh of aggravation whenever a monster would slip away and reappear in another zone. Often giving the beast a moment of rest and recovery only to prolong our fight. Now from the moment our prey was spotted to the second it was slain, we were constantly engaged in the fight, my heart pounding anticipating the monsters next move.
Monster Hunter World is easily a game I can see myself coming back to time and time again throughout 2018. The lack of complicated abilities, outside of understanding the mechanics, makes it easy to pick up and play even after an extended hiatus. The timed mission format makes it perfect for a quick in-and-out game to squeeze in in time between a busy schedule.
Excited to play Monster Hunter World but still looking for a hunting party to squad up with? Join our Discord and come hang out with us in our Monster Hunter channel to team up and discuss all things Monster Hunter!