The Hunt is On!!!
How does one even begin to describe the huge, exciting, magical trip that is Monster Hunter World? Well, as someone who has never played a Monster Hunter game prior to this one, the one word that came to mind was “damn.” Why? Because this is a damn good game.
Not to oversimplify the game, but the name of it is literally what you get: you hunt monster for hours on end. That’s it. But there’s a catch. The more you hunt, the better you get, and who doesn’t want to be the best?
As I previously stated, I have never played a Monster Hunter game before, so this was an entirely new experience for me. I’d heard stories of it’ learning curve and its difficult nature, but I never really took any of that seriously. I played myself. This is a game like no other I’ve tried before. You can’t rush into fights guns-blazing and think you’re going to win because you won’t. Every move you make has to be planned out. The combat is all about patience, timing, and precision. If you take one misstep or try to use an attack that takes a while to charge without anticipating the monster’s movements beforehand, that could be the deciding factor in having a good or bad hunt.
Let’s talk about the main story of the game a bit. So basically, the premise of the story mode is that you’re a hunter that arrives on this island with a group, and you’re here to help the rest of the hunters track and capture an elder dragon: the Zorah Magdaros. Along the way, you have to complete story quest (taking out other monsters, going on expeditions, etc.), but honestly, the main story is not the game’s strong point. And that’s perfectly fine because it doesn’t take anything away from the overall game. The best thing about it is that you don’t only have to do the main quest. There’s an expedition mode while allows you to roam freely in the lush, lived-in environments and just hunt freely and gather materials as you please. I actually found myself doing this quite a bit more than helping look for the Zorah Magdaros.
The game’s character customization was pretty extensive. I read of people having issues with it online, but I never came across any of the issues myself. My only complaint with character customization is that there was a lack of hairstyles that really represented Black people, so of course, my next best option was a luscious ponytail (see above). You also get to create your own cat-like companion called a Palico, which was a pretty fun thing to do. The game also allows you to choose your character’s vocal lines, but you don’t speak throughout any of the game. I found this weird, but according to older players, this was pretty normal. I guess getting the perfect-sounding grunt is important to Monster Hunter players. The animations and graphics in MH World are also very nice to look at. However, the only major complaint I had was that when cutscenes were playing, the character’s voices were not synced with the animation at all. That got kind of irritating to look at, but it wasn’t the end of the world.
Now let’s dive into what the game really has to offer. You are given the option to chose between a whopping 14 different weapon types. That was a bit overwhelming at first, but I ended up with the Hunter’s Bow at the end of the day because it suited my playstyle the best. I tried out other weapons, and ultimately picked the dual blades as my alternate weapon, but I mainly stuck with the bow. Now the main appeal of the game comes from hunting monsters, taking the materials that the monsters leave behind after defeating them and using those materials to improve your armor and weapons. Of course, you’re able to do the same with your Palico’s equipment.
Now this game is definitely not for everyone. There’s a very specific crowd that enjoys these kinds of games, and I just so happened to be a part of that crowd. Those who like games that utilize RPG elements a lot will probably gravitate to this title since it allows you to do things like turn a regular Hunter’s Bow into a Pulse Bow (which you can craft after hunting and slaying a Tobi Kadachi, which is a large lizard monster that puts out lighting attacks), and add lightning damage to each arrow you shoot. As well as that, you can mix and match armor to suit your playstyle or to get different perks due to the different monsters that the pieces came from. That alone would’ve been enough to get me to check out this title.
What Monster Hunter World lacks in a super compelling story, it more than makes up for in the crazy amount of hours that you’ll spend hunting monsters to get their complete suits of armor. I spoke to a few friends who have played older Monster Hunter games, and they say this is probably the most polished one yet (it probably helps that it’s on an actual console now). MH World is less of you improving your armor and weapons, and more of you just improving your skill as a hunter by understanding the monsters’ body language and exploring and collecting more materials. And that’s what makes the hunts feel so rewarding and makes all the grinding worth it. And best of all – it’s so sad that this has to be said – there are NO LOOTBOXES. Hat’s off to Capcom. They just gained another loyal Hunter.