The Monster Hunter games series has been extremely popular over the years and it was clear Monster Hunter World would break all boundaries that limited the scope of the earlier titles with the power of this generation’s consoles. This is my first time to the franchise and I’m curious how it presents to a newcomer as opposed to a veteran.
Monster Hunter World is an action RPG that sets your custom-made character into a land full of strange and often very large creatures. You are a new recruit who is destined for greatness which can be achieved through taking on a series of quests into the wild. These quests, whether story based or side-quests, can be as little as picking plants or tracking beasts all the way up to killing off a pest in the region. They all tie in together as advancement of your character’s abilities and combat tactics.
The game starts with some characters socialising during their trip to Astera that will become your new home. As begin to converse with your character, you then get to choose what your character looks like. There is a lot of variation for you to choose from, but I had to spend some considerable time to make a character that didn’t look Asian. There really is a general lean in that direction with the options supplied. Even in the voice, every option sounded like a Manga character, which really doesn’t suit a character which looks distinctly Caucasian or African-American for example. And I will point out that these voices for your character only apply to grunts for battle action. Outside of this, your character doesn’t speak at all. This became clear very early, especially when NPC’s ask you a question and your character doesn’t reply. Rather rude if you think about it.
Along with your main character, you have a Palico companion. This cat can offer some assistance during battles through the use of gadgets and weapons you will craft for it. You can choose to leave it behind at the town if you wish, however it is generally beneficial to bring it along and level it up and assist with gathering items or convincing wild cats to join you temporarily. I had to reluctantly give in to these benefits given my utter hatred of cats.
Unlike most games I have played, I was taken aback by the option to virtually fully equip your character from the start. Inspecting my storage box, I was given both leather and chainmail armour along with one of every weapon. This was actually beneficial for me to try out each weapon to decide which ones suited by battle tactics and also which ones were better for the different creatures I would be fighting. Each of these can be upgraded through the acquisition of parts located throughout the world and returning them to the forge. There are multiple levels of upgrade depending on the parts returned. This also applied to the Palico’s equipment.
I found the combat and controls a little tricky to start with, especially considering I was jumping between weapons. I found the variation between moves and combos to be very good, albeit some do take a long time to conduct. I also discovered that the consumption of healing potions takes way too long especially mid-battle. I quite regularly was knocked out while trying to heal. Also, if you do “faint” in a quest, you are taken back to the start of the area and will have to run back to the battle area or re-locate the creature again. Faint 3 times and you instantly fail the quest and are returned to Astera, requiring you to start the mission all over again.
Players who have a current subscription to PS-Plus or Xbox Live can play along with up to three of their friends to complete quests and gather supplies. Some limitations apply especially when players are on different levels to their friends but there will always be something you can do together. Also, the difficulty scales according to how many characters are in a session. When I say characters, this applies to Palicos too. So, two players and their Palicos is the same difficulty level as 4 players with no Palicos, so please consider that.
Audio & Visuals
Monster Hunter World is very well detailed. Each area has its own characteristics, uniqueness and attack strategies which presents their own benefits for your play style. The variety of creatures is astounding to say the least. I really liked the variation in environments which offer their own advantages and disadvantages. The character customisation is plentiful, but many choices had a definite Asian sway.
The audio in this game is a mixed bag for me. In regards to the environmental and character sounds, it does very well, no issues there. My biggest issue with Monster Hunter World is related to the conversations. Given that there is an option to disable subtitles, it is virtually useless. All conversations are still subtitled, and most are not voice acted completely. You generally hear a few words spoken but you still have to read the rest to get the information. This comes off as incomplete or incompetent development especially since they included an option to turn off subtitles.
Monster Hunter World is my first introduction into this series of games, and as a new-comer I must admit that there is a lot to offer. The variations in appearance and sound of the creatures is very good. There is plenty to do within each quest aside from your main objective and the longevity of the game is substantial. Despite the issues I have with voice acting and subtitles, I still recommend any RPG fans pick up this title and try playing with your friends.
Thank you to Capcom for providing a copy of Monster Hunter World for review purposes.