One of the downsides to releasing a big game is there needs to be equally large profits. Monster Hunter: World looked to be everything fans were looking for in a home console version, but there were fears of Capcom going after a more casual market. Accessibility on its own isn’t a bad thing, in many ways it has helped the fighting game community, it becomes a problem when that takes away from what players enjoyed, something we’ve seen in Destiny 2. Now that there are countless new hunters exploring the world, is Monster Hunter: World the game we’ve been dreaming of or is it a lifeless shell with large monsters?
Monster Hunter: World spends a lot of time telling a story that isn’t worth telling. The basic gist is you’re a hunter that eventually gets wrapped in the mystery surrounding Zorah Magdaros, an extremely large monster that is heading to an unknown location for mysterious reasons. The mistake isn’t with the story per se, but player motivation. A lot of people just want to hunt monsters and play with their friends, two things that the campaign makes difficult.
At first there isn’t a lot to do besides playing through the story, since that is essentially a tutorial. This becomes even more of a problem when you realize you can’t join a story mission if the host has cutscenes they haven’t watched. It’s possible to get around this by loading, viewing the opening one(s) and then heading out or playing other people’s games, but these are more complicated solutions to something that shouldn’t be a problem in the first place. The other is, even if you just want to hunt other things, it takes a fairly substantial commitment to unlock a sizable amount of quests.
The journey is also held back by odd moves and bad choices. For instance, Monster Hunter: World is by no means a simple game, but the included tutorial is overwhelming, poorly implemented and leads to players ignoring it. Another is the included Hunter’s Notes. These will tell you everything you want to know, such as monster weaknesses, location and drops, it just requires a lot of progression and leveling, to the point where it’s still more practical to just look it up online.
Even if the aforementioned stuff is annoying and takes away from the overall experience, it isn’t enough to stop Monster Hunter: World from being a phenomenal experience. Where the tutorial goes wrong, the quest progression is pretty good. Things start slow, asking players to fight simpler bosses and/or small animals, before upping the difficulty.
Unfortunately, this means there are several points where the difficulty spikes. Arguably the first is Anjanath, a large t-rex looking monster, which is also the point where Monster Hunter: World starts to shine. Generally speaking, players fail for two different and distinct reasons. These include not reading the boss correctly and/or wrong gear. Different builds, immunities, elemental damage and more give players a reason to grind out multiple sets and try different builds.
Even though every boss can be defeated with any weapon, there are distinct advantages to each weapon. Larger weapons, such as hammers and great swords are great at breaking parts, making the monster weaker, increasing drops and/or removing certain attacks/decreasing the effeteness. Flying monsters are generally easier with ranged weapons, similar to how quick weapons make short work of fast monsters. But, if trying the various different and unique weapons isn’t your thing, Monster Hunter: World is filled with tools designed to give players various kinds of edge.
Arguably the best part of Monster Hunter: World is how it rewards tactical players. This can be done a number of different ways, including leading monsters to traps or other threats, using tools like a flash grenade or simply mounting them and stabbing until they go down. These mechanics really stand out in multiplayer, where you start to see the advantage of certain attacks, weapons or items. Plus, there is something magical about bringing a wyvern down from the sky, only to be attacked by four different hunters.
One thing that makes Monster Hunter: World so hard to review is there is simply so much here to see and explore. With a variety of different weapons, plenty of monsters, some free upcoming content and countless secrets, there is little to dislike. Sure, the online system could be a bit better and the story sucks, but it is easily forgotten once you get a team together to hunt. So, if you’re looking for a deep, thoughtful and beautiful game, you can’t go wrong with Monster Hunter: World. However, if you’re not interested in learning the mechanics or get frustrated very easily, this one isn’t for you.
[Editor’s Note: Monster Hunter World was reviewed on the PS4 Pro platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]