I want to go ahead and preface this post acknowledging that I am by no means a “veteran” Monster Hunter player. In all honesty, this is the first Monster Hunter that I have played more than just a few hours. Previously, I had only dabbled in Monster Hunter: Generations and knew nothing else about the series. When I look back at reasons I decided to go ahead and buy the game, none of it was based off of what I had heard about the series or its past iterations. It was loosely based off of the hype from my friends and the various trailers and gameplay that I had seen. With that being said, I wanted to share with you Adventurer’s the reasons why I think you should play this game, especially if you are new to the series like me.
Monster Hunter: World Brought a Challenge
It has been a long time since I felt that a game has truly challenged me. Right before I purchased MHW, I was in the process of completing all of the achievements in the first Dark Souls. I have always loved games that provide players with a challenge, something I feel has been missing in modern gaming for quite some time. MHW hits all of the right strides when it comes to a challenge. It is made clear early on to players that you have a lot to learn in order to be good at the game. Monster Hunter wastes no time in showing you which monsters are going to demolish you and which ones are not. One minute, I am cleaving my way through small, yellow lizards called Jagras, to the next minute being slaughtered by a raging Anjanath who happened to stumble in the same area that I was in.
I can’t even begin to explain to you how many rage inducing moments I have had when I am in the midst of killing a large monster and another, larger monster appears and one shots me. I’m looking at you Bazelgeuse. In short, MHW has a significant learning curve. Button mashing is a thing of the past here. Monsters will not forgive a mis-timed attack in most cases, and will rip you apart in the early stages of the game. Learning how to dodge and studying the patterns of each monster are only half the battle here though. The weapons are where the learning curve really begins. Finding the weapon that suites you is the key to MHW. Weapons like the Great Sword and Lance takes more precision and timing to be efficient with. The Great Sword is extremely slow but comes with a high damage reward. Others like the Dual Swords are more forgiving, lowering damage per hit but rewarding the player with faster overall gameplay.
All of these things together recreate the challenge in gaming that I feel is currently void in AAA games. Do you like a semi-steep learning curve? Strategy? Skill? MHW has it.
The Grind is Worth It
Not many games can say that the grind is worth it. I am a long time MMORPG player with most of my hours sunk into Everquest and World of Warcraft. If there is one thing I know well, it’s grinding. MHW never made me feel like what I was doing had no reward. I am 100+ hours into the game now, and I still feel rewarded for my constant component grinding. I can’t even tell you how many times I have killed the same early game Elder Dragon for his components, just to make my weapons and armor.
Armour and weapons do a great job of providing a sense of mystery and accomplishment by not allowing the players to see what they are or how to get them early on in the game. Weapons are revealed through the expansive crafting tree. Each tree starts with two types of weapons, the iron weapons and the bone weapons. These weapons build into different types of weapons, some containing elemental types or different sharpness levels. The crafting tree quickly fills out and gets larger as you earn various components from the different monsters that you kill. Even after beating the game, there were still some weapons that had yet to be revealed to me, because I had not acquired the primary component for it. With planned free DLC ahead, the rewards for my hours of bountiful grinding seem to be endless. I look forward to slaying my next foe each time I play, with hopes of acquiring that final weapon component I need.
Multiplayer feels like a LAN Party
Multiplayer in MHW is by no means perfect. Early Xbox One functionality was broken for those of us trying to drop in random online sessions or respond to SOS flares. It was extremely frustrating especially when I was one of the ones that wanted to use a SOS flare. Even the menus were confusing, making a dismal case for those trying to play with friends. However, the lull in the ability to play with randoms allowed me to spend more time playing with my close friends (at least once you figure out how). I played most of the early game as a party of 4, each of us using different weapons, each of us learning how to die in different ways. It was reminiscent of the old Halo LAN party days, or sitting around yelling at each other during Mario Party. You can choose to work together and become a cohesive team, or run off and do your own thing and leave your friends to fend for themselves. Watching your friends die because you know they are known button mashers or have little patience is a hilarious thing to watch.
Overall, MHW does a great job with its multiplayer experience, aside from the early quirks. Dropping in with randoms is fun now that the multiplayer has mostly been fixed. Monsters scale to higher HP and difficulty when playing with others, which creates its own challenge separate of single player. Even when your friends have long surpassed you, joining a game with them and killing monsters still makes you feel like you are contributing.
Monster Hunter: World has a Subtle Beauty
Aside from the hub area, the game moves really fast when you’re hunting a monster. Each mission usually has a time cap, which leaves little time to step back and enjoy the beautiful game that has been presented to us. Each area that you get to explore has a different dynamic style. From forests to deserts to a coral paradise, the terrain is carefully laid out and well pieced together. Learning the terrains and the little details about each environment add to its overall beauty and complexity.
MHW does a great job at making a seemingly small map feel much larger then it actually is. By scale, the maps feel small when you look at them in the map menu. However, when you start exploring the various areas, components and monsters alike are spread out well enough to give the player an incentive to explore. Each item and monster location feels purposeful and makes sense for the areas that they are placed in, helping to create a cohesive landscape that almost anyone can enjoy.
The Palicos (And That Cooking Scene)
Somehow, Palicos have seemingly avoided me for this long. Appealing to the natural course of the Internet and it’s love of cats, Palicos are nothing short of one of the best gifts to gamers to date. Palicos play an almost essential role in the single player and two man teams of Monster Hunter: World. They can tank, heal, and do nothing extremely well. Many times my Palico, Tibbers, has saved my life by soaking a few hits from a rampaging Rathalos or healing me after one of those crushing blows by a Diablos that leaves you stunned.
The best moments from the Palicos don’t happen out in the gameplay world however, they come from the Palico cats that just so happen to be the chefs that cook all of your food. Each time you go to the Canteen to get food made for your character (the food gives bonus stats for character), you are gifted with a cutscene of the Palico chefs cooking what looks to be the most delicious food in gaming. I can imagine Ignis looking at the meal and letting Noctis and the team know he has found “a new recipe”. If you haven’t seen any of these cutscenes yet, follow this link. There is only a few, but they are 100% worth your viewing.