I’ll be completely honest when it comes to Monster Hunter. Outside of playing the original Monster Hunter back on the PlayStation 2 (remember that?) and Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii, I haven’t played any of the other games. That’s not to say that I wasn’t familiar with the series or didn’t follow it. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’ve followed the game with such an interest, if the series hadn’t continued on a handheld system (3DS), I would have been playing it. Sadly, I don’t have the passion to play on handhelds, so I watched the game evolve from afar. All that changed when I was at E3 2017 and Capcom had announced that Monster Hunter: World was coming to the consoles.
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed on PS4 Pro), Xbox One, PC (Fall 2018)
Release Date: Jan 26, 2018
Time Played: 145 hours and counting
Jumping into Monster Hunter: World, you find out that you’re part of a group called “The Fifth”. Supposedly, you’re part of an elite monster hunting team and you’re heading to the New World. Apparently, years of research have called for a change in location from the previous old world. That plus the Elder Dragons are making a beeline for the new world, and you have to follow them. Thus setting the stage for Monster Hunter: World
If you’re looking for some grand and compelling story in Monster Hunter: World. Sorry, you won’t find one. This is the classic **insert** is standing in our way and we need to defeat it. That’s it. And it works, because let’s be honest. We’re not here for a story. We’re here to find some monsters (or dinosaurs as my son calls them) kill their butts and take their parts to make cool new weapons and armors. Still, there is a story and while it may be of interest to some people, I found it a bit boring. The supporting cast was also pretty boring, while many of them don’t even have compelling names. I mean, the one character who basically follows you around and tells you what to do is called “The Handler”. What kind of name is that? There there’s the Captain, Bro Dude, Cool Fiver, etc etc. You get the idea. No one character in the game is memorable or worth getting attached.
I wish Capcom went a different with the story, but again, this isn’t why you play Monster Hunter.
What Monster Hunter: World is all about is tracking down those magical, yet deadly beasts and putting them down. It’s basically a boss rush game and this has been the formula for Monster Hunter since day one. And despite all that, it still works. In a nutshell, you’re given a task to find the said monster, and you’re sent out into one of several locations to do the deed. But this is where it gets interesting. You see, you’re not just thrust into a world devoid of anything but the monster you’re after. Instead, you’re in a location that is teeming with life. Lots of flora, other monsters that are wondering around, things to gather. There’s a lot of stuff to do. Think of it as the sandbox game of beasting hunting.
We’re talking about huge locations that span several areas that include forests, deserts, lakes and more. And I’ll be honest, I’ve sent more time wandering around than I do hunting monsters at times. But that’s the beauty of the game. You’re given a choice on what you want to do and how you want to play. At the same time, this also provides an opportunity to do some exploring, get a lay of the land. Which is also handy when you want to get out and look for resources (more on that in a bit) and do it quick.
Of course, hunting monsters requires certain tools. Weapons, gear and various other accessories. Thankfully, there’s a vast selection of to keep even the most jaded gamer busy. From sword and shields, bowguns, bow and arrows, axes, giant swords and a bunch of other weapons. From some really amazing looking gear, complete with specific attributes that will keep you mixing and maxing pieces to craft the ultimate walking suit of destruction. I kid you not, I literally spend a good 30 minutes at times trying to decide what works best for encounters. It’s here where Capcom tosses in the kitchen sink. Because you have to do this if you want to survive the many encounters in MHW. Picking the wrong gear will ensure your game will be over quick. It’s worth the time if you want to be the ultimate monster hunter. Sure, this will introduce some grinding, since you can’t build those fantastic toys without resources. But it works, as this forces you to get out into the world to hunt and gather.
Then there are those lovely magical monsters that we’re all here to enjoy. From smaller monsters that couldn’t even scare off a dog, to huge freaking beasts that could rival dinosaurs. Monster Hunter: World has it all. Fans of the serious will be happy to see that nearly all of the previous monsters from the series have returned. Some of which are serious pains in the butt and serve as gear checks. Make no mistake, you will not simply waltz in and slaughter these monsters without a challenge. A challenge that I for one enjoyed, despite getting extremely frustrated at times. Just don’t take too long fighting them, as they can and will depart an area. Talk about wasting your time.
Still, there are some monsters, like the Deviljho, that are missing. But not to worry! Capcom has some plans to bring more monsters over to MHW.
Don’t believe me?
There’s no doubt that the game is beautiful. From the characters, the monsters, the landscapes, the weapons, everything. It’s all amazing detailed, right down to the minor details. I wouldn’t be too far off base to call Monster Hunter: World one of the prettiest looking games I’ve seen on the PS4. The game provides three different modes: Framerate, Graphics, and resolution. The frame rate mode lowers the details and attempts to provide a higher frame rate. While the graphics mode does the opposite and bumps up the settings while trying to stay at an acceptable frame rate. Both of these are most evident when viewing the vegetation or just about any landscape. Lastly, we have the resolution mode that provides a 1080p resolution, while dynamically adjusting beyond that.
However, the game does have a few issues when it comes down to the graphical fidelity. Mainly, the frame rate. None of these modes provide a consistent 60fps. In fact, the game doesn’t even hit 50fps, while 40-45 seems to be the average for the game. I would have liked to have a bit more control over the graphics, maybe some sliders to adjust. At the same time, yes, this isn’t a PC title and I accept it. Still, I was hoping that the PS4 Pro could deliver a 60fps experience, but the framerate isn’t that bad. It’s worth mentioning that you will see some heavy framerate drops when the action gets heavy.
The multiplayer aspect of Monster Hunter: World is the star here the game. Here, anyone can jump online by either starting their own online session or jumping into someone else’s. Once that’s done, you can either work together to complete an assigned (story-based) mission. Or you can respond to an SOS and help random people in need of some assistance – which is my personal favorite. It’s there that I’ve spent the majority of my time with the game. There’s just something running around with 3 other players and taking on the world. An added bonus is that multiplay sessions will allow you to beat down a monster that you don’t do solo. Huzzah for some joyful cooperation!
However, getting into someone’s game or vice versa is a complete mess. If you want to go slaying with your besties, you can either have them join your session or you they can give you a session ID. Which is fine, but the system and doesn’t always work as intended. If I’m in a game with a friend or something else, it shouldn’t be rocket science to join them in a quest or expedition. You have to cycle through various rank levels and pray that you find the one you’re looking for. It’s a pain. Instead, Capcom could have taken a page out of Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s The Division, or similar games, where once the leader of your party initiates a mission, the game asks if you would like to join up with them. Simple and effective, this would alleviate the frustrations that I had while playing with my fellow writers, as well as others. However, when the multiplayer works, it works beautifully.
Replay value? MHW has this and then some. Between the story mode, which lasts between 35-40 hours, there’s plenty to do. There are the timed quests that pop up and reward you handsomely if you get them done. Arena events that let you tackle beats that you once encountered in the wild. As well as the online adventures. Finally, there’s the extra stuff you can do once you’ve cleared the game that lets you continue adding to your hunter’s rank an gaining access to even tougher challenges. There’s so much to do in this game that unless you really hate having fun, you’ll be invested in this game for quite some time. I’m sitting at 145 hours in with the game and I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface.
We’re still in early 2018, yet Monster Hunter: World is already a contender for my 2018 GOTY. If that doesn’t speak volumes, I don’t know what does.
Review Disclosure Statement: Review conducted on a copy of Monster Hunter: World that was sent for review (AUS) and a purchased copy (NA). For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
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All in all, Monster Hunter: World is a fantastic journey into, well, the world of Monster Hunter. It hits all the check boxes, provides a huge amount of replay value and it’s a huge win for the franchise. And since I started on this review, Capcom has gone on record stating that the game has sold over 6 million copies. Which hopefully means that the return of Monster Hunter on consoles (and eventually PC) would be the last. Gone would be the days where the title was limited to mobile platforms, outside of the Japan-exclusive Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game. The game is a great jumping in point for newcomers to the series, while veterans will be right at home.
- It’s Monster Hunter outside of Japan and on consoles
- Easily the best title in the series
- Tons of stuff to do, loving the replay value
- When the monster you fought for 30+ minutes leaves an area.
- Getting into a friends game can be a hassle
- Framerate takes a hit at times