I’ve been a Monster Hunter fan since its inception on the PlayStation 2. I participated in the initial beta in 2004 and was immediately hooked by the unique hunting and gathering system, the character growth through gameplay experience, and the incredibly rewarding monster fights. Once the game released, I played for hours on end. The only drawbacks to being a fan back then was the challenge of finding other players on-line with dial-up internet, the almost impossible task of taking down big monsters on your own, and the overall disinterest toward the new series from fellow gamers.
Since then, key factors have improved the series in many ways. On-line play and high-speed internet have become the norm. The series has found a home on portable systems (PSP, 3DS) as well as Nintendo home consoles (Wii, WiiU). There’s a separate and more balanced single player quest system that allows for progression, training, hunting, fishing, and gathering offline (which helps better prepare a player for the big on-line fights). You now have in-game companions in the single player campaign for those times you can’t defeat a monster alone.
All of this is to say that it was a welcome sight at E3 to see hordes of fans crowd into lines to catch a glimpse of the new Monster Hunter World live demo. It goes to show that the series has come a long way in terms of popularity in the U.S. since its beginning. In fact, it’s come so far that Capcom was willing to invest in this full-blown HD entry that’s being released to new audiences on the XB1 and PS4 (and later PC) in 2018.
I was honored and delighted to be one of the lucky attendees who had the opportunity to watch the 25 minutes of new gameplay. Not only was it beautiful to see in high definition, but a great showcase of some exciting new features for longtime fans.
The first thing we were made aware of is that there will be 14 weapon types available in the game. As usual, there is a (female in this case) guide to give you assignments of where to go as well as helpful hints as you’re tracking your prey.
Although the guide has always been a useful resource to get you started on your journey, the character in MHW was a bit overbearing, continuously popping up throughout the whole pursuit, sometimes giving obvious advice. For experienced hunters, this could get slightly annoying especially if it’s something that happens throughout the whole game. (We don’t know if this will be the case or not). On the upside, this constant involvement will come in handy to anyone who’s playing for the first time.
Tracking fireflies is an exciting new addition which will help a hunter find certain monsters in certain areas. When you find clues such as monster remains or footprints, simply let the fireflies get a scent and help guide you along. The little helpers can be levelled up and, the higher the level, the more likely they’ll take you all the way to the beast you seek.
There’s always been a bit of hierarchy to the monsters, but now you can really use that to your advantage. If you find yourself trapped between two monsters, instead of running away or trying unsuccessfully to take them both down, you can now pit them against each other. That’s right. You can now let the monsters do some of the work for you.
The environment will now be an important part of the game as everything around you can be used as you see fit. Drop a tree on a monster’s head or blow up a damn so the flowing water sweeps the big guy off his feet. It’s all up to you to figure out how to use your surroundings to your benefit.
The on-line play has been completely streamlined and simplified. Remember how you always had to meet-up with others on-line before a quest? That’s no longer necessary. You now have the complete freedom to decide when to call in the cavalry for a takedown and can do so simply by setting off a flare. The loading screens and lag times when moving from one area to another is now so minimal, it’s almost non-existent.
Be careful not to let a monster know you’re around before you’re ready to take him on. These guys will pursue you, especially if you make them mad. They also now have the ability to climb.
Besides the new features, there are some things that will look familiar to those who’ve played the series before:
– The open world is very much like what we’ve seen in other games. (We saw a lush jungle region in the demo. We’re guessing that many more region types will be available in the full game as has been the case in the past).
– The hunters look the same.
– You can don camouflage and hide in bushes.
– The monsters will still move around and even flee as you try to take them down.
– You can still set traps as well as set off bombs that do heavy damage.
– The Ratholos and cooking are back!
The one thing that is still missing which I’ve always wanted to have in the game is a meter to tell you how much life is left on a monster as you’re trying to take him down. Besides that, my only other complaint is that MHW will not be releasing on the Switch. I was greatly looking forward to having the option of playing it at home as well as on the go. I’m holding out hope that Monster Hunter XX, which will be releasing in Japan on the Switch in August, will eventually make its way to North America.
Overall, the experience seeing the new Monster Hunter World gameplay was, in one word, extraordinary. The use of the environment, seamless on-line gameplay, and improved graphics are going to make this a memorable game and a great addition to the long running series. I look forward to its release on January 26th, 2018.
(Feature Picture Source: capcom.com)
Tell us about your experience with the MH series. How long have you been a fan? Are you excited about MHW? Will you be buying the game?