I tried out Monster Hunter: World (MHW) during the beta this past weekend and had a huge amount of fun. I wasn’t very good at it, but I still thoroughly enjoyed trying. The monsters were massive, the surroundings lovely, and the quests challenging. Although, like with any beta, there were a few issues, the overall experience was worthwhile. Here are some of the ups and downs of my hours with the game, from the POV of someone who’s never before played Monster Hunter on a home console.
In the beta, there were 3 different levels of quests to complete, that ranged from easy to hard.
The first level was the Jagras who was as easy as advertised. I had a slight advantage with him due to a tip that appeared while the quest was loading, which told me to go after his belly.
The Barroth was next. He was pretty tough but not impossible. Unfortunately, in my limited time with the beta I was unable to complete this mission. But, I did have him on the run. If the timer had been 25-30 minutes, I would’ve defeated him.
Lastly, was the expert level Anjanath. To be fair, I didn’t have a chance to really level up during the weekend or upgrade my armor so if I had, the fight might’ve gone better. Maybe. I pretty much saw the writing on the wall after trying him once and didn’t do it again. I knew it was a waste of time. The only way that I could take him down was through on-line play with other people more experienced than me.
Speaking of on-line play, it’s a really good alternative for the casual and/or new-to-the series players who might struggle on their own. This is a terrific way to enjoy the excitement of taking down “expert” level monsters with the help of others.
Unfortunately, the on-line gameplay didn’t work all that well. When it did work, it was quite enjoyable. But, it is disappointing when trying to reassemble your same group for a 2nd quest, to get kicked out one at a time. Another quest where all 4 of us were ready to go was cancelled for some unexplained reason. I’m not sure if everyone lost connection or not. Whatever the case, Capcom will certainly have to work this out before next month’s release.
As a new person to the game, I did appreciate the Training Area. However, I must admit I didn’t really use it much. I didn’t have a lot of time so I just tried out some of the weaponry at the campsite right before leaving on a quest. Using different weapons did make me appreciate that 14 are available. My instinct at first, was to go with a sword rather than a gun. I did enjoy it but was slightly annoyed at having to keep it sharp all the time.
I then transitioned, for the heck of it, to the Flame Blitz. And, I’m so glad I did. Doing so reminded me that the point of having so many weapon choices is to give players the freedom to experiment until they find the one that suits them best. Although the reloading of ammo is a constant with the Flame Blitz, I did get in the groove of how to do it, quickly making it one of my favorites. I also discovered that it’s great against the Barroth because it allows me to shoot at a safe distance from his tail and head.
Another important part of the game is the equipment and armor. Unfortunately, the beta didn’t really focus on collecting, crafting, or fun side quests. I was really hoping it would because I got used to all of this when I recently played Monster Hunter Stories on the 3DS. But, I do know it’s going to be an important part of the upcoming game and I’ll very much look forward to enjoying these features in January.
On the upside, the beta did give us a sneak peek at some of the armor that one can wear. It appears they’ll vary according to the player’s level. For instance, a newbie might want to wear a Rocksteady Mantle which eliminates damage reactions, prevents wind effects, protects your hearing, and grants tremor resistance. It also allows the wearer to receive less damage from attacks. On the opposite end of the spectrum is a Challenger Mantle, which is used to attract a monster to your location.
Speaking of fun things to do in Monster Hunter, I became addicted to sneaking into Monster Dens and stealing eggs in the 3DS MHS version. According to my husband that might be a side quest in MHW but not a main focus. To my sheer joy I did stumble upon an egg in the wild, in the beta. It was a clue for the location of the monster I was trying to locate. I was so thrilled when I found it that I temporarily abandoned my monster quest to walk it back to camp. Funny enough, I was still trying to get used to the controls at the time, accidently unsheathed my weapon, and caused the egg to go SPLAT! I will look forward to successful egg retrieval in the future.
I was very impressed with the customization of characters and their overall look. My sidekick cat, Palico was also quite handsome. Along with the detail of the characters was the beauty of the game. There were many picture worthy moments to take in. In fact, I found myself taking pictures (like the one featured with this article) on our PS4, losing myself in the landscape rather than keeping time with my quest.
The music is outstanding as well. The main theme has a classic sound slightly reminiscent of the Legend of Zelda. The music is most fun when a monster is running away. It’s most intense when you first find a monster’s location.
Being someone who is not very good with directions, the overall landscape wasn’t bad to scout out. The small map on the lower left-hand side, however, was not any help. It may have been partially due to the fact that I was having trouble seeing the details of it with my 40 something eyes. But, I never could use it to discern where I was currently at or where I needed to go.
This makes me thankful for the Scoutflies. They’re most likely not needed by those who have played before and/or are great with quickly learning a game’s maps. But, for me, they were hugely helpful. Not only did they get me to a monster to begin a fight, but made the path easy to follow when a monster decided to run away.
If you’re not good at multi-tasking, you may struggle with MHW. You have to keep watch on your lifeline & stamina, make sure not to lose track of the monster, keep your weapon in usable shape (sharpen or reload), dodge the monster’s attacks, know when to strike and where, and do it all within a time limit. It’s challenging to say the least.
If you’re someone who likes to take their time and accomplish things at your own pace, then this is not the game for you. MHW moves fast. Especially if you’re in an on-line quest. Those around you may leap, slide, and run to the location of the monster to get there as soon as they can. In fact, one time my on-line group went so fast I lost them. I eventually found my way to them and, to make up for my absence on the 1st monster, made sure I pulled more than my weight on defeating the 2nd one.
This brings me to the subject of the very strict time limitations. Personally, I didn’t think that 20 minutes was nearly enough for each of the 3 quests. My husband who’s an expert, handily took care of each with minutes to spare. However, for me, once I reached the mid-level Barroth I needed more time. I think the fair thing would’ve been to vary the timing of each quest according to its difficulty. We’ll see how the timing is handled once we get a hold of the full game.
Probably one of the hardest things for someone new to the game, is having to discover or figure out many things on your own. Even simple things like the Run key (It’s R1 by the way) aren’t shown or discussed. The action of carving a monster after a defeat isn’t taught either. I only knew to do it because I’ve watched my husband use this action in past games.
Overall, the game was an enjoyable experience even though I didn’t accomplish but one of the 3 quests. I do feel that with time and effort, I can get better because I actually did in my few hours with the beta. I do appreciate that Capcom is trying to include those who haven’t played before. I see their efforts most especially in the varying levels of quests and the various types of armor made available.
My biggest concern with the MHW is whether or not someone like me can realistically play through the single player portion on their own. If not, then I (and others) may have to settle for participating in the on-line gameplay in order to take part in the harder types of quests. This will be something newcomers will have to consider when making a decision on whether or not the buy the game.
(Feature Pic Source: MHW Beta/Capcom)