5 Reasons Why Monster Hunter World Is The Best Thing Since RE4
As someone who has played previous Monster Hunter titles, I wasn't really expecting much from this addition to the Capcom grindathon. To be frank, I absolutely despised Monster Hunter. I put twenty or so hours into the previous three Monster Hunter games and hated every minute after their tutorials.
That's a joke, these games don't have tutorials.
Luckily, my wife bought it for me, and I became pleasantly surprised. So, here are my 5 reasons why MHW is the best, most memorable thing Capcom has released since Resident Evil 4.
Cats aren't one of the reasons. Sorry.
Most games come with some degree of a tutorial, and the Monster Hunter series has, for some reason, thought that its strange gameplay and difficult mechanics were better learned through hardship. Not unlike banging your head against a wall until you figure out the right way to do it to break the wall into appropriately small chunks of brick and mortar, Monster Hunter managed to frustrate beyond belief. After so much frustration, even googling the answers to all the questions I had could not save the game in my eyes. Luckily, World is user friendly.
While it still leaves quite a bit of mystery to its more advanced concepts and systems, the game does a swell job of introducing you to a world of slowly beating brick walls with your face until your face, somehow, wins. Quick dialogue mid battle tells you how to counter status effects that you're encountering for the first time, and the first few battles explain killing or catching monsters to a satisfactory degree, leaving enough wiggle room for you to still fail, but not so much that you're unsure of why you failed(Unless it does, but more on that later).
2. Less Hassle, More Killing
Monster Hunter veterans will tell you constantly about the old days, when they had to hike to their battles barefoot, in ten feet of snow, up-hill both ways. They're not lying. Finite whetstones, an item one uses to sharpen their weapon, meant that half way into a 50 minute long wyvern-stabbing session, your giant's sword became so not-sharp that you might as well start beating the monster with your face. Lengthy times to cook food, less than stellar controls, stopping to drink health potions, and other little hassles turned a fun game into Bill & Ted's Bogus Romp Through Dino-Hell. Most of those needless hassles have been removed from World.
Did anyone tell you this game has guns?
Because they don't improve gameplay. Whetstones can be used indefinitely, meaning every battle, or segment of a battle, can be approached fresh, and one can still make the choice to sit still and sharpen a weapon mid-conflict. You can sprint while chugging a potion to avoid attacks, cooking food is quick as silver, and your character handles more like a Dark Souls protagonist and less like a GTA character while drunk and tumbling down a hill. All right, the controls weren't that bad, but the point still stands that the game's lack of excessive obstacles means you, the player, get to enjoy the sweet rewards of victory more often, with less breaking your DS in half.
3. Simple as Lennie Small
If you don't get this reference, you need to read more.
I'm not talking about the gameplay mechanics when I say Monster Hunter World is simple. It's a complex game when you get into the details, but the fundamental idea is so straight-forward that it puts forth some challenge in explaining why its so damn satisfying and good. See, for those who haven't played it, there are effectively 3 things to do in MHW. Preparation, which is doing things in the home-base of Astera such as deciding what weapon and armor to use, making said weapon and armor, eating some cat-food, and picking out what items to bring with you.
Phase 2 is the hunt, which is exploring one of the five large maps, tracking down your chosen victim by following his foot steps, snot trails, and half-eaten corpses.
I feel guilty for killing the adorable fluffy flying ferret.
Phase 3 is the murder phase, where you stab, slash, and slam the poor monster tens of thousands of times(Not a joke) until it stops moving. If it moves more, hit it more.
Overall, all three acts of your story of personal dominance over God's creatures will take around an hour, with exceptions due to being way over-powered or skilled, or some randomly generated side-missions, which give you severely limited time to kill or capture your prey. And that's the whole game right there. Make sword, hunt down beast, beat down beast with sword, make new sword, rinse, repeat. It's so simple, and MHW plays on that. It doesn't have anything that gets in the way of this fun little murder-cycle, nothing that inhibits the gameplay like excessive story elements or long hallways or unskippable cut-scenes. Its all about the monster-murder.
Look at his beautiful tail fluff. He is asking to get poached.
The only issue I have in this regard is Astera itself, which is a relatively small map that has various stations spread around for researching monsters, growing item ingredients, eating, and forging weapons and armor. I waste so much time running from station to station, checking off the boxes on my imaginary pre-hunt checklist, and I often find myself wishing Astera was just a menu, where I could nigh instantly make my armor, brew my potions, and so forth, without running up and down 800 flights of stairs 4 times. Maybe that's just me.
4. Its the Right sort of challenging
In Borderlands, when you decide lone-wolfing isn't for you, your buddies can join you. The game compensates by having the baddies get stronger, so that the game remains challenging no matter how many of your three friends joins you(If you're luckier than me, and have friends). MHW does the same thing with its towering wyverns, the victims of your mute hunter's needless slaughter, having them grow tougher, though the exact way this happens is beyond my understanding.
Monster Hunter World (2018)
I tell you this first because, inevitably, you will come up against a beast so foul that you desire the aid of others to slay it, and I don't want you to delude yourself into thinking this will make felling the monster any easier. The only way this helps is that, early on, it takes some of the heat off you so that you can gargle some health potion or sharpen your hammer(For some reason). The late game monsters are smarter than this, however, and they'll focus on the Hunter they believe needs to die next.
Overall, this was great news to me. MH 4 in particular stood out as being so frustratingly difficult that I literally broke my Nintendo handheld, making it, Dark Souls 2, and Wii Sports Bowling, the only games that led to personal destruction of hardware. See, MHW's early monsters will be a breeze. Maybe you'll faint once or twice as you learn when to dodge, block, or heal, or as you're learning your chosen tool of destruction (Gunlance FTW!). This gives you room to learn and gain skill, before you start running into monsters that combo you, stun-lock you, or freeze you over and over and over. Not once while playing the game, not once in 140 hours, did I faint for a reason that I could not immediately identify as my own fault and make efforts to correct. It can be hard, you'll take hits and have moments of panic, you'll maybe even get frustrated at yourself, but the game is never unfair, and victory is always thirty minutes of skilled, smart strikes away.
It's a hard comparison to avoid, really.
5. Variety, the spice of murder
SAW movies will teach you that killing is best done creatively, a lesson well applied to Breath of the Wild. Its also fairly well applied to Monster Hunter World. There are 14 weapon types, which all play rather uniquely. Some of them may seem superficially similar, like the Gunlancer and the Lancer, but once you lay hands on both, you will see how giant shields a warrior doesn't make. Gunlancers can expel so much damage in a short 4 hit combo that you will think everything else is useless, until you see a lancer just absorb attacks while poking the monster in the eye ball, before almost spontaneously leaping onto its back to stab at it like Sir Bite, The Armored Mosquito. After maining Lancer for a hot minute, perhaps you'll notice Dual Blades, maiming monsters while glowing like a demon, or the insect glaive, airborne for days, or the Hunting Horn, which may be my next DnD character's weapon. Everything plays differently, everything is perfectly viable for Solo and group play.
Frantic google searches tell me I'm the first to make this comparison.
But wait, are you feeling beating monsters into submission isn't enough to satisfy your sick cravings for suffering? Well, MHW provides all fledgling animal abusers with a variety of tools like poisonous powders, sleeping frogs, and environmental traps. You can trick your prey into slamming into trees that collapse and ensnare the beast in vines, or cause a massive sinkhole to swallow the monster up and spit it out in a whole new section of the map. You can even lure monsters together, and watch your own version of OctoShark vs Bear-Crock. Like Jigsaw, you'll find new and creative means to obtain Anjanath nose bones for that sick new fire-spewing hammer-trumpet you've been keeping your eye on.
Monster Hunter overhypes Hunting Horns a bit, me thinks.
I might put more hours into this game than Skyrim VR. 'Nuf said.