At PSX last week I had the chance to try out Monster Hunter World alongside two of my bosses, William and Austin, as well as a fourth player who was in-line for the preview. Together, the four of us set off to defeat the Barroth, a large scaly bipedal beast who looks like he’s covered in rocks and scales. It’s a fairly low-level mission, since I’ve only played the PSP version (which was quite some time ago), while the others hadn’t played any games from the series before. Nonetheless, we were each given a class (two swordsmen and two gunners), and sent to slay the fearsome Barroth.
As we followed the beast’s trail, our group lightly talked about preparations using the provided headsets. For some reason they weren’t working overly well, so we’d only get a few words here and there. Preparations were understandably minimal, but hey, improvising on the spot would be a more exciting way to experience our first hunt. Since there wasn’t much of a tutorial, we all fiddled around with the controls, testing our weapons and checking out our inventories. In Monster Hunter World you can transform your weapon, changing its appearance and its attack patterns. I found this to be an interesting feature, as one configuration allowed me to perform faster strikes than the other. I’m a “speed” guy when it comes to stats, so being able to make my massive sword a bit more mobile is a welcome feature.
We were provided with plenty of traps as well, ranging from barrel-bombs to electric and poison-embedded projectiles and ground traps. These were handy as it made the battle with the Barroth a more layered affair, as I had to think on my toes and set up traps while figuring out where the Barroth would step. With a few different teammates all setting traps and distracting the Barroth, the hunt became a fast and exciting clash rather quickly.
While any team could probably beat early monsters like this with little-to-no coordination, teamwork seems to be a huge boon. Having one hunter on each side of the Barroth, hacking away at its armored limbs, seemed like the ideal way to defeat it after paralyzing or poisoning it. The Barroth actually ran away mid-fight to bathe in mud to hide its weak points after we broke its armor, which was an enjoyable detail. (While I know this sort of detail has likely been present in the series for quite some time, I haven’t played a Monster Hunter since Freedom and I honestly can’t remember much about it). Nonetheless, chasing the Barroth with the team as it fled toward different mud-swamps was really fun, even with limited communication.
After a healthy balance of planning and button-mashing, the Barroth went down. Our motley team was successful, and damn, was it satisfying. After a drawn-out battle between the four of us and the bipedal beast, we had conquered it together. As we shaved away at the downed beast to gather resources that would disappear within moments (the demo has to end, after all), I felt as though we had really worked hard and managed to defeat a (demo) boss, as easy as most may have found it.
I’m really looking forward to Monster Hunter World, as it feels accessible enough for me to get a grasp on without being simplistic enough to lose my interest. Monster Hunter World looks like it could be a great starting point for fellow fledgling hunters like me, and I can’t wait to find out if I’m right.