Monster Hunter World is one of the most fun multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had. While the game is somewhat slow to start, the payoff is more than worth it thanks to the stellar multiplayer and how refreshingly accessible Monster Hunter World is for series newbies.
Monster Hunter World
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One and PC
MonsterVine was provided with a PS4 code for review.
After writing a preview for Monster Hunter World at PSX, I noted that I was excited to get my hands on the full game to get the full Monster Hunter experience. It seems I wasn’t alone, as a ton of friends and co-workers all grabbed the game, ready to hunt alongside me. I couldn’t turn such an opportunity down, and I’m glad I didn’t. Hunting monsters with friends is pure and chaotic fun that can’t be found anywhere else, even if there are some hiccups here and there.
“While the focus of the game is still on the endless amount of monsters to kill and hunts to partake in, the story very clearly has a good amount of effort put into it.”
To make it easier for new players to jump in, Monster Hunter World puts a larger focus on story than previous installments in the series. While the focus of the game is still on the endless amount of monsters to kill and hunts to partake in, the story very clearly has a good amount of effort put into it. As a hunter entering “the new world”, you and your fellow hunters are in pursuit of the legendary migrating Elder Dragons. This basically gives you an excuse to kill everything that moves alongside your friends while showing you the more wondrous parts of the Monster Hunter world. It’s a pretty good introduction to the game (and the series), but the beginning is a bit slow. I had to complete a few missions before I could play with friends, which is a shame in a game so focused on teamwork and multiplayer. Being able to hop right in (with optional tutorials) would be ideal in this scenario, so the stunted start feels like a missed opportunity.
The amount of depth in Monster Hunter World’s gameplay cannot be understated. The game has fourteen weapon types, the majority of which are vastly different from one another. The varying levels of complexity to each weapon makes learning how to use each one an enjoyable challenge. If you like somewhat complicated ranged attacks, the gunlance is for you. If you like more simple close-range fighting, the sword and shield are perfect. There are a few weapons for each and every type of player, and no two weapons are similar enough to be redundant. Exploring the perks of each weapon provides plenty of playtime for ardent hunters, and that’s without even getting to the meat of the game: the monsters.
There are enough monsters in Monster Hunter World to keep even the most genocidal hunter entertained for quite some time. Big or small, soft of scaly, there are monsters of every type. Every single major monster in the game is oozing with originality, from the simplest dragon to the most complicated quadruped. And design isn’t the only place where World’s monsters shine, no, their behaviours are the most impressive thing about them. Alongside the fodder monsters, multiple bosses all live on the same maps. This means they may run into one another randomly (or not randomly, if you’re a good planner and navigator). Turf wars and savage battles are common between large bosses, making it feel as though you’re really hunting wild beasts. Even when they aren’t killing one another, bosses will do anything to survive, from sleeping to eating other monsters to recover. Monster Hunter World succeeds in giving players a living, breathing, dangerous world to explore in a way that no other series does.
But we aren’t here to examine monsters, which is why slaying them is so satisfying and rewarding. Each monster’s carcass provides you with lots of precious materials that can be used to make better armor and weapons. You can get more materials by breaking certain limbs or horns on each monster or by capturing them in a trap after you’ve greatly wounded them. This means you can hunt the same monster repeatedly in different ways, with each run providing you with a new experience.
“Everything about fighting, gathering items, crafting, and preparing for battle feels meticulously planned-out, to the point where very little of this massive game feels unnecessary.“
The fast-paced action-based combat of Monster Hunter helps make these experiences unique, largely thanks to how tight the controls are. While it’s easy to successfully hack away at bosses in the early game, stronger monsters really keep you on your toes. Every dodge roll and attack counts, meaning one wrong move can result in your death. While you can be defeated three times by each monster, you’ll find you may need these opportunities to restock. Everything about fighting, gathering items, crafting, and preparing for battle feels meticulously planned-out, to the point where very little of this massive game feels unnecessary.
Playing with others is what makes Monster Hunter World truly special, as there’s no better feeling than when you and your friends finally topple a fierce beast. I played with plenty of people, ranging from family to friends to strangers in foreign lands, and I never had any real issues while hunting. The main problem arises from the unnecessarily convoluted meetup system. Trying to get into a hunt with friends is a trial in and of itself as you have to join the same session, then join the same quest, then wait for all players to be “ready” so that you don’t leave anyone behind (which will still happen on occasion). This sounds pretty simple, but it takes far longer than it needs to and could easily be streamlined to make hunting with friends easier. Once you get into it, killing monsters with friends provides a synergetic fun that nothing else on earth can, it’s just getting there that’s the problem.
The graphics are solid when you look at just how much the game runs at once. The hunting areas throughout Monster Hunter World are enormous without major load screens. You can go between areas on the map seamlessly, which is made more impressive by the amount of foliage and landmarks littering every corner of the map. On the other hand, the faces of most human characters (the Handler and Field Team Leader especially) look downright uncanny. It’s nothing game-breaking, but it’s definitely eerie.
The sound front is a bit more mixed. The score is simply gorgeous in every regard, particularly thanks to its use of an orchestra. From the most epic of battle themes to the most whimsical exploratory tunes, Monster Hunter World has an incredibly varied soundtrack full of exciting and atmospheric tracks. The voice acting isn’t quite as fantastic, with a few of the voices coming off as grating and way too hokey. The ability to have characters speak in “Monster Hunter language”, a gibberish dialect native to the world of Monster Hunter, is a great call, as it makes the characters less grating and makes the world more mystical and otherworldly.
The Final Word
Monster Hunter World is one of the most exciting and enjoyable multiplayer experiences of the generation. The wonky faces and problematic matchmaking can’t take away from the rewarding gameplay and seemingly endless wealth of content, which is all enhanced when friends are added to the mix.
-MonsterVine Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 – Great