Monster Hunter World Review - Hot or Not?

Monster Hunter World Review
Monster Hunter World is Capcom's best selling game of all time.

For the readers, I need to inform you that I am not an employee of any video game company or video game publishing company. I am not paid by Capcom to write this article.  I am an experienced Monster Hunter player who has enjoyed and loved the series. I spent almost a thousand hours playing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (my first Monster Hunter game), Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Monster Hunter Generations, and Monster Hunter World. This is also my first review of a Monster Hunter game.

About The Monster Hunter Series and Monster Hunter World

The first Monster Hunter was released in 2004 for the Sony Playstation 2. You certainly wouldn't understand what Monster Hunter has to offer if you've never played a single Monster Hunter game. The Monster Hunter series is one of those games that you won't enjoy just by looking at the surface. While Monster Hunter World can be instantly eye catching, the previous games didn't have that "instant appeal" to people who never played the game.  Monster Hunter's simple but wonderful definition would be a game focused on gameplay. A friend once described it to me as a game focused on boss fights.

Monster Hunter is an action RPG. Hunt a monster, get its loot, use loot to craft equipment. This is Monster Hunter's core concept.  It may sound really simple, but it's not once you get to know how everything works. It's also absolutely addicting and fun. People spend hundreds and even thousands of hours doing this process.  Why is this fun?

  • Hunting a monster:  the success of hunting depends on the player's understanding and experience of the monster. One of the most rewarding experiences for gamers is being able to understand the game, and using that knowledge for your success. Monster Hunter was always a cooperative game. While fighting against human players is definitely more difficult, hunting monsters with your friends is not an easy job.  You can die with one hit. You'll get punished for being careless and overconfident.  You can't let your teammates die, because it will also be game over for you. Monster Hunter's success proves that gamers still demand a challenging game. Challenging is fun.
  • Getting loot and crafting equipment: this is one of the reasons why RPG games are addicting. Collecting loot and creating the best equipment pieces from loot is an addictive process because it rewards players for their hard work by continuously making themselves better as they play the game.  Monster Hunter made this even better by placing monster characteristics in equipment. Weapons can look like the tail or wings of the monster  from where it came from. Even the color schemes are the same as the monster's color.

Monster Hunter World was released worldwide on January 26, 2018. It finally went back to its birthplace, the Sony Playstation console. However, this was also to the disappointment of some fans who expected the series to stay in the handheld world of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, and the Playstation Vita. The game is also available on the Xbox One, Xbox One X, and soon for PC. The series  was presented in a brand new, high-definition world.  Some fans who didn't have the PS4 were eager to buy the console just to play the latest Monster Hunter game.

It was no surprise that Monster Hunter World would be a success. Just a few weeks after its release, it was dubbed as Capcom's fastest selling game. As of March 31, 2018, Monster Hunter World has sold a total of 7.9 million units on PS4 and Xbox One alone. It was listed as a Platinum Game in Capcom's official website and is the company's #1 best-selling game of all time.

Previous Monster Hunter games were usually released on handheld consoles so graphics weren't that impressive. One of the reasons Monster Hunter World has managed to get the interest of new players is because of its incredible high-definition graphics and effects. The game is also now more accessible or more friendly to first time players. It featured a new monster field guide. This was not present in the previous games. The field guide shows valuable details about monsters such as elemental weaknesses, weak spots, breakable/severable parts, carves, and rewards.

Monster Hunter World's Story

Without spoiling anything, Monster Hunter World's plot is about the exploration of the new world. You are part of The Fifth Fleet, a group of people who are tasked to study the new world.  During the journey to the new world,  your ship gets destroyed by a giant elder dragon named Zorah Magdaros, which almost looks like a mountain or a living volcano. You survive the encounter with Zorah Magdaros and manage to get to the new world. After exploring the new world, you eventually study and learn more about Zorah Magdaros and an event called The Elder Crossing.

As usual, Monster Hunter World's plot wasn't made to compete with games like The Witcher 3. The plot itself isn't bad. It serves as an interesting background story about the monsters you hunt, their relationships, and the new world. Compared to previous games, the story of Monster Hunter World was presented in the best visual way, since it is now back on Sony's latest Playstation 4 console. The visual presentation of some of the previous games  was limited due to being released on handheld consoles. You will definitely be more immersed in Monster Hunter World with its high-definition cutscenes, facial features, expressions, and voice acting. The plot gives you a new perspective on the life of elder dragons.

Monster Hunter World's Gameplay

One of Monster Hunter World's most exciting features is its detailed character creation. It is nothing compared to the previous games. For the first time in the series, it feels like you're creating a character in an MMORPG, Fallout, or Skyrim. You can adjust facial features on your own or you can choose from a wide selection of pre-made eye, nose, mouth, lips, and jaw shapes. Character creation was so good that you can create a good copy of other video game characters such as Geralt from The Witcher 3 and 2B from Nier Automata.  I spent more than an hour in creating my own character. 

Players can now create a squad. Other than having a customized name for your group of hunters, having a squad makes it more easier to connect with friends online.

Monster Hunter World's hunting maps are no longer accompanied by loading screens when switching between areas. Tracking down monsters is now uninterrupted. Outside of hunting maps, there are only a few areas you can explore. After hunts, you still go to that familiar area (now called "Astera") where you can organize items, craft equipment,  and multiply items. Aside from providing what you need, most NPCs still don't talk much and don't give you dialogue choices. Yeah, classic Monster Hunter.

There is, however, an interesting new companion NPC called The Handler, who accompanies you in the story and during the start of hunts. She is somehow similar to the quest giver, but seems more like your hunting partner. She isn't a combat companion like the palico though.

Monster Hunter World's Combat

There are no levels or distinct classes in Monster Hunter. Classes are represented by the weapons, since each as a unique playstyle. There are stats in the game such as Attack and Defense, but these aren't improved by gaining levels. Stats are determined by your current equipment and passive armor skills . Monster Hunter World redesigns its previous armor skill system by instantly being able to activate an armor skill without having to accumulate a certain number of points.

There are hundreds of weapons and armor to craft in Monster Hunter games. There are a total of 14 weapons. 3 are long ranged weapons: the light bowgun, heavy bowgun, and bow. Each weapon completely changes how you play the game.  Monster Hunter World made changes to all weapons. Some weapons such as the Bow is played in a very different way compared to the previous games.

Weapons are also what made Monster Hunter interesting to me. They are unique. One of my favorites is the Insect Glaive. It looks like a staff with an insect companion. You can launch yourself into the air at any time using this weapon. The insect companion is used to take "extracts" from monsters which can boost your attack, speed, and defense. In Monster Hunter World, the insect companion can now poison, paralyze, or apply the blast status ailment to a monster.  

All 14 weapons have now been redesigned in terms of playstyle. While there weren't many changes to some weapons, the bow is now played in a completely different way. Some subtle changes like the Switch Axe's transition to sword or axe mode while evading opens up new strategies and makes the switching feel smoother and faster. 

Weapon move animations, sounds, and effects are the best in Monster Hunter World. The Insect Glaive's aerial moves are so stylish that it makes you look like you're dancing in the air. The Charge Blade's Super Amped Element Discharge looks like a Thundaga or Firaga spell from a Final Fantasy game. The sound of the Bowgun and Heavy Bowgun feel like modern day firearms.

Monster targeting is now more accurate. Monster Hunter games released for handheld consoles like the Nintendo 3DS didn't have the luxury of aiming with an actual right analog stick. It was difficult to aim using the 3DS' C-Stick. It was flawed and easily damaged after prolonged use.   

Multiplayer is now composed of online sessions. You can join another player's online session or you can create your own. All players within the same online session can participate in posted quests. However, playing online wasn't as easy as we thought it would be. There is an annoying  and infamous technical problem in online multiplayer called the 5038f-MW1 error. It took me hours just to find a working solution for this (see my Tips for Monster Hunter World). A lot of players have posted this problem online but there was no official working solution from Capcom.

Monster health is now adjusted for multiplayer. Monsters in multiplayer are also more resistant to flinching and their parts are more difficult to break compared to single player.  

Single player mode is still the same. You are accompanied by one Palico that supports you by healing, trapping,  or applying status ailments such as blind or sleep.  

Monster Hunter World's Quest/Mission System

Monster Hunter World features a new S.O.S. system. Players can now send an s.o.s. flare during a quest to ask for help from other online hunters (assuming that the total member count hasn't reached its maximum). Any online player can search for s.o.s. flares and join the player who sent the s.o.s., even if they are not in the same online session.

The s.o.s. system has its benefits.  First, looking for quests or monsters that are unavailable to you isn't a problem anymore. You can just look for an s.o.s. flare that has the particular monster you're looking for Second, players who aren't in your online session can still see your s.o.s. flare. This means that even if the people in your online session can't help you because they are doing other quests, you can still get help from people in different online sessions.     

There are also new investigation quests and a limited bounty system. Players don't have to endlessly repeat one quest anymore just to get the rare item they need. Investigations have a better chance of giving rare rewards. Players can now also buy rare items in exchange for completing a limited bounty. A limited bounty requires players to finish a series of quests.

Collecting or item gathering quests are now labeled as bounties. Bounties can be performed simultaneously with a hunting quest. In previous games, gathering quests were separate from hunting quests and they needed to be done separately. Bounties are not only composed of gathering quests. Some require you to hunt a specific number of monster types such as elder dragons or brute wyverns.  

Monster Hunter World's Graphics 

Without a doubt, Monster Hunter World's graphics are the best in the series. The monsters and their environment come to life in 4k resolution and HDR for PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. In the upcoming PC version, the game can be run using the latest graphics technology, including the highest resolutions available. Take a look at this video about  the Ancient Forest map see and see for yourself. It is probably Monster's Hunter's most detailed and most beautiful map.  If you'd like to go into the technical details, watch Digital Foundry's analysis on Monster Hunter World's graphics.

Monster Hunter World's Pricing

The game is currently available for the PS4, PS4 Pro,Xbox One, and Xbox One X with a price range of 50.00-60.00USD (price varies depending on platform, the seller, and location) for the standard physical and digital version, 69.99USD for the digital deluxe version (U.S. PSN Store), and 145.00-150.00USD for the physical collector's edition.

Considering the hundreds of hours any Monster Hunter game requires from you (play time also depends on how much time any player is willing to give), Monster Hunter World's pricing seems fair.  All DLCs and upcoming DLCs were also announced as free. You can purchase more optional content from online stores such as additional gestures, hairstyles, emotes. These optional purchases don't give players any unfair advantage over others. 

The physical collector's edition, which costs 145.00-150.00USD, also includes a Nergigante statue. However, I expected the statue to be bigger. Instead, it was almost the same size as Capcom's Monster Hunter Figure Builder series.

Monster Hunter World's Final Verdict

Games such as the Monster Hunter series may have a legendary reputation in the eyes of its long-time fans. But it's usually not good to have such enormous expectations for anything. Monster Hunter World certainly delivered on its new features, but its flaws are continuously overshadowed by the amount of high praises it receives. Nothing can be bad about a Monster Hunter game, right? Yes, but when you look back at the hundred or thousand hours of fun from the previous games, you'll definitely realize what's missing. Yeah, there's no G-Rank. Where's Tigrex? Where's Rajang? Fatalis? What? Why didn't they include Deviljho on release day? These are some of the realizations we've had after beating the story mode's final monster. Or maybe we were just exhausted after hunting the same monster over and over again just to get that insanely rare decoration. I've just started playing Monster Hunter since Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the 3DS. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and Monster Hunter Generations were definitely one of the best and most addictive games I've played. While Monster Hunter World is a certified fun and brand new monster hunting experience, it didn't feel complete on its release day. There were online multiplayer issues and even balance issues. During the first weeks of its release, players were exploiting the bowgun's slicing ammo because it was overpowered. Capcom immediately fixed it. Monster Hunter World doesn't feel complete. Not yet. 

8 out of 10

Pros

  • high-resolution, high-detail graphics and effects
  • beautiful, interactive, and highly detailed areas
  • great soundtrack
  • all weapons have been overhauled
  • more accessible to first time players; most "user-friendly" Monster Hunter game
  • new armor skill system
  • investigation quests remove s a lot of quest repetition compared to previous games
  • new radial menu

Cons

  • very limited number of monsters on release day compared to previous games
  • balance issues on release day
  • no G-Rank
  • online multiplayer connection issues weren't addressed
  • low frame rates in some areas (ancient forest) for a standard PS4 user
  • while players can now buy rare monster items (for a price),  some rare items weren't immediately available for purchase such as the Deviljho Gem or the Kulve Taroth Gem.

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“Whether it's being a Grey Warden or a professional Witcher, Juancho can enjoy being both, as long as he exists in a fantasy world that's an expression of his experiences learned in real life..”
Gamer Since: 1986
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Ni No Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Dragon Age: Origins
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