If you’ve got a PS4 then you also have my envy. Monster Hunter: World is having a brief open beta this weekend one month prior to its January launch. Haven’t looked into the series yet? With this iteration hitting consoles AND PC, now’s a good time to start.
I’ll admit I was late to the party. I played a little bit of Monster Hunter 3 on a friends’ Wii Dolphin emulator, but it was a Japanese version, I had no prior experience with the genre, and my aimless wandering in the first level made it seem like I would just be slaying herbivores for their meat, presumably making weapons and armor out of their carcasses. That is how the games go…for the first five minutes. Afterwards you’re pitted against one of the introductory monsters, usually a T-rex looking dinosaur kinda guy. The games go from that notch already far above you in the food chain far into the realm of absurdity as you take on ancient primal beings. In the picture below, you’re the bottom left.
It’s not as hopeless as it looks, though. You get to tackle these beasts with the help of friends online, each of you grabbing one of 13 weapon types and going to town on a beast. You have a host of combos you can use depending on the weapons chosen and any number of ways to deal with the monsters, including traps, bombs, and now even environmental hazards.
The weapon variety in this game makes it very accessible even if you’ve never tried the genre before. Light Bowguns feel like a 3rd person shooter; you could hop between MH:W and Fortnite comfortably, but if they’re not your speed you can also use the sniper-esque Heavy Bowgun or a classic Bow. Hammers and Great Swords let you calculate your moves and deal devastating blows. Dual Swords, Long Swords, Charge Blade, Switch Axe, and Insect Glaive have various combo chains that feel similar to your God of War attack patterns. Sword and Shield, Lance, and Gunlance let you tank the monster head on and defend at pivotal moments. There’s even a Hunting Horn for you spoony bards. The showcase trailer below has some solid highlights for the weapons along with a taste of the game’s general rhythm.
Like any other game with longevity, the grind being fun is what keeps you coming back. Ask anyone on the Monster Hunter subreddit; if you get into the game and enjoy it, you’re likely to sink hundreds of hours into any series entry. With MH:W being on PC now along with Capcom already stating they’ll continue the tradition of adding more free content after release, I can see myself drowning in this game playing fashion hunter for all the armor sets I want. Each armor set gives you various boosts to different offensive or defensive categories. Some armor features open up completely new gameplay, others just make certain environments easier to deal with. Capcom regularly partners with other devs to put in other game references; for example, in MH:W PS4 players can play as Aloy.
Being a recovering (we’re always in recovery) World of Warcraft addict and having cut my teeth on Monster Hunter 4, I apologize to my family and friends in advance for the countless hours I’ll drop into grinding a single monster for that one rare ingredient. But when it lets me get just the perfect costume for my little Palico hunting partner (oh yeah, you dress up cats in this game too), I know it’ll all have been worth it.
Monster Hunter: World releases for consoles on January 26th, and PC is slated for…sometime later. Let me know if you need someone to play for you on your console while you’re out of the house, I’ve got you covered.