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Monster Hunter World Will Be The First Essential RPG Of 2018

World domination.

It’s probably a good sign if people finish your demo for a game then immediately head to the back of the queue to take another shot at it. Impressively, that was the case for Capcom and their Monster Hunter World showing at EGX last week. For many its appearance was a huge surprise – squirrelled away as it was in a corner of the expansive PlayStation area, with no queues laid out – but for me, who’s been fairly distrustful of the series’ continued push for the mainstream, the biggest surprise was that this feels, and plays, like a true Monster Hunter game. One that is no longer being held back by its native console’s power.

The demo granted you access to a pair of ten minute hunts, with the beginner’s option of taking on the amphibious Great Jagras or the tougher task of hunting a mystery creature; the Anjanath, a large T-Rex-esque monster with bony outcroppings to smash who deposits mucous to slow those around it. Before leaping in there’s the full range of Monster Hunter weaponry at your disposal, as well as options to tweak your loadout and armour. On my first hunt I took a punt that the the mystery creature was a dragon type beast, but would have been better off taking a loadout with better fire protection, given the Anjanath’s propensity for trying to barbecue you.

Besides charms there are also extra cloak effects, which range from improving your stealth to improving your protection against creature’s roars. As ever, a huge emphasis will be on picking up crafting resources, or hacking them off the still-warm bodies of your foes, and while you could merrily pick up all sorts of great-sounding stuff sadly the demo didn’t give you a peek at a blacksmith so you could actually use them.

Once you’re all set you’re unleashed on World’s sprawling Ancient Forest map, with an open rocky area giving way to steeper slopes up into the dark and leafy forest. For long term fans the visuals here are a real treat and there’s a genuine sense of scale now as it sports a single open-world area compared to the previous entry’s smaller sections parted by loading screens. The loss of those segmented areas definitely adds pace to everything, and in doing so it’s now easier to see the Monster Hunter DNA that found its way into 2K’s Evolve, with the chasing down of your prey eliciting a familiar buzz.

What’s clear is that despite the improved visuals Monster Hunter World has retained a great sense of the series’ style, from the way your handler flips open her quest book, to your trusty Palico following you. It still feels more grown-up perhaps, a touch more serious, but it’s definitely still Monster Hunter. The controls are overall very similar, though new combos slowed my progress while I tried to learn them. Various other tweaks were apparent, though the ability to drink potions on the go would have felt slightly more revolutionary to the series if you didn’t have to slow to a walk for it to have effect. Any fears I had about a “dumbing down” of the control scheme have categorically been put to rest.

One of the more objectionable elements in the demo was the inclusion of Scoutflies, a support ability that could gain a monster’s scent and lead you to them. Following the trail is a nice idea, but in practice it feels like umpteen other “follow the objective” markers. It robbed the hunt of some of its dynamism, but perhaps this is a special skill tied to weaker armour as it has been in the past, or is a limited use consumable. Admittedly it made the demo feel a lot pacier, and more action orientated, so perhaps it’s been done here to make the most of a short window of time.

One of the biggest challenges players could have is with the camera, and for those not used to Monster Hunter it may take some doing, though there is a lock on function. Keeping your prey in sight can otherwise be a tough challenge, and if you’re stood beneath or on the other side of the large creature you’re attacking the camera will merrily clip through the beast in order that your character remains visible. It’s probably the most disappointing element of everything I saw, but then I have no idea how you’d otherwise deal with it in a game of this type. As with many other games the lock-on didn’t feel particularly natural, but it may be the case that it’s the lesser of two evils.

Overall what’s been done in the name of accessibility feels as though it makes sense, though we’re only going to get the full picture with the game’s final release. Right now, nothing in the demo felt off, or detrimental to the series’ legacy. Monster Hunter World is definitively Monster Hunter, and that’s all that I could have possibly hoped for. Just as Monster Hunter Tri took a confident stride towards making the series more approachable, so too has World, and on early impressions it’s managed to do so without losing the character, or feel, of this unique series. With my demo time up and January 26th seemingly ages away, I did the only sensible thing – I headed back to the end of that queue.

  1. Byacca
    Since: Oct 2016

    This game is about killing creatures, who isn’t attack you in the first place (at the very least not all of them). So, where is my motivation to off them? Correct – there is none.
    Nothing essential about it

    Comment posted on 26/09/2017 at 08:53.
    • The Lone Steven
      Never heard of him.
      Since: May 2010

      Just gonna to be that guy and point out that Pokémon is more or less cockfighting. I mean, you force innocent animals to fight against others.

      Comment posted on 26/09/2017 at 11:41.
      • Byacca
        Since: Oct 2016

        True. I don’t like Pokemon by the way)
        I like Yakuza. Every thug, who fights you, is trying to beat you down so hard making it almost impossible not to hate him in return.

        Comment posted on 26/09/2017 at 12:07.
    • Jim Hargreaves
      Since: Nov 2009

      You might want to actually read up on Monster Hunter.

      I’m pretty sure that if a Rathalos sees a player walking by, they might just fancy a little nibble.

      Comment posted on 26/09/2017 at 19:04.
  2. Lieutenant Fatman
    Since: Jul 2013

    It was a fun demo and there is definitely potential here. But this is Capcom and the quality of their games at the moment leaves a lot to be desired, sadly. So fingers crossed they put more effort in here.

    Comment posted on 26/09/2017 at 11:39.
    • Jim Hargreaves
      Since: Nov 2009

      I dunno. Their fighting games are still a blast if not perfect. Resident Evil VII was ace as was the last Phoenix Wright. I’d say the past 18 or so months has been good to Capcom.

      Comment posted on 26/09/2017 at 19:07.
      • Lieutenant Fatman
        Since: Jul 2013

        I’ve not tried Phoenix Wright, but it’s true, Resi 7 was decent so it’s a good reason to be optimistic.

        Comment posted on 26/09/2017 at 23:01.

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