How does Wild Hearts compare to Monster Hunter?

wild hearts or monster hunter

Wild Hearts has arrived at a near perfect time for EA and Koei Tecmo. Following last year’s fantastic Sunbreak expansion for Monster Hunter Rise, many fans of Capcom’s action RPG have been waiting for the next big thing – those that weren’t waiting for the PlayStation & Xbox release, anyway.

This temporary vacuum isn’t the sole reason for Wild Hearts’ success, but it definitely helps. Born from a surprise collaboration between EA and Koei Tecmo as part of the EA Originals program, this monster-hunting hit ranks among the best from Dynasty Warriors studio, Omega Force.

So, how does Wild Hearts shape up when compared to its biggest rival? In short, this is the closest we’ve come to seeing another game swoop in and steal Monster Hunter’s crown, mainly thanks to a mix of faithful genre staples, combined with some truly refreshing new ideas. To top it off, Wild Hearts is suited to the sensibilities of modern gaming with its easily accessible online play.

Set in the mysterious lands of Azuma, you are tasked with taking down mythical creatures known as Kemono. They are an intrinsic part of nature with the power to alter the environment around them, as hunters quickly discover as they go in pursuit of the ice-covered Deathclaw. In contrast we have ancient machines known as Karakuri, woven from a magical force known as Thread, and capable of building a variety of handy structures.

wild hearts or monster hunter

These Karakuri help to spice up the otherwise familiar flow of combat, bringing a Fortnite-style building system to the action RPG genre. They also serve a purpose outside of battle, allowing you to construct self-sustaining makeshift camps dotted around each of Azuma’s biomes. There are some light shades of Death Stranding here too with players able to craft ziplines, wind turbines, and other means of navigating areas more efficiently over time.

This would feel even more innovative if Monster Hunter Rise hadn’t introduced the Wirebug and more comprehensive monster-riding mechanics. One of the biggest steps forward for the genre has been an understanding of faster, more dynamic players movement, going hand in hand with bigger, more vertical level designs.

wild hearts or monster hunter

Gradually gaining mastery over a particular weapon class is core to the monster-hunting experience. Even if some have relatively basic combos and mechanics there’s an unmatched sense of reward, especially once you’ve maxed out a weapon’s upgrade path. The eight weapons in Wild Hearts cater to a variety of playstyles, whether you like to get up close and personal, charge up slow hits for max damage, or pepper enemies with ranged fire. Monster Hunter has more choice though it’s worth pointing out that Capcom’s first game in the series only had seven – or just six 6 if you consider the light and heavy bowgun one weapon.

There are other aspects of Monster Hunter that took Capcom a very long time to refine, one of them being online multiplayer. My favourite memory of the franchise will always be hooking up my PS2 using an ethernet cable in 2005 and befriending a group of veteran players who kindly babysat me on back-to-back hunts so I could craft some powerful gear for my rookie hunter.

wild hearts or monster hunter

Thankfully there are far fewer hoops to jump through in order to get online, whether playing with friends or randoms via matchmaking. This is where Wild Hearts completely trumps Monster Hunter, as it tries to connect you with companions at every opportunity. When freely exploring Azuma, engaging a Kemono will put out a call to other players who can join via the matchmaking menu or by interacting with the various Hunter’s Gates scattered around each map. It’s a seamless way of diving straight into the action with advanced multiplayer options for those who want to party up and progress through the story instead of dropping in and out of individual hunts.

There’s a lot going on in Wild Hearts and while it’s derivative at its core, this is the best RPG of 2023 so far. It’s less demanding and in-depth than Monster Hunter though hits all the same key notes and, better still, funnels you towards online where the game shines most.