Sharpen your long swords and load your slinger. It’s time for Monster Hunter: World.
There’s good news though. You really don’t need a compelling story to enjoy fighting countless awesome monsters.
The monsters are large, powerful, and varied. Without giving away too much, you have land, air, and sea monsters to fight. There are five different elemental damage types with which those monsters can attack you: fire, ice, water, thunder, and dragon. In addition, they can inflict a variety of status effects including poison, bleed, sleep, and stun. Monster Hunter: World uses all of these options to deliver many memorable fights. The very first monster is pretty easy, but after that you have to be pretty careful and use both skill and strategy to survive.
The first part of developing a good strategy is studying your prey. You’ll spend a lot of time examining footsteps, claw marks, feathers, scales, and even mucus to learn about the monsters that you are fighting. Once you learn enough from tracking or fighting them, you can find out which weapons, damage types, and status effects are strong against them. You also get information on which parts of the monster are weak and/or can be broken. With that information, you can maximize your damage output.
There are plenty more, but I’ll let you discover them for yourself. Monster Hunter: World provides you with a training room where you can try out all of the weapons at any time. You can also switch at any time if you find one that you like better. Each of the game’s weapons also has dozens of upgrade trees that allow you to strengthen and imbue them with damage and status effect types.
In order to upgrade your weapons and build armor, you’ll have to kill some monsters. Each one that you take down will provide you with supplies like bones, scales, and fangs that you will use to craft your items. This is the most important part of the game because there is no real leveling system. You can only increase in strength by crafting better gear. This forces you to memorize the attack patterns of your enemies and constantly work at getting better at fighting them.
To help you on your journey, you have your trusty palico. This is a cat companion whom you can outfit with weapons, armor, and abilities to make your fights easier. Unfortunately, the palico was the biggest let down in Monster Hunter: World. Where your weapons do 600+ damage, your palico has weapons that do 15 damage, so it isn’t hurting anything. Your palico can distract the monsters while you sharpen your weapons or heal, but rarely do they keep it’s attention long enough. It can also heal you, but I swear that mine only ever tries right after I use a potion. You may be wondering if the palico is good for anything aside from being a cute companion. The answer is no. No, it’s not. It’s basically a cheerleader.
Since the palico is no help in a fight and the monsters are incredibly deadly, expect to die a lot if you are playing alone. It almost feels like Capcom dropped the ball a bit on the single player experience. It’s so much more difficult to play alone, especially once you start fighting flying monsters. Some of them are so unforgiving that a single misstep will result in almost certain death. Many of them have attacks that are guaranteed to instantly kill you if you are hit head on. That’s why I can’t understand why the palico are so weak and unhelpful. It could be deliberately difficult, but you could tell your palico not to accompany you so that difficulty would still be there if you wanted it.
Monster Hunter: World is at it’s absolute best when you play in a group. It is so much more fun to hunt together. The game feels more balanced when you can try to distract and enemy while your teammates heal or sharpen their weapons. It’s so satisfying to knock down a monster and have your whole team focus on breaking a part that has been giving you trouble or that you need to craft a new sword. It makes grinding for materials so much less tedious. I highly recommend grouping up whenever possible.
“Boss battles and loot hunting at their finest”
Overall, Monster Hunter: World is little more than boss battles and hunting for loot, but those boss battles are fantastic and the loot is extremely rewarding. Whether you are grinding for a new weapon, and cool set of armor, or you just can’t wait to see what’s lurking around the next corner, you have so many reasons to come back for more. If you’re in the market for some tough boss fights, this is the game for you.