Monster Hunter World is the latest entry in Capcom’s long-running action role-playing game franchise. The previous game, Monster Hunter XX for the Nintendo Switch helped Nintendo gain $2.2 billion in market value on the Tokyo stock market after being announced for the console in 2017.
While the Monster Hunter franchise has always been popular in Japan, it hasn’t had the same success in the West. Most entries have graced handheld consoles that didn’t have the flexibility in controls that the likes of the PS4 and Xbox One do, along with a steep learning curve, and dense presentation (each weapon would have multiple screens packed with information). These made it a tough sell for many - until now. Gadgets 360 spent some quality time with Monster Hunter World, and this is what you need to know ahead of the full release on January 26.
The game begins with you customising your character as well as a palico- a cat assistant who aids you in battle. From different face types and hairstyles, to the kind of tail your palico has, Monster Hunter World offers more than enough by way of customisation options for the discerning gamer.
After a brief action-packed opening you find yourself on Astera - an island rife with exotic beasts - and are tasked with strengthening humanity’s foothold in the region by thinning down the population of its monstrous inhabitants; it is called Monster Hunter World after all. From the docile, dinosaur-like Aptonoth, to the Anjanath, a predatory dead-ringer for a T-rex, there are plenty of monsters. Each has its own behaviour and attack patterns that make each encounter a varied affair.
In addition to this, there are an assortment of weapons at your disposal. These include a sword that transforms into an axe, dual-wielded daggers, and a katana, to name a few. Each weapon has its own unique feel and aside from allowing you to slay all manner of nasties, weapons in Monster Hunter World also let you progress your character's attributes, such as reducing physical damage or increasing evasion and stealth. Throw in multiple upgrade paths per weapon, such as enhancing them with bone or ore, allowing different benefits, and it makes for a system that’s as deep as most traditional role-playing games.
Before we knew it, we found ourselves in a steady rhythm of fighting beasts, earning loot to upgrade our weapons and armour, crafting better gear, and going back again to battle more powerful opponents. The combat is responsive and intuitive, with easy to understand controls, while scout flies (Monster Hunter World’s take on Fable 2’s breadcrumb trail) ensure that you always know where to go.
Furthermore, the game is a visual showcase for the PS4 Pro. There’s a welcome sense of consistency with beach environments and dense jungles alike being great to look at, as is your home base. Developer Capcom has thankfully included an option to allow users to prioritise graphical quality or frame rate prior to playing, and has a toggle for HDR as well. All of this ensures there’s barely a pixel out of place and choosing better image quality didn't make the game any less playable, with it maintaining a stable frame rate even in busy sections.
With the focus on combat, loot, and crafting, we’re yet to see if Monster Hunter World differs wildly from its predecessors in terms of narrative, but with a polished set of systems and gameplay mechanics, we’re not really complaining. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how it shapes up as the game progresses. For now though, Monster Hunter World seems to be the closest we’d get to a Jurassic Park role-playing game, complete with cats and over the top weaponry which doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for our full review later in the week
Monster Hunter World release date is January 26, and it will be playable on PS4 and Xbox One. It will be available both digitally and in retail, priced from Rs. 3,999 onwards in India ($60 in the US), and has 15GB download size.
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