Monster Hunter has been a very successful and enduring franchise for Capcom. The original game released in 2004 on the PlayStation 2 and has been putting out numerous games over a series of platforms in the 14 years since the original release.
It makes you wonder why it took so long for a version of the game to finally be released on an Xbox console. All we know for definite now is that the franchise has found its way to the Xbox One, and it has been worth the wait; let’s review Monster Hunter: World.
The premise of the Monster Hunter franchise has been in the title, you hunt monsters or rather you hunt large creatures. Players can join squads and head out on hunts or you can complete the game solo; though on its first release the Xbox One version had major issues with online match making, though it has all been sorted now.
There are some new additions to this game from previous entries to streamline features for existing players while also allowing features for first time players. Weapon and armour crafting wish lists are a massive help while features such as the cat companions known as Palico’s return to help our hunters.
The game takes place on a relatively untouched continent where a group known as The Commission are looking to explore and set up a new civilisation. Our player comes as part of the 5th Fleet of the commission, before landing our character encounters an Elder Dragon; a beast that only surfaces once every decade. The grand entrance is made and an underlying story-line is established as finding and capturing this monster becomes the over-arching story-line.
Players unlock the new landscapes within the continent by completing story missions; mainly these missions are hunting down or capturing a new creature. Once players have encountered the monster and defeated the new enemy they can pick up side quests to battle these creatures again. The map is split up into hubs which consist of a certain type of landscape these vary from Jungle/rainforest to deserts and what you can imagine in-between.
The area hubs can be traversed in 2 different modes, you can launch a mission hunt or you can launch an exhibition; which allows you to free roam and hunt to your heart’s content.
Players use bait, traps, strategy and ludicrous weapons to take down beasts of all shapes and sizes in this vast game. I will tell you now though, be prepared to put up with a lot of tutorials and text when you start up the game, as a lot of information is thrown your way very quickly and it can be very overwhelming. The weapons can be strange and confusing to players who are new to the series; though keeping an eye on the top right hand side of the screen will give you updates on available moves depending on the player’s moment and position.
The player has a large choice of weapons and armour to customise your character; I should say though that the armour and weapons are not purely cosmetic. Outfitting your character and Palico with the right armour and weapons before a fight can save you not just fainting (getting knocked out) during a fight but might also cut the length of the fight down if you plan a strategy properly.
Weapons and armour can be upgraded, while armour does not change its appearance when levelled up, weapons take on new forms and appearances. The weapons are upgraded by crafting items found from hunting and scavenging while armour is upgraded from armour spheres. These spheres are found from levelling up your character overall and from completing side quests and bounties. A massive help in the early game is to take the easy bounties and then complete them before returning and doing the same thing over again. This will give early players a health set of armour regardless of what you choose and it will last for a while at least.
The size of the weapons and the speed in which they are wielded may put people off attempting to use the larger weapons. This mistake is made very easily though you soon discover the larger weapons do cause a lot more damage so you have to plan attacks and wait for the opening. The other side of the coin is if you are playing a multiplayer session and you have weapons that complement each other, this is a brilliant strategy also as it adds communication and group strategy into the mix.
My character switched between 2 very different weapons yet made hunting the same animal a different from the previous encounter due to the large variation of the weapon. The two weapons I chose to try out first were the charge blade and an Insect Glaive. These weapons allowed me to vary between quick and agile hits or deliver hard hitting blows with built up power behind them. I am think you could play through this game several times and have a separate play through for each kind of weapon.
I have played Monster Hunter: World on both the standard Xbox One and the Xbox One X, the difference in gameplay is noticeable. When booting up the game on the One X for the first time you will be given options for the game to favour graphics, frame rate or balance the 2 option. I chose frame rate just to see the difference and it did make the game run a lot smoother and also created a better viewing experience when streaming the game on Twitch or Mixer.
The upgraded visuals on the Xbox One X allow for the all the games details to pop out that little bit more; the landscapes look more luscious, the enemies that little bit sharper and the armour and weapon designs are just so much more rich and detailed.
Monster Hunter: World is a fantastic title, it has extremely fun gameplay mechanics as well as long lasting multiplayer elements. There is a reason a large portion of my Xbox friends list is playing this title, it is not bogged down with a pay to win mechanic where players have to endlessly roll on loot boxes to get that 1 item to give you an advantage over other players. Instead players are rewarded by hunting; you can undertake hunts to gain everything you need within the game.
Capcom have been boasting about the longevity of the Monster Hunter franchise and how it had never truly cracked the western market compared to its outstanding success in Japan. I feel this iteration on multi-platform release has opened this game up to many new players and long may we see support for this title and future instalments of the game.
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- Fantastic Soundtrack
- Great Variety of Weapons
- Character Customisation very in depth and plenty of options
- Great map and level design
- Xbox One X Enhancements
- Long drawn out tutorial
- Online Matchmaking still temperamental
- Lock On mechanic is for camera rather than character weapon focus