Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Monster Hunter World is going to be the first proper open Monster Hunter game - let that sink in. In previous iterations, the game has been carved up into little zones you have to traverse through to get where you want to go. Each zone is fractal, forces you to endure loading times in the middle of your epic battle with some sort of giraffe lizard.
It seems like a small step, but by blowing away the lines carved through the map, Capcom is making Monster Hunter World a more active experience, one that old and new fans are going to enjoy. The game isn’t an open world, as such, it’s more zonal: each locale you go to (we saw a demo played through in a forest) will have different ecosystems and monster habitats, and it’s up to you to find your quarry, hunt them, and take them apart for armour and weapons.
The monster AI has visibly improved, too - before, some of the bigger beasts could be a bit dumb, and endlessly use the same attack cycles to try and get the better of you in battle. Maybe it’s because there’s elements with the monsters to interact with, or maybe it’s because Capcom can now utilise the processing power of the Xbox One and PS4, but the monsters themselves certainly feel smarter, more responsive and dynamic, more able to defend against your various tactics.
This plays into the ‘living, breathing ecosystem’ that Capcom is really pushing this time around - there’s always been a food chain in Monster Hunter (one that you’re supposed to sit at the top of), but here Capcom has fleshed that out: small mammals get picked up by slightly bigger reptiles, which in turn get hunted by the smaller monsters. They are no match for the big marks that you’ll end up getting to face-off against later in the game, but the smaller beasts will certainly give them a fight.
We saw an Anjanath take a severe beating from a Capcom staffer in our hands-off demo - he managed to use some dung to lure the creature away from where he found it, in a dense, thin corridor where combat would have been much tougher. Out in the open, the staffer demonstrated the game’s destructive environments by basically forcing the poor monster through a thicket of destructible mangroves. Then, wounded, it fled to its nest. Unfortunately, at its nest was a Rathalos - one of Monster Hunter’s most dangerous creatures. The Great Jagas the player ran away from earlier in the demo turned up, too, and we saw a proper three-way battle going down which looked, frankly, amazing.
So far, so Monster Hunter, right? There are a few changes in the game that have carried over from the more newcomer-friendly Monster Hunter Generations, as well as a few new changes of its own. For example, you no longer have to paintball a monster if you want to track it around the map. Instead, there are fireflies that’ll outline the path you need to take, and by performing certain tasks at the start of a hunt, can even lead you directly to the monster - no more faffing around, sending players to zone three and zone five to see which one the beast has spawned into.
You can also now gather resources as you move over them - your character won't have to hunker down and gather them manually, which saves you an immense amount of time in the long run. Every character can mount a beast, too, and instead of just mashing a single attack whilst you’re on top of it, you’ll be able to opt for heavier, slower blows - you just have to make sure you get your timing right.
There are some more contentious changes coming to the game, too. Damage numbers and an irritating character called The Handler that will be giving you ‘hints’ as the game goes on are likely going to put off legacy Monster Hunter players, and with good reason. By adding damage numbers, it makes the health of the monster easier for you to find out, which sort of undermines the entire point of Monster Hunter - it gets rid of the mystery, the self-discovery, the intrigue. Not knowing how long you had left of an encounter with a slavering beast was always one of the best things about the series - having to delicately balance your remaining resources so you could survive just one more hit was the enduring gameplay mechanic that got me into the series.
But that shouldn’t blunt your excitement for Monster Hunter world - the seamless drop-in, drop-out co-op the game is offering, as well as a more fleshed out world and a more complex set of monster AI is more than worth the trade-off, really. And who knows, Capcom might even build a feature into the final build of the game that lets you disable certain HUD elements, so you can play the Monster Hunter World you dreamed of back when you were mashing things to death on your PSP.
Monster Hunter: World is coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One early 2018.
Check out the debut gameplay trailer below.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 @ 12:21 PM
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 @ 03:53 PM
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 @ 06:57 PM
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 06:18 AM
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 12:26 PM
Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 03:07 PM
Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 09:56 PM