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Old 02-05-2018, 10:17 AM   #1
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The Evil Avatar Monster Hunter: World Review

Title: Monster Hunter World
Platform: PS4,Xbox One
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
MSRP: $59.99
Writer: Aaron Birch

Monster Hunter World Review

A world where cats are man's best friend

Although the Monster Hunter series has a vast following of loyal fans, it's not a game that's often appealed to the mainstream audience. A series as difficult as it is complex, Monster Hunter is a game similar to the Soulsborne series, in that it can often scare away new players. With Monster Hunter World, one of Capcom's goals was to reverse this trend, and create an entry that welcomes the newcomer, but also delivers the challenge and complexity fans want.

As the first Monster Hunter World on home consoles since the Wii's Monster Hunter 3, World not only returns from its usual home of handheld gaming, but it also has a whole lot of power to make use of with this generation's muscle behind it, and boy does it show. Capcom hasn't simply upgraded the graphics here, which do look excellent, and finally give the vibrant world of the series room to shine, but the entire game has received a much-needed evolution.

For one, the various locations you hunt in are no longer separate zones with loading breaks. Here, each area is a large, open world, with no loading screens or pauses in sight. These areas are large, multi-layered with much more verticality, and there's a ton of environmental interactions and tricks available to hunter to help in their mission to slay increasingly more dangerous monsters.

Each area is populated by native species, including smaller, endemic creatures, medium sized predators, and, of course, the big beasts of the world – the ones you're going to spend a lot of time tracking down and fighting. As always, each of these confrontations is a boss-battle that'll test your skill and endurance, as some of these fights can last a long time, as you enter a war of attrition, having to slowly weaken and eventually best your dangerous prey.

MHW improves on so many areas of the series, some small, and some very noticeable. Controls, for example, are much improved, and although still clunky, this is more by design than poor development. Monster Hunter has always demanded less button mashing, and more tactical combat, and World is no different. You still have to carefully time and aim your attacks, lest to be left flailing in the wind and leave yourself open to counter attack, and you have to plan your fights in advance, bring the best weapons and suitable gear for the fight ahead. Despite the clunkiness, overall control is much better, and your hunter is more reactive, and it's easier to navigate the world, climb up cliff faces, and jump off great heights, even to land on and mount your prey and do up close and personal attacks.

Importantly, you can now interrupt actions such as drinking potions or eating by rolling. This is a huge change that fixes the previous inability to react mid-action, and was a previously hated feature that many found cheap and unfair. Combat itself is faster and more fluid, and the whole feel is definitely more welcoming to new player. Sadly, the camera and the lock-on features don't fare so well, with the former often getting stuck behind obstructions to your view, and the lock-on having a poor sense or priorities, locking onto insignificant or distant targets, instead of, you know, that MASSIVE dinosaur-thing you’re currently being attacked by.

Whetstones are once again required to keep your weapons sharp in the field, although now you have a single, unlimited use whetstone, which is a very welcome feature. Indeed, you always have some staple tools with unlimited uses on you, including a fishing rod, capture net for smaller created you can alter have wandering around in your quarters, a pickaxe, and cooking spit. These all used to take up space in your inventory, but in World, they're standard gear, which is great.

The world itself feels more lively and detailed. The local ecosystem of each area is impressive, and there's a definite food chain in place, even to the point where large monster have their own pecking order, and during a fight another predator could, all of a sudden, jump into the fray, attacking its natural enemy. It can lead to some unexpected confrontations, and also open up some interesting tactical options, as you can lure your prey into a battle with its natural foe, leaving them to fight and make your job easier.

An important new addition are the scoutflies. These glowing green insects function as the game's wayfinding system, highlighting items, plants and other things you can harvest, and also revealing creature tracks like footprints and scratches. Collecting these increase your knowledge of a foe, and eventually will allow your scoutflies to track and lead you to your target. This can make locating your prey easier, and is a great addition.

Outside of the actual hunting, you'll spend a good deal of your time in the game's hub area, crafting new weapons and armour, accepting missions, side quests, bounties, and other tasks, and eating at the local café that's run by some talented cat chefs. Just as previous games have focused on the cycle of hunting to get materials to crafter better gear to hunt bigger creatures, so to does World. Only this time there's a marked reduction in repetition. Although you can repeat any missions as much as you like, and there's a good deal of grinding to gather required materials for that next bit of armour or specific weapons, the game also pushes you forward, not requiring the often excessive repetition of previous games – something that put many people off. Here you advance steadily, and there's always something new to do. If you like the grind, though, it's still here.

As always, the game has a wide range of weapons to choose from, and each offer vastly different abilities, and greatly change your fighting style and options. Sadly, no new weapons have been added to the series, but with so many well-balanced weapons to choose from already, this isn't a bad thing.

All Monster Hunter games have a big focus on multilayer, and World is even more focused here, with lobbies for up to 16 players, and up to four being able to team up to take on hunts, including story missions. Working as a team to tackle some of the game's biggest monsters is a real thrill, and the possibilities for so many varied team tactics is vast thanks to radically different weapon sets, and the myriad monsters the game features, each of which has different behaviours and skills.

Although certainly more welcoming than previous outings, I still can't help but feel Monster Hunter World is going to put some people off. It still does a poor job of explaining many systems, and it's also very challenging, and requires a lot of time sunk into it to get anywhere. Crafting is easier, and in general the UI and progression through the game is easier to understand, but this is no dumbed down title, and it retains everything hardened fans love about the series.

Undoubtedly the best game in the series so far, and one that makes use of the current gen hardware to evolve as a series Monster Hunter World delivers what existing fans want, and takes some important steps to bring on more players. Oh, and you can adopt a pig-baby dressed in a jumper, so yeah, there's that.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

The Good
  • A raft of improvements and refinements
  • Tightened controls and polished visuals
  • is enjoyable either solo or in groups of players
The Bad
  • Uninteresting and trite story
  • Still complex and could put off some
The Ugly
  • Camera and lock on still need work
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:13 AM   #2
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That's a solid review! Great work man.
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Old 02-05-2018, 04:08 PM   #3
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Great review dude. The game is amazing and I'm loving every part of it.
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Old 02-05-2018, 05:52 PM   #4
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Nice job with the review, Aaron! Impressive, most impressive!
"Sometimes when you have to fight for what's right, you have to fight dirty." -Deadpool
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Old 02-05-2018, 06:45 PM   #5
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I love the game but all the glowing reviews and near perfect scores aren't mentioning how fucking bad the multiplayer is to set up. The Japanese need to catch up to 2006.
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