This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version of Monster Hunter: World.

Monster Hunter: World is a third-person questing game where the gameplay changes depending on weapon choice. This makes for an interesting game to play with friends in a party of different specialities. Capcom has upped its game with this new addition to the series, introducing new beasts and landscapes while going all out to make this the best Monster Hunter game fans have ever seen. The graphics are visually appealing, and the story is interesting to follow. Some of the characters fall into the background, leaving a key few to shine. This game is something to play for hours while you get lost in this unfolding, magical world.

A progressive story

Each part of the story flows fluidly into the next, with the game starting before the player is given the chance to customize a character. The character creation screen makes everything look high-def; it’s clear that a lot of effort was put into even the smallest details. For most aspects, there is a multitude of options to choose from, like hair and makeup/facepaint, and most are not gender specific. Some of the smaller stuff, like expressions and voices, do not have as many choices for the player to choose from. It’s sort of disappointing to see how few options there are compared to all of the ones for bigger categories. There is a difference between the character creation screen and the graphics in the actual game. Sometimes the character loses fine details and definition in some of the cutscenes and during gameplay, yet this is not evident in all cutscenes during the story. It is obvious which scenes the creators put more time and effort into.

Image from 'Monster Hunter: World'

The story starts off strong. Your character a part of the Fifth Fleet, exploring the New World 40 years after the first fleet was sent. This gets the player intrigued and wanting more from the very first few minutes of gameplay by quickly introducing them to this world of beasts. The story progresses at a steady pace and leaves few stones left unturned with it’s mandatory cutscenes and missions. There are subplots throughout that lead up to a bigger picture involving the importance of the elder dragons migrating to the New World.

Immersive landscape

Monster Hunter: World’s strength is the graphics. The graphics are visually appealing and the creators put a lot of effort into creating a beautiful world. There is so much detail in the tiniest things, including a trail of ants and flying birds that can be captured and stuck into the player’s room to keep as a pet. Weather and time of day, there for visual effect, also change which monsters show up. It makes it feel as if the player is actually there alongside the monsters. A lot of thought was put into the story cutscenes, especially the ones where the monsters are introduced.

Image from 'Monster Hunter: World'

The mechanics are rather simple and easy to learn. They flow together and act as a constant reminder for fans who played previous titles in this series. Fighting with weapons during hunts is smooth and looks visually appealing. Many of the weapons work cohesively together, but sometimes they catch another player, causing them to go flying during a hunt. Each weapon helps create a different experience, and a player can practice whichever they prefer in a training area to find the perfect fit.

Monster Hunter: World introduces multiple new monsters to hunt as well as several familiar ones, such as Rathalos and Rathian. They also bring back Palicoes, a race of trusty feline companions that assist hunters fighting monsters.

Hunting with friends

After the player completes a few solo quests, they are given the opportunity to play multiplayer. This can be more fun and can help players with some tougher monsters that are difficult to complete with just one person. Players can invite up to three other people to complete a quest and the game automatically scales the monster’s health. When playing the story, adding people to a quest can be quite annoying, since it forces everyone to watch cutscenes before being able to join up. The cutscenes are visually pleasing, but are often just introducing a monster, which may get tiring.

There are some downsides to being a new player, but there are tutorials and experienced players there to help. Don’t feel the need to only play with friends because there is the option to send an SOS flare to get help from randoms. The YouTube channel for Monster Hunter had to post a video to explain how multiplayer sessions worked, which can help with some confusion a player may have. Also, failing a difficult quest is perfectly okay as it may take a few tries before one completes it.

Overall, this return to the bestselling series has something for everyone, experienced and new players alike. It is different from a lot of games on console these days, but it allows the player to get invested in the story. This game keeps things fresh while maintaining the simplicity of hunting beasts. It stays close to its roots and allows the player to have fun playing for hours on end.

Capcom has confirmed they will release new monsters periodically, with Deviljho coming in Spring 2018.

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