Coming into this video game, with expertise and over forty-five thousand hours of recorded play time, Monster Hunter: Worlds or MHW for short is a game that is unlike any other. MHW is game of skill, hunting, tracking, stalking, trapping, slaying, healing, mounting, upgrading and most of all becoming a part of a notorious hunting squad. The predecessor to this game, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate or MH4U, has almost the same mechanics and concept to this newer version (which is MHW) but slight differences that make this critique very detailed but very easy to explain. And to rate this game the way most games are rated, on a 5-star basis, I give Monster Hunter Worlds: 5 stars out of 5.
Monster Hunter was a video game released back in 2004 for the PlayStation 2 gaming console. Capcom, A well-known game production company with titles as Street Fighter, Resident Evil and the infamous Mega Man, decided to make a first ever hunting video game where you hunted giant prehistoric animals and mythological creatures to gain better equipment and to be the talk of the other hunters, and if others hunters thought you weren’t good enough, no need to fret you always have your trusted Palico (a cat who has human characteristics and hunts along side of you) to help you hunt these monsters. Joe Skrebels, a journalist of the famous reviewing company IGN, writes this quote about the creators of the game and how far they have come from the first Monster Hunter game. “Capcom’s series has worked toward perfecting its rewarding game-play loop since the mid-2000s: World’s mechanical changes are near-universally designed to make that loop even tighter. Weapon upgrade trees feel more labyrinthine, forcing you through a wider gamut of quests to get to what you want.” (Skrebels). Skrebels knew that Capcom wanted their gamers to keep playing their hunting game, so they kept making more unique monsters and more weapons based on different monsters you must hunt. The more you hunt the more you play right? Of course. So, to help others out, the creators based the in-game characters by their level, or Hunter Rank, so that other hunters knew if they were experienced or not. The game got so popular, they wanted everyone to have access to it everywhere which is why Capcom decided to release it on the PlayStation Portable (PSP for short) and the Nintendo 3ds. Complaints of the small screen and how resolution was better on a gaming console than a handheld console, which made them go back to the PS4 and make the veteran gamers happy.
In this category I give MHW its first star out of five for surpassing its predecessor in a more constructive way that helps the gamer with the physics of mounting these monsters to get the upper hand on the hunt. It’s already astounding picturing a character that resembles you standing next to a giant dinosaur or mythological creature that stands 25 feet high, that’s four-average people standing straight on top of each other. Now picture yourself on the monster riding it like a bucking bronco fighting for you to get off, except that monster can fly or slam you into a wall and knock you out. To prevent failure of getting flung off the monster in MHW, you can brace yourself by holding down a trigger button, yes, your stamina will deplete and once it does you’re off the monster and maintaining your position on the monster. In MH4U you had to rapidly hit both triggers on your handheld Nintendo system and boy, doing that twice would make your wrist cramp up and fold in on itself. Not to mention you must guess which way the monsters was going cause one wrong press of a button and you were done. After a successful mount you will enter a zoomed in view where you use your weapon to knock out the monster. The same mounting process is done in MH4U except with out the zoomed in view to final blow. After the monster is done the un-sheathing of your weapon is times perfectly as if a real human being is trying to handle a 5-foot weapon.
The judgment of this second star is based on what I hear most of the time when I tell my friends that use to play Monster Hunter that I’ve bought the recent version, “how does the weapons and the armor look in this one?” My answer comes back exactly like “In the resolution of 1080p, you can see the Maker’s Mark on every and any equipment you forge from the work shop!” Which usually gets them to buy the game even faster. Like I said before, the detail of your weapon shows what part of the monster you used, you broke the skull of a certain monster to use it as the blunt side of your hammer, so you can visually see how the skull of the monster was sculpted to fit that part. Same goes with the armor, but in MHW there are an assortment of colors of the light spectrum that you can choose from to change the color pigment of your weapon and or armor to match. And even better, you can also change you Palico’s armor as well! Now you both can match like a dress and a handbag. Too bad in MH4U you only have like 10 colors to choose from and can’t choose for your Palico either, which is why another star is awarded to MHW for, once again, improvement from its predecessor.
I fully investigated this third star criterion to see what the variety and limitations in items was. Of course, just like any game dealing with taking lives, You! Yourself have a health bar gauge (indicated as a green bar at the top left corner of the screen) to keep up along with a stamina gauge (indicated below the health bar colored yellow.) To keep those two meters up you must drink health potions or eat well done steak to make your stamina not deplete as fast. There are over 1000 items in the game but I’m going to investigate what has changed and I only noticed a couple of changes which has helped this game improved. In MH4U you must use whetstones to sharpen your blade (and hammer, I know crazy right?) And certain items were only given by a wandering sales man, who hardly ever shows up when ever you need him and when he does you don’t need him. Well now in MHW the whetstones are given to you automatically and they are unlimited Now! You don’t have to waste your money on them anymore! And that wanderer? Hell, who knows what happened to him, but all his stuff is now either sold at the market or able to craft if you have the material! This third star that is awarded to MHW, is for being two times better than MH4U in the items category.
The fourth star I awarded this video game was for bringing its resolution from low definition (720) to 1080p. Playing MH4U on the 3ds, a small screen about 6 inches wide and 6 inches long with the screen resolution of 800×200 pixels, is like playing a really smoothed out Super Mario World video game. Playing MHW on the PlayStation 4 is like playing the movie “The Lord of the Rings,” watching every grain of grass breathe its own oxygen. The 1080p resolution brings more of how the environments moves like the real world, how our shadows follow us with the angle of the sun. Not to mention I now have the privilege to play this game on a 55” TV screen. It’s pristine with detail that if you must retrace your steps, there might be something you didn’t catch the first time. Questions arose from gamers, which made their way to the head creators of Capcom’s MHW, Yuya Tokuda and Ryozo Tsijimoto, about having split screen and if it would change the screen resolution and this is what was asked in the video interview with Jeff Cork done for gaming magazine Game Informer. “Jeff: Would you ever consider split screen Co-op? Ryozo: Splitting the screen would put too much of a hit in the performance. Its better to enjoy a single player big-screen experience on each individual screen.” (Tsijimoto and Tokuda 5:05) Ryozo is saying that he didn’t want to take any resolution away from the game play by having two players on one screen. It would stress the system so much the game would fail in performance and quality and they were not willing to risk that and jeopardize their 7 million copies sold of the video game.
The last aspect I look at is vital to everything I named before, because without a full squad (4 hunters to one mission) you, the Hunter, will feel like that monster is picking on you. Well, truth is, you’re the only one on the mission! The monster has no one else to pick on, unless, you use online game play with it. MHW uses its own private server within the video game to let you create your own squads room, and only people you invite are allowed in. In MH4U, they had that same concept, but this one thing separates the use of online play. What if you didn’t have any friends that played the game? Go alone? Don’t be crazy now, you seen the pics of these monsters. So what MH4U did was use a “gong” signal to let other Hunters see your quest. Most didn’t see the urgency to help since everyone forgot about the gong way in the back of the room. But once you started your mission the gong effect would no longer be in effect. In MHW, Capcom introduces the S.O.S flare, so if you’re one of those hunters who thinks hunting alone is brilliant just to faint 3 times and fail the mission, the second time you faint you can shoot this S.O.S flare, wait a few seconds, and hunters will join you in the middle of a hunt! I’d say that’s really “Saving Our Skins”
As my critique comes to an end, these five criteria I have used only sets the foundation for someone who comes into this game with little knowledge, to Hunters who have been hunting for over 10 years now like I have. The basis I have covered will only open your eyes wider and see more things that I didn’t get a chance to cover in this review, but this will guide you to making that educated decision to pick up the controller and start a new journey. And let this journey take you to unimaginable heights and daring feats to become someone, who is now, a part of something bigger.
Skrebels, Joe. http://www.ign.com/articles/2018/01/25/monster-hunter-world-review. 25 January 2018. Review. 8 April 2018.
Tsijimoto, Ryozo and Yuya Tokuda. 60 Questions And Answers About Monster Hunter: World Jeff Cork. 10 November 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=317&v=ogtw1xdpuos.