Monster Hunter World Review: High Fiver!

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A whole new world.

Grab your Great Sword and strap on your Gunlance — we’re going hunting. Monster Hunter: World is the sixth main game in the series from Capcom and the first since Monster Hunter 2 to release on a non-Nintendo system. For those new to the series, it’s a third-person action role-playing game (TPP-ARPG) focused around hunting down bigger and bigger monsters with the goal of either slaying or capturing them to gain shinier loot. It’d be easy to believe that the series lacks depth,  but with an extensive crafting system that lets you create weapons, armour, potions, poultices and ammo for your weapons to give you the edge in fighting bigger and badder monsters, there’s always something for you to do.

World sees your Fifth Wave (Fiver, as they’re often referred too) Hunter heading off to the New World in pursuit of an Elder Dragon on its crossing. These Dragons are massive creatures that leave destruction in their wake; the Research Commission has deemed it necessary to find out just what the heck they’re doing on a far off island. After creating your character – and experiencing some horrifying facial expressions and vocal choices – you soon find your peaceful ship ride thrown into chaos as Zorah Magdaros rises out of the ocean depths under you.

What comes next is Monster Hunter’s idea of a tutorial – in this case a basic run down of controls and some in-game concepts – as you climb your way up Magdaros and eventually manage to snag a ride to safety. There you meet the unbelievably rugged and aptly named Field Team Leader and make your way back to Astera to meet up with the rest of your Fiver friends. You’re given some basic early missions involving regaining control of the starting zone and thinning some local monster populations before you get stuck into pursuing Zorah for real to solve the question of the crossing for good.

Monster Hunter, even on a first-gen PS4, looks great. The monster design is excellent, and clearly inspired by the relatively recent revelation that most dinosaurs were, in fact, feathered. You can tell from the moment you first see the chicken-like Kulu-Ya-Ku that it will be a trouble maker, and a brief glance at the Tobi-Kadachi is all it takes to tell it will use some kind of shock attack. The Pukei-Pukei in particular is a wonderful blend of chicken and chameleon with a powerful poison attack that is a highlight of the early quests.

The overall aesthetic of World is excellent too, ranging from the soundtrack that’s able to blend into the background or punctuate fights as needed, to the fantasy setting and the hub of Astera, a township built entirely out of the old ships of the previous fleets. It’s a pleasure exploring the vivid greenery of the Ancient Forest and a stark contrast to the barren and muddy Wildspire Wastes.

The broad variety of weapons available in World means you’re sure to find something that suits your playstyle too. To aid you in your pursuits you have a range of 14 different weapons, from the standards of the bow or sword and shield to the out there Gunlance and Bagpipe. Each of these weapon archetypes has a unique set of moves to master, and you’re able to build on those base weapons to increase their attack power, add elemental damage or even just make them look cooler.

Armour choices are important as well, with different sets giving you different general bonuses – such as more defence or poison resistance – as well as some less obvious buffs too. Some include additions to attack power or health, while others make your items last longer or let you cook faster. As you defeat more monsters you gain access to more and more armour sets and weapon variations, with the primary resources used to make them all gathered from that monster type. It’s here that the extreme depth can be found in the Monster Hunter series as you spend hours grinding monsters to dust for a few scales or a poison sack just to give you the edge in your next hunt.

Those edges are important too, as you’ll undoubtedly hit speed bumps as apex predators – the toughest monsters in each zone – are a genuine challenge. This is also where the fabled vertical learning curve of the Monster Hunter series rears its ugly head. Before we get to that though, a disclaimer: I got stuck — badly stuck — on the Anjanath fight, around eight hours in. I haven’t been able to pass it, and wasn’t able to find other players to make it easier for me either as the servers have been practically empty during the review period.

There’s no way to sugarcoat this – the combat in Monster Hunter: World sucks. It just plain sucks. For a game that’s entirely based around hitting big things with slightly smaller, sharper things you’d think that this would be a vital aspect to get right; instead, it’s frustrating. As with most people, the majority of my TPP-ARPG experience comes from the Dark Souls series, one that practically coined the term hit-box porn with its tight, responsive and accurate combat. If you swing at something and it looks like you should hit it, you’ll hit it. This isn’t the case with MH:W.

Instead, MH:W expects pinpoint precision from each swing; god help you if you queue up a combo and the monster moves. Your sword feels weighty too — the great sword in particular has animations that befit its sheer size — but it still hits like a pool noodle. Couple that with the fact that your weapon feels like it has the smallest, thinnest hit-box while the monster can flail its attacks in large zones and still make contact and you’re left annoyed and dead once more. I can understand why this may be the case — balance comes to mind — but that’s no excuse for a clunky control scheme and produces thoroughly unrewarding combat overall.

It’s not like each hunt is quick either, with most of mine ranging between 15 minutes way up to 25 for some of the tougher monsters. This time is filled with dodging attacks, unloading on the monster, having it inevitably move on the second swing of your combo, missing the next two hits and then dodging to not get smacked up yourself. In the end I turned to the good old bow, but that leaves you with little defence for any attack that does make it through. Even while hitting the monster in its weak spot as often as possible the fight is still drawn out as the monster disengages and runs away. Most opponents will do this multiple times across a fight, leaving you with no choice but to put your weapon away and chase after it as the spirit flies guide you.

The cluttered and decidedly unfriendly UI only makes matters worse as you’re bombarded with information you don’t necessarily need over essential tidbits. Like, you know, a health bar for the monster. While you can tell how a monster is fairing from physical indicators such as scratches and cuts, it’s simply not enough to tell how well you’re doing until the monster is physically limping. Menus are busy and tough to navigate in a pinch, with even the radial menus — the ones designed to be easy to access — quickly causing frustration.

This is a game I want to like. I love the world of World. I love the art style, the design – heck, I even love the kooky cutscenes such as when the Palico (see: cats) cook a meal for you. While there is amazing stuff around the peripheral, I just can’t forgive flaws with World‘s core — intentionally frustrating combat and horrible UI design. If you’re already a fan of the series though, I have a feeling you’re overlook these flaws and love the overall package. It builds on titles before it and introduces a tonne of other quality of life bumps like easier matchmaking and no loading between zones. If you’re new to the series though, you’d better be dedicated as this takes a long time to learn, and longer to master.

In the end, Capcom hasn’t built this game for me. It’s hard and frustrating… but for some, that’s exactly what they want. While it may be more accessible to newcomers, this is still a Monster Hunter game made for the series’ faithful. Players who have invested thousands of hours into the previous games, grinding armour sets and mastering move sets to slay all manner of monsters will find themselves feeling right at home. While it didn’t work for me, it’s evident that Capcom has done its best to welcome new players without compromising on the experience for its hardcore players — unlike other recent titles.

 

7.5 out of 10

The good

  • Amazing monster design.
  • Varied weaponry and armour to suit different playstyles.
  • Accessible yet hardcore.
  • Looks gorgeous even on a standard PS4.

The bad

  • A steep learning curve.
  • Lots of grind.
  • Unfriendly UI.
  • Frustrating combat.

 

Monster Hunter: World was reviewed using a promotional code on PS4, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.

Editor’s note: Just because this is the internet doesn’t mean you can hide behind comments and abuse our authors. This is one person’s take on the game — it’s not meant to be sensationalised and it’s not designed for clicks. Feel free to play the game and think differently, just don’t be a dick about it. All comments are now being removed and no further comments will be accepted.

35 COMMENTS

  1. L O L. Right, so, you’re telling me you can give a review if you can’t even get past the beginning of the game? Game journalism in a nutshell, everyone.

    • He wrote in that review that he got stuck at Anjanath like eight hours into the game. So unless someone as incompetent as him managed to get to High Rank that quickly, it means that he got bodied by a Low Rank Anjanath. You know, Anjanath, the monster everyone was complaining was too easy in the beta?

  2. So a combat system is bad because you can’t do what others can in the same game? And are you seriously complaining because you “think” its a challenge? Cry more. Reviews are supposed to be about the game itself. All i got from this is a 12 year old kid fit like he was stuck on abyss watchers in dark souls 3.
    1) its not a steep learning curve. This game actually went back to basics and even made you able to do everything with friends. They also added damage numbers so you can learn weak spots on monsters easier.
    2) yes its a grind. But what rpg isnt. No one loves a game that hands you everything, unless they suck.
    3) UI is friendly and very necessary and you even have the option to turn it off if it bothers you.
    4) combat is perfectly fine. You just need to git gud. There are so many hunters having 0 issues playing the same game. You say you have experience in dark souls and yet a challenge makes you menstruate? Sorry this isnt the game you can roll and pray an attack doesn’t hit you. So you can blindly swing one button until it dies. Stop getting fraustrated that you arent getting spoonfed and go earn your own meal.
    5) learn how to review.
    Personally i believe my review on you was way better than your review on any game. Let the other guys in the comments judge who did it better.

  3. “As with most people, the majority of my TPP-ARPG experience comes from the Dark Souls series”

    How do you have a job reviewing games when you’ve barely played any?

  4. > I got stuck — badly stuck — on the Anjanath fight, around eight hours in. I haven’t been able to pass it

    You got stuck in one of the easiest monsters in the series, and on what sounds like a LOW RANK quest to boot. Think about that.

    > Instead, MH:W expects pinpoint precision from each swing;

    Yeah, just like that Dark Souls series you gush about so much. Why is it okay for Dark Souls to demand that precision but not Monster Hunter?

    > god help you if you queue up a combo and the monster moves.

    Uh, maybe you shouldn’t be mashing buttons? You know, just like that Dark Souls series you praise so much and claim to like? Stop mashing buttons like a scrub and you won’t be punished for being a button masher. Who’d have thunk?

    > It’s not like each hunt is quick either, with most of mine ranging between 15 minutes way up to 25 for some of the tougher monsters.

    That’s par for the course for a first-time hunt on a new monster. But once you’ve mastered a hunt, you can easily take down monsters in 3-5 minutes by your own. If you never bothered to try to master any of the fights and just want to move from one monster to the next in an attempt to get your garbage review out on day one, then of course a newbie like you will take 15-25 minutes per hunt as opposed to the 3-5 minutes of seasoned solo players or the 8-12 minutes of somewhat more competent players than you.

    > This time is filled with dodging attacks, unloading on the monster, having it inevitably move on the second swing of your combo, missing the next two hits and then dodging to not get smacked up yourself.

    Someone doesn’t know how to use Shock Traps, Pitfall Traps, Paratoads, Paralysis Knives, mounting and all the other variety of tools the game gives you to lock monsters down. Someone also doesn’t know how to use weapons to make monsters trip and fall over so that you can also keep them locked down.

    > The cluttered and decidedly unfriendly UI only makes matters worse as you’re bombarded with information you don’t necessarily need over essential tidbits. Like, you know, a health bar for the monster.

    Are you fucking kidding me. A health bar?

    > If you’re already a fan of the series though, I have a feeling you’re overlook these flaws and love the overall package

    Except that they’re not flaws though. You’re just trash at the game and haven’t bothered to even scratch the surface of learning it. You probably were desperate to get this review out on day one for those tasty clicks so you just bumrushed through it without bothering to learn the finer mechanics of the game.

  5. MH is much harder than Dark Souls series. I love to see people thinking that they are pro on videogames just because they finished a DS game.

    Learn to play.

    • “B-But I beat Dark Souls! The hurrdest game evah made! That makes me an elite hurrdcore gaimurr!”

  6. What a terrible review if you can even call this that. Did not even beat one of the first monsters of the game.

    I would not have minded if you gave valid criticism and just legitimately did not enjoy the game. Instead it sounded like you just expected a handhold-y game, did not get that and got mad.

    No objectivity. Blames developers for making it “difficult”.

    Go back to x1000 i-frames on DS.

    • He can dish out criticism but he can’t take it. Just you watch, he’s going to cry harassment as the reason for deleting all the comments.

  7. Dark Souls isn’t hitbox porn, it’s notorious for having terrible hitboxes. Monster Hunter is the game that’s always had very accurate hitboxes, especially in the later games. Of course, there are some exceptions (looking at you, Plesioth). It sounds like you’re just bad at the game, so you call the combat bad. Being made to commit to an attack is a good thing, not bad. It punishes bad play and button-mashing, and rewards players who actually take the time to learn their weapon and the monster they’re fighting.

  8. Ok, so you say “frustrating combat” because you expected to chain a 100kg Sword’s attacks fast like Dark Souls, and because you are too used to healthbars.

    MH has objectively great combat.

  9. For starters. Your whole review has been screenshotted. All comments have been screenshotted. As a journalist it is your sole responsibility to get the truth out. What you have done is irresponsible and stupid and im surprised you’re still employed.
    1) you can’t delete facts. Every comment you deleted was justified. It wasn’t a case of bullying, every single comment was factual and completely explained what kind of scrub you are based on simple game mechanics. Everyone was pissed off because you lowered a games score based on opinion, not fact. Because you were angry.
    2) there are no safe spaceson the internet. If you dont like what people say. Then stop being a chode and delete your review. Not just the bad comments.
    3) this is all going to your supervisor along with the previous comments and justification of them. If this is your day job then get your shit together. If it isnt, well i think you know what you should do. Git gud.

  10. Wait, you serioulsly bashed the grandfather of souls games because of it difficulty?! This is not a game where you level up to get stronger, its a game where you are forced to debelop the skill to overcome the challenges in front of you. This review is a dissapointment because it is crystal clear the issue is lack of understanding and skill not an issue with the game itself. You didnt beant anjanath. One of the easiest low rank monsters in the game, that says that you did not even complete the game in which you review. There should be at the very least a disclaimer at the top of this review stating that is not a review of the game because for that you would need to actually play the game to conclusion to have a valid opinion of it.

  11. Don’t worry terrible Hunter. When the game is released you’ll be able to piggy back on the help of good players, and finally beat that low level monster. To put it in Dark Souls 1 terms, you are stuck at like, Sen’s Fortress. You haven’t even got to Anor Londo yet.

    • I’d go further and say that quitting at Anjanath eight hours into the game is the same as not getting past the Taurus Demon or the Undead Parish gargoyles.

  12. Finally a review that’s not bias and thinks that every game is PERFECT, well constructed unlike my grammar

    Also to everyone flipping out about a 7.5 rating, Calm your tits 90% of games shouldn’t be rated as high as they are, there is always room for improvement

    Get off your high horses, Take a breather and go outside.

    • I think the problem is the reviewer clearly didn’t even get past a low level monster by his own admission. A Super Mario Bros review of someone who can’t get beat fake-Bowser in 1-4, isn’t really a review worth considering is it? The reviewer either didn’t put in the time to learn the game, or lacks the skill to learn anything different to what he is used.

  13. Hah, the reviewer can’t handle criticism, much like he can’t handle Monster Hunter. Good job deleting any comment that disagrees with you, soyboy.

  14. This reviewer is better hunting disagreeing comments, than hunting low level monsters.

    He’ll be able to make an armor of criticism in no time.

  15. Delete all the negative comments, will not change the fact that you are a noob. Git Gud!

  16. Wait, you serioulsly bashed the grandfather of souls games because of it difficulty?! This is not a game where you level up to get stronger, its a game where you are forced to debelop the skill to overcome the challenges in front of you. This review is a dissapointment because it is crystal clear the issue is lack of understanding and skill not an issue with the game itself. You didnt beant anjanath. One of the easiest low rank monsters in the game, that says that you did not even complete the game in which you review. There should be at the very least a disclaimer at the top of this review stating that is not a review of the game because for that you would need to actually play the game to conclusion to have a valid opinion of it.

  17. “Editor’s note: Just because this is the internet doesn’t mean you can hide behind comments and abuse our authors. I’ll continue to delete comments that are inappropriate and will disable comments if the situation does not improve.”

    I see we’re employing the Polygon method for dealing with criticism…

    • I called it earlier. I knew he was going to hide behind “harrasment!” as an excuse to delete comments. Thankfully, many of the comments he deleted have been screenshotted on Reddit.

    • The “Git gud” comment was harassing the author… (yes one of the deleted comments said just that).

      Numerous readers basically saying the reviewer skill was not up to par with the required to review a game like MH (or DS, or Bloodborne) is seen as harassment?

  18. Wait, you seriously didn’t suck the dick of my favourite franchise?! This is not a game where you score it less than 100/100, it’s a game that demands a man of culture. This review is doing me a heckin’ fright. You didn’t even get all the achievements. There should be at the very least be a trigger warning at the top of this review stating that it is not a review for the faint-hearted, because you would need to actually be the developer of this game to have a valid opinion of it.

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