Monster Hunter: World Preview – The Hunt is On

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During New York Comic Con 2017, I had the chance to stop over at the Capcom booth where I was allowed a lengthy hands-on demo of Monster Hunter: World. In that time, I was able to play four of the game’s quests, and take down even more monsters. 

The Scoutflies swarmed in a bigger-than-usual manner and directed me towards a ledge. Eager to find the beast, my fellow hunters and I didn’t hesitate to sprint off the edge onto a sand slide, and suddenly we were all sliding down towards a desert clearing. Once we spotted our target on a dune, the fight had begun.

In my previous attempts to take on the creature, too many of us had gone for the Hunter’s Bow or the Heavy Bowgun. After realizing we needed someone to hold aggro, I began driving my hammer forward in a somersault that allowed me to strike the monster several times. It had my attention and I noticed it rearing its back legs preparing to charge.

Luckily, I had time to roll out of the way and instead of hitting its target, the creature slammed into a rock formation, destroying it in the process and leaving nothing but a small rocky platform behind.

The thought sprang into my head almost instantaneously, and I ran towards the makeshift plateau. Once on top of it, I left myself some room and in a sprint, I charged off the ledge bearing down an attack. I landed directly on the back of the monster and began mounting it, allowing the archers and bowgunners to unload on its head. Shanking its hide when I could — and holding on for dear life when I couldn’t — the indicator quickly changed and was now prompting me to perform a heavy attack.

I wound up my hammer and brought it down directly on the creature’s head and it went careening towards the ground. Once there, my team and I gave the beast everything we could – charging up all of our attacks – and even though it got back up, it wasn’t long before it fell for good.

Then we all began, as is customary, to carve into the creature’s corpse for all that sweet loot!

Monster Hunter: World is proving to me it’s more than just a graphical upgrade from previous titles, and while that really does help you lose yourself within the hunt, the processing power from the next-gen consoles does more than enough to make the game prettier.

One example is the beautiful addition of Scoutflies, which can provide players with a better idea of where a monster is hiding in the vast open-world. While I found them frustrating at first, because I didn’t like having the joy taken out of finding clues as to the monster’s whereabouts, I realized that for more casual audiences, or even players who don’t want to push the edges of the time limit, the Scoutflies are a welcome upgrade to the way the game is designed.

Be careful though:  if you try and rely on them too much, they will send you in circles as they also pick up resources and minerals. If you don’t pay attention to the clues that they are leading you to, you’ll end up lost.

In addition to gameplay upgrades, the way you get around the different sectors of the world you’re in have changed too. There are dynamic parts of the land that can affect the way you hunt, and swinging vines that make the hum-drum walk from point A to point B that much more fun. At one point in a quest, part of the desert opened up exposing a cave below, and each of us took turns jumping down onto the monster below. There’s more going on now at all times, and that’s a good thing because the gameplay loop shouldn’t be so repetitive.

Monster Hunter: World

While there were other creatures, and even multi-monster hunts in previous Monster Hunter games, the sense of frustration and awe I got when a monster completely unrelated to my quest began wrestling with the one that I was going after was invigorating. Due to time constraints of the demo one, monster got away entirely because someone in my group (totally not me) had pissed off another monster and it had been taking up all of our attention.

Finally, the graphics deserve to be mentioned. Each leaf, vine, and rock formation looks incredible, and that detail is not lost when you move farther away. The monsters have even more detail that makes them even more menacing upclose. And again: this beauty within the world makes the entire map feel alive, and less like a series of rooms that you need to move through in hopes that the monster spawned there.

Although I only was able to play a few quests, and there’s a lot more of the game that I haven’t been able to see yet, from what I know about the Monster Hunter series, this game looks like it’s going to take up an ungodly amount of my time. It’s going to be a long and hard wait until this game comes out early next year on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

You can check out more of Monster Hunter: World, including how it was awarded our “Reader’s Choice” Award at the Tokyo Game Show this year, here. You can also check out the Monster Hunter: World limited edition PS4 Pro here.

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