Capcom’s hugely popular adventure series has found exclusivity on Nintendo platforms for years now, with 3DS and Wii U entries selling millions of copies in Japan alone. Now, it’s aiming to make a big splash in the west with Monster Hunter World marking the series’ first ever PS4 and Xbox One iterations.
Coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC in 2018, it’s set to be the largest entry in the franchise yet and could end up being the best. We’ve rounded up all the info you need on news, gameplay, trailers and more!
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What is Monster Hunter World?
After a number of installments on 3DS, Monster Hunter World marks the series first return to platforms away from the Nintendo family in almost a decade. Taking place in a living, breathing world absolutely packed with monsters, you and your friends will certainly have your hands full slaying beasties.
Monster Hunter World release date – when is it coming out?
Monster Hunter World will launch worldwide across PS4 and Xbox One on January 26, 2018, Capcom announced the Tokyo Games Show. A PC release will follow at a later date.
A limited edition PS4 Pro was confirmed alongside the release date at this year’s Tokyo Games Show. It looks ruddy gorgeous, featuring unique console and controller decals for hardcore Monster Hunter fans. It remains unknown whether we’ll see the system launch in North America and Europe.
A selection of digital content has also been revealed for pre-order customers, including classic costumes, charms and weapons to kit out your hunter upon release!
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Monster Hunter World story – what’s it about?
While little more than a basic framing device for your hunting adventures, Monster Hunter World does have a loose story to think about.
Partaking on a research expedition to the ‘new world,’ the player is tasked with taking on quests and discovering what the new continent has in store.
Monster Hunter World gameplay preview
Monster Hunter has always seemed like a niche title, but it has many of the mechanics that see other titles grow insanely popular. Completing increasingly tough monster-hunting quests in search of improved loot and armour to be better equipped for the next hunt. Missions can range from short and sweet to long slogs through harsh terrain, and teaming up with friends always makes the experience that little bit sweeter, especially when the combat is as slow paced and methodical as it is here. All this sounds great, so why hasn’t the series cottoned on further outside of Japan? Well, Capcom is hoping to fix that with Monster Hunter World, and as a relative newcomer to the series, it’s working its charms on me.
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My only fleeting experience with the series was with its Wii U entry, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. At the time I found the combat a bit fiddly, the hub towns confusing and I couldn’t find the bloody monsters within the allocated time. This made me hesitant picking up World, but immediately, things seem more welcoming.
Firstly, the UI makes things much more explanatory, in terms of what each item actually does and how it may or may not benefit your character. Much like other action RPGs, there’s a lot of stats and numbers within its menu screens, but the item descriptions are very helpful.
Also, the mini basecamp in which the demo starts only has a few things to interact with, a basic canteen, a tent to change equipment and armour and a storage box. There’s also The Handler, your quest-giver and very useful guide while you’re out on the hunt. The limited introduction to the game meant there was a lot of information to take in, but nothing overwhelmed.
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Three quests are available from The Handler, one for beginners, the next intermediates and the last for experts. Again, I’m a novice, so I plump for the first mission, but first, I need to eat. It’s imperative to eat before every quest in Monster Hunter, as different meals provide vital stat boosts which can save you against the beasties. After a cutscene showing my hunter and Palico – your feline companion that will help you in a bind in battle with health potions and distract monsters – we’re off on the first hunt in search of a Great Jagras.
A great feature in Monster Hunter World is the Scoutflies – luminous green bugs which fly ahead of you and pick up tracks of the monster, as well as useful items in the environment to scavenge. This makes finding the beast so much easier, and though it may be off-putting for veterans who prefer to find the monster themselves, I appreciated the streamlining, especially as the game gave no indication as to what a Great Jagras actually looks like.
The map is also divided into numbered sections, which helps finding, or at least narrowing down where a monster is not, much easier. It’s also great in co-op multiplayer, as I communicated with other players I could simply say the number of the area, rather than poorly describing the nearby scenery.
After following the Scoutflies for a few minutes I finally find the Jagras, which looks like a giant, overweight iguana. When the fight kicks off, my plans immediately turn to mush, as the weapon I selected ahead of the hunt is positively huge and requires long wind-ups in order to swing it. Even locking onto the Jagras doesn’t help if my swing starts at the wrong angle, meaning I often whiffed and was vulnerable to the monster’s retaliations. But thanks to a better mapping of items on a shoulder button and D-Pad, healing was way more efficient, plus your hunter can move while drinking potions, meaning the element of risk to recovery is a little lower this time.
Eventually the Jagras finally bit the dust, after an epic battle which took place across what felt like the entire hub world. I’ll admit that, at first I was hesitant to run around slaying random animals, but there’s something satisfying about finally nailing that kill after such a tough contest.
After completing the three quests on offer, I jumped into four-player co-op, and this was where Monster Hunter World shined further, but not just because of playing with other players, but because it reveals the game’s variety and ecosystem. Replaying the intermediate hunt, a mission I completed with relative ease, suddenly became mission impossible, and this was because of an entirely new, incredibly hard monster showed up in the desert, caused a massive sinkhole dropping us all into a cave, and killed us.
I imagine this would be incredibly annoying when trying to actually complete the task, but having never seen this before, it was really cool. Watching the monsters fight, and knowing that these spontaneous events can occur at any time, makes each venture into the wild more interesting. I hope these are common enough to keep things varied but not so frequent they impede mission progress. Playing the missions I did in this demo seemed to have the balance right.
While there are some solid steps forward to welcoming newcomers to the series, there are some strange features which make the game feel a bit clunky. For example, accepting a quest from The Handler at the camp immobilises your hunter, meaning you have to do everything you want before accepting a mission, and if you forget something, you have to cancel said quest and restart it afterwards. In co-op only the group leader can select and instigate a quest, too, which is a little jarring.
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While I can appreciate the patience it requires thanks to its slower pace, combat will be seen as fiddly and frustrating to others. Lacking in the fluidity of a Dark Souls or Nioh, fans of those series may come to this and be thrown by the drastic difference. Monster Hunter feels almost turn-based by comparison.
Graphically, too, while significantly better than previous entries in the series, is a long way off looking as pretty as other games launching over the next few months. But as this is a preview build, hopefully this is something Capcom can spruce up before the January launch date.
I really enjoyed playing Monster Hunter World. It still seems to have the hook of its predecessors while offering a more streamlined experience that’s welcoming to newcomers. It still has some kinks which somewhat slow the game down, but overall I think this is a series that RPG fans could definitely get into, if they haven’t already, of course.
Monster Hunter World trailers – How does it look?
First revealed at E3 2017, Monster Hunter has received a bunch of trailers in the month since. We’ve gone ahead and compiled the latest below:
We’re very excited for what’s to come in Monster Hunter World, how about you? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook!