Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Monster Hunter World Review: Welcome Noobs

Finally a monster-hunter game for a current-gen console, which also offers an enhanced multiplayer mode: So lured me Monster Hunter World ( PS4 , Xbox One). I tried looking forward more often in earlier parts of the series, usually on Nintendo's portable consoles and once for the Wii U . However, I was never able to achieve the 50 to 100 hours of game that gamer gamers report, due to a lack of motivation to play an unnecessarily user-friendly game just for the sake of gambling. But this time, everything will be different. I thought.

Customize cat
The beginning is promising. Creating the character offers enough options. If you want, you can also make a mohawk-wearing hunter with flawless skin, well-groomed green mustache and two differently colored eyes.

The highlight is creating your own Palicos. This is your personal cat-servant who accompanies you on the quests fighting and collecting items. A bit like the booted cat from Shrek, but without annoying sayings. For your Palico you can select coat color and coat length, pattern, voice position (Miaulage?) And other parameters.

First disillusionment
This is followed by a mini-tutorial and a slightly longer tutorial, followed by a mini-tutorial, until you finally arrive at the beautiful new world settlement that is the hub and starting point for the missions. And here is the first damper.

The Inventory menu is awful, just as you would expect from a Monster Hunter series game. Small icons, even smaller font. On a UHD TV with the PS4 Pro, it is really difficult to read the text, which makes explanations and written tutorials a pain. The crafting and upgrade menu for weapons is similarly cruel to the eyes of players accustomed to interfaces designed to be used intuitively. It's the first of many times that Monster Hunter World says to one, "We do not want you new here."

14 weapons
As usual, all 14 weapons are available in their basic versions at the beginning: from swords to hammers and bow guns to the bagpipe. Before going hunting, one should use the training facility to at least learn the basic moves and develop a feel for the attack speed and range.

With some motivation, you take on the story quest and go into battle. The smaller tutorial monsters are done quickly. At the latest in the hunt for big monsters , such as the Pukei-Pukei, it is tedious. Monster hits cause only numbers with the damage value to flash, sometimes in the single-digit range. The whole thing goes on for minutes, at some point the monster flees , you run after it and it starts again. Felt 15 to 20 minutes later, the monster lags behind rather than flee quickly - this is the first and only indicator you get, that the constant fight has actually had an effect.

Is it really too much to ask that the monster get scars in the course of the fight, that the arrows get stuck for a short time or that a little monster blood is visible? So you have the feeling to hit with foam rods on a dragon.

The multiplayer rescue
Fortunately, there is the multiplayer mode to chase cooperatively. Because with a friend everything is better. Or not. To play only with a specific friend or group, you have to open a public game. How to do that you have to find out for yourself. After that, although you are in the same game, you can only see yourself in a specific location in the settlement. Why this does not work in the whole place, as in almost all other multiplayer games that have a hub, probably only Capcom knows.

If you are in the same game, you have to open a quest via the quest board. The second player then has to go to the quest board and join this quest - even if only two of you are in the game. Inviting players to quests does not work. In addition, some quests are for single players only, and these appear regularly at the beginning. Playing the complete story with a friend in pairs is not possible because you have to fulfill quests again and again.

Stranger instead of friend
Also a problem for buddy players: The difficulty level is only adjusted between single and multiplayer, not the number of players in the quest. Two players together are more difficult than a single player, but four players have it easier. What do we learn from this: Either search for more friends, play with strangers, or send the individual friend who wants to play with a Monster Hunter World in the desert.

Well, questing with a friend is not easy, in a game whose name suggests multiplayer. But at least the free exploration for collecting raw materials is ideal for joint hunting trips. Nope. In the "expeditions", as the free mode is called, one encounters no human players. Also you can not go in the group of four just to hunt and gather resources. This currently only works with a workaround: either the group stays in the world after the quests quit or a player in the expedition sends a distress signal hoping that the other players on the quest board in the hub will see the distress signal and join the expedition.

A fan service
So much for the initial Gesudere on the missed opportunity  to bring Monster Hunter World closer to a wider group of players - namely those who could in principle start with the gameplay idea, but by the incredibly cumbersome menus, the lack of interface polishing and the To deal with just plain rude nature of the game with newcomers, throw the towel after a few hours of play.

Things are different for Monster Hunter veterans. Finally, you can see the insect glide high-resolution, new monsters like the Dodogama require new attack and defense strategies and the game world is big and seamless, rather than divided into sectors with load times.

The monsters act differently depending on their behavior. Some hiss only when the player passes too close, others become aggressive and attack everything that approaches their nest - including other monsters .

The new track-reading system is a significant improvement and the world is not only large and varied, but also offers interaction options to lure monsters into traps. Bonus: The collection of simple resources such as herbs works now by pressing a button virtually in passing, without unnecessarily long group animation.

Farming items
The more often you find a monster , the more information is added to the hunting book. Here can be read then, which weaknesses a monster has, which objects it can drop and which body parts can be targeted attacked, in order to receive bonus objects.

This info is essential, because to succeed in later hunts against high-level monsters, special armor and weapons must be forged to take advantage of the monster's weaknesses and counter attacks as well as possible. This creates a seemingly endless chain: you hunt certain monsters to forge armor and weapons for a difficult monster hunt. With the resources you get from the difficult monster , you prepare yourself again for the next stronger monster , and so on.

Teach yourself
But experienced Monster Hunter players already know that: It's what they want. That's why they play Monster Hunter World. They also know how to properly use the different types of ammunition, that you have to re-sharpen your weapons (whetstone, pickaxe and insect net are now infinitely available, yay) and that you can still learn more and new ones.

The game itself does not help you. If you want to learn the best combos for your weapon, you will be landing on YouTube sooner or later . But then it is also more satisfying if you use the new moves successfully in the hunt. Even in multiplayer mode with strangers are like tips exchanged. And if you are four, the common hunt is really more fun than playing alone or as a couple.

Monster Hunter World is the game that so many fans of the show have been waiting for. Monster Hunter veterans are tough and have been used to the past games for lack of comfort. The possibility to play  Monster Hunter on TV in reasonable quality, the varied world and the online multiplayer mode to overlook the many little things that are still in need of improvement.

And because Monster Hunter World is such a must have for the big fanbase, new players do not really need it. And that lets the game feel the noobs as well. If you like typical Japanese games that leave the player to their own devices and increase the playing time in the range of 50 to 100 hours, you can give Monster Hunter World a chance. If you could not understand the hype about Dark Souls and God Eater Burst, you probably will not be able to win over Monster Hunter World either.

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