With Monster Hunter: World, one of Capcom’s most beloved series returns to console, launching on PS4 in early 2018. Taking on the role of a Guide Researcher, your hunter explores a newly discovered continent, filled with creatures big and small that you can track, discover, study…and of course, hunt. For science! While longtime fans of the series will likely be invested from the get-go, expanding the world beyond handheld platforms opens its doors to a world of new possibilities… possibilities that I got to experience as a first-time hunter at Capcom’s offices.
If you’ve never played a Monster Hunter title before, don’t be alarmed. Dropping into World’s lush, responsive world feels immediately welcoming, as the game opens with a narrated tutorial — which I appreciated, given the 14 different weapon options and numerous armor choices you’ll have going into each hunt. On my single-player run I chose my go-to weapon in most games — dual blades — but there’s a weapon here for every kind of player, from traditional greatswords and bows to elemental guns and a massive club that doubles as a spell-casting horn (that one will help during multiplayer hunts).
In true Monster Hunter fashion, all of these weapons can be upgraded by hunting bigger and more challenging monsters as you progress through the world. The real joy of Monster Hunter: World comes from its larger-than-life battle sequences and finding ways to use the environment to your advantage. I was doing my best stab-a-lot-and-roll strategy before remembering that I could lead the Great Jagras I was fighting into a tree, which would eventually fall over and reveal ensnaring vines to tangle it up. Used strategically, these elements make the battles feel very fluid, and as monsters try to run away, or eat smaller creatures to gain back health, you truly get a sense for how open and alive the map is.
This feels most rewarding during multiplayer hunts, which you can organize before embarking, or by firing a signal flare during single-player mode. This feature is new to the world of Monster Hunter, and allows for a seamless connection throughout the entire game rather than separating out quests based on a single-player or co-op storyline. Multiplayer makes the hunt a group effort, with every player actively searching for clues to find your prey. Some of my most exciting moments were watching a teammate leap onto the back of a Anjanath while I snuck underneath for a shot, or working together to cause a rock ceiling to cave in and crush our target.
Monster Hunter: World launches on PS4 in early 2018. Is this your first Monster Hunter game, or are you an experienced hunter? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll answer any questions I can!