We recently played the Monster Hunter World beta over the weekend and it was our first experience in the world of dragon slicing and dicing (includes pounding and piercing I guess.) Here are some views (and thoughts) from people who are new to the series.
The game feels very streamlined and you know what it is directing you towards. Hunting and slaying monsters are immediately implied with scout flies showing nearby clues to track the monster you are hunting. There is even a video preview of all the weapons in the tutorial section for the uninitiated to jump right into the action. Progression from one big monster to the next bigger and badder monster feels organic and well-paced with sufficient challenge in learning the different monsters behaviors.
As a group who are newbies to the series, the controls were rather intuitive but it is hard to master. Each weapon is vastly different from each other in playstyle and presents its own set of challenges in using them. Some weapons we quickly realized, have a rather steep learning curve and button-mashing would not save your rear-end when a huge, raging, fire-breathing Anjanath pounces you into a corner. Understanding how each weapon works, and coming up with a strategy for the monster you are facing is utterly gratifying.
We have to say though, the game looks gorgeous. We don’t have much experience with the previous games in the series on the other platforms, but the jump from handheld to current gen is nothing short of amazing. Capcom has managed to create a large and seamlessly explorable world filled with lush greenery and wildlife. It feels like a living and breathing world with an ecosystem that showcases how each monster reacts to one another along the food-chain.
Also, Palicos are freaking CUTE!
Despite all this though, there are a few concerns that we have as new players of this world. Character customization is so in-depth, we feel daunted by the whole system. Not only are there already a selection of weapons to choose from, there are also (from what we heard from veterans) weapon trees that branches out to various varieties with its own spin on the existing weapon playstyle. It is rather overwhelming for someone new to the Monster Hunter series with the number of choices you can make.
The Beta somehow feels like it is meant for those who have played the series before. While we believe that no hand-holding and letting the player explore the game on their own are the cornerstones of a great game, (ahem, Shadow of Colossus) we wished there was a more comprehensive tutorial at the start of the game. If it were not for veterans hunters in our office, we wouldn’t have known how to handle the three quests available in the beta.
In the beta, we wanted to know how progression would be like in an actual game. The tracking and slaying of monsters is really fun however we never got the chance to see what Monster Hunter had in terms of how loot is crafted into gear as character progression was disabled. Seeing as Monster Hunter is the grandfather of console loot-based action games, it felt like a missed opportunity to show off the crafting mechanics to new players and how they would grow as a better monster hunter.
All in all, our first foray into the monster hunter world was short and sweet but we are definitely looking to engage in longer adventures.