- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Capcom
- Genre: Action Role-Playing
- Release Date: 26/1/18
- Platforms: xbox ps4
- Reviewed on:Xbox one x
- Game Supplied by: Xbox
I would like to start off by saying I am fairly new to the Monster Hunter franchise. I have previously dabbled in a couple of the PSP titles for the sake of playing with friends but there was always something missing for me, it was the hook that brings you back craving more.
Nonetheless when I first saw the announcement for a MH (Monster Hunter) title on Xbox I was interested. After a few hours of watching videos and reading every piece of literature Capcom had released on the game I was intent on giving it a go.
It was not disappointed, over the years you hear a lot of developers making big claims of creating a living breathing world, with an authentic ecosystem, but they always seem to fall short. For this exact reason my expectations of MH having a real-life hunt feeling to it that capcom has promised in their advertising were quite low. After around an hour it soon became obvious that they did not exaggerate one bit, the environments and general world of MH is as close to a living breathing world as you can get.
My first experience of this was when I was fighting a monster called a Great Jagras, now this is pretty early on in the game so I was not expecting anything too astonishing. It seemed like the generic go kill this and come back quest we see in near enough every RPG but no, I start throwing blows at this godzilla of an iguana and man does it hit back. The second it starts losing the upper hand it plain rolls out and I mean no looking back this thing was outta here, so I track it down again collecting any and all evidence I can find (collect it all as it comes in very handy later on) until I find him. Then I realize it wasn’t just running away on a hp que (to recover health) it was getting backup all of a sudden and I no longer had the upper hand I once did. I’m now face to face with him and 4 of his little Jagras buddies.
All the creatures in the game have personalities and survival instincts just like the Great Jagras, but it doesn’t stop there. There is also a very prominent food chain, so I’m mulling around studying the Pukei-Pukei and unlike the Jagras it doesn’t have a nest or friends to back it up, it likes to keep on the move not hanging around anywhere for too long. Differences like this are why studying is important but I will come back to that. Now, I have been studying and collecting data on him for a while and I see something quite cool, this Pukei-Pukei has walked into the path of a Anjanth, a giant fire breathing fluffy T-rex with wings, one of the apex predators of the ancient forest. In previous games they would have just carried on with their routes but no, I first hand witness what the MH world is all about and how this ecosystem works, they start tearing each other apart, and a prompt came up awarding me points for watching what they call a turf war. These two beasts are actually fighting over their marked area. Being quite amazed by the complexity of this event I went searching to see just how deep this ecosystem runs, and boy was I impressed this wasn’t a premeditated event, its random and doesn’t just happen when a monster enters a certain area of the map, a Anjanth has no problem allowing its food sources to live and feed within its area. I completely ignored a pack of jagras I was following once, but then a great Jagras came balling down he was in a full out war with it and all the Jagras that come to help.
Now I touched upon studying monsters earlier, capcom have not been short on boasting about the authenticity of the hunt in MH, they were not joking around when they said you will have to prepare for each and every big monster. This is not so true for the first few monsters, but it become extremely important when you reach beasts like the Anjanth and Kobi-Kadachi as they are strong and an Anjanth can wipe you out in 2 hits, so you need to play to your strengths and its weaknesses. I attempted battle with this big T-rex dragon hybrid around 3 times before I decided to check my hunters guide, it turns out all that data I had collected and handed in had purpose.
The more you study a monster the better the info in the hunter’s guide gets. It gave me information like what element it uses where its weak points are, and even description of its personality, and it tells you what parts of them you can break off. This led to the conclusion I was fighting him wrong, after I switched to a big old sword with water damage and focused blows on his head the fight became a lot easier to sway my way. The best advice I can give is to collect any and all clues that you find and hand them in after every mission. With the help of the field guide all you need to focus on is mastering the combat with your weapon of choice and making the right moves. Combat is difficult you need to almost anticipate the monsters moves and be ready to roll out of the way and start laying down some damage, and unlike previous game not all the monsters will be a wait for the opportunity and strike, without spoiling anything i have faced a couple of beasts that required me to stay close and keep hitting. As i said before study the monsters and figure out the best strategy.
If you feel that you have taken the wrong path for you later on in the game there is a slight fall back for you, you can downgrade your weapons to receive a full refund of materials used. Allowing you to re invest in a new weapon with better suited elemental damage to the beast at hand, maybe you face a fire element monster and you have a fire weapon. That will affect your damage dealing, so fall back down grade and make a weapon with a water element.
Now that I have done my best to express that Capcom where not joking around with the authenticity and how much of a challenge we would be facing let’s dig down into the finer details.
Straight off the bat, the graphics, they are stunning, the game as a whole is gorgeous and the scenery is breathtaking. I tried MH on a day one edition xbox just to see the difference and while there is a slight difference this game looks great no matter what console. The detail in the environment leaves nothing to be desired and when it comes to the monsters they have put real effort into the design and look of each and every one I would be comfortable saying this is one of the best-looking games on console so far.
Take your time to enjoy the moments you can just admire the gorgeous scenery around you as once you dive in you had better mean it, chose a weapon and practice with it the controls require some level of mastery and the monsters will hold no hits, if you are planning on smacking a Anjanath square in the face you had better have an exit strategy as button mashing does not work in this world. You need to time every move you make, if you run out of stamina one hit can end the quest for you, if a monster lands its attack before yours hits again could be quest over, take some time to experiment with weapons and controls as once you go deeper it’s hard to change Weapon.
Having said that it’s not impossible as your character does not specialize, your armour and weapon define your class and its as simple as switching weapon, but getting used to that weapon is the hard part. Plus, the tutorials are less than helpful, yes there are 3 times the amount than in previous titles but they come in the form of walls of text or short videos that show the basic attacks, safe to say they could have been implemented in a much better way. So, my best advice is to take your time with MH learn how to use every feature available to you as the game is enough of a challenge with full use of what is provided to you.
Now on the skin of this immersive world you have what i would say is a very basic story, the short and sweet of it is these colossal monsters called the elders have migrated to the new land and you are trying to find out why, and if it’s connected to a new dragon called Magderos. It is a simple story but it works well enough to give you some context as to what you are doing but in essence the game is still about massive monsters and how to kill them, and don’t worry you will be having spats with the collosal lava dragon sooner than you think
All in all, the game is awesome; it looks amazing, sound fits the bill perfectly, you will know when a monster is angry that you slashed his tail off, the roars and screeches are almost frightening in their authenticity. The directors have done a good job at using the sound to pull you in.
It all helps the game feels fluid and responsive, however I have one issue with it, it is the only problem I could find other than the less than appealing tutorials. The voice acting is terrible, characters will speak and it doesn’t even come close to matching their mouths and if not there will be a paragraph of text for you to read but all they will actually say is “Over here” it’s to the point i am sick of hearing a high pitch “over here” that just prompts me to read a load of text or to a point on the map.
My overall opinion is that this is one monster of a game (pun intended). It performs amazingly well, even on an older consoles. It is fun but still poses a big challenge that fills you with a sense of accomplishment. And I cannot state enough how amazing it looks, and how real the hunt feels.
I would encourage each and every one of you, whether you have played a monster hunter game before or not, to give this one a try it’s worth every penny.