Monster Hunter: World Behind Closed Doors at E3 2017
It’s been a long while since we last saw a Monster Hunter title on a home console. Some time ago, Monster Hunter was rumored to come out on the PlayStation 3, but Capcom then moved its development over to the Wii. That title was known as Monster Hunter Tri. Although Tri was a great game, it still suffered limitation based on the hardware of the Wii. It’s hard to believe fans have been waiting eight years to see a Monster Hunter in true HD form. Finally, Monster Hunter: World realizes this and brings a “living breathing world” for us to explore in 4K.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Monster Hunter is an action-RPG which consists of four hunters in frantic battles against large monsters. Hunters slay monsters and scavenge for resources in order to craft powerful armor and weapons from pieces from their kills. I was able to watch a hands-off demo of the new Monster Hunter: World at the Capcom booth, where I learned many new and exciting details.
Without a doubt, the first thing that stood out is the way the game looks. Monster Hunter: World is very pretty; filled with lush green environments, gorgeously detailed monsters, and a big open world to explore. I can easily see myself getting lost in this world for many hours.
The quest NPC is now fully voiced in English. During the demo, she sent the hunter on a quest to hunt an Ajanath, the T-rex like monster shown in the trailer. The quest NPC also gave out helpful commentary throughout the mission; making the game seem more lively.
The map is now seamlessly connected into one big open area, but areas on the map are still denoted by numbers. This will still make it possible for players to communicate on where a monster is heading. Hunters can quickly grab resources as they run by; meaning they will no longer have to wait for sluggish animations. I can see this drastically speeding up the gameplay. Materials are now displayed on the map, so hunters will no longer have to blindly look for them. Ideally, this will also make gathering sessions a breeze.
Hunters now have access to a grappling hook called a slinger. This allows them to mount the different monsters or reach higher areas. Along with the slinger, hunters can now pick up items and rocks to use for some added advantages. Scents can be used to alter the monsters demeanor, and rocks can be thrown to cause distractions. These will make it easier to sneak around the monsters.
Another new feature to the Monster Hunter: World are scout flies. As hunters find footprints and other clues left in the environment, the scout flies will level up and be able to track the monsters location. It’s an interesting choice that seems a little too easy, but should be much more efficient than having to track down the monster and tag them with a paint ball.
The world felt like one giant ecosystem where monsters and creatures interacted in different ways with one another. During my session, I watched as a lizard-like Great Jagris walk up and devour another creature whole. The Great Jagris then proceeded back to it’s nest where it regurgitated part of the monster to feed its younger members of the pack. During a fight with the Anjanath, the Great Jagris came to intervene, but the Ajanath grabbed the Jagris by the throat and proceeded to slam it on the ground multiple times until it died. It was nice to see that the monsters had many unique animations unlike the previous games where they would just randomly collide into each other. I like how they emphasized that hunters will be able to lure the monsters around the map to create these different types of situations.
In addition to using the environment around you to your advantage, there is an optional stealth element added. Hunters hide in bushes to avoid unwanted encounters. Two new items were shown; a ghillie mantle, which will cloak your hunter for a limited amount of time and a challenger mantle, which will allow the hunter to draw aggro. It’s refreshing to see such a huge emphasis on the hunt and stealth aspect for this game.
Combat has seen a number of new changes. The damage you do is now displayed as numbers. I like this aspect as it will help players be able to locate the weak point of a monster by how much damage they are doing to a specific area. There seems to be a lot more vertical combat, even more so than Monster Hunter 4. There were a lot of high areas the hunter could use to jump off of and slam down onto the monster; making for some exciting aerial combat.
All 14 weapons will be in the game, and while I didn’t see any Hunter Arts, it looks like they have added a few new moves to spice up every weapon. For example, the demo showcased several changes to the heavy bowgun. Hunters can now move and shoot making them more mobile. There was also a special ammo type that would activate a gatling gun mode giving the bowgun a sort of third-person shooter feel. The great sword had a really cool looking forward cartwheel slashing move that did massive damage upon landing a hit on the monster. The hunter would also glow red; indicating they were charging up for a more powerful attack. Lastly, the bow had a move where the hunter scraped his arrow across the ground to make it catch on fire. The bowhunter would also charge up a shot, and it would hit a focused area five times. There were definitely a lot of cool weapon animations, and I am excited to see more.
Lastly, Monster Hunter: World supports drop-in 4-player co-op. If a solo hunter is in a difficult situation, they can fire off a flare to summon up to three other players to assist them with beating the mission. I can see this gaining a lot of popularity on streaming platforms since it seems rather streamlined for multiplayer and how every single fight could lead to different experiences.
Monster hunter: World releases on PS4, Xbox One, and PC in early 2018. It’s obviously too early to judge, but from what I saw from the live demo, they have something special here. Personally, it’s exhilarating to see a major developer put all their energy into make a very compelling experience, so I am excited for the long grind that is to come.
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