In 2004, Capcom wanted to test online play on the PlayStation 2. They released 3 games that year and set a goal to sell 1 million copies of each game. The first Monster Hunter game was one of those three. Fast-forward to 2018 to when Capcom released Monster Hunter World for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, followed in 2019 by the Iceborne expansion. These newest releases brought in new players to the storied franchise that had those humble beginnings over 16 years ago.
Here's why it's a great game for you to join us in the Monster Hunter franchise!
In the base Monster Hunter World game, you play as a Hunter of the Fifth Fleet. Your assignment is to provide research support on exploring the New World, a continent far away from the Old World (part of the prior Monster Hunter games). Your Fleet is assigned to find and research Elder Dragons who are supernatural beings that migrate to the New World every ten years. The Elder Dragons can affect the natural world around them. Along the way, you fight monsters, both big and small, to get better armor and weapons as the mystery of the migration unravels.
The Iceborne expansion adds a new storyline about how a new mysterious ecological phenomenon is affecting the New World. It also adds gameplay mechanics, such as the Clutch Claw, that build on the core gameplay that Monster Hunter World already established.
Did you get all of that? Good! Let's look closer at what you'll love about the game itself.
Part of the appeal of Monster Hunter World, attracting both newer and veteran players alike, is the simplicity of its gameplay. The learning curve isn’t as steep as prior Monster Hunter titles. The game provides a training area to get a grasp of how to play and to try out all 14 weapons. Each weapon is catered to a certain way of approaching a hunt. Want to be the tip of the spear? Be a Lance user. Need verticality and mobility on a hunt? The Insect Glaive is the right weapon. Is supporting the team a necessity? Then consider the Hunting Horn. There is something for everyone!
Also, the new Radial Wheel feature is the perfect way to use items on the fly. You can even access your healing items from the Radial Wheel, such as potions for yourself or Life Powder for healing your teammates. It's easy to customize the Radial Wheel to add shortcuts to items you'll need the most. Plus, you can easily craft items while on the Radial Wheel if the required materials are in your item box. For us veterans, gone are the days of pressing the left and right directional pads to access and use items!
Finally, I have to talk about the Slinger and Clutch Claw. This nifty gadget will make a Hunter more versatile than ever before. You can hang on to a monster’s limb with the Clutch Claw and wound it for higher damage, then drop Slinger ammo to use and interrupt a monster from attacking.
The most important feature of the Clutch Claw is the almighty FLINCH SHOT! When a monster is in an alert state (the monster icon on the mini-map shows a yellow eye), aim the Slinger on the head and activate it so that you land on the monster’s head. Then, you can strike the monster on the head causing it to turn around. With Slinger ammo in tow, launch that monster to a wall if there’s enough distance! The monster will knock itself down, creating an opportunity to deal damage. (Keep in mind, though, that the Clutch Claw is only included on the Iceborne expansion, not on the base game.)
With all these features, the game must be easy right? That really depends on how far you have progressed through the story, getting better weapons and armor along the way. There will be monsters that will test your mettle and faint, causing you to lose a try during the hunt. When you fail a certain number of tries, the hunt is a failure. You'll need help at some point, but I'll talk more about that later. In short, once you know the monster well and know its attack patterns, then it should become easy for you!
The Hunter is the main character in Monster Hunter World, but the monsters are the stars of this game. There are plenty of monsters to fight against, and each has its own unique attacks and features. Monsters from prior titles return in this game, including the franchise’s flagship Rathalos, which breathes fire and uses its tail to deal poison damage.
The game also includes new monsters like Tzitzi Ya-Ku, which uses its fins on its head to emit a flash of light that stuns anyone in its vicinity. If you're not careful enough, Odogaron causes bleed damage with its bite and scratch attacks. The monster designs can vary from the goofy like Pukei-Pukei, to the cool like Zinogre, to the weird like Shara Ishvalda.
Even more awesome are the variants of those monsters exclusive to the Iceborne expansion. Paolumu in the base Monster Hunter World is just a giant flying cotton-ball that can blow people away with its wind attack. But its variant, Nightshade Paolumu, uses the same wind attack to make you and anything within its blast radius fall asleep. Also, Anjanath breathes fire while its variant, Fulgur Anjanath, blows snots of lightning. (Yes. Snots of lightning.)
Whether playing the base game or the expansion, you'll have plenty of challenges to face and fun to be had. And certainly going alone on a hunt is an option, but if it's too much to handle solo…
There are plenty of ways to get help during a hunt. The simplest is with Hunter's sidekick, the Palico. This computer-controlled anthropomorphic feline partner provides support by either attacking the monster with you or using the Palico Gadgets the Hunter equips it with to give health, get monster materials, or distract a monster. But mileage can vary when it comes to the Palico's usefulness. They either can be a lifeline or just dead weight.
Another way of getting help is to invite friends to a party. That does mean having friends who actually have the game on the same platform (Xbox, PS4, or PC). If possible, grab a friend on the same who's played the game for a long time! But if you are in a pinch and need help during a hard hunt, there's also the SOS Flare, which sends a flare that other players in the World will see and can come to help. Those responding can be Hunters who have the best gear or someone who's the same level as you. Either way, getting help is easy. No man is an island, after all!
Monster Hunter World is a great entryway to the main Monster Hunter franchise. With simpler gameplay than its predecessors, players can get into the action faster than ever before. A diverse roster of monsters to hunt brings more challenges and more gear to be the strongest Hunter in the New World. And help is always available in various ways. So if you want to try this, it’s all worth the time and effort to be the best Hunter out there. And if you enjoy World, maybe you'll want to try the prior Monster Hunter titles. Each title has its quirks and features that make it unique and fun!
A quick tip: If you're interested in games like Monster Hunter World, check out this recent article about another game, Dauntless, a free-to-play game that's designed with a similar premise and gameplay.
Do you think Monster Hunter World is worth a shot with all these features? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and HAPPY HUNTING!