by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
I am not the best Hunter in the world. That’s probably not a big shock, but it’s important to how I feel about this game! I have only played one or two of the Monster Hunter games, and those were not very frequent titles for me. It’s not that I didn’t like them, but they weren’t accessible. I was still green, and couldn’t figure out what I needed to be doing. It became a frustrating experience, and since I wasn’t doing game reviews then, I was free to stop and go do something that I enjoyed. However, Monster Hunter world is an all-new experience for not just me, but Hunters worldwide. A vast open world is waiting for us, with various biomes, and an assortment of monsters to hunt, kill and capture, from the tiny like bugs to colossal, world-breaking titans. But what makes this such a great Monster Hunter? More than the monsters, more than the awesome weapons, more than the story or the character customization and the Street Fighter crossover, it’s accessible. Someone with no Monster Hunter experience can get into this pretty easily. It doesn’t “hold their hand”, but it does help you learn without punishing you.
I’ve heard a few of the more vocal, disappointing parts of the Internet cry that Monster Hunter: World is “too easy” now. Somehow, because there are quality-of-life improvements, that it makes the game easy, and too many people are playing now. How can you have too many people playing a game?! That doesn’t make sense by any metric. You don’t want to keep people out of the game, make them feel frustrated and quit. You want people to come to the franchise, see why so many people love it, and bring them into the fold. It won’t hold your hand or make the game easy, but it will make sure you know what you need to know. The tells for monsters being weak are quite obvious, you have infinite Whetstones (it is very important to repair your weapon if it gets dull, the monsters can deflect the attacks and you do less damage). Before I get into some of the meat and potatoes of the game, I talked to a few experienced Hunters, to give some advice to new hunters. There are going to be more new players to this game than ever before (over five million units sold) and everyone I’ve talked to has been welcoming and kind. So, here are some handy tips for the new player, from King Minion and Endathel:
1. Try out every weapon: There are 14 Weapon Types in this game. Each one is different and versatile but is always rewarding. Some cut monster parts off by cutting. Others are KO masters and leave the monster dazed. And if you like explosions and bows then you’re gonna love gunning. All very efficient for playing the game.
2. Learn the map: When you enter a new map make it an adventure to be aware of your surroundings. Gather items all around the area. They will be of good use in the future for not only making armor and weapons but also to maximize your item list.
3. Study the monster: Learn its weak points and movements in addition to where it would usually spawn.
4. Talk to people in the community: Whether it’s veterans or newcomers like yourself, talk to people within the MH community. The more you are in tune with what happens, the more informative you become. The people can range from friendly and open-minded folk to people with sheepish rules to elitists who believe the older games were better. Whoever you meet, get to know them. You never know what kind of hunter they could be.
5. Take your time: In most recent MH games, some people would rather rush to endgame content whether it is doing key quests and an urgent quest or getting carried through ranks. It’s not the right way to play Monster Hunter cause, in the end, you’ll make yourself burnt out. You make use of the game by doing what you want as a hunter and exploring the world in front of you. Some people can net in over 500 hours in an MH game while burnt out ones stay under 25-135 hours. MH is a game with a lot of grinding and hunting. While doing the same thing over and over can get tedious, it becomes more and more fun as time passes on. Especially if you’re playing the game series with friends.
6. Armor Tips: Armor wise, I don’t recommend spending too much time on the beginning sets of armor. Definitely, don’t recommend spending any armor balls on them! Wear what you can from what you are hunting, It may not be pretty but it will work really well! Make sure you are keeping your bounties refreshed and use a little time while you are on your hunts to finish them. The number of armor balls you’ll get by keeping this in mind will be more than enough to max out the set of armor I recommend for starting on the more difficult monsters (Anjanath and forward) which is the Tobii-Kadashi set. Once you’ve gotten this set and upgraded it to max you will be plenty beefy enough to take on the Anjanath, and then build whatever set with the skills that would help your playstyle most, or whatever is the coolest looking.
7. Last Advice: Lastly Kill/scavenge all the things! Lots of armor sets will use smaller animal hides or bugs, so make sure you kill even the cute and fluffy critters out there just in case they are what hold your belt together! Above all else though have fun and go on an adventure with your friends, as that is the real magic here. Nothing like watching your friend get eaten by a dinosaur!
Thanks so much, guys! The community has been nothing but helpful in getting me ready to tackle monsters. The main goal of Monster Hunter: World is to hunt an Elder Dragon, Zorah Magdros, who is wreaking havoc in this New World. It just so happens, that you are a part of the crew heading to the New World, to study these monsters, hunt/capture them, and tackle the dread Zorah Magdros. Personally, I spent a lot of time on the early monsters, getting my bearings, learning the ropes of hunting, trying, and failing to “capture” instead of “slay” monsters. It’s worth it to capture them, the rewards are greater, but the challenge, at least to me, was much greater. The online multiplayer had some snags at the start, but I think it was due to so many people being online at once. The multiplayer has been streamlined though, and it makes finding a group to play with incredibly easy. And you can just join your friend’s group, and help them or get them to help you if you need it. It’s never been easier to get in on the action with your friends.
But even if you’re playing offline (which you totally can), you aren’t alone. You have a Cat friend to help you! Called a Palico, you can also customize what they look like, craft them weapons and armor, and they will help you in combat as they level up. They throw boomerangs, heal you, take aggro for you, and in general, make the solo experience quite palatable. There are a lot of fights that I probably would have just been beaten outright early if it weren’t for my little Palico buddy. They do have health bars though, so they can be knocked out if you take too long and let them do stuff on their own. You also have a health/stamina bar, and most Hunts allow you to be knocked out a few times before you “fail”. The early hunts are very forgiving in that, and I’ve heard some say that it’s “too easy”. But part of Monster Hunter is grinding, and hunting the same monster over and over, sometimes to the point of tedium, if you want their parts for armor and weapon upgrades. Why should those fights be insane and frustrating? That’s another thing I think would ultimately turn off newcomers. There are challenging fights, don’t worry.
Speaking of, the story is honestly kind of on the thin side. Your whole reason for being here is hunting Zorah Magdros, but really, does a hunter need another reason other than the hunt? That’s fine. Speaking of the Monsters, you have a few ways to go hunting. You have the Main Story Quests, which guide you to harder and harder monsters and new areas of this massive island. Then you have some side quests, that teach you other parts of the game (like capturing monsters), then there are Bounties, as listed earlier. You can pick up a few bounties at a time, some requiring you to hunt specific monsters, or picking up insects, flowers, capturing/hunting certain monsters a few times, or other tasks. They’re simple, can be done repeatedly (each has a number of times it can be attempted), and the rewards are 100% worth it. The final way is more open-world themed, with Expeditions. Once you’ve completed a hunt/bounty, you can also go on an Expedition, where the zone you’re in is just an open world for you to hunt whatever is left.
Don’t take that to mean there’s only one monster per map because that is false! Let’s say, you’re on the first map, hunting Great Jagras. There are still Aptonoths, Pukei-Pukei, and other content for you to fight. Many monsters travel in packs, and not all of them are aggressive. But this leads me to my favorite thing about this game: Many of these monsters are territorial! You’ll see them fighting each other for dominance of a zone, and that’s also beneficial to you because after all, you’re studying these monsters, their habits, tendencies, and tracks. Not to mention, if you can just hit the monster you’re hunting and let the other large monster help you, maybe you won’t track their ire. That’s not likely, but you can try! This can make some fights immeasurably hard, if you suddenly are fighting both of them while they’re fighting each other, because Barroth will turn to face you, for example.
Hunting itself is a pattern. You’ll find tracks on the ground (that are glowing green), and then use your Scoutflies (green, glowing fireflies) to light the way to the monster. As you track and kill monsters, you gain research levels, which makes it even easier to find them. For the lower level stuff, this makes it invaluable, as now you’ll see them on the map easier, and the tracking will take less time. It also helps if, as we said earlier, you figure out where they’re likely to spawn, and just go there. As you fight monsters, they have patterns to follow, tactics they use, and as you hurt them, they decide to leave. You can trap them, with man-made traps, or sometimes they simply get caught in the terrain (vines, mud, et cetera) and you can wail on them even more! But eventually, they’ll limp away. It will be obvious when they’re weak, they might have holes in their wings, walk with a very exaggerated limp, things like that.
Not to mention, each and every monster, great and small, have unique visuals and tells. The Pukei-Pukei, for example, has a ludicrous, ridiculous face, very animated, but spits lots of very real, very serious poison at you. But if you can break off their tail/chop it off, they can’t do that anymore. That’s where they store the poison, after all. There are strategies for each fight, and you can learn them, or you can just run in and hope for the best. I…don’t recommend that second strategy. You can also use those Scoutflies with your minimap. By opening the map you can pin a location, monster, or item, and the Scoutflies will light the way to your destination. It really makes traveling and navigating easier, which is great because sometimes you have to climb up, swing across vines, slide down hills, dive into the water, and do other crazy things to find your quarry.
After you kill stuff, don’t forget to skin it either! That’s where the brunt of rewards are (unless you’re capturing, then you clearly don’t skin them). Post-hunt you’ll get bonus rewards, and have the option to go on Expeditions, or simply return home. One of the major positives is that you spend a lot less time making armor, and more time actually playing the game. When you’re in the forge, for example, you can create a “Wishlist” of weapons and armor you’re trying to forge. As you collect the parts for it, the game will inform you that you’re getting closer, and when you have it, it will also tell you, so you can go make it and equip it. This creates smaller, more immediate goals to build the items that you specifically want, instead of wondering how close you are to that new hammer, or new lance.
Monster Hunter, or Monster Huntee: 4.5/5:
This game is absolutely amazing. Somehow, in my first two sessions, almost 15 hours had passed, and I didn’t even know how. Some of the monster hunts are sincerely unpredictable, you can change your mind and go do other stuff like fishing, capture smaller monsters, let two titans duke it out and weaken each other, you can team up with your friends. It’s easy and rewarding to play this as a team too. The community is vast and open to help new hunters get into it. This is the absolute best time to play Monster Hunter. They take full advantage of the technology on offer to bring a gorgeous, challenging, but still open experience. I’ve never once felt that I didn’t belong playing this game. This world is so vibrant, so visually appealing. I have had play sessions where I just logged in, explored, and collected stuff, just to admire the world around me. You aren’t pushed towards the end-game, but as a point of fact, that’s where the real game is the end-game.
Sure, you’re going to grind a lot and kill the same stuff over and over. But there are different ways to approach the fights, and with different people, who bring their own unique spin on the hunts. There are surely things I missed, like more information about crafting, and the various things you can do in the hub, but the game will tell you. I do hope, as an aside, this comes to the Switch. There just aren’t too many negatives in Monster Hunter World, and believe me, I’ve looked. One of the few that I’ve heard, is that hunting the end-game monsters is terribly frustrating, and hidden behind the “markers” (tracking monsters on random maps to find their patterns). Before you fight the Elder Dragons, you have to “hunt them down” first, which makes sense, but it sounds like it will be vexing. I have not gotten that far yet, but I’m looking forward to the task. But since I have not done it yet, I can’t really mark that as a negative. There is so much to do, 50 to 100 hours will not be enough. I hope to see you guys out on the hunt!
Note: A game key was provided for review purposes.