Monster Hunter: World Review – Stupendous HD Hunting

Over its respectable 14 year span of releases, Monster Hunter has always been a series I can easily sink hundreds of hours into. With its first entry all the way back on the PS2, it has seen a slow but steady evolution with each consecutive iteration. When Capcom announced the latest installment in the franchise, Monster Hunter: World, I could hardly contain my excitement. With a release on PS4 and Xbox One with a PC version later this year, it was easy to see why people were getting so hyped. The question is: does the game itself live up to all those lofty expectations?

Monster Hunter: World
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One
Release Date: Jan 26th, 2018
Players: 1-4 Players
Price: $59.99

As you begin your adventure and create your character, you are greeted with a fairly standard, albeit not entirely boring plot. In this world, for every decade that passes, an event known as the Elder Crossing causes elder dragons from around the world to migrate to a place known as the New World. The Fifth Fleet is tasked with pursuing the elder dragon Zorah Magdaros.

While journeying to the New World, you’re quickly shown what you’re up against in the middle of the sea. Luckily, you manage to survive, and your investigation and monster hunting begins.

This is where my first complaint with Monster Hunter World manifests. The vast majority of the time, you’re not able to progress the game because a specific monster blocks the path. It gets a bit tedious, even if the later parts mix it up by showcasing the ecological affects of your actions.

The cast of characters are mostly bland. The majority of interactions take place with your traveling companion, The Handler. He’s there to help guide the story, as well as give frequent and often repetitive tips and directions. While the story does touch on concepts of life and death, nothing really stood out as being exceptional to me, and most narrative beats were fairly predictable. Of course, expecting an amazing story in a MonHun game is a bit silly, as the main drive has always been hunting and progressing to take down bigger monsters.

The musical score of the game does a fantastic job of setting the scene. Town themes are peaceful and relaxing, giving you a much-needed respite from your adventures. While welcome, I do find those to be the weakest tracks. The best songs, predictably, kick in during combat. The Nashville Music Scoring Orchestra did a great job striking a balance of tension and heroism in the monster fights, really improving the overall feel of these battles. Still, I have had a issue where the music tend to fades a bit too much in the background, drowned out by the other various sound effects going on.

Speaking of sound design, Monster Hunter World does a brilliant job immersing you in its universe. It’s wonderful to go out and hear the natural ambient sounds of each different area. With jungles, deserts, even a coral based canyon, each location has a ton of distinct sounds and audio cues that help flesh everything out.

The creature sounds are fantastic to boot. Roars of the various monsters can be pretty terrifying, and help instill a sense of panic in the unprepared hunter. However, there is an issue I came across, which is more of a nitpick than anything else. I was using a bow, and it sounded pretty unimpressive apart from its special attack. Weirdly enough, during multiplayer, the sound seemed to be significantly different for another player.

Graphically, the game is astounding on my PS4 Pro. Quite often, I found myself stopping in key locations just to look at all the gorgeous landscapes surrounding me. The vivid environments and accompanying wildlife are nothing short of awe inspiring, and do a terrific job painting a picture of a living ecosystem. The monster and character designs are also done extremely well.

Unfortunately, I noticed that after creating your character, your facial features downgrade a bit. It’s a minor gripe, as my face looked fine during cutscenes–not to mention the vast majority of the time, you’re looking at your characters back anyways. It was still odd to stand next to NPCs and have their faces look more detailed than mine, though.

Each piece of equipment, be it armor or weapons, looks unique and generally pretty cool. Despite some minor and ultimately forgettable annoyances, Monster Hunter World is very pleasing to the eye overall.

It’s worth noting that, when I first booted up the game on the PS4 Pro, I was able to pick between prioritizing frame rate, resolution, or graphics. No matter what mode I selected, the system fan revved up to a volume I’d never heard before. I can’t help but wonder what level of stress the game is putting on the system, since my console became a bit of a space heater during play. It’s worrisome, and I wonder if the Xbox One suffers from the same issue. I imagine the PC version, on its release, will handle it a lot better.

As with previous releases, Monster Hunter World follows the same progression loop. Go out and defeat a monster, get materials to craft items, and repeat this until you can fight bigger and badder monsters. Where this game shines is the involvement it takes to bring a monster down. Your marks are living, breathing beasts, and as such, they move around, eat other creatures for sustenance, and even have turf wars with other monsters.

In the actual battles you wage with these creatures, MHW, more than any other game in the series, forces you to be aware of your surroundings. Terrain can both assist and hinder your hunt. Land can break and cause rocks to fall, and water can flood the map and wash you both away. Using all the tools at your disposal is crucial to survival, as well as a successful quest.

Hunting the monster usually has you following a trail using footprints, scratch marks on rocks, and skids on the ground. A new feature called the Scout Flies makes this easier to do, thankfully. When the showdown begins, players are in for a treat. The enemy creatures are often challenging, especially the first time you face them. Utilizing one of 14 weapons [each with its own advantages and disadvantages], you will engage the monster and be forced to think on your feet, lest you perish.

It’s very easy to be knocked away by a strike, depleting a large portion of your health if you’re unprepared. As you continue to play, though, you start to notice patterns and tells for specific attacks. Battles are engaging and exciting, pitting you against fire breath, electrocution, or even a standard swipe of a claw. The monsters seriously have no problem reminding you of just how small you are. It’s easy to spend hours in the game and have it only feel like a few moments. Even after you complete the story, there’s a bunch of extra content to sink your teeth into. Capcom is also supplying some free DLC, including the return of an old monster, Deviljho, this spring.

With its attention to detail, there are a lot of things that can be missed by the player. You can use a capture net to collect small creatures, then keep them as pets. You can find new encampments that lead to interesting discoveries. You can also complete research on each monster to learn more about it, its weak points, and recommended gear to use. There was even a part where a Palico asked me to find his friends during an expedition. It doesn’t sound like much, but these little moments add up to bring magic to the game’s world. Especially petting the town poogie for good luck.

My biggest issue has to do with Monster Hunter World‘s multiplayer. Overall it’s fine, but there are a few annoyances that make me scratch my head. When joining multiplayer, you connect to an instance of players that you won’t see in town unless you enter the gathering hall. This feels like a missed opportunity to create a strong player community. Likewise, in public instances it’s almost impossible to have multiplayer sessions with only your friends, unless you password your hunt or expedition.

Instead, I think you should either create a squad, sort of like guilds in other games, or create a private instance and invite your friends manually. Players would only be able to join you in story-based missions after they’ve seen the appropriate cutscenes, as well as completed that part of the story.

The way things are isn’t so bad, and I did get used to it eventually. A cool feature they did add in story missions is SOS Flares. You can send them out at specific times in order to list the mission as being open to the public, which gets you help from other players. I also didn’t have any lag issues in my time with MHW, which was great.

The quality of life changes for the veteran player can be hit or miss. Some crafting component recipes have changed, there’s no longer a melee and gunner set of each armor, and expeditions no longer require you to select it as a mission. I felt that these changes made a positive impact on the game, though I can see some people being annoyed by them.

Still, as a veteran Monster Hunter player, I can’t help but feel like a few things are missing. The amount of large monsters seems relatively slim compared to my favorite installment, Monster Hunter 4. Some of my favorite monsters to hunt [such as Gore, Shagaru Magala, Khezu, and even Tigrex] are unfortunately absent. A few creatures in the current roster feel more like remakes of previous ones, just for the console.

Hopefully future DLC will include these, or perhaps the next game in the franchise will. Granted, there are some variants of the current monsters at later points in the game, I just wish there were more. I also found Monster Hunter World to be an easier game overall than other titles in the series.

Jumping from handheld to the big screen has been nothing but a delight for me. It’s great to see everything redone, and not bound by portable systems’ graphical limitations. There were a few bumps along the road, but most of my gripes are minor, feeling like little nitpicks in an otherwise fantastic game. I highly recommend Monster Hunter World to both new players and veterans alike, though I refuse to make a Dark Souls reference here. It’s not gonna happen.

Monster Hunter: World was reviewed on the PlayStation 4 using a review copy provided by Capcom. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

The Verdict: 9.5

The Good

  • Beautiful environments and monster designs
  • Battles had me on the edge of my seat
  • The variety of weapon types suit many different play styles
  • Overcoming new challenges is immensely satisfying

The Bad

  • Setting up multiplayer with friends takes some getting used to
  • More large monsters would’ve been nice
  • Veteran players might be turned off by changes and lesser difficulty
  • The noise and heat from my PS4 when I play the game
  • Hey guys! We’re raffling off a copy of #MonsterHunterWorld, courtesy of our friends at Capcom! All you have to do is comment on our review with your thoughts. A winner will be selected a week from now, on Feb. 9th!

  • Anon_Amous

    Thanks for beta testing PS4 purchasers.

  • Declan Colman

    Can’t wait for this on PC, worried it may be a bit of a grind though.

  • lobotobear

    I’ve honestly loved the series since 3 so I’m super hyped for MHU. Looks like they really nailed the design choices and combat in this one. Warhorn doots inc

  • msage egasm

    Waiting another 8 or so months for the PC release will be torture.

  • LinKurosawa

    Enjoy our scraps PC friend.

  • Ricardo Guajardo

    Interested in the game but need to hear about how the DLC support is gonna be.

  • LinKurosawa

    Weapon variety is the best part.

  • takai

    I’ve never played Monster Hunter, but this game has me intrigued. I really like the fact it has an extensive player customization feature, that’s what originally drew me to Fire Emblem Awakening a couple years ago. Since then, I’m a Fire Emblem fan for life. Maybe it’ll be the same for Monster Hunter?

  • LinKurosawa

    Monsters will be free, cosmetics will not.

  • Shane Dennis Zimnisky

    I’m glad they made the game more accessible. I tried it on 3ds and I couldn’t get into it.
    Twitter handle is @ShaneZimnisky

  • Zach Quest

    I hate to be one of those guys… but a friend of mine just fell into some hard times financially and he has been watching myself and a bunch of other friends post about it in discord. He’s a good dude and hopefully I can win this copy for him.

  • Mr. Capo

    I liked from what I’ve played in the beta. Might grab this sometime soon.

  • This would be my first MW since 3 for the Wii. What really grabs my attention as a 3-only veteran is that YOU CAN MOVE WHILE SHOOTING! Thank christ! Rapid fire, too.

  • Ckarasu

    It’s a good game, but I still think they could have went a bit further. It’s silly that high rank hunts only give a damage and health buff to monsters. Why can’t high rank variants also get new moves to actually increase difficulty meaningfully? I know that’s a thing in G rank in older games, but it makes high rank hunts feel like a chore sometimes.

    Also weapon balance seems a bit wonky. Seems Charge Blade is stupid good and slashing ammo might be the best bowgun ammo.

    Other than that I’m happy with everything else.

  • Nimbus

    I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this series ever since Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii. I’m so glad World took out many of the mechanics that help back the game (such as boasting when you take a potion). Can’t wait to get my hands on this game.

  • PaRaLLaXTHeTiCS

    Does it have Killary in it?

  • You were playing Fire Emblem games on 3DS but never tried any of the demos for MH? They released MH3U, MH4U, MH Generations and MHXX (Japan only) demos which you can give a shot though you will only be able to select different weapons in the demo.

    Fashion Hunter is a thing so you’ll probably feel at home in the series.

  • tnk1ng831

    Great review, I look forward to trying this one – hopefully it won’t melt my Xbone!

  • … Ctrl + F “Dark Souls”…

    Sorry this “I refuse to make a Dark Souls reference here. It’s not gonna happen.” still counts. I played every demo of the MH series on the Wii U and 3DS (including MHXX) – only spent a few hundred hours in games – and found that each of them made steps to improve the experience while keeping the core intact. This is the largest leap yet, but seems really well done based on experience with the beta.

    My beef is that I think the sound/visual effects are a little too subdued with roars being the stand out example visually. Hope they patch the text and damage numbers to be more legible even if it isn’t really for me.

    My Twitter handle is @thelastgogeta

  • I wish they could have kept the boasting while you drink a potion or eat through an input or just standing still. It had charm and ultimately the replacement still leaves you in a more vulnerable state where you can waste supplies with a roll.

  • RichardGristle
  • Maria Maasaa

    I thought I’d have less fun with this then I have been. It’s alright just wish they’d worked less on trying to casualize it. Plus this would have been a great time to bring Tonfas back!

  • RichardGristle

    I’ve never gotten into the MH craze, but I can see this being the title that a lot of new people try out.

    Also I’ve called the aliasing police on your chains and planks screenshot.

  • Mr0303

    Wow, Capcom gave you a copy? Glad that you are getting more and more games.

  • Grampy_Bone

    Runs fine on my PS4 vanilla. No heavy fans.

  • Eldhin Shichiou

    Well, this could be my first Monster Hunter game

  • Mechonis

    Will be my first MonHun since friends are begging me to play. Looking forward to getting into it

  • Random Dude

    Nope, HIgh Rank in any other MonHan games also give monsters some new moves and/or allow them to “combo” their attacks.

  • Random Dude

    I’m kinda iffy about this. While some improvements are definitely welcome I kinda gone accustomed with the more frustrating elements. It’s like one of those asshole friends, you wish they would stop being such an ass but once they’re gone you’re going to miss them.

    Nevertheless, I’m happy Capcom finally tries something new to their milking machine.

  • Dave

    Agreed about the multi-player part … would rather be able to co-op all the way through without the hassles. And noticed the game is easier compared to MH4U and MHG … although, if it’ll get more people to try the series, maybe they’ll ramp up the difficulty in the next entry.

  • Anthony F.

    I genuinely enjoyed that you touched on the story. Even if it never is great. Most places seems to forget that it DOES in fact have a story mode. I’m also pleased you still rated it highly despite your minor annoyances. Again, most other places are going to neg it in to the ground if the reviewer is even slightly annoyed it seems.

    If I wasn’t sold on the game before, I am now. Thanks for the great review!

  • Mr. Greis

    Your review pretty much confirms my hopes when I played the beta. Capcom really went all out on this for once and I really can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    Excellent review. I’m gonna wait for the PC version, but damn this review makes me want the game so much more!

  • Alec Calderon

    Great review, hit all the points. I like how all the weapons feel my only complaint is weapon designs especially HH (hunting horns) alot of them look about the same compared to past titles even portable 3rd had some amazing end game/ HR weapons (Zinogres Hunting horn is a giant electric guitar)

  • Douglas Newton

    PC release waiting torture

  • Lionhart16

    Do you think that World will be a bit harder for a regular PS4 to handle if the Pro was having those heat issues and the like, or do you think it will be the same amount of stress?

  • Eduardo Garcia

    All I got to say is I hate the Rathian always coming out of nowhere to ruin your day

  • radiophonics

    Was really worried about this one, but I’m glad to hear it doesn’t suck! Probably waiting for the PC release, even if it kills me.

  • Ckarasu

    G rank did, I know that. But I don’t recall high rank in 3u being special in any way.

  • AnarKreig

    I haven’t touched Monster Hunter since the original on the PS2. Might dip my toes back into it.

  • 近野皐月

    I think this review is pretty solid. It echoes a lot of my own thoughts about the game, from what I’ve seen of others playing it.

  • Madbrainbox

    Oh well,8 months isn’t such a long time when there are so many good games to play.

  • LostGryphon

    And now…we wait.

    For the good version.

  • Heresy Hammer

    I wonder what the pc requirements will be. Probably not too bad. Can’t be as bad as FFXV, that shit is ridiculous.

  • Dio

    I have to say they it’s great to see MH on a console that can make it run as it deserves. Also finally you can play without having to twist your hand in strange grips.

  • Jakub Gielgier

    Thats soo awesome. definetly would like to play it :3. How it will be challenging as Dark Souls :P

  • Bazzy

    Look at footage form streamers and you’ll retract the “a bit” very shortly thereafter. Honestly i think without friends this will devolve into pure grinding. Its a deep, deep sale for a series entry point, for me.

  • Bazzy

    I have about 150 in my backlog and there are ones i haven’t played ever on consoles as well. If the game will be good i gladly wait for it. Not only MonHun but everything that will come later to pc should be viewed like this, imo.

  • Bazzy

    What about amount and variety of weapons? If this game is such a grindfest how many can be unlocked to make it worth? I watched a few hours on stream and it became clear very fast how much grinding this in single player is.

  • Max

    It’s the only game I’ve ever played where the grind is fun.

  • Cole Rollins

    Wow, Capcom gave you a copy? Glad that you are getting more and more games.

  • Arenegeth

    Another giveaway? You guys are raffling away all your review copies aren’t ya? Not that’s there’s anything wrong with that. And is far better than Anthony Burch selling his review copies on eBay back in the day.

    I think I’m gonna wait for the PC version, mostly because I like playing these games solo, and I’m not sure if it is 100% possible to do that in this game (G-Rank for Tri on the Wii was locked behind multiplayer) and there are ways to circumvent anything on PC while PS4 will be a struggle (also PC will ALWAYS be supported even if only by fans).

    I will judge the drop in difficulty myself, since I get mixed signals from other fans (this review doesn’t go deep enough), not sure if some is elitism from tryhards or genuine improvements the game needed in some areas (like the stupid ‘buffing up’ animation when using potions) or they really dumbed things down for the casuals.

  • Ingo Knito

    How likely is an Ultimate version of World? Up till now, I only had interest for the “bigger” versions, seeing that the initial releases lack content, imo. Looking at “The Bad” and reading some impressions, it seems to hold true here as well, where they could add a few more monsters before this feels worth the new grind.

    Also, seeing stuff like adding Deviljho in an upcoming DLC rubs me the wrong way (shouldn’t the typical monsters be in the game from the start? Probably just my opinion.). Also, who knows how much will come with Capcom, and in what way.

    And yet, I’m really interested in another MH adventure. It’s really addicting.

  • Strebor Robertson

    Monster Hunter: World looks really interesting and fun — it intrigues me greatly. The review only reinforces my want to play this game!

  • DrearierSpider

    Game mechanics seem great. Just waiting for PC, as I’m not playing the choppy mess that is the PS4 version.

  • vitafan9

    The last Monster Hunter i played was Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on the Psp so reading this review and seeing a lot of new stuff makes me want to play it even more. I just hope this newer game makes it a bit easier to grind the rarer drops.

  • Exien

    Can’t wait to play this with smooth framerates, high resolution, fast loading speed, all the content updates, my choice of controlls and the best the free multiplayer. I will never pay for “Online services” where the guy you pay is not even hosting the game servers.

  • Seems guaranteed, though it might end up just being an update which can be bought on an upgraded disc which has all of the content from the get go like Monster Hunter Stories.

    So far, all of the MHW DLC is free like prior games so as much as I’d like the pickle to be in the game from launch, it isn’t at any cost but time. Hopefully the rest will be the same.

  • cridd

    Monsters will be free, cosmetics will not.

  • Noritama

    I’m kinda interested in it but ever since they have gone to handheld with the psp it’s been a more rewarding experience because physically playing next to people trumps online experience for me. Once this gets lower in cost I’ll maybe try it. But Brandon note on lower difficulty scares me a bit

  • EpicNewbk

    Great review, hopefully I can convince my friends to play with me now.

  • Anon_Amous

    I have a PC and a PS4 it just makes no sense to get multiplats on PS4 for any reason.

  • Travis Touchdown

    >five million shipped

    To shills.

  • Kody

    Waiting for the PC version since I don’t have the PS4 Pro.

  • Dawn Blast

    Neat. I’m gonna have to pick this up eventually once I have the time.

  • passthegrenadeplease

    This is my first Monster Hunter game and I’ve been having a blast despite me scratching the surface, there’s so much content to sink your teeth into!

  • marvinf

    PC release waiting torture

  • Fandangle

    The rumor that basically leaked everything about MHW also leaked MH portable 5th which is probably going to be a better game in pretty much every way. So I’d say very likely.

  • Jayden Martin

    Nope, HIgh Rank in any other MonHan games also give monsters some new moves and/or allow them to “combo” their attacks.

  • ProxyDoug

    I’m amazed how long it took Capcom to release a game like this in a major console. The thing is selling itself.

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    It’ll never come on PC.

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    God what a way to start the morning. I love seeing pcucks getting anally anguished.

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    The wait is finally over. It can be played on PS4Pro.

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    There won’t be a PC version.

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    LMAO

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    Get a PS4 Pro and the game if you want to play, because this game is never coming out on PC.

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    I’m not sure if single player is supported on the console versions, but I do know one thing. The game will never be supported on the personal computer platform, so you should just buy it on PS4 now.

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    There are no PC requirements. This game is never coming out to PC, you stupid fuck.

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    Already enjoying this game so much, get fucked PCfags.

  • Madbrainbox

    No.We’re talking about the version that will come on system that isn’t shit.

  • DAT BRO LUFFY

    They’re shitposting as we speak and crying to capcom lmao.

  • DAT BRO LUFFY

    Get a fucking PS4

  • alterku

    Like I mentioned before, I’m a little sad the game’s easier and just a bit too casual friendly, but overall I’m really looking forward to it once it arrives on PC.

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    I love it, I FUCKING love it.

  • Warrior90

    With all these QoL improvements, I might finally be able to get into this game.

  • Khanh

    Finally a console MH release

  • DoublePLayer

    I wonder if I’ll be able to enjoy the game, the only hunting games I’ve played are the ones that are available on PC i.e. both Toukidens and the God Eater games, and I’m worried that those games’ more fluid movement (at least as far as I can tell) might make MHW’s movement seem too stiff for me.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    Guess I didn’t win that raffle XD. Ah well. Maybe next time.