Monster Hunter: World is a Monster Hunter game done right! To set the record straight, this is my first non-Nintendo Monster Hunter game away from Nintendo. Then again, most gamers out there probably think the first console ever released was the PS2, but I digress.

When I asked Capcom if this is a “goodbye” to Nintendo, they said that development of each game is independent and by the time they got around to working on it, PS4 and Xbox One were the go-to next-gen consoles.  Will it eventually be ported to the Nintendo Switch? Only time will tell.

Monster Hunter: World is a seamless, third-person, open-world action role playing game that, much like its predecessors, has you hunt monsters. You see, that’s what’s awesome about self-descriptive titles: less work for me to explain the game to you! You are hunting monsters around the world. Boom. Pack this up, boys. We’re done here.

Though traditionally only famous in Japan, this iteration sets out to dominate the western market, and what an impact it has caused. According to reported figures, Capcom shipped around five million copies in its first week. Mind you, this is not the sales number, and it also factors in digital presences on the stores, but it is a healthy indicator of the heightened interest in the game and the franchise as a whole.

Inside the game is a robust encyclopedia of the monsters, creatures and lands that you will be encountering and excavating. The world it exists in is a dynamic ecosystem that pits you against these giant beasts, or hosts battles amongst them that you may take advantage of. You can either wait until they have weakened each other before snagging the kills, or just go after the victor.

Monster Hunter: World offers you a choice of 14 weapons with different control schemes and systems, as well as upgrade-able gear. Weapons include the likes of blades, swords, and machine guns. No typo: machine guns. But before you jump for those automatic guns, know that sneaking upon monsters in their habitat is the best part of the game. Besides, wait until you encounter the behemoths, goliaths, and giants among those monsters.

With so much to do,, I found myself sinking in 56 hours just to complete the main storyline. It’s the co-op experience that is one of the defining features in the game, with smooth matchmaking (sorry Xbox One owners, a fix is on the way), and an easy way to just join your friends in the mayhem, or vice versa.

What’s a hunting game without loot? The bigger the monster, the better the stuff it will drop for you that you will employ to seek and vanquish even bigger monsters.

Upgrades may have a learning curve, but once you get the hang of them, your eyes will quickly identify your desired stats and which items to equip to improve upon them. The UI, also, may seem cluttered initially, but it will make complete sense the longer you play.

Monster Hunter: World demands some patience from your end, but it delivers and will reward you for every moment you invested learning its nuanced mechanics.

Just so we’re clear: the “Hunter” in the title is not just a creative word. A successful hunt will require you to observe how monsters are behaving in terms of their eating habits, the way they nurture their young, and where they go to lay their eggs. Everything has been taken into account, and the game is all the more impressive as a result.

Don’t expect to dash into battle, and if that is what you are looking for, you may be better off playing more action-oriented games the likes of the stellar Horizon: Zero Dawn.

For all its praises, the game manages to pull off a “vanilla Destiny” by not allowing you to skip cutscenes, even during multiplayer. Yes, Capcom, the graphics are great, but no, I do not want to watch the same cutscenes every time. Additionally, the crafting system is obtuse and will take some getting used to. More tutorials should have been included in the game for the less hardcore of us.

 

Monster Hunter: World is a phenomenal return for the series and a game that will be worth every second you spend with it. You know, kind of like a loving relationship, except you never have to take it out, and it never argues with you. I’m digressing again, aren’t I? Go buy it. Now.

 

Monster Hunter: World is available for PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, with a PC port slated for a September release. A review code was made available to us via Capcom.

Pros
Seamless transition between maps
Co-op done right
Massive open world
Variety in weapons and armors
The included monster and landscape codex is a thing of beauty.
Cons
Cutscenes can't be skipped
Some lip-syncing issues
More tutorials should have been included
8.5