Monster Hunter: World Preview — Great Jagras and Rathalos, Oh My! (PS4)
Back at E3, I got to see an extended gameplay demo of Monster Hunter: World. I was left very impressed by what I had saw, as Capcom are making some smart changes that keep the core of the series the same, yet help broaden the audience beyond the Monster Hunter faithful. From the connected level actually being connected without load times to the action feeling less stiff, this is the perfect entry point for someone new to the series.
While I was pretty much sold on the PlayStation 4 title at E3, there was some weariness from fans online. Would this still be the same Monster Hunter that they love? Well, I got to go hands-on with it at PAX West, and I’ve got some good news. This is still very much Monster Hunter at its core, and I’d go as far to say it’s the biggest step forward the series has taken in a decade.
My PAX West 2017 demo was a multiplayer session, as I got to team up with four other aspiring hunters. Our goal was to hunt a Great Jagras that was roaming the area. Before we got started, I had to choose a weapon to use. While all of the weapons were available, I ended up just going with a sword and shield since it’s what I’m most comfortable with. A bit boring, but what can I say? It works.
Anyone who has played Monster Hunter in the past knows that locating the beast you’re trying to hunt is half the fun. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually get to experience much of the tracking portion. The lizard-like beast ran right up to me after about 30 seconds of using the new guide fireflies and looking at some footprints. It was sort of anticlimactic, but it did mean that I got to get into the action quickly.
The action is the biggest upgrade in Monster Hunter: World as it feels significantly more fluid than in previous games. As I attacked the monster’s tail, I had to make sure to dodge away from his attacks. It was a pretty easy battle overall, which was helped by the fact that I had other human teammates. They were able to distract the creature while I kept digging into him with my sword.
After we had dealt enough damage, the creature tried to run away in order to regain some of its health. I wasn’t about to let this last longer than it had to, though, so I sheathed my sword and ran after the creature. I followed the Great Jagras into a cave-like area, which would end up being the location of our final encounter. He didn’t find the time to heal up, so the circumstance and momentum of battle was on my side.
After a few minutes of combat, my team had ended up victorious. The Great Jagras had fallen, and we got to collect the spoils of victory before the game kicked me out of the demo. It was a relatively short look at the action since I found the creature early on, and it only lasted about 10 minutes. Regardless, it was enough of a taste after what I saw at E3.
While I wish I got to spend more time with Monster Hunter: World, that one mission was pure excitement. It encapsulated everything I love about the series including the epic fights and teamwork. It also showcased how much better playing World was when compared to its now clunky counterparts, and I’m excited to play a ton more of it when it releases in Q1 2018.
Monster Hunter World preview conducted at PAX West 2017. Played on a PlayStation 4.