You know, I’ve never really been much of a hunter.
It’s not for lack of trying — I’ve dipped a toe into Capcom’s monstrous waters a couple times in the past, but its myriad systems, weapon types, and nigh limitless ways to take down fearsome creatures made for too feisty a beast to tame.
Monster Hunter: World stripped away just enough of the Byzantine quirks accumulated by the series over its 14-year history to seduce me into giving the storied series one more shot. And wow — am I ever glad I did.
Let’s get this out of the way early: Monster Hunter is weird. That will probably never change, and I suspect that weirdness is part of what keeps fans coming back each time Capcom releases a new entry. I mean, it’s a co-op action-RPG where players wield swords larger than their own bodies to hunt fire-breathing T-rexes and giant, fluffy balloon bats. Other quirks, like the adorable Palicoes (basically talking cats) that accompany you on quests and cook pre-hunt meals, continue to stack more of this charming weirdness on top of World’s satisfying, crunchy core gameplay and an expertly tuned progression loop to keep players hungry for just one more hunt.
Let’s zero in on that progression loop for a sec. It’s a multi-layered affair, starting with players collecting parts from defeated monsters and bringing them back to camp to build new weapons and armor. Simple enough, right? Well, bear in mind that to get certain drops, you need to break certain parts off these critters during an encounter. Hammer wielders, for instance, are especially well suited for cracking off a Barroth’s horn, while a sharp sword will more easily sever that Anjanath tail you’ve been looking for.
Unlocking High Rank hunts opens up an all-new, more powerful suite armor to chase, with its own set of required monster parts. And if you play long enough to get to end-game status, you’ll start mixing and matching perks and abilities from different pieces of armor to build loadouts that are well-suited to specific types of battles. You’ll want a high Elderseal stat when squaring up against Elder Dragons, for example, or maybe you want to spec into the “Earplugs” perk if you’re planning to take down the… annoyingly vocal Bazelgeuse.
This is all just scratching the surface of what makes Monster Hunter: World tick, but Capcom has done an admirable job putting need-to-know info up front and letting players gradually discover the game’s intricacies as they fall further and further down the rabbit hole. Ongoing seasonal events, franchise crossovers (Geralt is coming!), and the recent announcement of gargantuan new expansion Iceborne tell us that while Monster Hunter: World has already made a name for itself in the PS4 library, it has no intention of resting on its laurels. I may not have been a hunter before, but I’m happy to have, at long last, joined the MonHun ranks.