Unless you’ve managed to sleep through the entire weekend, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered talk of Monster Hunter: World online. The much-hyped game released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Friday, bringing the series back to consoles after a long stint on handhelds like the 3DS. The game has been well received by Monster Hunter veterans, but what about those who are new to the series? Is this a suitable point of entry for those who have never played a Monster Hunter game before?
I happen to be one of those new players and, after spending a shameful amount of time parked in front of my TV this past weekend, I can say that it is. I have consistently managed to avoid the Monster Hunter series throughout its 14-year history; though it always sounded like a series that I would love to play, I simply never picked it up. At first, it was because I didn’t own the platform a given Monster Hunter game happened to be exclusive to. Later on, it was because hearing Monster Hunter fans talk about the series led to this feeling on intimidation.
Don’t get me wrong, Monster Hunter: World still has that air of intimidation surrounding it. Listening to a Monster Hunter enthusiast talk about the numerous mechanics and in-depth systems that are interwoven to create a Monster Hunter game is usually an exercise in confusion for a newbie like me. There is, after all, a reason why those veterans recommend bringing a friend who is well-versed in the ways of Monster Hunter along for your first go with the series, as there’s a lot to explain and the game doesn’t always do a good job of covering everything you need to know.
That’s still more or less true for Monster Hunter: World. I don’t have any previous experience to compare it to, but it’s clear that there’s a lot at play here. Between picking a weapon style to learning the game’s complex crafting system and making your way through endless lists of quests, stats, bounties, and food it can be overwhelming for a new player approaching it on their own.
However, I think Monster Hunter: World does a pretty good job explaining most of these systems during its (rather long) tutorial. There are still a few things I’m confused about, but as I play more, those trouble spots are becoming clearer. Of course, it doesn’t help that I picked the insect glaive as my go-to weapon, ignoring in-game tips that suggested starting with the sword and shield, dual blades, or the long sword and branching out from there.
So, in the end, I might be to blame for some of my struggles in the opening hours of Monster Hunter: World. I do think I’m on the right track, though, and I think the fact that much of this understanding comes mostly from the in-game tips and tutorial really says something about Capcom’s focus on making an unapologetically complex game more accessible to newcomers.
Regardless of how accessible World may be when compared to previous Monster Hunter games, I have to say that I’m glad I stuck with it, even through the feelings of confusion. Now that things are beginning to come together, I’m starting to understand what all of the fuss is about. Monster Hunter: World is an immensely fun game, and the satisfaction of taking down a large monster is a feeling that doesn’t seem likely to wear off anytime soon.
Beyond the thrill of the hunt, this seems like a great game for anyone who likes to sink a lot of time into open-world RPGs. Games that make you grind tend to get a bad rap among mainstream gamers, but there’s still a certain joy to be found in that grind for many people. As someone who doesn’t mind a good old-fashioned grindfest every once in a while, I’m thinking I’m going to have a lot of fun with Monster Hunter: World.
Of course, I’ve only scratched the surface thus far. It could be that I get to the later stages of the game and I discover that the grind is simply more trouble than its worth or that the mechanics become too complex and ultimately put the game down at a point where other people would keep going. I’m not sure how long Monster Hunter: World will hold my attention, but as someone who held off on the Monster Hunter series for more than a decade, I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve seen so far.
If you’ve been thinking about trying Monster Hunter: World but you’ve shied away because the series has a general reputation of being complex and confusing, this seems like it could be the most newbie-friendly game of the series thus far. Given a few weeks, there will be an endless trove of resources available through the internet to help you if you get stuck, but if you give it a try with just what the game gives you, you might be surprised by just how accessible it is.