The second in my top gaming moments of 2017 was actually one that started with much trepidation. You see I put a lot of hours into Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii U, an underrated gem in my eyes. And like with many things to do with the Wii U it smacked of unrealised potential. Not least did it suffer from the Wii U’s lack of powerhouse specs compared to its rivals, but MHTri also suffered from the lack of fan-base due to the small uptake of the console in the first place.
So as a new Monster Hunter game powers its way to this generation on a highly penetrated PS4, would the game live up to my lofty expectations of everything a Monster Hunter game could be?
Well you can probably guess from the fact it’s earned it’s own opinion piece, that the answer is a resounding yes, so for those not lucky enough to bag themselves some time on the open beta, or can’t wait until the next slot later in the month, let me tell you why I have such high hopes for this game.
Firstly the game looks gorgeous, and initially I thought I would miss the cutesy theme that previous iterations of the franchise have gone for, but it turns out you only need a few minutes with MH:W to instantly forget the standards of visuals you’ve been used to in other Monster Hunter games. The attention to detail coupled with well designed terrain and beautiful lighting make for some truly stunning vistas to traverse, and even the darker environments are still a joy to explore.
And Capcom have also used the extra grunt of the PS4 to really up the ante with how monsters interact with each other. Sure even in Tri monsters would attack each other if in the same area, but in MH:W I’ve seen monsters go at it on a whole different scale, and once I even saw a monster eat another whole! Unfortunate times to be a defenceless herbivore.
The essence of Monster Hunter is still very much alive, with vast landscapes to scale in search of your elusive monster. In Tri, this was arguably simpler, as not only were the monster starting points limited but the smaller areas with connecting paths made it easier to learn maps and spot patterns. This does ramp up the difficulty of tracking, which is why you are aided by tracking flies which point to the monster, once you’ve investigated enough of it’s footprints, scratches or indeed excrement (ahem). As with the myriad mechanics and items options in this game a lot of it is explained in game in a helpful manner, and whilst a one-off mission that you get presented with in the beta is not enough to fully explore all the potential here, its clear there’s lots on display in the full version.
After completing the missions in the beta multiple times with friends it’s clear to see Capcom have captured the old magic of the series and realised it in HD sparkling glory. Chat works well as you’d expect and I can see this traditional partying up game of planning and cooperation excelling on Sony’s machine. It means a swathe of new hunters who haven’t previously tried the title have an accessible option later this month.