Mon­ster Hunter World

And you will know us by the trail of poop.

PCPOWERPLAY - - Contents - DANIEL WILKS

Mymem­ory is a strange beast. If you want to know the lyrics of a song I heard in the back­ground in 1986, I could prob­a­bly tell you. If you want to know the plots of count­less zero bud­get or weird movies, I’m your guy. Use­less pieces of his­tory or trivia only worth­while in a pub set­ting, I’ve got you cov­ered. When it comes to ac­tual use­ful or prac­ti­cal in­for­ma­tion, how­ever, my mem­ory falls short. The only birth­day I reg­u­larly re­mem­ber is my sis­ter’s (and yes, that in­cludes my own). I for­get dates, never re­alise it’s a pub­lic hol­i­day un­til someone re­minds me. Un­for­tu­nately my mem­ory also made it so I could never re­ally use the weapon that most in­ter­ested me in Mon­ster Hunter games – the Hunt­ing Horn. Segue!

The Hunt­ing Horn is both a solo weapon and a sup­port weapon, ca­pa­ble of dish­ing out some hefty dam­age, but also ca­pa­ble of play­ing tunes that can give buffs to the party via songs. Rather than at­tack­ing, play­ers can en­ter the Recital mode to play a three note tune, fol­lowed by an en­core if they wish. Al­ter­nately play­ers can play tunes in bat­tle by first cue­ing the notes with at­tacks and then play­ing them once the at­tack se­quence is fin­ished. Al­though there are only a few pos­si­ble melodies, the only place they could be found was in the player’s tent in the hunter’s camp. If you have a mem­ory like mine, try­ing to re­mem­ber the cor­rect combo in bat­tle to play the right tune was next to im­pos­si­ble. No longer – in Mon­ster Hunter World, the Hunt­ing Horn has been re­vamped, with each but­ton pressed show­ing the next pos­si­ble but­ton in a se­quence ap­pear­ing on screen, so un­less you’re re­ally not pay­ing at­ten­tion it’s dif­fi­cult to screw up play­ing tunes. The over­all dam­age and KO po­ten­tial seems to have been upped as well.

The Hunt­ing Horn is but one of the changes that have gone into the de­vel­op­ment of Mon­ster Hunter World, but it’s a good in­di­ca­tor of how many of the changes re­ally add to the qual­ity of life, and make it, the sixth in the main se­ries (dis­count­ing spin-offs and re­named or tweaked ports) prob­a­bly the most ap­proach­able Mon­ster Hunter game yet for new play­ers.

For those un­fa­mil­iar with the Mon­ster Hunter se­ries, or who have never played

be­fore, think of Mon­ster Hunter as an ac­tion RPG with sur­vival and crafting el­e­ments, in which the player es­sen­tially takes the role of a bounty hunter, track­ing down and killing spe­cific mon­sters rather than vil­lains, demons or the like. Rather than char­ac­ters hav­ing skills – spe­cial abil­i­ties are tied to gear, with each of the dozen or so weapons hav­ing dif­fer­ent at­tacks com­bos, ef­fects and spe­cial abil­i­ties, upgrad­able with com­po­nents har­vested from dead mon­sters. There are also foods, po­tions, tal­is­mans and the like that can be crafted to give bonuses, as well as in­di­vid­ual ar­mour pieces that give dif­fer­ent de­fences or move­ment abil­i­ties de­pend­ing on what they are made from.

Each hunt es­sen­tially starts in the same fash­ion, with the player tak­ing a quest, gear­ing up to meet the de­mands of the job and set­ting out to kill the of­fend­ing beastie. Some quests come with strict time lim­its and a gen­eral knowl­edge of where you can find your quarry, while oth­ers are more de­ter­mined af­fairs, with the player hav­ing to search for foot­prints, spoor or other signs of the beast’s pres­ence, gath­er­ing enough to let your Scout Flies lead you to the lo­ca­tion of the mon­ster. In pre­vi­ous games it was al­ways pretty easy to ini­tially find the mon­ster you were af­ter, with it ap­pear­ing in one of the many zones of the map. Mov­ing from zone to zone re­quired the game to load the next area, so the mon­sters were es­sen­tially static for the first phase of a bat­tle, only chang­ing lo­ca­tion some­times re­quir­ing track­ing af­ter enough dam­age had been done to trig­ger the next phase of the fight.

This is not the case with Mon­ster Hunter World. The map is one con­tigu­ous mass, full of twists, turns and mul­ti­ple el­e­va­tions, and the mon­sters roam about do­ing mon­stery things like eat­ing smaller mon­sters, sleeping or leav­ing gi­ant piles of crap around for any­one to step in. The new na­ture of the map and the agency of the mon­sters makes track­ing and the use of scout flies a vi­tal com­po­nent of the new game. In the code we played the first quest had us track­ing the Great Ja­gras, a huge cranky lizard ham­pered by an over­full gut. Af­ter leav­ing the hunter’s camp, the first thing we had to do was search for some signs of the Ja­gras’ pass­ing. With­out a set quarry, the scout flies, a cloud of yel­low/green in­sects high­light fea­tures in the im­me­di­ate area that can be in­spected, col­lected or in­ter­acted with. Foot­prints, rem­nants of past meals and the in­evitable stinky re­sult of hav­ing eaten must be in­spected to get a han­dle on track­ing the mon­ster. Once the thresh­old has been reached, the scout flies head off in the gen­eral di­rec­tion of the tar­get, stop­ping at the edge of vi­sion if the player stops.

Rather than chas­ing the Ja­gras right away I be­came a lit­tle side­tracked by the ap­pear­ance of the gi­ant An­janeth, some­thing like a furry T-Rex that can breathe fire. Thanks to some re­flexes honed by too many hours play­ing Souls games, and ju­di­cious use of the Slinger, a slingshot all play­ers are equipped with, ca­pa­ble of fir­ing a num­ber of dif­fer­ent pro­jec­tiles scav­enged from the en­vi­ron­ment, I man­aged to do enough dam­age to cause the An­janeth to flee. It’s only a small change, but in Mon­ster Hunter World you can opt to see the dam­age you do to mon­sters with your strikes. They’re just small num­bers fly­ing off the beasts, but they give some valu­able feed­back and re­ally let you know when you’re hit­ting hard. Un­for­tu­nately this is where things got a lit­tle mud­dled. While track­ing the An­janath I was KO’d by a ran­dom beastie (Mon­ster Hunter char­ac­ters don’t die, but are in­stead car­ried back to the Hunt­ing Camp to re­cu­per­ate), and due to the fact that I was of­fi­cially hunt­ing the Great Ja­gras but ob­sessed with killing the An­janath, the scout flies were lead­ing me to tracks for both beasts so I spent more time run­ning in cir­cles than hom­ing in on ei­ther beast. Luck­ily, when you find enough tracks to trace a mon­ster, it can ap­pear on the map, show­ing both the mon­ster’s cur­rent lo­ca­tion and its move­ments.

Mon­ster Hunter World feels re­ally good. It’s ac­ces­si­ble and stream­lined with­out los­ing the nu­ance that has made the se­ries so pop­u­lar. At this stage there is still no set re­lease date or win­dow for Mon­ster Hunter World to be re­leased on PC, with the con­sole ver­sions ex­pected in Q1 2018 and the PC ver­sion some­time af­ter, but even with such a neb­u­lous re­lease date, we’re very ex­cited to get our hands on fi­nal code. Maybe I’ll fi­nally get to kill the An­janath, carve it up and make some­thing use­ful out of its bones.

do­ing mon­stery things like sleeping or leav­ing gi­ant piles of crap around for any­one to step in

2018 CAP­COM CAP­COM Shoot that poi­son ar­row through its heart.

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