Dani goes on a pet expedition in Monster Hunter: World
The day I discovered that you could add pets to your room in Monster Hunter:
World was a formative one. It gave me a new purpose in life. No longer would I be a fearsome warrior felling giant beasts to turn into jackets (sorry, Steve); instead all I’ll be hunting are smaller creatures to make friends.
Sure, fighting fancy T-rexes and impossibly huge dragons has its charms, but when you see such attention to detail in even the smallest of creatures it’s hard not to take notice. It’s the little touches that make a gaming world feel rich. A fierce Anjanath wouldn’t feel as imposing if you didn’t see the more ‘normal’ beasts like insects and birds in the same world to compare it to. They come in all sorts of varieties, from ants to anglerfish and even dung beetles.
Of course I’m a big lover of all things adorable, my first catch being a ferretrabbit thing called a Shepherd Hare. Apparently they can alert you to danger in the wilds as they’re very sensitive to sounds, but they can’t escape my net or my hugs. So my new quest is befriend all of the most adorable monsters and to do that I’m heading to the Coral Highlands, an area filled with gentle pastels and giant fluffy bat beasts.
There’s no greenery in the Coral Highlands; instead colorful seaweedlike plants and anemones sway in the breeze, rocks are covered in barnacles and giant slabs of branching corals. The air feels thicker somehow, full of particles and nutrients for the smaller animals on the food chain to filter out. Glowing spectral jellyfish float clumsily through the air, giving me the momentary panic of thinking I’m going to drown, even though I’m not underwater.
Worm-like Wigglers poke their heads out of the ground, sifting through the contents of the air and retreating quickly at the slightest disturbance. Sneaking doesn’t prove very useful as they’ll duck out of sight before you’re in catching distance, but whipping out a ghillie mantle allows you to get close enough to launch your net.
In my hunt for some cute, flying insect pals I spied a few Omenflies circling each other playfully, but as I approached they started to glow an ominous red and angrily buzz around. At first I thought they might have spotted me sneaking up on them, but they usually don’t react that way; it was only when I saw a raptor-like Tzitzi-Ya-Ku emerge from that I realized they were reacting to it. They were able to sense the dangerous predator’s presence long before I could—a useful environmental hint if you’re trying to stalk something larger.
They’re not the only creature capable of doing that: sometimes you’ll spot flocks of birds circling large, meaner monsters to feast on the scraps of their kills. My favorites, though, are the rare Downy Crakes that basically look like little puffballs on stilts and can be found riding on the backs of other monsters, much like you’d see birds pecking insects off the back of a rhino in real life.
The sheer variety of tiny future friends on offer is frankly a little overwhelming, but as I skulk about it gives me a real appreciation of just how well crafted
Monster Hunter: World is. On the surface you’re smacking giant lizards in the head, but with so much going on in each area you can make the game whatever you want it to be. What’s meant to be an action game is a stealth-based zoo collection game for me—I get to be a wildlife expert in a ghillie suit.
By taking my time and focusing on all things small I feel like I get to see a side of the world that not many think about as they barrel through on their way to finding bigger game. There’s much on offer here, so I implore everyone to slow down and find some tiny friends of their own to get a deeper appreciation of why this is such a great place to exist in.
You can see more of Dani’s gaming travels on Instagram: @daniellamlucas.
“My favorites are the Downy Crakes that look like little puffballs on stilts”