Monster Hunter: World, you are my current little slice of heaven. I want to play you. when I'm not playing you, I think about playing you. I want people to even watch me play you... It's a beautiful beautiful moment!
I'm pushing across untamed lands, capturing creatures large and small. Culling herds, harvesting supplies, swinging a honking axe around to assert my dominance over creatures of the wild, and doing it all in the name of sacred science! Monster Hunter: World, looks so incredible it's easy to get lost in place this lush and dynamic. Despite its fantasy trappings, MHW only feels a step out of time and lands we know in our own world. There's a sort of "believable fantasticness" at that the developers have painstakingly weaved into the soul of this game. Much of that the absence of magic. You do battle with the giant beasts of this world, swords, shields, axes, hammers, bows, lances, and crossbows. Sure, they're larger than life, but there's a certain professional quality to what you're doing as you track your prey through the wilderness and prepare traps, poisons and potions to get you through the long encounters. You're a forest ranger of sorts, out to learn about the habits of some of the largest and most astonishing beasts in the known world, and from my early experiences at least, that's how you conduct yourself in game.
And get drunk in canteens with their friends!
Dragon’s Dogma Was My First Monster Hunter Experience
Dragon's Dogma had enemies to spare. Fighting humanoid enemies was fun and rewarding enough, but Dawgma really shined by upping the anti with a variety of giant, mythical beasts to fight, as well as classes that were designed to climb atop them, slash, and hold on for dear life. Dragons (obviously), chimeras, ogres, griffins, and even a cockatrice would slash, smash, and even cast spells making for epic, nail biting confrontations, and a great deal of danger and dearth for even those of us with amazing stick skills. In addition to the gameplay Dragon's Dogma also had excellent character building, the level of which unfortunately didn’t make it into Monster Hunter: World. It also boasted the fresh yet flawed pawn system, and some of the most stunning vistas you can see, and a surprisingly gripping ending to its story of rebirth, godhood, and the ensuing boredom of such all in a gaming context. It's a heady and under-appreciated artistic achievement that made a grand journey even more grandiose.
Nevertheless, despite the awesome mind trip, Dragon' Dogma felt woefully incomplete. For much of the game the story was nonsensical. The character's were flat, absurd, or completely uninteresting. You had very little reason to explore, and many of the cool ideas they implemented never had any reason to be used. There was only one big city and one small town on the entire content you were trapped on and it seemed like about 300 people lived on it, resurrecting bandits included. Enemies never varied or surprised you once you knew where they were, and never interacted with one another. Far from a perfect game, it was still a fun and novel experience... unless you'd played Monster Hunter before.
The Handheld Hunting I Missed
As an American console gamer, I never play anything that makes a splash on handheld systems or gets massive in Japan. Monster Hunter has been around since 2004 and I didn't hear about it once until the franchise was over 10 years old. While it started out on Playstation 2, most subsequent releases were exclusive to Japan due to MH being a major successes on mobile consoles like the PSP and 3DS. Monster Hunter games sold 45 millions copies BEFORE Monster Hunter: World came out on Playstation 4 last week. It's a damn phenomenon! Meanwhile, I hadn't so much as seen a trailer for a Monster Hunter until Monster Hunter World was announced. And when I did, it was like seeing a troubled kid grow up and make something of themselves. Monster Hunter was so similar to what I remembered form Dragon's Dogma; similar character designs, setting, similar giant ass monsters... It felt good to be back to where I'd never been.
We coulda been so good together...
3 years ago Capcom even launched the Dragon's Dogma Online MMO. I was hot to play it, but ultimately decided not to release it in the west, killing a little piece of my adult childhood. While people play it, westerners need a VPN to do so. Though after my largely seamless PS4 online experience with Monster Hunter: World it now just seems like even DD Online an opportunity to get their next gen and PC online situation ready to handle Monster Hunter: World, and... oh my god... I just realized I'm in Cambodia for a year and a half and have been wasting all my time writing articles about stuff and NOT PLAYING DRAGON’S DOGMA ONLINE! ...what was I thinking? Thank god for Monster Hunter cause I really missed the boat on that one.
See You In The World… The Monster Hunter World
Regardless of the Capcom's plans and business decisions, all the work and testing has really paid off. They've really outdone themselves with this, my very first iteration of Monster Hunter on PS4. It looks amazing, plays amazing, and everything feels like it has a purpose both online and off. And it seems like they’ve managed to avoid tarnishing my experience with excessive lootbox or fee-to-play nonsense. My time feels well spent whether I’m playing alone, with randos, and linking up with friends back home and winning arm wrestling contests. I'm also enjoying broadcasting it myself on twitch as Mike Dynamo (obviously) and hope people come through and tell me how awesomely I'm playing every time I get killed (stupid anjanath...) or join me on the hunt on Playstation 4 as DeluxeKnight. Squad up!
*Stupid Anjanath killed me so many times. Why weren’t you helping me!?*