For its past 3 iterations the Monster Hunter series has remained on the 3ds, much to the dismay of some of its original fans who enjoyed it as a AAA experience when it was first released on the PS2. Although, now the same fans have a cause to rejoice as it seems that Capcom has finally taken their head out of wherever it was lodged and have decided to print money by releasing Monster Hunter World for the home consoles and eventually the PC.
But let me take a step back and explain the appeal of MH and why its shift to the mainstream hardware is significant. MH at its core is a game that cuts to the chase and just throws massive boss fights at you one after another, the main focus isn’t on world building or level design but instead the game works towards providing the player with a variety of monsters to fight that are unique(in….ugh most cases) and interesting yet challenging to overcome. The meat of the gameplay is about learning the pattern of the monsters and how they interact with the environment. As far as the past iterations are concerned the MH series had games which had simplistic shells with layers of complexity hidden that more astute gamers would explore but were not necessary to enjoy the game.
With its gradual releases over the years the MH series has added new features including new monsters/ bosses,but most notably the addition of new weapons(Charged Blade, Insect glaive) in MH4 and then the addition of hunter styles which changed the attack patterns and added some super moves in MH Generations and MH XX. The changes kept adding to the gameplay of the franchise keeping it fresh enough for the fans to return to the games but it was never a revolutionary step that made the franchise deviate from its comfort zone that it had already established. And by that I mean that the games always felt like monster hunter games, sometimes a little too much. It is a tough feat for a game to retain its core principles across several realizations but after a point the format seems to get repetitive and all the games have suffered from this. Therefore the introduction of the myriad of new features as seen in the trailer for Monster Hunter World might just be the breath of fresh air this series needs.
There were several things of note within the trailer itself, for starters, they have (seemingly) brought back the underwater mechanics that were the main focus of 3 and 3U/G.
In this screenshot we see a hunter surfacing from underwater, there is no combat but there seems to be hope for the return of underwater monster fights, this time with better controls.
On a different side of the spectrum, we have the addition of what seem to be stealth mechanics from what is evident by these screenshots.
The hunter hides in the bushes and later puts on a cloak that is made up of leaves(I assume this to be a consumable item) both of which hide his presence from the monster(s). An interesting addition as the creators have long voiced their desire to include some sort of stealth functionality in their games but have been unable to do so due to hardware limitations. Also worth noting is the crossbow looking thing that is on the hunter’s hand which seems to also be holding a fruit too.
And the same thing is being seen used as a grappling hook, first when the hunter gets thrown off and then he launches it to rush to the monster here,
And then it is seen here when the hunter is Spidermanning across the ceiling here,
There seem to be several massive changes to the core MH formula but there was a distinct lack of multiplayer gameplay coverage and that is concerning as Co-op play is one of MH’s biggest strength. Even if we did have online multiplayer the return to home consoles in the era of PS Plus and X box live means that the consumers are going to be paying extra to play with their friends online. There is much to be excited about but as histroy has shown we should really air on the side of caution and be more than a little suspicious of the ‘early 2018’ release claim.
But at the end of the day, we all know that the only feature we really need is this one 🙂