I’ve seen Monster Hunter World many times. I always thought the game looked really pretty. The box art, in particular, is fantastic! There’s something epic about playing as a small human trying to take on massive, powerful creatures. I never got around to buying it though. There were always other games that I wanted more. Also, there were the games I already owned that I still had to play through. Lucky for me, Monster Hunter World was one of the games included on the Playstation Plus Collection. Since it was the low, low price of free, I thought I would give it a shot.
I knew going into this that I wouldn’t be committing to a full playthrough right now. I have other games to finish, on top of having the rest of life’s endless hectic to-do lists. Instead, I decided to play just far enough to experience the combat. I wanted to see what the game was like. So I played through the introduction and the first quest. It wasn’t very long but it was long enough to put this game at the bottom of my priority list.
There wasn’t one big thing that I hated in Monster Hunter World. Instead, several annoyances just piled on top of one another. None of these irritants is game-breaking. However, I didn’t feel like expending the time and energy to adjust to the controls. Maybe eventually I’ll return to this game if I ever finish all my games on my To-Play List.
One of the first things that you have to adjust to in any game is their menu system. In Monster Hunter World there is a whole lot of things to look at in the game’s menus. It was hard to easily discover what was important, not without paying close attention to what you’re reading. There is too much information all at once, most of it irrelevant until you make more progress in the game. The text of the menu is a little annoying to read because the font is small. Maybe that’s not a problem on PC? It was certainly a problem on the PS5, playing on the couch several feet away from the tv. There are way too many pop-up tutorial windows to read. They had similar problems. Both have small text and a lot of information all at once.
The gameplay itself felt odd. It had controls I wasn’t used to. I was playing with the PS5 controller. In most games X is attack but not in Monster Hunter World. In this game attack is Triangle and Square (or Circle? can’t remember). It felt awkward to play on the controller. Fighting felt clunky and unintuitive. I did not feel like an epic warrior that the art portrayed. My character was just as clumsy as I am. I ended up choosing to use a long-range option because it felt a little less awkward than the melee weapon options. The use of the trigger buttons to aim and shoot felt familiar to me after playing shooting games like Borderlands 2 and 3. Sadly while I found this easier to get the hang of, for what little I played, it’s not as much fun as swinging around a big sword.
Another nitpick about the gameplay is that I can’t jump. The character automatically interacts with the environment. This is fine but not my preference in an open-world focused on combat and exploration. It would have been nice to have that additional freedom while running around. Especially since the beauty of the environment is the big selling point in this game.
If a game’s story is engaging enough and the characters are likable and well written, I will be willing to overlook a lot of flaws in a video game. It’s why I like playing older games as well as modern ones. The experience is worth the frustrations. Unfortunately, Monster Hunter World doesn’t have much of a story. It is a basic setup. The main character belongs to a hunter guild and goes to a new area to do their job. The characters weren’t interesting, except the Palicos they are perfect. Character development and story are meant to be in the background. Instead, the focus of Monster Hunter World is the environment and the creatures you have to fight. That would have been fine by me if the gameplay was up to par. I didn’t start this game for the story, I wanted to see giant monsters and try to bring them down. Instead, it was a struggle to adjust to the basics of playing the game.
Monster Hunter World has the potential to be a fun game. For me, the time and effort it will take to adjust to the controls and figure out how the mechanics of the game work aren’t worth it right now. This game would have been better for newcomers if they had gradually opened up menus and abilities based on story progression. The story itself is lacking, borderline boring. The game provides the bare minimum as a framework for how the world works and the main character’s motivation. Surprising how a world with such fantastical creatures could be so bland.
*Image does not belong to me. It belongs to the Monster Hunter World developers.