East to West – My (re)acclimation with Monster Hunter

Despite the sentiment of Capcom’s shareholders, the Japanese developer’s most recent entry in their timeless franchise, Monster Hunter World, was a monumental success.

And like millions of others, World was my first experience with the franchise long loved by players in the East. My personal experience was a bit different from others, starting with bursts of frustration and extended with pause, but with the help of a true nut of a hunter I’ve learned to appreciate a rich social experience that lies beneath its unconventional approach.

Truth be told, I don’t think that World is without fault, much less a shining paragon of looting perfection that some believe it to be, but it is a game that allows players to flourish provided they can best a few rocky bumps in the road. This alone makes it a game worth investigating for both those that enjoy challenging gameplay as well as those who have been beaten down by the likes of Destiny and The Division.

Experience Manifestation

During my 66 odd hours of playing Monster Hunter World I’ve come to realize, even while being at the edge of possibility, that this is a game that stays true to its genre.

World is an undeniable action role playing game. The emphasis, in my mind, is entirely necessary because RPG elements are so often thrown into modern games and touted as a part of a feature rich package, but more often than not, lead to something resembling Yoohoo playing the part of chocolate milk.

Yes, the story in MHW is forgettable to bad. But when it comes to every other aspect of an RPG, the actual role playing part, this is a game where dreams come true.

I’ve only experienced a mere drip of this reality, but in my playtime, I’ve seen, and learned through explanation via a true fanatic, what the true game is at play here.

The player is left to shape their in game reality with little limitation through the use of builds. For instance, I absolutely love playing with the hammer and flying through the air like Sonic the Hedgehog.

My friend noticed my infatuation, recommended a few jewels (essentially modifiers), and boom, I was now able to make my interests work for me.

World offers a diverse set of weapons, each providing their own playstyle, and through the use of other in game modifiers and gear, one can further fine tune their own personal approach to gameplay.

Capcom has even foreseen this leap of logic by its millions of players and has included a simple and seamless way to save and alter builds on the fly. Most monsters, especially those found later in the game, offer a unique challenge by way of movesets, elements, and cadence in a aggression, and as one becomes more familiar with World’s loop it’s hard not to want to venture out and explore different styles of play.

But then, you don’t have to budge if you’re set in your ways. Whether your preferred experience is tried and true or more in line with experimentation, World always abides.

As much as I loved my time with Destiny 1, and less so Destiny 2, I never felt this sort of unhinged freedom. Rather, it always felt as though I was playing within a tightly packed box of Bungie’s design. It’s the sort of authoritarian design that dampens the looting experience right from the start, only ever clawing its way out of paradox of its own creation.

Yes, World could use more content for the most diehard players (the immovable object of loot games), but it did get what’s most important in the genre right, and it did so right out of the gate.

There’s been a slow drip of free content updates and more are certainly to come, but the fact that World allows true looting freedom within the confines of an ARPG, and doesn’t need to waste time regressing to progress, makes it a game worth a look by anyone looking for a fulfilling loot experience.





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