Personal GotY: Monster Hunter World

Monster Hunter World is not only a fantastic game to me and many others; it was an introduction to a whole sub-genre of gaming. With epic monsters, instanced quests, meaningful exploration, and squad-play with a palpable underlying sense of camaraderie, Monster Hunter World is a undoubtedly a standout game. Unfortunately, I did not end up playing the likes of God of War, Red Dead Redemption II, and Celeste. Thus, my Game of the Year does not have much weight in the grand scheme of things. However, Monster Hunter World deserves the shine, so let’s get to it.

SETTING & CHARM

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MHW takes place in the “New World.” It is a fantasy setting rife with diverse biomes. You are part of the New World’s military fleet tasked with researching and quelling monster threats. As your created character, you will travel to the desert, forests, hazardous underground catacombs, and a bunch of other locales. While you visit them many times over, there is enough diversity to easily tide you over for at least 100 hours. The areas are vibrant, lived in, and fun to interact with be it with your grappling hook, scouting abilities or your trusty weapon of choice.

While you do face off against the most intimidating creatures you’ll ever lay your eyes on, the game’s tone is unmistakably light-hearted. Your comrades will make clever jokes, your palico (pet cat) will fight alongside you, a touch that never ceases to be adorable, and the fighting itself is not gruesome, just a fun time. Popping in to interact with your jovial handler and seeing how the game has changed even after dropping 170 hours is always great.

COMBAT

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Combat in this game is DEEP. There are 14 different weapons to choose from. The best part is, you are not locked to any one weapon type. Players are able to switch between different weapons before the start of any given quest which encourages experimentation. Of course, some weapons just won’t be for you, but there is no harm in trying them all. For me, I was dead set that the bowguns would be too clunky for my liking. However, after giving them a try, I began to really dig the light bowgun which offered more mobility than what was apparent at face value. That being said, if I ever really need to try-hard, the insect glaive is where it’s at.

MHW has a unique nuance to its combat system. At first crack, it may feel a bit too weighty. Monsters can move pretty fast and you’ll catch yourself wondering, “How the heck do they expect me to hit this thing?” The name of the game for Monster Hunter is positioning. Once you experience a few monster battles, you’ll get a feel for the movement and minimize the time you need to be in the right spot. Once that’s done, there is an additional layer to the combat to get familiar with, the item wheel/bar. Pinning down a setup that allows you pop potions and equip items at the drop of a dime will catapult you into being an effective monster hunter.

CUSTOMIZATION

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The customization present in MHW is crazy. Each of the 14 weapon types have a boatload of weapons to craft. You can craft them all (good luck to ya!) but most hunters will craft the ones with perks that fit their build. Yes, MHW allows you to make builds to fit different combat situations. Thankfully, even 170 hours in, details such as elements, elderseal, and augment optimization are not necessary.

In addition to weapons, there are also different armors, and boy is there a lot to choose from. You can mix and match head, chest, arm, waist, and leg armor. You can make a set that looks most appealing to you, or if you’re like me, you’ll mix and match armor that looks good while optimizing the perks you receive. There is a lot that goes into preparation before a battle in MHW; yet, the developers found a way to make it enjoyable.

SHORTCOMINGS

When it comes to shortcomings, there is very little to talk about with MHW. There are two that come to mind, both are centered around the story. The first is the story itself. It is a fun ride, but isn’t compelling enough to keep you playing for the story alone. You’ll stop playing because you had enough of kicking monster tail for the time being. In addition, there are boss fights in the story that are a slog. Compared to the quests you usually carry out, the fights are monotonous.

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Monster Hunter World is one heck of a game. One thing to note is that there is a considerable learning curve to it. You will most likely be looking on YouTube to learn how to use weapons efficiently or how to obtain certain items. Still, simply being in the world of Monster Hunter is a akin to stepping foot into Disneyland. It is a world unlike ours with delightful characters, arguably the best companion in video games, and action that will have you pinned to your seat. If you haven’t experienced Monster Hunter World yet and have ever enjoyed a 3rd person action game, then you owe it to yourself to pick this up at some point. I hope you all have a happy new year! What is your favorite game of the year? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

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Images and GIFs captured from my PS4

Owned and developed by Capcom

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