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Review

Monster Hunter World Review - Deadliest Catch

  • First Released Jan 26, 2018
    released
  • Reviewed Aug 7, 2018
  • PS4
  • PC

Hunt, feast, survive.

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

While some fans of the series were disappointed when Monster Hunter XX came to the Switch as a Japan-only exclusive, the good news is that we don't have to suffer in region-imposed torture any longer. The latest big fish in the franchise's pond, Monster Hunter World, is finally here, and it blows the previous western releases out of the water.

For seasoned players, the gameplay loop in Monster Hunter World is immediately recognisable. Your job is a cycle that involves crafting weapons, bulking up, killing monsters, and looting them for materials. However, a well-crafted narrative has not traditionally been a part of that gameplay loop, and that may have been a deterrent for those looking for a foothold into the franchise in the past. Luckily for them, the first major point of difference here from the previous mainline titles is the way that the plot and gameplay are grafted together. A spinoff, Monster Hunter Stories, stepped off the beaten track by introducing a simple yet satisfying narrative, and now Monster Hunter World solidifies that step by using the building blocks of previous narrative concepts to deliver a well-paced experience that spends more time focusing on the bigger picture.

While you spend a lot of time chasing an Elder Dragon that wouldn't look out of place in the movie Pacific Rim, Monster Hunter World's choice to integrate Guild and Village quests into one coherent story cuts out any confusion or ambiguity that new players may feel when it comes to figuring out which quests progress your journey. The fact that everything is tuned for a rewarding solo experience is a plus--it's entirely possible to pump through 60 hours of quests without ever interacting with another player online. And when combined with more intelligent monster AI, facing off against a fire-breathing Tyrannosaurus-like creature on your own makes the stakes feel even higher.

On top of the story, which revolves around the mystery of why the aforementioned Elder Dragon has appeared in the game's new region, there have been some quality-of-life changes that ease your transition into the world of monster hunting. Instead of frontloading a lot of text-based tutorials as in previous titles, you now have a Handler who doles out helpful information to you as you progress through zones of increasing complexity. It can feel a bit like having an annoying younger sibling tagging along on otherwise deadly adventures, but her vocal cues and vast knowledge about monster types are helpful when encountering new enemies for the first time. This assistance ceases when you start cutting your teeth on High Rank monsters, but hearing about new skills and immediately putting them into practice in the field is an excellent way to learn about the game from the ground up.

Monster Hunter World feels like an open-world game to some extent, with fantastically large maps of a scale that we haven't seen before (both vertically and horizontally), no discernable game-pausing loading screens between zones in hunting areas, and a wealth of beautifully rendered environments to slaughter colossal monsters in. A helpful addition to this new world is the swarm of scoutflies that serve as a way to track monsters and other objectives.

Navigating the vastness of those areas without scoutflies would have been incredibly tedious. Once you've located a few traces of a monster's path in a zone, your scoutflies automatically track it to its current location. Gather up enough clues over time and soon your insectoid minions will be able to predict where a certain monster is located based on past movements. This is very useful for investigation missions with tight time frames at higher ranks and sticks to your canon characterisation: a seasoned hunter who understands their prey. Except, perhaps, when said prey glitches through two stories' worth of foliage and can't be attacked with any weapons that you've got on hand. Fortunately, those instances are few and far between.

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Part of the ability to capitalise on a monster's weakness is the smart use of all the tools in your hunting arsenal, with the most important being your weapon of choice. The Hunter Arts from Monster Hunter Generations have been removed, and the game's focus is solely on your ability to dish out ridiculous amounts of damage using your respective weapon's combo. Light weapons are still the most mobile while the technical weapons are still the most difficult to understand and master, but there are ample opportunities to get experience with whichever blade, bow, or lance you've decided on. Weapon upgrade trees are all viewable at a glance, and the ability to make a wishlist of parts for your next upgrade makes the process more convenient, and helps you decide which expeditions to focus on.

Bowguns in particular have received the most notable facelift: it appears that there has been an effort to mimic the kind of playstyle you'd have in a third-person shooter, and this is most apparent when you're firing from the hip with the light bowgun. That doesn't necessarily change the strategy needed; you'll still have to make effective use of environmental hazards, traps, barrel bombs, and dung in order to chase down your quarry. There are now more ways to get a leg up on monsters, which make combat encounters more accessible to different playstyles. Elemental effects are all the rage once more, with weapons boasting essential new perks that have evolved alongside the enemies that you forge them from, and the benefits of bringing water to a firefight is a lesson you'll learn early.

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Of particular necessity is the ability to mount monsters through aerial combos, or through the slightly less coordinated mad scramble off a cliff onto a creature's back; you're given the opportunity to knock a monster down, which will buy you time to slice off a tail or a claw. While the game will reward you no matter what strategies you take, knowing a monster's weak points is still a must if you strive to upgrade your gear. It's best to nail down your favourite weapon in the Arena--a mode where you test your mettle with specific gear against a monster that you've fought before.

Multiplayer integration is, for the most part, seamless. As mentioned above, there's no distinction between Village and Guild quests anymore, so missions can be done alone or with a friend, and you'll both only have to do it once to complete it. You can start a quest alone in an online session and wait for more hunters to pop in to assist. Alternatively, you can seek out an online session for people of a certain hunter rank, and just go along for the ride if they need a hand with anything. The only qualifier is that some story-focused missions require the leader to either watch a cutscene or discover a monster before others can join.

You can be in the same online session as someone else without having to do the quests that they're doing, which is useful for those who might want to keep an eye on a friend who's new to the franchise. Players who are struggling solo can also send out an SOS flare that lets their friends put together a little rescue party to save the day. In the downtime between adventures, you can do anything from arm wrestling to challenging each other's times on the killing leaderboards.

Getting together with your mates takes a couple of extra steps compared to loading into a multiplayer session on the fly with a stranger. To play with friends alone, you’ll have to join in on their fun via the friends list on the console dashboard, or by sharing a 12-digit session ID. In a game that’s all about momentum and sprinting off into the horizon at the next challenge, getting your hunting posse together is manageable but slightly tedious. That being said, a few minutes to specifically set up a multiplayer session doesn’t necessarily make or break the game.

As expected, Monster Hunter World scales the difficulty up if you're not the only one embarking on the quest. Up to four people can go out into the wilderness at once, and the beta experience has already demonstrated to many how exhilarating group combat can be. The more targets available for monsters, the more unpredictable their movements. This means that while you may have more firepower, it can be harder to lock down a monster that's particularly prone to relentless charging or rapid aggression. Luckily, playing with others gives you the opportunity to try out different weapon compositions, and while unusual weapons like the hunting horn might see minimal use in the solo campaign, its sweet, party-buffing tunes and your teamwork abilities will become crucial to helping your friends take down the most savage of beasts.

While it may seem like quite a bit has changed, there's a hell of a lot in Monster Hunter World that's stayed the same. Whether it's the appearance of draconic series regulars like the Rathalos and the Rathian or the presence of tried and true weapons, the roots of the Monster Hunter franchise are strong with its latest release. Apart from the overall sprucing up of graphics and the cutscenes with full voice-over, the standout improvements really come from the simplification of the existing systems in a way that welcomes newcomers without alienating existing fans. A lack of loading screens makes exploration a pleasure, and tracking new and improved monsters through areas as they rank up means that you've got plenty to conquer once the story quests are complete. There may not be any new weapons, and there may be a Hunter Arts-sized hole left in the hearts of players who spent hours getting good at the various Styles. However, the removal of those old mechanics feels less like a funeral and more like a necessary streamlining.

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The PC version of Monster Hunter World, on a superficial level, doesn't exhibit any critical differences in performance compared to the console versions of the game. While running on the highest display settings, we noticed a marked amount of pop-in during some of the more graphically intensive cutscenes, but it wasn’t enough to be off-putting. Some trees in the distance take a little longer to come to life, but you’re often too preoccupied with killing a slavering, townhouse-sized animal to care. The Hunters themselves also generally appear to have warmer, more realistic flesh tones on the PC, but the overall difference in aesthetic mileage is otherwise minimal.

One area where the contrast is stark, however, is in multiplayer accessibility. While the PlayStation 4 version had its hiccups with getting the squad together, those aren’t present at all in the PC version, which makes the most of its integration with Steam to get you playing together in under a couple of minutes. It's refreshingly simple compared to laboriously typing out a string of numbers, or fiddling with the PlayStation 4’s subpar native interface.

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Another pleasant difference which you’ll notice while preparing for multiplayer missions is the fact that there’s almost no downtime at all. This might vary based on your network and PC, but in our experience the time between posting a quest and having it ready to go when others join was instant. In comparison, the PlayStation 4 version seems to take its own sweet time when preparing quests within both individual and multiplayer sessions. Like the aesthetic differences between platforms, this is relatively minimal in the grand scheme of things. However, an improvement is still an improvement, and the overall quality of life differences in regards to multiplayer on PC are definitely welcome.

In terms of how the game handles mechanically on PC, the answer is positive. While PC ports of console games have the potential pitfalls of unwieldy control schemes and unintuitive keyboard shortcuts, Monster Hunter World has gracefully avoided these. The default keyboard and mouse combination works well, even when stress-tested under combat situations that require plenty of frantic directional and dodge-rolling inputs. Using the mouse to control both attack inputs as well as overall steering took us the length of the tutorial to get used to, but it never presented an issue in itself. There’s no need to play Twister with your fingers to execute deadly combos here, though fans of the controller input will likely gravitate to the same for efficiency at the end of the day.

Ever since the title was first announced, it was clear that Capcom was gunning for something grander than Monster Hunter Generations. It has succeeded, and this is likely the biggest and best that the franchise has ever been. It's not just the comparative depth of the narrative; it also boasts almost seamless integration between combat systems that were previously incomprehensible for amateurs. The Monster Hunter formula has definitely honed its claws, and all the above factors play their part in making Monster Hunter World a meaningful evolution for the series at large.

Editor's note: This review has been updated to include our experience with the PC version of Monster Hunter World -- August 7, 2018

Back To Top
The Good
Engaging narrative built around a good single-player campaign
Well-paced tutorial caters nicely to novices
Comprehensive multiplayer integration
Lethal AI make the stakes the highest they've ever been
The Bad
The new verticality of levels occasionally leads to frustrating AI pathing glitches
Difficulty spike in end-game content can be daunting to the inexperienced
Grouping up with friends feels unusually complicated
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Monster Hunter: World

About the Author

Ginny Woo got her first taste of being the hunter and the hunted upon Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate's release. The franchise combines her love of dinosaurs with her passion for heavy weaponry, and she's been ready to sink her teeth into Monster Hunter World since it was announced at E3 2017. For the purposes of this review, Ginny played around 60 hours solo and with others on the PS4 and around 20 hours on the PC using copies provided by Capcom.
368 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for bobbo888
bobbo888

Difficulty spike in end-game content can be daunting to the inexperienced.

So you made it to the end game, but you're still inexperienced.

Avatar image for dysonlu
dysonlu

@bobbo888: LOL True. That didn't make any sense.

Avatar image for Stardust7
Stardust7

This game reminds me a lot of dogma dragons. They seem to have done copy and paste in gameplay in general, and various animations like bow and character running, jumping etc.

Avatar image for phamnhatle
phamnhatle

Look good, i will try it.

Avatar image for thequirkster
TheQuirkster

Is there a single player only mode?

Avatar image for deactivated-5b6fdad101071

@thequirkster: You can set the terms of how people join your session, but you can't have people jump in your hunt unless you fire an SOS flare anyway.

Avatar image for thequirkster
TheQuirkster

@deactivated-5b6fdad101071:

I’m not a fan of online games and I find it difficult to tell which games are single player and online, and those that are purely online.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b6fdad101071

Thoughts after buying the pc version and playing my first ever Monster Hunter:

I don't mind sticking it on 30fps mode and setting graphics to medium on my mid range laptop if it meant I can smoothly run the game. Performance look great so far, but there is some weird blurring effect on certain distances, especially to people's faces.

In between the long opening sequence, the cut scenes, the npcs yak yak yaking, creating my character and then going on my first official quest, I'm now almost at the time limit if I wanted to refund the game. I don't, but it's something to consider, and it hints at the sheer size of the game.

Egads this game is gorgeous. If it wasn't for the monsters, I'd go on vacation here.

So far... I'm having fun.

Avatar image for CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

@pmcollectorboy: In previous Game you would have Jump to your first quest after a bunch of text box from NPCS....it was less time consuming but much much much Boring. ANd before you would have to just go and grab crap maybe kill some herbivores, do some minor fisihing and them your first tier 1 monster would show up like....in 1 hour or so.

So i dont know what is worse but can say that MH4 Ultimate for the 3ds Drop you into the action in less than 30 min. Is pack with ton of content and is worth playing, because as it is right now even on console MH world is very lacking. Sure it has a bunch of quality of life improvement that make the older games obsolote but i dont mind that when i have at leats 100 different monster to hunt each one with their own gear, weapons, High rank armor and weapons and G RANK which is like very Hard mode, each monster has a G rank version and they have different looking armors, more upgrade path for you old weapons, new monster only appear in G rank and all old monster have new moves.

Also the Weapon design are meh.. only a few of them are pretty good. Overall world is a huge improvement, thanks to the new engine porting older monster is pretty much Imposible so capcom have to re make them from zero, which is why the content feels lacking and i get that, must of my complains are nitpiking at this point 453 hours on ps4 and still going but not as strong as it was on the first 2 months

So enjoy the HUNT my dear friend, happy hunting.

have some CRAP GUIDES to weapon for mh world https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcYJFI7HQU4&list=PLDnRMnDDjAzK3uOpcNSowUGVx4OBpsgya

Avatar image for Odtt
Odtt

For a site like this that has to meet deadlines and pump out reviews as fast as it can, I understand why they would release one after playing 60 hours on PS4 and 20 on PC, but I feel like it also does these types of games a certain lack of injustice, and this is reflected upon the review score as well as “The Good” and “The Bad” section; 60 hours of playtime in a Monster Hunter game is just starting to scratch the surface of what the game has to offer, nevermind 20.

Avatar image for cjtopspin
cjtopspin

It needs more ridiculously massive swords that nobody could possibly wield and cute fuzzy sidekicks that look like some kind of cat/panda mix....

Avatar image for deactivated-5b6fdad101071

I wonder if Gamespot is going to do a second look at We Happy Few, now that it's officially out and a somewhat different game from its early access version.

Avatar image for derper
Derper

"One area where the contrast is stark, however, is in multiplayer accessibility. While the PlayStation 4 version had its hiccups with getting the squad together, those aren’t present at all in the PC version, which makes the most of its integration with Steam to get you playing together in under a couple of minutes. It's refreshingly simple compared to laboriously typing out a string of numbers, or fiddling with the PlayStation 4’s subpar native interface."

that is what the review says....but then a con-piont is 'Grouping with friends feels unusually complicated' ???

Avatar image for CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

@derper: capcom fucked up this time, in previous game hunting online was as easy as to have a int connection, go to the gathering hall online and Boom thats it. They did on 3ds on both MH 4U and Generations and somehow they fucked up in world.

Avatar image for stevo302
stevo302

Why did I have to be reminded of this reviews stupid score with the release of the PC version. Geez.

Avatar image for Oinker
Oinker

"Monster Hunter World successfully proves that it's both about size and how you use it."

I feel personally attacked by this headline.

Avatar image for dmblum1799
dmblum1799

I find it amusing that a game I and many others have put over hundred hours into gets an 8, while an Indy retro platformer that that few will play and I wouldn't spend 5 minutes on gets a 9. Such is life.

Avatar image for bussaondabeatho
bussaondabeatho

@dmblum1799: Am I crazy or is an 8 equivalent to a 1 now...? like wtf, it's still great!

Avatar image for salty101
salty101

@dmblum1799: It's weird when you think about the amount of development and playtime one gets over another but you can't review based on that. If you did, Andromeda would be considered good.

Avatar image for BovineDivine
BovineDivine

@dmblum1799: Yeah that's super weird. All games should be reviewed according to your personal taste.

Avatar image for mrbojangles25
mrbojangles25

Going to honest, here: I want to play this game just for that little cat sherpa thing you get.

Avatar image for CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

@mrbojangles25: the palico? japan loves cats and they have been around since MH 1 but only become partnerst since freedom Unite on Psp or MH 2Ultimate.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b6fdad101071

The only game that just might pull me away from No Man's Sky.

Avatar image for nsa_protocol44
NSA_Protocol44

@pmcollectorboy: So No Man's Sky become this good?

Avatar image for CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

@nsa_protocol44: i bough the game last week ( no man sky) and yeah they manage to fix the game after 2 years and make a addicting loop of crafting and gathering and surviving

Avatar image for deactivated-5b6fdad101071

@nsa_protocol44: Well I'm having a lot of fun with it, but I'm focusing on just sending frigates out on missions while I wait for the bugs to get fixed before continuing on.

Avatar image for zinten
zinten

@nsa_protocol44: no, nms has improved but this patch is way overhyped.

Avatar image for Ohaidere
Ohaidere

Still the best game this year.

Avatar image for off3nc3
off3nc3

@Ohaidere: Absolute rubbish , the new God of War is already crowned as GOTY and we still have Red Dead Redemption 2 releasing in 2 months which will be the game of the past years in terms of quality and sales.

CAPCOM game to receive a goty ? haha Get your head out of your ass newbie!

Avatar image for CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

@off3nc3: if you think god of war is Goty them oh boi you sure have anger problems. MH world give you hundread of hour or entertaining boss battle God of war 4 gives you the last of us 2 with crappy bosses except the valkyries, loot and a less rewarding combat that previous God of war games, so yeah get you hard out of you ass noob.

Avatar image for Ohaidere
Ohaidere

@off3nc3: Such anger.

Still doesn't change the fact that this is best game this year. A lot of us have had enough of interactive movies.

RDR still might be great though--loved the first one.

Avatar image for CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

@Ohaidere: RDR ending made me cry but i dont think the 2nd one is gonna be as good or better than MH i am sick and tire of rockstar formula at this point and how the make open world games and the worst part...this is a PREQUEL we know John is going to be safe but will face his demise in RDR 1 so too me they alredy fucked up.

Avatar image for agramonte
agramonte

Glad it is finally on PC. Tons of fun on PS4.

Not sure what fan was "disappointed" they were not getting a $60 port of MHXX with PS2 era graphics. When Capcom makes an actual MH for Switch (and not a lazy money grab) buy that one also.

Avatar image for CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

@agramonte: here the thing, the whole PS2 graphic joke makes no sense games are more than just Stupid graphics. Now 60$ for MHXX on switch when they could just ported to 3ds for 40$ yeah is fucking stupid.

Avatar image for agramonte
agramonte

@CRAPCOM1926: yeah man - but it is in 2018, on the Switch and $60. No reason it cant have both. If they release it at 39.99 fine, it is a budget game so something had to give. And I would get the "I choose gameplay" argument

But if they want full price - do what they doing with RE2 on PS4 and clean it up. Or yeah, leave it on the 3DS.

Avatar image for soulfulDAGGER
soulfulDAGGER

The pictures and video appear to be from an old review from when the game first released on console. Was this a review of the PC version? I don't see much anything referring to it other than 1 paragraph.

There's been an ongoing problem with Gamespot not specifically separating console version reviews from PC versions. Many times the reviews are the same where they should not be. This dates back to Gamespot's Borderlands review for the XBOX 360, where Gamespot gave it the same review as the PC even though the PC was leagues better in terms of graphic fidelity and resolution. I remember returning my 360 version towards a copy of the PC version due to how poorly it looked and played on the 360.

In short, please give a detailed analysis of the PC version of Monster Hunter World, including 4k pictures, higher resolution game-play feed, etc. Thank you for reading!

Avatar image for doorselfin
doorselfin

@soulfulDAGGER: If you read closely, you'll notice that there are four new paragraphs towards the end of the review that dive into the PC version, talking about the visuals, controls, and improved multiplayer experience.

There's also a gameplay video that shows off the game using maximum graphical settings, as well as new PC screenshots. Because the experience of playing the game between PC and console is so similar, we decided not to do separate reviews.

In short, thanks for visiting the comments section!

Staff
Avatar image for nsa_protocol44
NSA_Protocol44

@doorselfin:

"In short, thanks for visiting the comments section!"

Edmund has no chill, he ROASTED HIM!!!!

Avatar image for gladuhere
gladuhere

good concept, interesting game, badly designed function, (I mean worst), shockingly less rewarding considering the time u have to spend to beat one monster. and worst of all? the fu*k is this game play? character movement? worst ever I played. way too slow movement only u get is frustration. such a waste of time and money. this game is still development stage, a lot work needs to be done to be playable.

Avatar image for CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

@gladuhere: wow what a ******.

Avatar image for stevo302
stevo302

@gladuhere: If you don't get the gameplay, you don't get it. But the people that do are only gonna laugh at you for suggesting the combat remotely needs adjustment. It's the most robust and rewarding combat system in existence. Not all games are DMC and allow you to press X to win while cancel dodging out of everything at any given moment. Monster Hunter makes you think and act accordingly. Shocking concept I know, but the nuance here is through the roof.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b6fdad101071

@gladuhere: Okay there, mister "Bloodborne is worse than Destiny 2"

Avatar image for hovast0rm
hovast0rm

@gladuhere: Def not going to be a cake walk (I personally enjoy the challenge). You probably never took the time to get accustomed to the mechanics each weapon uses. Perhaps a simpler game is more down your wheelhouse...

Avatar image for sakaixx
sakaiXx

@gladuhere: gitgud noob

Monster Hunter: World More Info

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  • First Released Jan 26, 2018
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Monster Hunter becomes even deadlier in Monster Hunter: World, introducing an expansive world and ecosystem that players on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC can explore.
    7.9
    Average Rating109 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Monster Hunter: World
    Developed by:
    Capcom
    Published by:
    Capcom
    Genre(s):
    Action, Role-Playing
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    Blood, Mild Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence