One of the titles we were most looking forward to try at ESGS 2017 was the demo of Monster Hunter: World, the latest installment in the long-running franchise and the first main game to be released on a PlayStation platform since 2008. Monster Hunter: World will also be the first to have a simultaneous worldwide release as previous games have always been initially released in Japan with a worldwide release date coming later on. The new installment was unveiled at E3 earlier this year and is said to be coming to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
We got try out the PlayStation 4 demo of the game at the Capcom booth at ESGS 2017. Attendees were only given seven minutes each to try it out though, which was understandable given the crazily long queue to try out the upcoming game. We quickly picked one of the three available missions and began our hunt. In our haste, we didn’t get a chance to choose which weapon we would bring to the mission so we ended up with a Switch Axe, which we didn’t mind as it was exactly the weapon we wanted to try out.
It was easy enough to get acquainted with the game’s controls which was helped by the available on-screen hints and tooltips. The control layout was intuitive and commands were easy enough to execute without confusion. Notably, there are two ways to run or sprint in-game – one through pressing and holding down the left stick and the other by holding down one of the right shoulder buttons – which opens it up to those who are used to either methods of executing a run or sprint based on their experience with other games and/or consoles.
The controls translated well in-game and while movement and combat remain mostly unchanged from the game’s predecessors both felt smoother and more responsive in this latest entry. Exploring and traversing the game’s huge maps were easy and mostly seamless, especially with the addition of a grappling hook, while we had no issues timing and executing attacks and dodges during combat. Utilizing ranged weapons and items are also a lot easier and more intuitive. For example, chugging health potions no longer requires players to stand still and make themselves open to attack.
Going back to the game’s maps, they are now significantly larger with no loading screens in-between their smaller zones, giving the game a more open-world feel and players a lot more to explore. In spite of this, hunting a target isn’t more difficult but rather the game has made it more engaging. Instead of exploring the map in the hopes of running across a target, players will need to track it down through clues such as footprints and droppings then following what the game calls “scoutflies” to lead them to the next of clues until they finally find their target.
Lastly, after a decade of dated graphics on older platforms and portable consoles, fans will finally be able to fully appreciate the game’s art and design. The visuals of Monster Hunter: World look nothing less than amazing and finally brings the series to the next generation. And while there were some rare framerate drops during the demo, it never dropped to something that was a detriment to gameplay. Hopefully though, the developers will be able to both improve and stabilize the framerate all throughout.
In just seven minutes, Monster Hunter: World was able to not only garner our utmost attention but also rekindle our love for the series. It introduces and offers a multitude of additions and improvements that greatly benefit both newbie and veteran alike while smartly casting aside things that have seemingly held the series back from reaching widespread recognition. Monster Hunter: World feels and looks like the Monster Hunter game of our dreams and we can’t wait to get our hands on the full game when it comes out in January.
Monster Hunter: World is set for release on January 26 on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One while a PC release is set to follow sometime after.