Monster Hunter: World

Released: 9 Aug 2018
Reviewed: 18 Jan 2020
Platform: PC

The spectacle of fighting large monsters in big spawling, beautiful locations is definitely something that should be seen and appreciated, although I probably wouldn't recommend actually playing it. Despite being the 'most acceccible' of the series so far (apparently), MHW is still an impenetrable Japanese mess of grinding, poor UI, clunky combat and tedious equipment management. Although it makes sense that fighting a huge monster would take a while; chasing each one for half an hour only to get 1-shot towards the end or accidentally killing a monster you're meant to capture (when they don't have health bars) is a huge waste of the players' time and gets old fast.

+ I really like the research part of the game, although even that is a bit grindy. Unlocking new information about each creature and storing it in a big compendium is a great idea in a game like that. Shame that the way you unlock that info is by inspecting a thousand footprints
+ It runs well (at least, on a 2080Ti, but that doesn't prove anything)
+ It's pretty, if you aren't one of the 90% struggling with the poor optimisation

- The lip sync is either non-existent or awful; presumably it was done for the Japanese version
- Having to stop and sharpen your weapon in the middle of a fight is ridiculous
- The controls in general (particularly melee) are all clunky as hell on both mouse and controller
- The expansion is plagued by performance issues following a lazy port to PC, also affecting people who don't own the expansion
- Killing a monster takes 20 minutes (still the case after 20 hours played). Yes it makes sense that it should be an epic battle for something that big, but chasing it around the map and whittling down a hitpoint pool of thousands while weapons are doing about 30 every few seconds is a good example of developers not respecting players' time
- Canteen system is impenetrable nonsense. The game does a terrible job at explaining how the ingredients work
- There are 14 weapons, but all 11 of the melee weapons are sluggish and slow. Monster HP is huge, and weapons do very little damage. Dodging plays a large part of the combat, but if you're in the middle of an attack animation (which can take between 2-5 seconds), you can't dodge and you will be flattened.
- Monsters have weak points, but trying to hit any specific part of a monster with a melee weapon when it's 10x the size of you isn't practical, leaving 3 ranged weapons.
- There's a ton of different ammo types for the two guns, but no different kinds of arrows
- Switching or using different kinds of items is horrible also both on controller and PC. The controller version is probably slightly more friendly, and the PC one has had some work put in, but it boggles the mind that there isn't the ability to just press 1-9 to use different items; you have to either press F1-F4 to open the menu then the button for the ability, or hold control to scroll through the list of items in the quick slot, put your weapon away, then press E to use it.

There's a quest to capture an elder dragon (Zorah Magdaros); effectively a walking volcano, literally a couple of hundred feet tall. WTF? The Zorah Magdaros encounter simultaneously manages to be a laughably terrible idea terms of plot and boring in execution:
1. It's a walking volcano, you can't _capture_ the fucking thing. It's literally a few hundred feet tall, walked across an ocean and threw an entire ship up a mountain.
2. The NPCs try to capture it by firing ballistas at it which bounce off like sticks. Then they build a big fence made of wood and are surprised when the creature walks straight through it
3. The whole game revolves around skill based 1v1 dino fights, but the big boss encounter just involves clicking cannons, then walking on to the volcano's back and shooting at stationary targets that can't hurt you for 10 minutes. It doesn't require any skill, and it's almost impossible to fail it
4. Partway through that encounter, an actual monster shows up to get in your way. You can completely ignore this creature and just dodge it's attacks for 5 minutes until the next stage of the encounter starts; nothing you do makes any difference

The final nail in the coffin for me was a sidequest to capture a flying Wyvern. Capture quests are generally a pain in the ass anyway, as you're only allowed to bring 1 or 2 traps with you. You have to trap the monster when it's on low health, but there's no indication of how much hp the monster has left. If they fail you have to either make more or abandon the quest. The only hint the game gives you is that when a monster is limping, it's ready to trap. In this case, I tracked and fought the monster for 25 minutes and it just died. No limping as it's a flying creature, 25 minutes completely wasted with no reward.

Oh yeah, and it's another one of those Japanese games THAT HAS TO HAVE IT'S TITLE IN CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE REASONS.

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