‘Monster Hunter: World’ Hands On: Big Beasts Need Big Sandboxes

Jeremy Ray
Xbox PC Gaming
Xbox PC Gaming PlayStation

We’ve had to wait a long time for a proper Monster Hunter game on PC. It’s technically not the first. But despite not being a numbered game in the franchise (which would make it Monster Hunter 5), it’s been confirmed that Monster Hunter: World is the official next generation.

That makes it a fully fledged Monster Hunter game on PC as well as console, in which you can take on the behemoths solo or online with friends.

That’s a lot to be excited about, but World also comes with a few new aspects. There are a lot of new monsters to take on — two of which you can see in the above video — as well as lots of weapons to try, but mostly there’s a sense that your hunts take place in a living, interconnected ecosystem.

In contrast to some of the information out there (including the game’s Wikipedia page), what we played was definitely not an open world. The areas are instanced, with large mountains rising on the boundaries and a pterodactyl-like creature flying you to each mission.

Monster Hunter: World smaller enemy
And here we have one of the smaller beasts...

But within that space, there are a lot of moving parts. There are things to explore (keeping in mind your mission is on a timer), and tricks of the world to learn while you’re hunting. You might find a village of Felynes that could help you. You might gather rare materials and insects. Or perhaps you’ll find out where another behemoth is staying, and pit it against your target while you hide in the bushes.

In the above video I stumbled on what I thought was a flower at the time (now I think it might be some kind of toad?) that pops a cloud of stun gas. It immobilises the Anjarath for around ten seconds, which is massive. I’ll definitely be using that as a tool soon.

I’m not sure how easy things were made on me because it’s a press demo, but in this build, these monsters were easily soloable within the time limit. If you’ve played any kind of Souls or Bloodborne game before, you’ll be very familiar with the style of combat that revolves around stamina and invincibility frames. If you haven’t tried that style of combat before, Monster Hunter: World could be a less punishing introduction.

There’s also a peek of the Great Jagras wolfing down some large-scale prey mid-fight. It seemed to change its moveset slightly, but it didn’t do it any good. Despite the Great title, this was the easiest prey I came across.

There’s a lot to find while exploring Capcom’s new dino-hunting fantasy. The scout flies in the video make finding your main prey easy, but there are lots of little nooks and crannies in that massive area to find valuable things off the beaten track.

The early signs are positive. We’ll have more after the beta on December 9th.

Jeremy Ray
Managing Editor at FANDOM. Decade-long games critic and esports aficionado. Started in competitive Counter-Strike, then moved into broadcast, online, print and interpretative pantomime. You merely adopted the lag. I was born in it.
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