Let's start by saying that I've never played a Monster Hunter game before this one. Monster Hunter: World was my first. This is a good thing because I was able to go into it without any kind of preconceived notions, bias, or anything like that. That being said, let's get the first impressions I had with the game.
Monster Hunter World is an open world monster hunter game set in many different, distinct locations. From arid deserts to valleys and lush forests, Monster Hunter has it all. All of the locations have their own set of monsters, smaller animals, and pest level bugs and rodents.
The map feels totally alive. I remember distinctly fighting a large monster (name) in the middle of the desert. The monster charged, knocked down a giant mound sticking our from the earth, and millions of little bugs came running out. At that point, I knew the world had been filled with life and was literally teeming with it everywhere.
Can I just say one time... FINALLY! I'm going to start with the crafting system because, to me, it was the most groundbreaking, refreshing crafting system I have ever seen in a modern game.
Wow,... a crafting system that requires you to just pick up a few different things clearly based on the different monsters you are hunting and items in the environment. After just one kill, you will be able to make a few pieces of armor and after just a little bit of looting, you will be able to craft some weapons. They didn't skimp out on the armor sets either. There is a set for just about every monster I have slain thus far, as well as represented by the different ores you can mine and many of the other smaller creatures that fill the environment.
Developer (name) did a great job of making the crafting simple, yet rewarding. They cut out all of the little filler items you would need in a game like World of Warcraft and just let you craft based on the raw essentials. It's so easy. It's so good.
Dev (name) is also generous with the number of coins and other in-game currency that you will need to get it done. It feels like a game that you buy and you got completely without them holding anything back. I don't know if they learned from some recent catastrophic microtransaction drama in the recent past (link), or they just genuinely care about their players and feel they should have an "unlocked" game from the start. THANK YOU!
Again, I have never played a Monster Hunter game before so I'm not sure how much of this is still the same from previous games. This might not all be as groundbreaking as I think it is. But I think the combat system is great too.
There is diversity. You can choose from about 20 different weapon types; all with their own stats, difficulty levels, and purposes when playing as a team. They feel balanced and grounded. They have many different combo moves that can be learned and honed to become an elite monster killing machine.
Playing with your friends is one thing. You've played with them a hundred times. But let me tell you, there is nothing quite as satisfying as getting your butt kicked by a monster, shooting up a flare, and watching 3 random hunters run in and start beating the hell out of it. Its hilarious, helpful, and gets you through the toughest times in a way that feels like it should be part of the game story-wise.
The one downfall of the SOS Flare is that it kind of makes the game too easy. Rather than being killed, I run off, fire the flare, and await my reinforcements. It can take the mortality out of your faceoff with a fantastic beast.
My one gripe about the game
By no means am I a developer. I have no right to talk about what is and is not possible from a development standpoint in a game like this, but I can complain anyway, right? That is our right as citizens of this country to complain about anything we want at any time unless I read the constitution incorrectly.
But, I digress, the one thing I can't stand for this game is the clipping. It is constant. Your weapon clipping into your armor, you clipping into enemies, your armor clipping into... your other armor. I'm sure some people don't mind it, but for me, it destroys the immersion to some extent. It's hard to get really mentally and emotionally invested in a game when you can see your sword poking through your cape and it just looks weird. Not to mention that is the view you have in this game literally 100% of the time. I don't know... This probably isn't a big deal to some people, but to me and some other members of the team, it is. We can't stand clipping!
If you are a fan of the JRPG genre then you may have grown numb to it by now, but as a tried and true fan of many amazing games, I know some developers *cough, Naughty Dog, cough, cough* have figured out how to stop this from happening.
Is this game worth grabbing for a nice, sweatpants induced weekend of gaming? All clipping aside, yes it is. The game is great. If you are into technical combat (think Dark Souls meets Horizon) then you are in for a treat. If you just enjoy collecting, crafting, and seeing your little avatar rock the coolest gear, then you are in for a treat on that front as well.