Monster Hunter: World at Tokyo Game Show 2017
Monster Hunter: World on PS4, Xbox One, and PC was one of the biggest surprises from E3 2017. Capcom kept this momentum into Tokyo Game Show 2017. Monster Hunter World was playable at both the Sony Interactive Entertainment Booth and the Capcom Booth. Both companies spared no expense on making the game’s area as awesome to be in as well as to look at. The booths had an authentic jungle atmosphere, sans the humidity and heat. PlayStation even had a tiny photo spot where fans could simulate barbecuing meat!
Capcom, however, dwarfed Sony’s already elaborate exhibit. The fearsome Nergigante, Elder Dragon and flagship monster of Monster Hunter: World, welcomed all would be hunters into Capcom’s den. A special Droves of Monster Hunter devotees wasted no time in getting their chance to test the latest iteration in the popular franchise. Visitors chose between either the single-player or the multiplayer missions. I was far too excited at the prospect of playing this PS4 version that I didn’t properly examine which ticket I selected. Lo and behold, it turned out I picked the multiplayer mission.
Waiting in Anticipation
I spent the next hour or so in line, carefully examining the laminated game instructions of Monster Hunter: World. Unfortunately, all the instructions were in Japanese. I had to rely on the graphics and my previous experience with the Monster Hunter games. Luckily enough, the basics seemed to be intact and I could play without knowing the deeper intricacies of the game.
The next hurdle proved to be a little more difficult as I was the only one who spoke English. Whenever there was a discussion among the team or with the Capcom guide, I would nod politely and signal that I would defer any decision making to them. We were given the option to hunt one of three monsters. The team decided on the Barroth in the Wildspire Wastes map. It was a familiar monster on a map that was frequently featured on Monster Hunter World promotional materials. It should be a piece of cake. Suddenly, I found out that we weren’t all experienced with Monster Hunter. One of our numbers never played the game before and I’ve got some serious rust to brush off. Suddenly, our chances for success felt like they were halved.
The wait wasn’t full of awkward silences and smiles in line though. Capcom showed a couple of Monster Hunter: World videos. The first was a beautiful story trailer, introducing the main characters, the Astera headquarters, several new monsters, and a little, mysterious philosophy on the side. The second, more important trailer was the weapons trailer. I had always preferred technical weapons, like the explosive Switch Axe and aerial Insect Glaive, or light weapons like the swift Long Sword or the ranged Light Bowgun. However, the trailer showed several new gameplay elements I wasn’t familiar with. I wasn’t confident in utilizing my preferred arsenal without knowing their intricacies. So, I fell back on the faithful heavy weapon, the bludgeoning Hammer.
The Hunt Begins Anew
A Capcom usherette eventually led our band of would be hunters into our stations. I sheepishly had to wait for the guide to help me select my weapon. Then, we were off to the races. Separated from my teammates, we all tried to find the Barroth. Glowing, green scoutflies were the primary method of tracking monsters in Monster Hunter: World. Following scoutflies led me to glowing green traces of the monsters. It was a matter following the breadcrumbs to the intended target. The map was a true open world, no longer separated into specific zones with loading times. Running through the map was a breeze until I saw the Barroth grazing in a mud pit.
I hastily pointed to my teammate where I was on the game screen. I couldn’t use a paintball or I’d alert the monster. The sneak function allowed me to follow the monster, keeping a safe distance. I waited patiently atop a ridge above the fearsome Barroth, until the rest of the team was within striking distance. One breath later, I lept the safety of the ridge with a devastating jumping hammer strike right at the Barroth’s head. That made me target number one for the enraged monster. I spent most of the initial moments of the hunt dodging angry Barroth charges, headbutts, and mud bombs it launched with its tail. It was truly a blessing being able to drink potions while moving. Being able to adjust the inventory on the fly with a wheel menu was also truly helpful.
When the Barroth eventually decided to target my teammates, I went towards what Hammers do best. While my partner’s switch axes and long swords were perfect for cutting the Barroth’s tail, my trusty Hammer did best at breaking apart the Barroth’s tough mud armor. The riskier and more rewarding target was the Barroth’s calcified head. The Hammer was perfect for cracking the monster’s skull and knocking it down, temporarily stunning it. Despite not being a full team of expert, well-oiled team, we sent the Barroth on the backpedal. It limped away and we had to make sure it didn’t escape its fate.
A New Challenger…?!
The open world worked in our favor as we didn’t have to guess where the monster fled. There was no lag time moving between areas. I volunteered to keep an eye on the retreating Barroth while the rest of the team sharpened their dulled weapons and restored their health. I kept tabs on the Barroth as it approached a cave. As soon as we re-engaged the Barroth, we were met with a surprise guest. The Barroth entered the domain of massive Diablos, a horned, winged wyvern. In a fascinating example of world interaction, the Diablos made a beeline for the intruding Barroth. The heat of the hunt pumped too much adrenaline into our teammates. We decided to interject ourselves into the mammoth battle.
The hasty decision proved to be quite costly. The attack patterns of both Diablos and Barroth were too erratic for us to handle, almost putting one our number out of commission. While most of us were busy with the much stronger Diablos, the Barroth almost slipped away. I was able to keep the eyes on the prize and followed it out. Eventually, the Diablos grew tired of playing with its food and the rest of the team hightailed it out its cave. The team eventually reconvened at the mudpits where the Barroth sat in its pool, recuperating and regaining some of its health. Time was of the essence and we struck like lightning. Two monsters were a challenge and a single, injured Barroth was now chicken feed. It didn’t take long before we slain the once fearsome Barroth.
Monster Hunter: World felt great on the PlayStation 4. The more ergonomic Playstation controller was more comfortable to use. Despite being unable to maximize the controls, the basics were solid. The high-definition open world made immersion in Monster Hunter: World even better. I look forward to getting the game when it releases on January 24, 2018. Perhaps, I might be lucky enough to grab the first ever PlayStation 4 Pro limited edition: the Liolaeus Edition!
Capcom also featured several new features of Monster Hunter: World during special stage events at their own area and PlayStation’s area. Several story elements were shared. In order to understand why Elder Dragons cross the ocean every 10 years, the New World Elder Dragons Research regularly sends research teams to the new continent. The main character joined the residents of Astera, the research headquarters. The Receptionist, the Supreme Commander, and the Investigation Team Leader were characters that will support the player character on the New World.
Furthermore, character creation was more robust than it ever was! The customized character looked the same in both in-game and in cutscenes! Additionally, the furry Palicos were also given amazing customization options!