Over the past few years, Monster Hunter has grown bigger and better in every way. If we take a look back at the first ever game on PS2 and compare it to the upcoming Monster Hunter: World while the games are vastly different in many ways they still bare similarities that keep them a part of the award-winning series.
Monster Hunter released in 2004 for PS2 and sparked a revolution in action adventure games. Not only did the series usher in a new type genre but it has led to multiple clones across the generation like Toukiden, God Eater, and Soul Sacrifice and while all these games are great they never fill the shoes of the giant that is Monster Hunter.
Throughout the years we have seen the series grow from a basic PS2 game that included a measly forty-five monster across six categories, to Monster Hunter: World that has over eighty. The first generation of the game had seven weapon types and Monster Hunter: World has seen that double into fourteen. With all these drastic changes, the series has evolved into an industry-leading experience that has to be played at least once to know what a Monster Hunter game is all about. But what are the ingredients that make the games so great? Let’s take a look at the core mechanics of the Monster Hunter series and why it is such a smash hit.
Without weapons, Monster Hunter would just be a Monster game and that is no fun right. Weapons in Monster Hunter basically determine the class you are playing on the mission you are on and the weapon type will determine the play style and role you have in a group of friends. The Great Sword, for example, is an up close and personal blade that is great for tanking monster’s attacks. Gunlances double up as a lance and a gun for ranged and up close attacks.
If you prefer supporting players then the Hunting Horn is for you. This weapon can be used as a hammer and a musical instrument that lets you buff your party members with melodies you play on the horn. The Monster Hunter series successfully manages to allow for freedom of choice thanks to the weapon system. If you don’t like what you are doing then you can just change the weapon and take on a whole new role in the game. The best thing of all is that all the weapons feel completely different and are also easy to master.
Without a doubt, the most exciting part of a Monster Hunter game is discovering all the creatures that await in each region. Not only do the games each have a wide range of different monsters but they all offer unique and exciting ways to fight. Weak spots on specific monsters determine how you will approach the fight and cutting off specific parts of their body will hinder specific attacks useless by them and grant you rare materials too.
Knowing you need a specific material to craft that sword and how to get it from that specific monster on a specific body part is always better than going in blind to a fight. Not to mention that the exhilarating hunts for these monsters are what the game is all about. Slaying giant dragons as they soar above you and riding dinosaurs as they try and buckle you off their back. Every monster is carefully designed to feel as if they belong in the world and each one has a weakness and strength. It just adds another layer of depth to the experience.
Hunting in a party
Sure, Monster Hunter games can be played alone but they are best played with friends. Since the original game, multiplayer has played a huge role in the series and it is the foundation of the game today. To band together with a group of friends and set off on a hunt with each player having a specific role thanks to their build is truly the pinnacle of the experience. As you all head towards a giant toad, pull out your weapons and start cutting away at it you really get a feeling that you are in a band of hunters trying to fell a giant beast.
While monsters do get tougher when playing with friends the overall experience changes so drastically that you will never want to go back to playing alone ever again. Squads and arenas also add another layer to the game that allows you to make a guild-like group of players to always call upon when you are in need of help. It creates a sense of community within a living and breathing world.
Speaking of living and breathing world, Monster Hunter games have some of the best in gaming. It is almost as if you are transported to an ecosystem that feels so alive. Birds flying through the air, insects walking about the land, and trees and streams placed so precisely as if they were grown there in the game.
Best of all is that the monsters that inhabit the world all feel as if they belong there. Nests from Gajau fish swim through streams, Plesioths fly through the air and return to the bottom of the ocean when hurt, and Dah’ren Mohrans inhabit the great deserts and are waiting in the sands for you to trespass. The world is alive and you can get lost in its beauty for hours on end, a beauty only found in Monster Hunter games.
So there you have the four pillars of a Monster Hunter game. With Monster Hunter: World coming out soon I hope this has shed some light on the series.
Will you be picking up Monster Hunter: World when it releases this Friday 26 January? Let us know in the comments and forum.