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Monster Hunter World Review

Monster Hunter World Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for review.

Monster Hunter… a series that is all about players teaming up to take down monsters all while working to get stronger. For almost 15 years, the series thrived on this style starting on the PlayStation 2 before it would explode in popularity with Monster Hunter Freedom on PSP. In fact, the series would be a hit on handhelds with its later entries. In Japan it was a popular franchise but overseas, not so much until Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate in 2012. The next few games would go to have much success on the 3DS. But it wasn’t until 2017 when Capcom announced they are bringing Monster Hunter to the newest generation of consoles, in the form of Monster Hunter World. For the first Monster Hunter game on PS4, Xbox One and PC, did it deliver?

The story centers on a continent called the New World, where monsters roam and where researchers are intrigued by its mystery. You play as a Hunter who’s a member of the Fifth Fleet and is with the Research Commission on an expedition into the New World. The trek goes downhill once an elder dragon named Zorah Magdaros shows up, causing the Hunter to get on the move. They do arrive in the New World, in a makeshift base called Astera with one goal: explore the world and find the truth regarding Zorah Magdaros. But even with Zorah Magdaros, the New World is home to many challenges, requiring the Hunter to expect the unexpected.

Monster Hunter World’s story is intriguing but at the same time, the pacing of the game is solid. Most games don’t have much of a story but here, there is since you are part of an organization with an objective. You see it transpire as you play and even after contending with Zorah Magdaros, there is still more. There is some voice acting but it mostly occurs during specific missions. At least it’s considered okay at best.

Now we reach the meat & potatoes of things, the gameplay. If you have played any of the previous Monster Hunter games, you will feel right at home. Since this is the first Monster Hunter game released on the newest consoles, the game is more streamlined to accommodate new players. It actually works. Players start by creating their own Hunter and Pailco. After a while, they go through several tutorials getting them accustomed to the controls and then their journey can begin. The game is an action-RPG with players having to complete jobs in order to gain money and materials needed to either buy armor & weapons or upgrade the gear they currently have. And speaking of which, this game has 14 different weapons for players to choose from. Each of these 12 weapons has their own abilities and attacks, offering different advantages in battle. Plus the weapons and armor you craft and upgrade can offer numerous effects for your hunter. The same is said for the Palico as well. There is a lot of customization here and how it goes depends on the player.

As for progression, the game follows a mission structure where raising your Hunter Rank, or HR, is required. You raise your Hunter Rank by completing quests and they can depend on the main objective. Whether it is collecting items, slaying smaller monsters or even defeating big monsters that roam the lands, they are what’s needed to rank up. Not to mention missions are split between several categories. Assigned are main story missions that are needed to progress further while optional are useful for players to grind money and experience. Completing them nets you money, items and experience. The experience is used to not only level up your rank but also your Palico. Playing solo lets you have a Palico as your ally in your journeys. He is a big help support-wise. There is a catch to it all. Dying in a mission cuts those rewards and failing 3 times results in a mission failure. Preparedness is required if a player is to succeed. Players can also go on expeditions to find materials, battle monsters and so on. For anyone that wants to grind for stuff so they can prep themselves, there you go. The game really offers you a lot for a full price game.

The length of Monster Hunter World is outright ridiculous. Expect to spend hours upon hours completing missions to unlock the best gear and weapons needed for the challenges aside. Not only that but the game offers a lot of additional content with free updates. The free updates bring in new monsters for players to tackle and with it, new gear for players to get. Sometimes they hold events where you can attain exclusive gear such as the Devil May Cry outfit, Horizon Zero Dawn gear, etc. Even after beating the game, there’s still a lot to do. One thing that should be mentioned here and it’s that this game is best played if you have friends. This game is mostly online and you are allowed to ally with whoever wishes to help and sometimes you have to help them. It’s a game like this where people of all kinds can team up to take down monsters. Simply awesome!

Capcom really delivered in terms of its presentation. The game is beautiful and compared to the previous games, it’s a huge step up. At 1080p running at 60 fps, it’s awesome. The environments are stellar, as if this world has come to life in the game. All the monsters look great and at some cases scary. Music is great, offering the intensity the series is known for. The victory themes especially are good since it provides satisfaction after a job well done. Gameplay is familiar and streamlined. It does a good job teaching players the controls and how to handle each weapon. You can turn it off in the options if you like. Voice acting is great with talents such as Richard Epcar and Matt Mercer. They deliver in their performances and I find them well.

As far as negatives are concerned, there are very few. Capcom delivered in making the game balanced in terms of difficulty. Sure things start simple enough and it builds up as you progress. And if you get stuck in a quest that’s hard, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The game doesn’t penalize you if it happens so it never hurts to send an SOS. Other than that, the game is incredible, almost perfect.

Capcom took a gamble by bringing Monster Hunter onto the PS4, Xbox One and PC and it paid off big time. The game looks great, plays great and feels great. It’s also satisfying when you have friends and the feeling of you taking down a tough foe is all the more rewarding. And since the game does add more via free updates, there’s much to do. It’s without a doubt one of the best games in the series not only introducing new players to the series but also bringing in veterans looking for a challenge. If you have a group of friends and in need of some fun, Monster Hunter World is it. The hunt begins again!

I give Monster Hunter World a 9.5 out of 10. It’s worth your money & it earns my personal seal of approval!

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Monster Hunter Stories Review

Monster Hunter Stories Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review was done by Nintendo.

Monster Hunter… known to be a series where players team up to take down monsters that would normally tear them apart. It’s one of Capcom’s profitable franchises and is been going strong. A spin-off of the series titled Monster Hunter Stories, was released in Japan last year to great success. Its success would lead to an animated adaption called Monster Hunter Stories Ride-On. A few months later, Capcom brings the game overseas. Now that it’s released, does it carry the tradition that the main series has always had?

Let’s start with the story. The story is set in Hakum Village, an isolated place where riders coexist with monsters. You play as Lute, a child living in the village until a monster infected by the Black Blight attacks the village causing much tragedy. Now much older and having earned the right to be a Rider, Lute must venture the outside world, alongside his companion Navirou to seek out and befriend monsters known as “monsties” and find a way to deal with the threat of the Black Blight.

The story is basic but easy to get in to. Most of the stuff can be a bit predictable but it’s not in a level that’s considered bad. It’s more light-hearted but it does have its dark moments. Personally, it kept me intrigued and I wondered how things turn out so the story is a positive for me.

Monster Hunter Stories is a departure from the main series in terms of its gameplay. For starters the game is an RPG adventure. As a Rider, you battle monsters, explore Dens to steal eggs, hatch eggs and train Monsties to make them stronger. The game splits between two sections: Field and Action. On the field you can explore and do many things like travel to towns, find items, accept side quests and so on. It’s standard stuff. Sometimes you find eggs in Monster Dens and you head to towns to hatch them. In turn you can choose up to 6 Monsties to have in your party, similar to Pokémon. But you only have one to have with you and you can change at any time. Monsties also have skills that help in various areas. With Quests, they come in two varieties: Story and Side Quests. Story Quests are accepted automatically and they’re needed to continue the game. Side Quests however can be done anytime and they depend on the request. They can be accepted via bulletin boards or by the NPCs you meet in towns. Completing them nets you money and experience, which can be used to buy gear and strengthen your party.

Battles however are where the game differentiates from the main series. The combat is traditional RPG-based with you and your monsties fight opposing monsters, sometimes up to 3. You can attack, choose a kind of attack and see what happens. You can also choose Skills to have your character do various things. As you battle, you have access to three kinds of attacks: Power, Speed and Technique. The game follows a rock-paper-scissors on how battles go with each type having an advantage over another. Sometimes using some attacks can result in combos dealing more damage. Getting the advantage in battle is a necessity especially for your side because you get a boost in damage and kinship. The fights also have quick time moments, depending on the monstie, where motions or button presses are needed to win the fight and deal damage. There’s a lot to do and they help make the fights feel intense.

Speaking of which, the Kinship Stone is an important feature. As you battle against monsters and succeed in clashes, the kinship gauge fills and when it’s full, you can ride on your chosen Monstie boosting your attack but making you susceptible of falling off if you fail too many clashes. Succeeding levels up the Kinship and when the time’s right, your monstie can let off a powerful Kinship attack that can deal major damage, especially in boss fights. It also has a secondary use and it can be leveled up so you can be able to befriend Monsties of higher levels and rarities. The game has its fair share of boss battles with many having more than one section to attack. Focusing on each part and taking it down can help make the battles less stressful.

Another important feature is Monster Genes. Each monster has a 3×3 grid that contains various abilities. To add them, you can channel genes from one to another offering a plethora of different combinations. Matching three of the same kind causes a Bingo effect that boosts the Monstie’s stats. It provides unlimited possibilities for your Monsties to have all sorts of abilities and advantages, adding more to an otherwise huge game. Your player character can also be customized with various weapons and armor. With armor there’s a lot of different kinds. Weapons however, you are limited to four: Greatsword, Sword & Shield, Hammer & Hunting Horn, each with advantages and disadvantages. They can also be upgraded in exchange for money and materials just like in the main series.

All of this adds up to a game that offers a lot for your money’s worth. The game will take you a really long time, upwards to around 40-50 hours if you plan on completing every story and side quest. So there’s a lot to do and there’s more even after beating the game. You can also battle other players either via local, online or by Streetpass so you can put your skills to the test against others. The game is a wonder to look at. It’s presentation is to the point with each area being different to set themselves apart whether it be the plains, inside a volcano or even on a tropical island. Characters are expressive more in scenes where they talk with Navirou and the main character being very expressive. Cutscenes are good as well. The monsters are faithful to how they look in the main games with the Monsties being cute. Music is good to listen to and can get you pumped, especially in battles. There’s no voice acting but the cast like Navirou speak in a gibberish tone. It’s all right since their expressions can pretty much speak for them.

If there were any negatives, I’d say that the game doesn’t have multiple save files like in the main game. There’s only one file and if you want to try again and start differently, you got to delete it. In addition there isn’t much else in terms of post-game content aside from a tower you must trek making the replay value stagnant. Sometimes the game can get hard but grinding and leveling up can help. Like most Nintendo games, Monster Hunter Stories comes with Amiibo support. Tapping Amiibo from this game can net you bonus items and materials that can help with your quest. However they are only available in Japan and Capcom hasn’t decided on whether they’ll bring them overseas. Thankfully they are region free so if you are lucky to get them, they can be usable.

Overall, Monster Hunter Stories may feel like a Monster Hunter game but it offers a different experience. With RPG elements thrown in along with the ability to hatch and train Monsties, it offers a lot. The presentation is solid, the challenge is there and though there are some faults, Capcom did a stellar job providing a game that anyone can jump into. For anyone that’s new to the Monster Hunter series and want a first hand experience, this is the game for you. Be prepared to spend hours upon hours on this as once you start, it won’t stop until the journey is over. This game is a journey that’s truly well earned.

I give Monster Hunter Stories a solid 9 out of 10. It’s worth the purchase and you will not be disappointed.