So the Beta is over and you either missed your chance or your hungry to read anything and everything about the game. Here’s a nice little bit for you to enjoy then, some words on my experience in the world of Monster Hunter. Another Experience/Opinions piece!
I’m no stranger to Monster Hunter. My ‘new’ 3Ds XL is the red limited edition Monster Hunter Generation version! That being said I’ve never really ‘clicked’ with the series and as much as I enjoy the games they’ve never grabbed me as much as I’ve seen it’s fans. A new game always has my interest but rarely has it been a must own with this level of excitement. I’ve heard people who previously only played 1 or 2 excited to get back into the Beta so we’ll see how it goes shall we?
Off to a rolling start indeed! A plethora of voice work on offer! For me the option of English, Japanese or monster hunter language audio is pretty amazing! As is all the tinkery options such as range for audio actually making a difference. Still I can’t get over the number of languages on offer, that’s definitely special.
Lets jump into… the game… then… oh. Why do all monster hunter games have to have the worlds smallest text? I thought generations was a step in the right direction and this is a step back to pixel by pixel letters. Shame really and I’m guessing these are designed for huge tvs where the font would be easy to read? Dead rising always did this to and I’ll never understand why.
Single player, multiplayer and training? This is Ferraro Roche of beta tests! I’m used to just “here’s your bare-bones VS mode”. Still I can see why, this is essentially a demo for the people who have dropped off from Monster Hunter and want to see if it’s worth the money. Nice to have 3 different quests to with a few different options to go for the kill.
Wow. This Training Mode is fantastic. The way it shows you the basics but shows you what your commands did is brilliant, as is the way your button presses show up still so you can refine your combos. It even throws in everything you need to get to grips with the game, this is a surprisingly well built area and I didn’t expect to spend as long as I did there.
Right time to go over the options and there’s plenty to go through *deep breath*. Starting with the Big Sword – It’s now a little slower but you can feel the weight of it. The Sword and Shield – still lovely and familiar, with a dash of Dark Souls. The Dual Blades – A .hack wet dream with super fast combos and focusing on rage. The Long Sword – A slow extra gauge balance. The Hammer – It is what it is – a hammer, slow heavy and powerful. The Hunting Horn – The strange bard class with buffs for all. The Lance – Your Paladin class focusing on protection with counters. A Gunlance – It’s an odd mix of ranged and lancer. The Switch Axe – the heavy trick weapon from Bloodborne switching on the fly from a large sword to a medium axe. The Charge Blade – An interesting hybrid of sword and shield and everything else, it feels like the expert novice class. Insect Glaive – Another oddball hybrid of micromanaging minions and jumping around. Bow – Same as a hammer really, It’s a bow so it acts as you expect, oh and that’s just brilliant. Heavy Bowgun – The Team Fortress 2 Heavy class but in bazooka or sniper tastes. Finally that leaves the Light Bowgun – The COD class for run and gun. It’s impressive and slightly terrifying how many choices you have to play with in MH, thankfully the game has extra tutorials in each preview equip screen to help you decide.
So just throwing down combos and trying everything out in the Training ground the game feels like Monster Hunter Generations but with a fresh coat of paint. The more you played of it though the more refined it feels. There’s been a lot of behind the scenes improvements to this and the smooth movement of the character is brilliant.
So that’s training and choosing down. Single player first I think. The character creator looks like it will be impressive on launch. The beta is just allowing preset builds to chose from but wow aside from dude bro and Geralt their surprisingly diverse and detailed. Palicos are back as well for better or worse. Looks amazing but hope their a little less involved. Same old monster hunter but my god it looks good. Strangely feels incredibly Bloodbourne like now though. Into a quest! Time for hunting!
OMG THERE IS NO LOADING BETWEEN AREAS! Ok so let me clarify, you load the game > you chose your stuff > you go to a quest/camp and start. Previously between each “area” like a field or cliff due to hardware limits you would be treated to a short (or on the Wii horribly long) load-screen which is why most areas are numbered. This? Nope. I was running and sliding (and a few times falling) to catch up with my team and IT WAS BRILLIANT! This is how I’ve wanted it to play every time I’ve ever played a Monster Hunter. Nice kill cam to for when you do complete a quest.
Time for dipping into multiplayer… *holds breath* oh wait it’s actually pretty awesome! So far so functional. It’s still 4 to a party and still largely built around players playing with each other in a PSO (yes that’s the first version of this I remember) style setup. Loving the auto-translate for messages (so “Over here” text appears in their native language) and the fact that if the session leader says “time to go” everyone has 30 seconds before they’re taken along for the ride. Also net-code seems solid so far but this is a beta so take that with a pinch of salt, I’ve found I’ve had to create all my quests to get a connection that wasn’t just a “party full” error message. That being said all rooms I created were full in seconds and this beta doesn’t include things like the hub towns so unlikely an issue.
The controls are surprisingly tight to. It took a bit of getting back into the boots but they feel very well refined with many times my hunter managing a superb swing, slide, roll and attack. Granted I found myself sometimes using quick items instead of moving through the equipment but that’s due to new features and still being used to old controls. Slaying a huge beast feels great to, you die and re-spawn close enough to get back into the action and these beasts do feel like you need a balanced party to take them down.
So all good really. I hope the game follows monster hunters of past with buckets and buckets of free post launch dlc and content. Note that word there Capcom – FREE. Please don’t ruin one of the best things about this series. Lots of cross promotional content (typically nintendo brands) and I realise this is back on Sony but can we have crazy cross overs? Like Goku hair for DBZ Fighters? Lawson uniforms for some kind of food tie in? Olympic themed quests? Ignoring the fact in all likelihood the chances are the content will be huge to start with. Oh wait it’s already confirmed this kinda stuff is coming here!
All in all it’s just a well polished and refined game so far. It feels like this is what the games have been always aiming for and this is the best it’s ever been. Full of nice little touches (like vultures coming down on carcasses or sleeping emotes at tables) and it all adds up to a lovely surprise. This game deserves the hype so far and I hope it holds up to the finished product. Out 28th January? Ok consider me sold Capcom this is spot on. This is a masterclass in Beta Testing.