"I pick up the quest as I have done many times before, a tinge of anxiety as I hit the ‘depart for quest’ button and the Wingdrake comes to take me to my destination. I arrive at the Wildspire Wastes and begin tracking my target using the joyful Glowflies - green sprites that seek out clues such as scratches in the ground. I hear the affirmative sound that means my prey has been located so I dash towards where it resides."
The whole premise of Monster Hunter World is to hunt large beasts for their body parts in order to craft weapons and armour in order to hunt even larger beasts. That's it. Simple no?
"Upon reaching my destination a cutscene pops up. The sand below my feet shifts and I get dragged down a hole to the mysterious monster that caused the rift in the ground to appear. "
It may sound simple but it rarely is.
From the lowly Great Jargas to the mighty Elder Dragons, each beast is unique and equally terrifying. Each has its own attack patterns, its own special abilities and most importantly, its own weak points.
Failure is met with frustration but also a desire to go back out there and try again. Sure the Diablos got the better of me the first two times, but through learning and studying I was able to best it and achieve my goal. The sense of satisfaction was bigger than any game I have played in some time.
"A huge wyvern with massive horns on its head, a gigantic wingspan and an even greater bad attitude. Its first charge knocks me flying, decimating my health pool. A profanity escapes my lips as its second attack swings its clubbed tail towards me and sending me airborne once again. I steady myself, run away and heal up. Its attacks do not let up and before I know it I am knocked unconscious."
Monster Hunter has been around since its debut on Playstation 2 in 2004. It has always however been seen as a niche game, released mainly on handheld devices. Monster Hunter World is the first major console release since 2009 so they had to get it right.
The developers have tried to make the game more accessible but also retain the core difficulty curve to keep the veterans happy. I can confirm they have done so and more. There is a tutorial (a rarity for this series) for beginners, a training area to try out one of 14 different weapon types and they have made the ranged weapons much easier to get to grips with. It all makes the game much quicker and less rage inducing to pick up for first timers. There is even a story mode to help guide players through.
"Back to camp I go to get fresh supplies and to rethink my strategy. The unknown had shown itself but I had gleaned little about its attack patterns. I run back to where the Diablos was last seen and this time I try to be less bold, don't attack but remain in a defensive stance. I study its attacks as it roars and charges and divebombs towards me repeatedly. I am knocked unconscious once more."
The content that has been included in the game is staggering. I myself have invested 70 hours into it so far and I have yet to scratch the surface of the end game. So invested in getting new armour and weapons, I haven't even completed the main story quests.
I suspect I will be playing this game for a long time. There is so much to do, so much to hunt and most importantly, so much to forge.
"I had gained much more knowledge about it this time and I set off for the third attempt. 20 minutes later, after streams of profanity, sweat dripping from my brow and most of the items I had with me used, the beast lays dormant. I claim my bounty and return to HQ"
Now if you will excuse me I have a bigger, badder monster to fight.