When Monster Hunter World launched worldwide in early 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, many people saw the game as consolidating the monster-hunting formula. The structure created on PlayStation 2, in Monster Hunter, took time to be assimilated by the public, but, over time, it became a subgenre and even served as a model for other good titles, such as God Eater, Dauntless and Soul Sacrifice – this one last one a lost jewel from PS Vita.
Not only did the fans love him: the market also reacted positively to the welcome changes brought about by World. Capcom, producer of the series since the beginning, watched one of its niche games emerge from anonymity to absolute success, especially in the West, and contemplated the game breaking sales records, becoming the company’s most commercialized product.
My story with Monster Hunter started in 2014, shortly after Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate arrived on Wii U. At the time, it was the pretext I needed to invest in Nintendo’s console table. Since then, I went through all the games in the series released later: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Monster Hunter Generations (base and Ultimate) and Monster Hunter World – having also invested hundreds of hours in Monster Hunter Stories, a 3DS spin-off that will receive a sequel this July on Nintendo Switch and PC.
I like to talk about the relationship I have with the series because it makes me reflect how much it has changed since I ventured out as an inexperienced hunter in the expanded version of the third game. Monster Hunter World kicked off and took the franchise to a mature stage, but I did not imagine that Monster Hunter Rise, recently released title for Nintendo Switch, could go further in terms of evolution, even because it is smaller in scope. Rise was born with the same foundation as World and still corrects, in my view, its two main problems: pace and accessibility. Without further ado, let’s move on to the full analysis.
After all, what is Monster Hunter?
First of all, as we did in the analysis of Monster Hunter World, it is always opportune to remember what Monster Hunter is, conceptually speaking. In short, the game works in a vicious cycle of hunting monsters: you prepare your inventory with essential items, embark on tasks to eliminate specific monsters and return with rewards, with parts of the creatures’ bodies, to make better weapons and sets. The system is repetitive, yes, but it injects a dose of irremediable addiction into the vein.
If we needed to categorize Monster Hunter, relate it to a genre of games, I would say that it is closer to being an action RPG due to the combat, its complex systems and the equipment-based progression. As you progress through the missions, larger creatures come up with unique and valuable materials to encourage you to start over on the loop.
Reasons to hunt
Let’s be honest: Monster Hunter has always used history as a subterfuge to justify hunting down gigantic creatures. As usual, you create a personalized hunter and set out on your journey, this time to defend the Kamura village from the frenzy, a natural phenomenon in which groups of monsters attack the city in order to decimate its people. However, the greatest threat of this catastrophic event is Magnamalo, a creature that appears in the midst of the frenzy to feed on the horde and the inhabitants of Kamura.