Battling the Beasts of 'Monster Hunter: World' Feels Dynamic and Desperate


#1

When 3D was still fairly new to games, the promise of scale was enough to get my attention. Miles of road to drive over. Mountain peaks to climb. Rural fantasy townships and sci-fi space colonies to explore. News articles began announcing how long it took to cross a map, or how many “Oblivions” could fit into the virtual landmasses of competing games. But it wasn’t only the worlds that grew. Enemies got bigger too, with screen filling Castlevania bosses evolving into the monstrous giants of Demon’s Souls and the steppe-scraping titans of Shadow of the Colossus.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/8xvpw5/monster-hunter-world-review

#2

I have never gotten into Monster Hunter despite trying, like, five times? And now I find myself in the position of trying to hold out for the PC version as I know that even if I don’t like the PS4 version I will still end up buying the PC version anyways and I don’t want to spend $100 on Monster Hunter


#3

All I know about Monster Hunter is getting a cool monster from putting “Big Willie Style” into my PS1. I assume little has changed.


#4

Now you can just feed it MP3s so it’s much easier!


#5

Gimme my Willennium monster!


#6

Nah that’s old news you gotta get that Whip Your Hair Back And Forth eye stalk monster if you want to be in the meta!


#7

I love Monster Hunter but I have been slightly…queasy about the narrative direction and the overall framing the series has taken. As recently as 3 the series maintained an atmosphere of being…beset. Humans live in small villages. Being a Hunter is largely a matter of survival, of keeping important land clear and people safe. Sure the actual reason you fight is to get good carves and upgrade your weapons, but it felt like humans were a small part of a much larger ecosystem

From 4 on it has definitely shifted (or maybe I just didn’t notice it before) in a direction that implies that humans are organized, with huge cities and with technology, and the role of “Hunter” has started to taste a bit more sour


#8

Yeah I’ve tried three times, I’m not jumping on board again. Part of this review reminded me of the feeling and thought I had last time I tried. I hate fighting the monsters, for one it takes to long and for two they move so beautifully.

I would much rather a researcher mode, collect photos, footprints, eating habits, nesting habits, hunting habits, discover the map, unravel the food chain.


#9

I love that they really get critical with the games here. This “review” is so interesting to me because it praises a lot of the game play, but after reading it, I really feel like I would just feel… bad… playing this game. I like this look at the game a lot and I think it helped me from getting overly caught up in the hype and buying something that wouldn’t satisfy me.


#10

Austin’s description of the story sounds interesting, a hash reality of how people treated hunting and set up in new lands. In other games you get resources to make a simple sword but in MH that sword looks like the monster you killed giving in the mush more of a trophy like feeling. Makes me want a MH that just about studying monster life style.


#11

this is one game i would definitely insta-buy if it had, like, a pacifist mode or a photo mode where i could just sneak around and watch the monsters live their lives. the ecology of this world is so beautifully crafted, which makes it all the more unfortunate that the main way of interacting w/ it is through Violence. i’ve been interested in the monster hunter series for years due to its wonderful and lively monster designs but i’ve never gotten into it due to the mechanical complexity and the guilt i’d feel at hurting the beautiful monsters

that said my brother and i might still be getting it to have a game that we can play together. in this case it might be worth the guilt of fighting the monsters, to be able to see and interact with them on my television screen


#12

I worry about the effect that making the game “easier” than previous iterations (and Generations already started doing this) has on the overall feeling of hunting and killing the monsters as well

Because historically I’ve never felt any guilt for the actual action of hunting itself, and I think the difficulty might be a large part of that. Because its so easy to fail a quest, because new fights take so long to learn and even a reasonably experienced crew like my friends and I can fail quests if we’re not cautious, it always felt like a contest between (relative) equals.
“Sometimes you get the monster, and sometimes, well, he gets you”

By making the game less punishing it maybe feels more unfair in favor of the humans


#13

Super interesting piece. Hunting has always been super… ugly to me in reality, but in the context of Monster Hunter I always felt like that abstraction and fantasy would be exciting. This piece had me question that assumption bit. I feel like a huge appeal from these games is just seeing the monsters in motion.

I’ve always thought about getting into MoHun if I had friends who would play with me. I’ve never given it a shot. It seems like the repetition would be far less grating when doing it with pals (not unlike games like Destiny). Monster Hunter World might be the one I pick up once it hits PC.

But I actually wanna comment that I quite liked the video format for this piece, especially since it matched up with the stories Austin was telling. The live reads are always cool, and I think this is even more so (partially because I don’t read smoothly). It helps me place the critiques and comments in the context of the game. I’ve always liked being able to see the game in motion as people are talking about it. Very well done video! I would like to see more of them in the future.


#14

It is pretty interesting and odd to me how many of the monsters in the Monster Hunter series have become iconic enough to get their own merchandising (including plushes!) while the only method of interacting with these creatures in most of the games is to kill them.

Ultimately the issues with increasing the fidelity of monster interactions with World did not deter me from being interested in buying the game, but I certainly would be interested in seeing the Monster Hunter Stories game, which has the monsters instead be tamable and ridable companions, being expanded out into its own subseries!


#15

MH Stories is more like a…monster kidnapper game. You steal eggs, hatch and raise them, with the help of a magic gem which I don’t think is meant to be a mind control device, but which looks…questionable in some cutscenes.
It’s a great, cute, heartwarming game and I love it, but it is (only slightly) more ethically eyebrow-raising than Pokemon.


#16

I don’t think Austin or anyone who finds a bad taste in their mouth about killing animals (or even “monsters”) is wrong, but I wonder if there’s room in this discussion for another perspective on hunting, violence, and colonialism.

Here’s an article about animal rights movements and indigenous (esp. Inuit) perspectives on the relationship of humans, animals, and hunting. Of course this is a fantasy setting, and I’m not suggesting that it maps over 1 to 1, but I think it might be useful to note that there are other starting places to examine this topic from.


#17

I think the older Monster Hunter games did a much much better job of presenting this vibe than the most recent few have.


#18

Hey! Thanks for the link! A few MonHon fans have told me over on twitter that the Pre MH4 games did a great job of presenting a perspective a LOT like this, and but that in going from 3-4, and now to World, which is explicitly about coming to “a new world,” the narrative have slipped further and further in this direction. Def something I wanna learn and think more about!


#20

But violence against native people? Is there some native culture you subjugate in this game? I thought it was just beasts and monsters?


#21

I see. That’s disappointing to hear. I’ve only played up to rank 4 in MH3 and Generations, but the sharpest hook for me was that they feel like games that are “about” hunting in a respectful way. At least, superficially.
Maybe I’m just starved for indigenous ways of thinking turning up in mainstream culture.

Specifically regarding the limping and near-death animations and behavior of Monsters, and the emotional response it provokes, this quote from the article I linked jumped out to me (bolding mine):

In reference to whaling, respectful behaviour is of the utmost importance to the Inuit, which includes:

“not showing excitement at the prospect of a whale hunt; harvesting animals that present themselves to be harvested; not harvesting more animals than are required; killing each animal as quickly as possible; […] making use of as much of the carcass as possible […] generosity with the harvest by sharing it with family and neighbours.”

On one hand, the sadness evoked by the wounded monsters saps the thrill; the contest is over, hunter wins. It’s the opposite of Mortal Kombat’s gladiatorial “Finish Him”.
On the other hand, the games are designed to be thrilling, fun, enjoyable, and repeatable, to build “excitement at the prospect” of a hunt.

Also I just reminded myself that some MonHun games have gladiatorial arenas which is…not a good look!

Sorry, that went long.