First things first. This is not an official review! As promised, I will only review the game after I have finished the game. I feel compelled though to share what I have learned so far, what I wish I had known 20 in-game hours ago and where I am as of now. This is in hopes of preparing you if you are not prepared. *Spoilers below*
1. Do all of the optional quests.
..or at least most of them. *face palm* So focused was I on pushing ahead that I neglected to do most of the optional quests I was receiving. Those of course stacked up and by the time I figured out the importance of these joyful little distractions, going back felt more like a chore than part of the experience like the quests should have been.
Optional Quests, as the name implies, do not need to be completed. But if you happen to complete them, then you’ll unlock all sorts of goodies. These unlocks can include more recipes and better meal options at the Canteen, as well as upgrades to your botanical research center.
The Canteen, if you didn’t know, is a life saver but it was the botanical research that had me intrigued. Early in the game you unlock the ability to farm basic ingredients from your base; things like herbs for potions. You select the ingredient for cultivation, fertilize it if you feel the fancy and leave off to do your monster hunting thing. Then, upon your return to base, you will have more of the ingredient you chose waiting to be harvested. By completing Optional Quests, you unlock the ability to cultivate more advanced and harder to find ingredients and eventually you’re even able to cultivate more than one at a time.
This could mean passive farming of ingredients for tranq bombs, ammo or even high level potions. Definitely a must.
2. Palico Equipment Gadgets
This was my other face-palm moment. Groups of wild Grimalkyne (another type of fantastical feline) exist out in the wilds of the new world and if you put in the work to identify their doodles, they’ll provide new toys to your furry companion. Your Palico starts the game with the Vigorwasp Spray which can come in mighty handy for a new hunter. Other gadgets include the Flashfly Cage, Shieldspire, Coral Orchestra, Plunderblade and Meowlotov Cocktail. I’ll let you take a guess as to what that last one does.
Depending on the monster you’re hunting, being able to swap these gadgets out for one another can be a huge help. As of the time of writing this, I’m currently working on leveling up Keeper’s (my Palico) Plunderblade. It encourages him to rob monsters of their oh so precious materials.
3. Zone Camps
This is a quick mention. Each zone has four camps. Taking the time to find them is not necessary, but once you have a feel for a monster’s path and/or nest/cave/lair/domain of evil it makes the experience of hunting so much quicker.
In short, you can unlock equip-able cloaks called Mantles. Each has it’s own special effect and is another great add-on to your tool set. Early on, you’ll unlock the Ghillie Mantle which attempts to keep you hidden from nearby Monsters. Sometime after that the Bandit Mantle becomes available and when equipped causes monsters to drop trade in items for you to sell. I recommend keeping the bandit mantle on when you’re farming a monster for parts anyways. Crafting becomes very expensive, very quickly.
5. Item and Equipment Optimization
You’ll spend a lot of time picking up ingredients and materials in the form of plants, bugs, webs, monster parts and yes – even dung. The good news is, you can use it all for… well, for something. The better news is that you have the ability not only to organize your item box and item pouch, but to also create load outs for both your items as well as your equipment.
When you’re in the respective menu (item pouch or equipment) you’ll need to click the options button to bring up the appropriate sub-menu. A screen with a list of empty load outs will appear and you can save new load outs for your item pouch or equipment, to your hearts content. Note: your radial menu can also be synced to match the usable items in your item pouch. Next time you’re in your item pouch, look at the control instructions just below it to get a feel for the advanced controls.
6. Difficulty Checks and Crafting
One of the many systems that just works in Monster Hunter World is the skill check that every player inevitably reaches. The second, in compliment to the aforementioned, is the crafting system.
My first encounter with the Great Jagras left me hungry for bigger, stronger and scarier monsters to hunt. So I picked the biggest, baddest dinosaur in the Ancient Forest and decided I’d take her down. Enter stage left: Anjanath.
She and I quickly disagreed about my title of professional monster hunter. We actually disagreed a few times before I finally decided it was time to stop throwing my controller against the wall. Interestingly enough though (and despite my initial raging), I was carted away from those encounters with a new kind of focus: I could take the Anjanath down. I just needed better gear.
So I hunted everything else on the food chain and picked up every material I could stuff in my bags. I quickly pieced together a complete set out of monster parts and used the remaining materials to craft myself the strongest bow money could buy. Then I returned to the Ancient Jungle with an arsenal of explosives, weapon coatings, flash-bombs, traps and potions. I found the Anjanath and we began our dance; our Duel of the Fates.
I lost. Again. But I swear that time I was so close!
The Tl;dr of my story is that this game will challenge you and may cost you a controller. It’s supposed to though. And you’re supposed to put in the time and get better. And just when you think you’ve got it down, you find out that there’s a whole new tier of difficulty waiting for your ego.
7. High Rank
Did I say ego? Hello High Rank and thanks for crashing my party.
Since release, I have played a total of 35 hours 20 minutes and 1 second of Monster Hunter World. Just as I thought I was nearing the end, just as I had finished crafting the best weapons and armor available to me and just as I had caught up to and successfully driven off the Elder Dragon known as Zorah Magdaros, I discovered the game has a High Rank mode: every monster that I’ve fought before is back in a bigger, harder hitting and more ferocious fashion. Then, there are more Elder Dragons.
I haven’t felt this insignificant since my first run in with the Anjanath. Or my second and third…
It’s certainly a daunting feeling, to have come so far and worked so hard only to be mowed over by the first of the High Rank monsters in my new world of hurt. Despite that, there’s a certain anticipatory excitement bubbling in my bones.
The Tobi Kadachi that I engaged was not interested in my low rank bullshit. That’s alright though. It’s just like my first few run ins with Angie the fire breathing tyrannosaurus. My focus is back.
Elder Dragons, here I come.