Monster Hunter World

As you know, I got dragged into playing MHW after a concerted harassment/peer pressure campaign by two of my best nerd friends. Now that I’ve had some time to settle in, I have some thoughts and opinions.

As someone who has absolutely no prior experience with the MH franchise, I was totally unprepared for the level of utter nonsense in this game. I’m not just talking weapon design or the grind required to progress. I am talking about adorable cat friends who wear fancy costumes and have adventures and bring back monster parts. Also you can catch and collect tiny animals from your travels who live on your carpet in your fancy church/spa of a room. Also there’s a friendly pig you can pet and dress up. Also there seems to be a proud tradition of event quests that reward ridiculous hats. Basically, for a game that comes across as nothing but boss fights and gear grind, there’s actually a wealth of fun silly side things to do. I am a fan.

Of course this is still a game about murdering giant lizards and things and stealing their bones. There is plenty of that to go around. This game has a very tight core loop. There is not a lot in the way of forced downtime activities. Yes, you can seek the silly side things discussed above, but the game never makes you do boring side jobs to progress the main plot. You’re here to kill monsters and that’s all it asks of you. If you enjoy those fights then it is fantastic. If you were looking for more variety you might have to find your own fun.

I’ve discovered that I enjoy the game most when I don’t force myself to push the story forward, and instead focus on side quests and exploration until I actually feel the need for something new. Right now I have the self-imposed goal of killing every monster I have encountered before I work on the story again. There’s no shortage of things to do if you enjoy the core mechanic of the game.

I also realized that my enjoyment went up substantially when I stopped worrying about catching up to my friends who started playing weeks ahead of me. The game is reasonable about letting us play together no matter where I am in the story, so there’s no urgency. It took me a while to accept this because in the MMO world playing with friends so often feels useless until everyone is at the endgame. Here, as long as I don’t faint too much everybody is happy and we all go home with sundry monster parts to feed into the gear machine.

So all said, I’m still quite happy to be playing Monster Hunter World with my friends, and I’ve mostly forgiven them for dragging me into the game. Now I just hope they stay interested long enough for me to catch up.

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