Despite its mostly cult status, the hype has been strong for Monster Hunter: World. Not only is it one of the first major releases of 2018 -- alongside Dragonball FighterZ -- but the promise of vast open wilderness filled with megafauna and loads of things to see, do, craft and cook is a tantalizing one.
So how does the game fare with the critics? Pretty good it turns out. By bringing the beloved franchise over to cutting edge hardware for the first time in 12 years, Monster Hunter: World ends exclusivity with Nintendo. The consensus isn't just that it's the most technically advanced installment, but the most streamlined and accessible one.
The Daily Telegraph gave the game top marks, singling out a visual luster and technological sophistication that reinforces the series' core strengths: "Monster Hunter has traditionally been a series built for handheld, with all the restrictions that entails. But restriction can often breed invention, so to see that expertly combined with the technology of the latest home consoles is as gorgeous and arresting as you could hope for."
Push Square echoes most of the praises seen elsewhere, but holds some reservations about the series' old habits: "Capcom is still yet to get the tutorial and general learning curve right, and that's probably the most crucial issue here. It's likely that this will be many's first Monster Hunter, and you're basically just shoved into the deep end following a [sic] all-too-brief tutorial.
"In fact, it's very feasible that even 20 hours into the experience, entire systems will still elude you. You'll have moments when a non-playable character asks you to do something and you won't even know where to start. Part of the fun here is in figuring everything out, sure, but good luck trying to capture a monster without assistance."
Meanwhile, Eurogamer handed out their rare "Essential" seal of approval, describing the process of hunting down a monster and using its carcass to craft better equipment to tackle the next as "one of the most compelling loops you'll come across in gaming." Reviewer Martin Robinson also said, "it's a more streamlined affair than we've become used to in recent years."
"To say it's accessible might be a slight overstatement," Robinson clarified. "[It's] quicker to get new players into the thick of the action, though it's still just as quick to knock them back on their arses a few hours later and several key systems remain unexplained throughout - so perhaps it's best to say it's undergone a fair amount of modernisation."
A glowing review from The Verge concludes that World demonstrates remarkable confidence and self-awareness. "Almost all of the changes are for the better, and almost none of them compromise the magic," writes Sam Byford. "A slight but reasonably engaging story now serves as connective tissue for the quest structure."
Ultimately, though Byford is unsure whether players will definitively love it, he writes that players owe it to themselves to give Monster Hunter: World a shot.
Here's the rest of the buzz from other reviewers:
GameInformer: "the best game in the series, and a welcoming gateway for newcomers to get in on the tail-chopping, rodeo-riding, and titan-slaying." 9.5/10
GamesRadar: "manages the nearly impossible feat of taking a franchise known for it’s incredible complexity and depth and making it significantly more approachable, without in any way stripping it down or diminishing it." 5/5
GameSpot: "Monster Hunter World successfully proves that it's both about size and how you use it." 8/10
Ungeek: "It is time to head back to the great indoors!" 9/10
VentureBeat: "one of the more rewarding action role-playing games I’ve played in recent years" 90/100