Monster Hunter: World is out on PC on August 9. However, console players have been making big creatures fall to their knees for months, skewering them with elemental arrows, mounting them by jumping from the canopy above, puncturing their thick hides and bringing them crashing down to earth.
Use our Monster Hunter: World weapons guide to get ready for the hunt.
It is difficult to get excited when someone else has been playing with your toys, but you should definitely be looking forward to the first Monster Hunter game on PC. We have spent a lot of time with the console version of Monster Hunter: World, meaning we can assure you that it has definitely been worth the wait. Here are five reasons why you should be sharpening your blade in anticipation:
Monster Hunter is a perfect fit for PC
Previous Monster Hunter games are as impenetrable as the hide of a diamond-asaurus. On handheld and Wii U, the concept was held back by the limited tech, forcing you to sit through a loading screen every time you moved to a new area. Monster Hunter: World is still split into a faux open world, each area a collection of arenas linked up by what are essentially corridors, but you can now move seamlessly between these areas. And so can your prey.
In Monster Hunter: World, battles rage across the entirety of each map. You may injure a dragon and see it retreat before tracking it to the other side of the map and finishing it off in its lair. Once you are at a location, you are never pulled out of the game until your quest is over. It makes these colossal beasts feel more real, the world more cohesive, and hunts feel like actual hunts.
It is more accessible, but not at the cost of depth
Tracking a monster in Monster Hunter: World is simple. You just run around the map, looking for a footprint, claw mark, or perhaps a carcass from a felled prey. Interact with a few of these and eventually your scout flies - a swarm of glowy particles - begin to show you the way. Following them leads you right to the beast you are tracking.
Combat is where you will find the depth, particularly in the vast amount of equipment you have to play with. Not only are there 14 weapon types to master, there are items that allow you to use stealth, gliders, support gadgets, lures, traps, and even items that can put your target to sleep allowing you to capture them alive - once you have weakened it, of course. Scavenging items out in the field is a must, especially when something as unsuspecting as the weird mushrooms you pick being able to be crafted into a powerful tool later on.
Brilliant, weighty combat
Weapons in Monster Hunter: World are divided into three categories: Light, Heavy, and Technical. Using the right weapon for the job is key to an effective hunt. If your target has a soft underbelly, you can use a bladed weapon to slice at that weak point, causing extra damage. Likewise, enemies covered in armour can have it smashed off with blunt force - cracking a carapace, or shattering a horn.
When you hit an enemy in the right place at the right time, there is a real sense of impact as parts shatter off and gashes appear on their flesh, leaving them more vulnerable to your next attacks.
If you manage to jump down from above and attack a monster with a plunging attack, you can even mount your target and hack away at it, forcing them to the ground where the entire party can get some free hits in.
The weapon I mainly use is the charge blade, a sword and shield that can attach together and morph into a giant axe. To use it, you store energy in the sword until it glows red, then pump the energy into the shield, attach the two together, and unleash elemental fury on your target. It gives a good mix of heavy hits and fast, nimble slashes.
Melee combat is about matching the monster’s movements, using timely dodges to avoid their attacks in a way that lets you immediately carry on the assault afterwards. There is also a bunch of ranged weapons if you want to play it like a third-person shooter. A good party of four will have one heavy fighter smashing, a light fighter slashing, a support character playing the hunting horn, and someone chipping away from afar with a bow and arrow.
If you are one of those people who spends longer on a character creation screen than they do getting ready to go out in real life, Monster Hunter: World will consume your life. I spent longer than I would like to admit making Monster Hunter’s very own version of Geralt of Rivia. Who else is going to hunt monsters?
Unfortunately, after you have spent an hour crafting the perfect face, you are probably going to end up sticking a helmet over it. Luckily, Monster Hunter: World has tons of armour and weapons to choose from. Every monster you defeat has its own armour set, each with a different look, and you can mix and match the parts as you please, pumping up the stats and skills that suit your character build or desired look.
Weapons have their own upgrade trees as well, so you can imbue your blade with the skin of an elemental monster to add thunder to your attacks, for example. It is up to you to figure out which upgrades work well against which monsters - the more you battle and track a monster, the more you learn about it in your bestiary.
You even have a house back at the main hub. You can head into the training area here, or you can place small creatures that you have captured out in the field, because no home is complete without a flying jellyfish and a colony of ants.
Then there is your Palico - a fully customisable companion that is also a bipedal cat. Make it look as cute or as mean as you want, then deck it out in some fancy armour and give it a fresh sword. Monster Hunter: World is like Destiny for fans of physical scraps and combat with actual depth.
Fighting the environment
As well as tackling the beast you are hunting, you need to keep an eye on the rest of the world as you fight. Not only can other monsters come in and ruin your day, beasts can get snagged on vines, fall through meshes in the canopies, break dams, or crash through the ground into a cavern below.
A lot of the fights in Monster Hunter: World can surprise you like this, but you will eventually learn to turn these moments to your advantage. Even when another monster appears, you could always duck into a nearby bush and watch your target and a newcomer face off in a territorial tussle.
This is a game where every fight feels like a learning experience, where you eventually become the master of not only the beasts, but the environment itself.