JENNA & AMY PLAY: Monster Hunter: World on Xbox One

Game: Monster Hunter: World on XBOX One

Developer: CAPCOM

Release date: January 26, 2018

ESRB: T for Teen

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

AMY:  As an avid RPG player who will shamelessly spend well over an hour just on a character creation menu — after all, I have to look at that face for hours upon hours of gameplay — I was immediately impressed with the vast customization options available in MH:W long before item and armor crafting even came into play.  Although the options available might not be the most realistic (NOBODY has eyes that look like that), the number of options alone make the process immersive and fun. I created a new campaign, claiming it was in anticipation of this review (my original Monica and palico Chandler made way for the lesser known fifth member of KISS, Max Saxophone (pictured below), and his palico music producer BIG CECIL), but really it was just so I could mess around with character creation again.  After finalizing the appearance of your monster hunter and palico companion, gorgeous cutscenes seamlessly transition into tutorial gameplay, which often left my Max Saxophone staring off into space amidst chaos while I myself sat on my couch and took in the overwhelming and deeply intricate fantasy world environment.

JENNA:  If you know me, you know I love art. Monster Hunter: World is freaking beautiful. Add a multitude of adventuring, intricate maps to explore, research to gather, creatures to hunt, various weapons, and cute ass little Palicos and you’ve got MH: W. The wide selection of weapons you can choose and craft makes you feel like a badass, once you master them. Each one has a different level of difficulty, another reason to play the game for hours on end. The fact that you may have to select a particular weapon in order to defeat a monster you find along the way is an idea I absolutely love. It adds to the playability of the game, gives the player more to do, and more to think about. This game makes the player have to strategize, an added bonus in my opinion.

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THE BREAKDOWN

AMY:  In combat, you have the option of free combat or to cue up a reticle to focus your character on one enemy at a time, a feature I found very useful after repeatedly flinging poor Max Saxophone to the far corners of my screen in an attempt to evade predators.  The combat mechanics are intuitive and flow naturally between aggressive and defensive play. The universe’s lore and codices, armor and weapon crafting capabilities, seemingly endless harvesting and item gathering, and labyrinthine maps and terrain make for an open world experience and replay value that are well worth the money spent.  

The visuals are beautiful, to say the least, and MH:W proves that much of that beauty is in the details.  Beauty, however, is not always without its flaws. With the majority of tutorials offered by way of pop-up windows and with a barrage of constantly populating floating text, the screen is a bit messy to say the least.  God forbid you pick a rock up off the ground unless you’re prepared to read a pop-up blurb from the field team leader that always seems to disappear too quickly because you were already busy trying to decipher the rolling text about your cool new rock, all of which is painful to look at in its entirety anyway because your scoutflies are now having a shimmering disco seizure front and center.  Imagine trying to explore the Shire, except you’re wearing smart glasses running MS-DOS command prompts in your face while getting assaulted with the occasional flash-bang grenade — it’s quite distracting when all you wanted to do was enjoy yourself. Everything needs to just calm down a bit.

JENNA: I do have to agree with Amy about the floating text. I tend to tune shit like that out, therefore once I do get detail oriented and start paying attention, I find that I’ve done so too late and miss the text. I’ve never been a fan of floating text or silent heroes, two downfalls I found with this game. I tend to look at screens with a cropped view, something I’m sure comes from my photographic roots. This gives me the ability to ignore all of that constant floating text bs. If you can do that, the gameplay itself is much easier to focus on.

When I first traveled to a world in to kill some shit, I found it maddening. The mechanics of combat made me want to scream. I’m used to games that auto center you on your opponent, not ones that may jump behind you and you have to reorient yourself in order to even hit the damn thing. The targeting option helps a little but it still seems sorta broken.

The amount of detail put into this game is what makes the gameplay continuously fun to play — in my opinion. I like finding new creatures by tracking them across the maps. Leveling up research on creatures you’ve already defeated in main quests is pretty fun, however it can get dull after doing it more than once. Running around on expeditions are a good way to do this, if that’s your thing. I like having objectives though, and MH:W has an endless supply of those.

As I am not very far into the storyline yet, I hear the game is more known for its endless opportunities regarding gameplay, especially since every weapon makes it seem like a completely different game.  A gunlance? C’mon, that’s badass!

Watch a video of us playing MH: W to demonstrate the gameplay below:

CO-OP EXPERIENCE

AMY:  The process of starting an online co-op session is weird and convoluted, but I’ll let that slide.  This is a game that, in my opinion, is more enriched by multiplayer and co-op play than by flying solo.  The storyline, although conceptually interesting, is far from captivating — but throw in some co-op gameplay with your friends and suddenly picking mushrooms and aggro-ing a nest of jagras becomes a lot more lively and fun.  

JENNA: Co-op play in MH:W is definitely the way to go. I do have fun solo playing, but playing with Amy and Max Saxophone is clearly so much better than running around by myself. I still hate how ridiculous it is trying to get to multiplayer. I think it’s ridiculous to go through that much trouble to just play a game. It is worth it once inside though, that’s for sure. The quest difficulty goes up and loot gets better, as with most co-op gaming. There is the fact that some quests I have may be too high level for someone else to join (Ahem, JAKI). So having to go back through the same quests you’ve already done is kinda frustrating. I find it annoying that’d I have to play alongside Amy or anyone else at the same time so that I don’t have to go back through the same shit just to play with someone lower level. My gaming time shouldn’t have to be based on someone else’s time or vice versa.

BOTTOM LINE RATING

AMY:  I rate this game a 7/10.

JENNA: I’ll give this one an 8/10.

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Jenna and Amy Play is a new biweekly series where Jenna Madonia (photographer) and Amy Yaboa (Dick Titty Blood Punch) team up to review a video game. Have a suggestion on a game you’d like them to review? Let us know at nevernervousblog@gmail.com.