There are few recreation titles extra literal than Monster Hunter. This can be a world stuffed with monsters, and your job is to hunt them. However what makes the collection so engrossing is the gameplay loop tied to these hunts: the way in which you put together by accumulating the correct gear, weapons, and potions; the way you spend time finding out your goal earlier than heading into battle; and at last, utilizing the downed monster to craft higher gear so you’ll be able to tackle much more difficult beasts. It’s an extended and concerned course of but in addition one which feels so satisfying while you pull it off.
Monster Hunter Now, a collaboration between Capcom and Pokémon Go developer Niantic, makes an attempt to take that method and streamline it into one thing that works briefly bursts in your telephone. In numerous methods, it’s profitable: the hunts in Now are fast little battles which you can principally full in underneath a minute whereas ready in line for espresso. However whereas the sport feels good in these classes, it’s lacking a lot of the technique and planning that MonHun makes use of to get its hooks into you. Monster Hunter Now has numerous potential, however in its present type, it’s extra of an introductory MonHun than one thing that may fulfill present gamers.
The sport really has a narrative, which is in regards to the MonHun realm bleeding over into our world — a bit just like the Monster Hunter film starring Milla Jovovich — nevertheless it’s principally simply an excuse so that you can stroll round killing monsters. Now is a location-based recreation from Niantic very a lot in the identical mildew as Pokémon Go and its much less profitable successors. That signifies that you’ll need to exit into the actual world to search out places for mining sources or to hunt out monsters. The sport doesn’t depend your steps — there’s all the time Pikmin Bloom for that — however getting out of the home is an enormous a part of the expertise.
What actually makes Monster Hunter Now completely different is its battles, that are the principle focus. Initially, fight is fairly simple. Once you first get right into a battle (which you do by tapping a monster close to you on the map), the controls are quite simple: you faucet on the monster in entrance of you to assault and swipe proper or left to dodge. It’s very straightforward and, at the very least at first, I used to be capable of win principally each battle simply by shortly tapping on the monster in entrance of me. However as you stage up and progress via the story, the fight expands fairly a bit.
Most significantly, you unlock greater and extra harmful monsters to combat. Not solely do they appear nice, with element and animations that rival the console Monster Hunter video games, however additionally they add some much-needed problem. The bigger beasts require closely upgraded gear and well-timed dodges to succeed. It doesn’t matter what, the battles are over in a short time — in reality, should you don’t end a battle in 75 seconds, you’ll fail — nevertheless it’s spectacular how a lot motion is packed into that brief timeframe.
Along with extra creatures to combat, you’ll additionally steadily unlock extra weapons and, with them, talents. It’s a must to forge all your personal gear and, finally, you’ll be capable to craft a lot of weapon varieties that every one really feel very completely different, from devastating however gradual greatswords to ranged weapons like a bow and arrow. As you stage up these weapons, it’s also possible to unlock particular assaults that cost up throughout a battle, and shortly, you’ll be capable to goal particular components of a monster, identical to within the mainline MonHun video games. Sure, you’ll be able to nonetheless chop off a Barroth’s tail.
The issue is that, whereas the fight will get more difficult over time, the technique by no means modifications all that a lot. It doesn’t matter what gear I’ve geared up or what beast I’m up in opposition to, the battles all the time play out the identical: spam the assault button till the monster flashes pink (an indication they’re about to assault), dodge till I’m secure, after which repeat. Perhaps I’ll need to down a potion if my timing is off a bit, however in any other case, issues principally play out the identical. Every time I do die, it’s normally as a result of my gear is just too weak, not as a result of my technique wasn’t sound.
What’s lacking is the “hunt” a part of Monster Hunter. I don’t need to be taught something about my prey to achieve success or grasp a selected model of preventing, and there’s merely not sufficient time in a battle for there to be a lot differentiation between the beasts. They appear completely different, however defeating them is just about the identical throughout the board. And outdoors of fight, there’s not a lot to do moreover mine for sources at real-world factors of curiosity, which you need to use — together with monster components you get from battle — to enhance your gear or make new stuff.
All that mentioned, the skeleton of a strong MonHun cellular recreation is right here. Now seems to be nice, has a slick battle system tuned for a smartphone, and even contains some very intelligent quality-of-life options, like paintballs that allow you to mark monsters within the subject so you’ll be able to battle them later from house. There’s numerous room to develop — and contemplating the way in which Pokémon Go added key options years after launch, Monster Hunter Now might comply with an identical trajectory if it’s profitable.
However that’s an enormous if. Whereas Pokémon Go stays successful, it’s in any other case been a tough street for location-based cellular video games, and never solely these from Niantic. And whereas Monster Hunter has a powerful transportable pedigree, that’s no assure of long-term success right here. Proper now, the sport nails the monster a part of the expertise — I’m simply ready to lastly really feel like a hunter.
Monster Hunter Now launches on September 14th on iOS and Android.