Monster Hunter Now overview: the MonHun expertise stripped right down to the fundamentals

There are few sport titles extra literal than Monster Hunter. It is a world stuffed with monsters, and your job is to hunt them. However what makes the sequence so engrossing is the gameplay loop tied to these hunts: the way in which you put together by accumulating the proper gear, weapons, and potions; the way you spend time learning your goal earlier than heading into battle; and at last, utilizing the downed monster to craft higher gear so you may tackle much more difficult beasts. It’s an extended and concerned course of but in addition one which feels so satisfying if you pull it off.

Monster Hunter Now, a collaboration between Capcom and Pokémon Go developer Niantic, makes an attempt to take that system and streamline it into one thing that works briefly bursts in your cellphone. In numerous methods, it’s profitable: the hunts in Now are fast little battles which you could 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 kind, it’s extra of an introductory MonHun than one thing that can fulfill current gamers.

The sport really has a narrative, which is concerning the MonHun realm bleeding over into our world — a bit just like the Monster Hunter film starring Milla Jovovich — but it surely’s principally simply an excuse so that you can stroll round killing monsters. Now is a location-based sport from Niantic very a lot in the identical mildew as Pokémon Go and its much less profitable successors. That implies that you’ll must exit into the true world to seek out areas for mining assets or to hunt out monsters. The sport doesn’t rely your steps — there’s at all times Pikmin Bloom for that — however getting out of the home is a giant a part of the expertise.

What actually makes Monster Hunter Now completely different is its battles, that are the primary focus. Initially, fight is fairly simple. Whenever 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 least at first, I used to be capable of win mainly each battle simply by shortly tapping on the monster in entrance of me. However as you degree 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 give the impression of being 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 — actually, when you don’t end a battle in 75 seconds, you’ll fail — but it surely’s spectacular how a lot motion is packed into that quick timeframe.

Along with extra creatures to combat, you’ll additionally steadily unlock extra weapons and, with them, talents. You need to forge your entire personal gear and, ultimately, you’ll be capable to craft quite a lot of weapon varieties that each one really feel very completely different, from devastating however gradual greatswords to ranged weapons like a bow and arrow. As you degree up these weapons, you can too unlock particular assaults that cost up throughout a battle, and shortly, you’ll be capable to goal particular elements of a monster, similar to within the mainline MonHun video games. Sure, you may 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 adjustments all that a lot. It doesn’t matter what gear I’ve outfitted or what beast I’m up towards, the battles at all times play out the identical: spam the assault button till the monster flashes crimson (an indication they’re about to assault), dodge till I’m protected, after which repeat. Perhaps I’ll must 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 simply 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 must study something about my prey to achieve success or grasp a particular type of combating, and there’s merely not sufficient time in a battle for there to be a lot differentiation between the beasts. They give the impression of being completely different, however defeating them is just about the identical throughout the board. And out of doors of fight, there’s not a lot to do apart from mine for assets at real-world factors of curiosity, which you need to use — together with monster elements you get from battle — to enhance your gear or make new stuff.

All that mentioned, the skeleton of a strong MonHun cellular sport is right here. Now appears to be like 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 discipline so you may battle them later from residence. There’s numerous room to develop — and contemplating the way in which Pokémon Go added key options years after launch, Monster Hunter Now may observe the same trajectory if it’s profitable.

However that’s a giant 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 robust 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.