With loads of craftable armor, fourteen different weapon options, and loads of zones, Monster Hunter: World has a lot of gameplay to offer. I played the game on PC, hating its clunky multiplayer but enjoying the game’s worldbuilding and combat system.

Monster Hunter: World is a third-person role-playing game with a fairly large focus on the role-playing aspect. The game will start with you talking to some other fighters in a tavern, before prompting you to create your character. The character creation is very detailed, and if you’re anything like me, you can spend at least an hour picking and choosing your cosmetics. After creating your monster hunter, and picking out your Felyne, or cat companion, you’ll slip back into a cut scene where tensions rise within the tavern. The ship you’re on will be attacked by a giant monster that rises from the sea, and you’ll enter a tutorial prompting set of actions to survive. 

After you survive this sequence of events, you’ll finally make it to Astera where the Research Commission will give you your first mission―to set out and kill some of the large monsters roaming Astera. The Research Commission’s goal is to study these creatures, build armor and weapons from it, and hopefully gain insight into all monsters strengths and weaknesses. Obviously, it is this idea that sets up Monster Hunter’s gameplay.

There’s a lot of detail to be found within the Monster Hunter world, and you can either dive deep or skim the surface. You can talk to Ecological Research to help you update your field guild, you can craft more weapons and armor than you’d ever possibly need, and there are a huge variety of dishes the Felyne chef can cook for you. Also, watching the cat chef cook you a meal is one of the game’s highlights and undeniably adorable. Overall, the world that Monster Hunter has created is rich and detailed. By far, my favorite thing about the game was the worldbuilding and just how lost in it all you could become. Each zone you’ll explore is uniquely rich.

Monster Hunter: World is a game focused on offering players missions before setting them out into open zones where they can explore and hunt for monsters. This is basically it. Sometimes you won’t kill the monsters, instead you’ll be given special equipment to capture them. Sometimes you’ll need to gather specific resources and dodge the monsters roaming across that specific zone. Occasionally, you’ll discover and set up new research camps. But overall, the rotation of the gameplay will be the same, with different monsters and in different zones.

Part of the big incentive to playing Monster Hunter: World is the various weapons and armor you can craft from the materials you gain after killing a monster. There are hundreds of variations when it comes to the armor, each unique to the monster it is created from. On top of this there are fourteen variations of weapons that you can try. These come in a range of difficulty from ones with more basic attacks, and ones that have more complicated combinations you must complete for special moves. It can be a bit tricky to learn these moves, but thankfully there’s no shortage of videos online to show you how it's done.

After you’ve picked out your weapon and been assigned a monster to hunt, you’ll have to treck out across one of the game’s zones. Monster Hunter does a great job of making the interactions with the zone’s monsters feel natural―for example, while hunting one, you might come across another and draw the two monsters together. They’ll fight, and one of them will run off. It’s these little details that make the game great―but it’s the absolutely horrible multiplayer setup that makes the game annoying. 

When I went to play the game I was mainly excited because I had a friend who was also interested. We set out at the same time, created our characters, and figured we’d have a short tutorial and then we’d be able to play together. Of course, that short tutorial ended up being more than an hour long, as we found out we had to set out to kill the first monster on our own. Only after this could we group together for the same mission―and even then it was an overly complicated process.

First, all party members have to set out on their own and begin the mission and it will be this way for every single mission in the game. Only then can you join together, and first you have to leave the current one and either restart the mission together, or one of you can stay and the other can come join you once you set off an S.O.S. flare. Of course, you can use flares to also have randoms join you. It’s an overly complicated process, and it’s Monster Hunter’s big flaw, making the game far less enjoyable.

The graphics in Monster Hunter are superb. Even the character models, which are often the most lacking aspect in well-made games, are well done in Monster Hunter: World. The monsters are unique and move just as one would expect, and they come in a variety of colors and textures, from monsters with hard, shimmering scales, to those with colorful feathers. Considering the main focus of the game is the monsters you hunt, Capcom did an amazing job of making them feel real.

On top of this, the different zones themselves are unique and beautiful. In one zone, you’ll run through a traditional forest with details of swamps, waterfalls, and flowering vines you can climb. In another, you’ll grapple over giant coral growths that resemble mushrooms and walk through coral fields filled with small fire-fly like bugs. Each area is rich and different in detail, immersing one even further into the game’s world. 

Thankfully Monster Hunter: World has been out long enough now that it isn’t overly expensive. For the PlayStation 4, you can get the game for $30. For PC, you can get the game on Steam for the same price, or if you’re patient and wait for it to go on sale (it goes on sale often) you can get the game for $20 or less. 

The game is fun and beautiful, and the game play is enjoyable even if repetitive at times. The biggest complaint I have about the price is how horrible the multiplayer experience is. I would suggest getting the game if you have a friend to play with, otherwise the experience is a long grind, but make sure the both of you are prepared to be patient as you move through the overly complicated experience of joining each other’s missions. Overall, if you’re looking for a beautiful game to get lost in, Monster Hunter: World is a good price for what it has to offer.

One of the beautiful things about Monster Hunter: World is that there aren’t that many games out there that feel quite the same. The other games that come close are singer player focused and more story-driven, such as Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt or Horizon Zero Dawn. Both games feature role-playing elements intermixed with a beautiful fantasy world―and of course monsters. 
Horizon Zero Dawn mixes technology with fantasy, and follow a girl as she sets out to befriend and conquer these creatures. The Witcher III is a popular game with strong storytelling and even better gameplay. Both of these other games also have fun combat systems that take more thought than simple button mashing combined with beautiful scenery, just like Monster Hunter.