One of the few titles we did have a chance to get to at Comic Con was the epic expansion to the already pretty epic Monster Hunter World, entitled Monster Hunter World: Iceborne. For this demo, the good folks at Capcom joined us in a four-player cooperative monster hunt of first an easy level kill and then an intermediate level kill. Joining us were Jason Andersen, Yuri Araujo, and Ted Tsung from Capcom. The three of them were wonderfully patient with us as we stumbled to get into the zone of tracking and beating down massive monsters. When you’re used to games where jumping is a primary mechanic Monster Hunter World forces you to think more on a horizontal plane with running, ducking and diving. Each hunt requires picking up the monster’s trail and taking action on a limited amount of detective mechanics. In our case, investigating footprints of the beast and then following a fairy dust-like trail towards the beast.
For our easy match, having the option to pick different weapons we opted for strength instead of speed. This proved to be somewhat of a mistake given that the monsters themselves are not slow. Having an axe as big as you means setting up for the big hit and pulling it back in order to start moving again literally takes about five seconds a piece. The damage is significant, but these fights aren’t three hits and the monster is down. Even in the easy mode, it took a solid twenty minutes to bring the monster down. We learned a hook and line mechanic where we can spring on the monster’s back for a huge focused attack. In our case, we semi crippled the monster and he attempted to flee hobbling away. As with the original Monster Hunter World winning a fight with a beastie means you can carve things off of it to be able to craft new weapons.
For our second match-upgrading to intermediate–we shifted to a quicker-to-wield sword. There, we were in new realm, Hoarfrost Reach. We tracked down an even bigger beast Banbaro which apparently has an affinity for both tearing down trees and using massive boulders as brute-force, steamroller effect. The Banbaro was no joke and the four of us struggled to get this monster into a state where it was running. In a neat effect, once we pushed it into the right area, a separate monster in the water called Beotodus reared forth and for a while at least, they would fight and do damage to each other. We prevailed eventually, but not before I perished once in the attempt. No doubt about it, this is madcap melee defined. It’s an interesting challenge that you never really see a health bar for any given monster. Instead, you have to be constantly monitoring the monster’s behavior and noticeable injuries. It takes time, patience and teamwork. The game also features a considerable expansion to the single player story, so it can be single player or up to four players cooperatively.
Anderson from Capcom indicated to us that while the studio was not prepared to reveal how many monsters total would be in the final release, he did point out that Velkhana, an elder dragon they announced back in June at E3 would be enormously large, somewhere in line with the famous monsters in the legendary Shadow of the Colossus.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne comes on September 6th, 2019.