Monster Hunter: World PS4 PlayStation 4 1

Oh boy! Monster Hunter: World is good. Like, potentially Game of the Year winning good – and that’ll be some feat considering that it’s slated to launch in January. Indeed, having spent a good 45 minutes with the title thus far, we suggest you let your scepticism for this PlayStation 4 instalment slide – it’s everything you’ve ever wanted out of a console slaughtering sim and then some.

This author’s history with Monster Hunter is long and tedious, dating all the way back to the PlayStation 2 edition which Capcom once sent us to review. In principle, this intrepid Felyne follower has always been fond of the series’ concept, it’s just never really clicked. We suspect that same situation applies to many of you as well.

World is the ultimate compromise, then: it’s easily the most accessible entry in the franchise, but it doesn’t appear to have lost any of the nuance that veterans love about it. The open world structure gives a seamlessness to hunts as you segue between different environments, but the large location is still teeming with wildlife for you to observe.

Monster Hunter: World PS4 PlayStation 4 2

Before you even head out on a hunt, there are a dizzying number of accessories for you to fiddle around with – and presumably even more in the final game. One includes a cloak that essentially enables you to glide – brilliant for both navigation and for when you’re trying to land those all-important rodeo type attacks.

There are lots of little quality of life improvements here; it no longer feels like you’re fighting the game like was so often the case in previous editions. But the combat – oh man, the combat. It’s still as deliberate, purposeful, and satisfying as past entries – but it’s enhanced by the boost to the visual fidelity and the sheer amount of polish applied to the animations.

The thing that’s so brilliant about it is that it’s just totally open-ended. We played through the same demo several times, and on one occasion we managed to lure our target – the pot-bellied Great Jagras – into a tangle of vines. This incapacitated the creature, leaving a window for us to whale away at its poor, unfortunate face.

Monster Hunter: World PS4 PlayStation 4 3

In a later encounter against the larger, more difficult Anjanath, we managed to lure the aforementioned Great Jagras into its path, prompting a conflict between the two enormous creatures, and allowing us to sit back while they attacked each other. It’s this kind of emergent gameplay that’s going to make World infinitely replayable, and we can’t wait.

For a game as large and multifaceted as this, we’d need several more hours with it to share more – it has full four-player drop-in, drop-out co-op that we didn’t even get to try. But the fact is this: Monster Hunter: World is shaping up to be an absolute triumph. Whether you’re new to the franchise or a veteran, it’s looking like Capcom has knocked this one out of the park.

Are you eagerly anticipating Monster Hunter: World? Will this be your first proper Monster Hunter, or have you been a fan of the franchise for a long time? Murder an unsuspecting monster in the comments section below.