Finally bringing Capcom's criminally addictive series back to home consoles, Monster Hunter: World wowed both critics and fans when it released near the start of the year. Its early release date has perhaps hindered it when it comes to Game of the Year conversations, but make no mistake: this superbly crafted action RPG should not be counted out.
Sporting one of the most satisfying combat systems in gaming, Monster Hunter: World can appear obtuse at first, but with every crunching attack and perfectly timed dodge roll, it becomes harder and harder to tear yourself from its bone-crushing embrace.
Gameplay-wise, World's bordering on being a masterpiece. The game further refines a formula that Capcom has been perfecting for years, and there's always something new to do. Whether it's another brutally difficult event quest or the hunt for that ideal set of armour, there's a gameplay loop on display here that so many loot-based titles would kill to have.
It's also the presentation that sells World on a whole new level when compared to previous Monster Hunter instalments. When two colossal creatures clash in the middle of a gorgeously wild environment, you can't help but watch in awe before entering the fray yourself. Detailed and full of life, World's, er, world is a rich mix of harsh terrain and natural beauty, but it's the monsters themselves that steal the show with their wonderful designs and animations.
Ultimately, though, what really cements Monster Hunter: World as a great game is its ability to keep you hooked. Just when you think you've met your match against a seemingly insurmountable foe, you try, try, and try again, until eventually, you're beating that once invincible beast for fun. It's this immensely rewarding difficulty curve that elevates World, and the feeling's even better when you've got a friend or two fighting alongside you.
Capcom has created something special with Monster Hunter: World, and the developer's done a fine job of supporting it throughout the year. With a huge expansion planned for 2019, we simply can't wait to see what the future holds for our favourite beast slaying franchise.
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Dare we ask how many monsters have you put down? Let us know if you're a big fan of Monster Hunter: World and keep your weapon sharp in the comments section below.