There are few recreation titles extra literal than Monster Hunter. This can be a world crammed 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 best way you put together by amassing the fitting gear, weapons, and potions; the way you spend time finding out your goal earlier than heading into battle; and at last, utilizing the downed monster to craft higher gear so you possibly can tackle much more difficult beasts. It’s a protracted 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 method and streamline it into one thing that works briefly bursts in your cellphone. In quite a lot of methods, it’s profitable: the hunts in Now are fast little battles that you could principally full in below a minute whereas ready in line for espresso. However whereas the sport feels good in these periods, 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 quite a lot of potential, however in its present type, it’s extra of an introductory MonHun than one thing that may fulfill current gamers.
The sport truly has a narrative, which is in regards to the MonHun realm bleeding over into our world — a bit just like the Monster Hunter film starring Milla Jovovich — however it’s principally simply an excuse so that you can stroll round killing monsters. Now is a location-based recreation from Niantic very a lot in the identical mould as Pokémon Go and its much less profitable successors. That signifies that you’ll must exit into the true world to seek out places for mining assets or to hunt out monsters. The sport doesn’t depend your steps — there’s all the time Pikmin Bloom for that — however getting out of the home is an enormous a part of the expertise.
What actually makes Monster Hunter Now totally different is its battles, that are the primary focus. Initially, fight is fairly simple. While 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 simple and, no less than at first, I used to be in a position to win mainly each battle simply by shortly tapping on the monster in entrance of me. However as you degree up and progress by way of the story, the fight expands fairly a bit.
Most significantly, you unlock greater and extra harmful monsters to struggle. 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 — however it’s spectacular how a lot motion is packed into that brief timeframe.
Along with extra creatures to struggle, you’ll additionally steadily unlock extra weapons and, with them, talents. It’s important to forge your whole personal gear and, finally, you’ll be capable to craft numerous weapon sorts that each one really feel very totally different, from devastating however gradual greatswords to ranged weapons like a bow and arrow. As you degree up these weapons, you may as well unlock particular assaults that cost up throughout a battle, and shortly, you’ll be capable to goal particular components of a monster, similar to within the mainline MonHun video games. Sure, you possibly can nonetheless chop off a Barroth’s tail.
The issue is that, whereas the fight will get tougher over time, the technique by no means modifications all that a lot. It doesn’t matter what gear I’ve geared up or what beast I’m up in opposition to, the battles all the time play out the identical: spam the assault button till the monster flashes pink (an indication they’re about to assault), dodge till I’m protected, after which repeat. Possibly 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 often 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 model of combating, and there’s merely not sufficient time in a battle for there to be a lot differentiation between the beasts. They appear totally 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 moreover mine for assets at real-world factors of curiosity, which you should utilize — together with monster components you get from battle — to enhance your gear or make new stuff.
All that stated, the skeleton of a stable MonHun cellular recreation is right here. Now seems 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 possibly can battle them later from residence. There’s quite a lot of room to develop — and contemplating the best way Pokémon Go added key options years after launch, Monster Hunter Now may comply with an analogous trajectory if it’s profitable.
However that’s an enormous if. Whereas Pokémon Go stays a hit, it’s in any other case been a tough highway for location-based cellular video games, and never solely these from Niantic. And whereas Monster Hunter has a powerful 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.