I regret literally everything about this purchase.
I’ve been hearing mad-hype about Monster Hunter: World for a year now. The same exact type of hype surrounding Dragon Age: Inquisition, which was the top most regrettable game purchase I’ve ever made.
The same exact hype my bestie was trying to use to sell me on Silent Hill: Downpour, which was the second most regrettable game purchase I’ve ever made.
This article isn’t about either title, but I have to impress upon you—dear reader—that out of the hundreds of games I’ve bought, there are truly only 3 I deeply hate myself for buying.
And I have to impress upon you that Inquisition is no longer my most hated.
Monster Hunter: World has toppled DA:I with its goofy dino-poop glory, no more than a scant 2.5 hours after grabbing it.– Me
Let me explain why I’m crestfallen about this purchase, and what you should play instead, because if I don’t, I’m going to be stewing about it for the next 10 years.
Monster Hunter: World has the worst battle mechanics I’ve ever seen in recent times.
Charm helps games overcome faults. MHW is about as charming as truck-stop sushi.
To prove I’m not a biased piece of shit where forgiving a game for faults is concerned, consider one of my fave video games: the original Silent Hill, which has aged like rotten eggs, and features some of the shittiest dialog known to mankind:
Silent Hill also features Harry the Disco protagonist, who if you want to turn to hit an enemy, pivots in one spot and baps with a plank slower than the most lingering tween melodrama.
Silent Hill’s combat is decidedly shitty, then again, it came out in 1999, so it can’t quite be helped.
However, the music is charming. Its hot-take on horror is charming.
Silent Hill still wows, despite handling like a bull in a china shop.
Monster Hunter: World is not charming.
Nothing can save it from itself.
I have sat, veritably in front of a Dinosaur, only to miss most of my attacks. The ‘lock-on’ feature is not targeting; I have no actual idea what it is. There was no excuse for this in 2018. Heck, there wasn’t an excuse in 2006.
I’ve tracked a Big Bad Dino four sectors onwards, only to run into a Bigger, Badder Dino, who despite me crouching in grass, and no ‘red alert mini-map thing’ found its face up my butt.
I’ve switched to every possible weapon, and found every single one lacking and unwieldy. Upgrading them might help, but I doubt it.
I’m unsure if I’m doing this correctly, but considering I’m on NG+ for the immaculate Code Vein, which is Souls-like, I don’t think it’s a feature that it’s hard to destroy Dinosaurs in MHW.
I think MHW’s clunky battle system is a fatal flaw fans pretend is a challenging feature.
Rolling away makes you sheathe your weapons, which forces you to have to pull them out to hit the Dinosaurs. This is wasted time, and leaves you open for attacks in the dumbest way.
Finding your Team Leader on the map is an exercise in zooming and squinting, and hovering around until you get lucky. This is bad UI design.
Knowing where to go is practically impossible, despite the glowing fireflies leading you onwards, because if you pick up a dino-footprint-quest without knowing it, you’re off in a different direction.
The wheel used to use a whetstone on your crappy weapon, or use healing items, is painstaking and immersion-breaking.
It’s almost as though they made the game’s mechanics difficult on purpose, because they wanted to simulate real life, or something.
But in real life, I’m not going to miss every time I stab a Dinosaur. It’s a fucking Dino; I’d want to kill it as fast as possible.
And since this is a video game, I expect these mechanics to be explained to me in a meaningful way. Not via little video tutorials that still don’t outline how anything works.
Monster Hunter: World has bad mechanics that are explained badly.
I was hoping for Horizon Zero Dawn: Dinosaurs, with a customizable character, and even that was too much to ask.
Monster Hunter: World is ugly, except for its environments.
It feels like Morrowind, which came out in 2002, not 2018.
The environments, and the dinosaurs / monsters of Morrowind Hunter: Za Warudo don’t look bad at all. In actuality, they’re pretty gorgeous. But it’s 2019 now, and it was 2018 when the game came out, so it makes sense that the environments would be gorgeous.
There’s no excuse for games not to be stunning nowadays, unless the style calls for a little weirdness.
But where MHW falls apart is in its characters.
If I am making a customized character, and my only option for a decent looking bloke is to make him look like a fuckboi, we have problems.
I’m not going to even insult this article with his monstrous face.
He looks like a 40 year old playing a high school student on a teen drama. The way his mouth moves reminds me of every early 00s WRPG game, ever.
There’s no excuse for this to happen in a video game nowadays. It’s insulting that Kotaku even had to write this article about how ugly the characters look.
It insulted me in Fallout 4 when the closest I could get to a male character I’d actually want to play as was some form of Swedish viking man.
And for both these games, there are plenty of mods to make female characters look a bit less like clay-faced cat-litter-rolling heathens.
But if you want to play as a dude? Literally forget about it.
I still enjoyed Fallout 4 when I first picked it up, and I still love it, because it has a neat plot, Piper is a great waifu, there’s a lot to do, and it has a solid battle system. It’s charming.
Monster Hunter: World got the environment right, but got the people who live within it so very wrong.
Crafting seems to be Monster Hunter: World’s biggest draw.
Which would be a great draw, if not for the umpteen million other games that feature interesting crafting systems.
Off the top of my head, I can list 11 video games with interesting crafting systems baked into them like a well-made funnel cake: Star Ocean: Till The End Of Time, any entry of the Atelier series, Vagrant Story can fuck you up if you craft the wrong stuff but it’s still solid, Prey has an addictive crafting system, Stardew Valley is made for people who like this shit, Fallout 4, Skyrim, Final Fantasy XIV, the Dark Cloud series, Rogue Galaxy, and even the ancient Ragnarok Online is still pretty good.
Hit up almost any JRPG, right here, right now, or any Bethesda title, and you’re bound to find an engaging crafting system existing somewhere.
I’d argue Star Ocean: Till The End of Time royally trumps MHW in terms of crafting, and it’s entirely more enjoyable, with an actual plot to boot.
It’s also a cheesy JRPG that came out in 2003, so this being a draw for MHW is a moot point.
If I can point to other video game titles—like Vagrant Story, seen above—that came out more than 10 years before MHW was a developer’s Mountain Dew burp, it’s not a draw.
It’s a well-known feature, reminiscent of many, many D-tier MMORPGs on the market right now, and it’s not impressive.
Just like many of them are not impressive.
If Monster Hunter: World Didn’t Do It For you, don’t lose hope.
Horizon Zero Dawn is what Monster Hunter: World wishes it was.
To break up the negativity of this article a bit, because I’m on a journey to provide more positivity in the world—even if preventing people from buying this wet fart of a game is a net positive—let me raise you: Horizon Zero Dawn.
Do you enjoy fluid, addictive active battle systems, hiding from monsters, exploring, using lots of different types of weapons, foraging, doing neat quests, a solid crafting system, and an open world setting?
Do you also crave plenty of content, countless hours of fun, solid writing, solid characters, beautiful environments, gorgeous textures, a bitchin’ plot, lush character design, and a main character you can care about?
Horizon Zero Dawn is currently $14.99 in the PSN store, which includes the DLCs and extra content. It fits the bill, fills the gap, and has you hunting for monsters.
Granted, they’re mechanical monsters, but there are dinosaurs and behemoths, and you can ride them, so it’s pretty much the same thing.
Horizon Zero Dawn is gorgeous. Every single part of it is gorgeous. The battle system does what Monster Hunter: World only dreams it could do.
The writing is gorgeous. The plot is gorgeous. I have never been so impressed by a game in such a long time, aside from Code Bae—and HZD is still technically a better game.
If you bought Monster Hunter: World and found yourself disappointed, Horizon Zero Dawn will make the pain stop.
Conversely, if you’re considering buying MHW but are on the fence about it, pick up Horizon Zero Dawn instead.
If you already own Horizon Zero Dawn, skip MHW entirely.
Go do something else. Take a walk. Eat a bagel. Play an Atelier game. Go to work early. Get root canal surgery. Pick up a cheesy JRPG.
Do anything but play MHW, because if you’re not a long-time fan of the Monster Hunter series, you’re probably not going to have a good time.
I know I’m very hard on Monster Hunter: World.
If you’re a fan and want to get mad at me, that’s fine. But as gamers we’re allowed to love whatever game we want to, for any reason.
We’re also allowed to hate whatever game we want, for any reason.
I love Forbidden Siren 2 even if it’s old as dirt, objectively clunky, and has some of the worst english voice acting I’ve heard in my entire life. But I still love it, despite its obvious, glaring flaws.
Just like you’re more than free to love MHW and think I’m an evil harpy for writing this…but you should also admit that it does, yes, have flaws.
Hear me out: I didn’t write this to make MHW fans pick up pitchforks.
What I hope this article achieves is incredibly simple:
I want to offer an alternative to MHW for those of you who feel extremely disappointed with it. Horizon Zero Dawn is your go-to, here.
I also want to offer a counter argument to the overwhelming narrative that Monster Hunter: World is the best game ever in all creation, with actual reasons for my feels about it.
Monster Hunter: World will never get better for me.
People like me aren’t objectively wrong for feeling this way, either.
If you’re a fan of MHW, leave a comment and let me know why I’m wrong. I earnestly don’t intend to shit on your favorite game. But I do intend to let it be known that there are people out here who don’t enjoy it, and their criticisms have value.
Not everyone is just “bad at video games” for hating your fave.
Sometimes, they actually have criticisms you’d benefit from listening to.