A Newbie’s Review of Monster Hunter World’s Open Beta

PSN Plus has a pretty good reason for you to try it out now: you get free access to Monster Hunter World’s Open Beta for the next day or so (until 13th Nov 1am Singapore time, or 12th Nov 5pm UTC). In fact it’s been open since Saturday, and we managed to get a few hours in on the beta, which is exclusive to PSN Plus members.

Caveat: I’m an absolute newbie to monster hunter, and my preferences are strictly in the more cerebral, turn-based games (see Civ 6 and XCOM 2). I would never have tried a game like Horizon Zero Dawn if it weren’t for the story and amazing, amazing visuals, and I play Wolfenstein: The New Colossus on easy (sometimes the easiest) setting. I refuse to touch Dark Souls (yes I’m scared and I don’t have the time to practice a game when I have to practice real life). If you want an experienced Monster Hunter’s review of the game and the open beta, you’ve come to the wrong place. If, however, you’re like me an have absolutely no idea how to tell a Palico from a Calico, then you’ve come to the right place.

Is the Monster Hunter World Open Beta Worth it?

It’s free. So yes. Go download it now!

Even if you have to get PSN Plus, a year runs you about 40 SGD. If you play other multiplayer games on your PS4, this is pretty much a no-brainer. If you’re only getting to try out Monster Hunter World and the Open Beta (like me) then… it requires more consideration. But that’s why we’re here! To do the consideration for you!

How is Monster Hunter World for the Newbie?

Pretty good so far, actually!

Training Room

Monster Hunter World’s open beta has Single Player, Multiplayer and the Training Room. The training room is a godsend for an absolute noob like me. It allows you to mix and match your equipment, and test it out on a series of inanimate barrels and objects. Considering how wildly different every weapon set is, the training room is an essential aspect of Monster Hunter World. I made it a point to try out the weapons in the training room before going in to the game, and using the more user-friendly weapons (like the dual dagger, great hammer and bow) in the game.

I do wish the dummies in the training room did move around a little bit though. Wailing on a static pillar is wildly different from trying to plant your weapon onto a specific part of a bellowing, charging monster.

Single Player

In the open beta, the game itself allows you to customize a hunter and you Cat buddy (they’re called Palicos), and  then drops you into a huge map. You then have a timer to complete a hunt quest to find and kill a beast. In the base game however, you should have a non-timered option to just explore the area, which is good because there is so much stuff in each of the maps I have decision paralysis. In order to alleviate that issue, Monster Hunter World has a few tweaks to keep it accessible to newcomers, and I’m immensely appreciative. The scoutflies are an example of the tweaks; they highlight items of note around you and help to keep you on the trail of a monster. One problem is that they highlight everything of note. I don’t want to know how many rocks there are out there, just point me to the footprints and mud tracks! And I can spend so much time exploring the map that my quest times out. 🙁

There’s a huge amount of stuff in Monster Hunter World that I haven’t even tried yet. Distracting monsters, laying traps, environmental factors… heck I could probably spend a whole evening trying to climb up and down and gliding off of tall cliffsides. They don’t even really have the crafting and cooking aspects in the Beta.

Thankfully, the meat of Monster Hunter World is gripping. Having to work out the weak points of each monster, and how the weapons handle against each of them is a pretty fun learning curve. I recommend sticking with one or two weapons, and then getting conversant with them before moving on. Your cat pals (Palicos!) are also essential, healing you or damaging the monster at regular intervals.

Multi Player

Monster Hunter World seems to handle the same in multiplayer. The monsters have a lot more HP though, so it’s still a challenge for you and your buddies. Maybe the monsters drop better loot in the main game? (I wouldn’t know, loot is pretty useless in the beta since you don’t carry anything over across play sessions.)

That being said, the custom multiplayer is pretty annoying to get into. It’s easy enough to get a PUG, but if you set up a private session, the code to enter is an annoying long string of alphanumeric W0rD5 aND pHrA5eS that it’s chore to enter on a PS4 controller. Also, while it’s on multiple platforms, Monster Hunter World isn’t going to feature cross platform play, so don’t 

I was impressed that there were no connectivity issues on multiplayer though. If this continues on to the main game it might be the first multiplayer game I’ve played that will have a smooth launch!

Random amusement: Me and my buddy named our Palicos after our actual cats, so having Cookie and Jay follow us around in game was great.

So… is Monster Hunter World for me?

Tricky question. Monster Hunter World runs about $75 SGD, with another $40 for PSN Plus.

If you’ve played Monster Hunter before, I assume you can answer this question yourself. And the most likely answer is ‘Yes’.

If you have PSN Plus) already, or you have a group of friends who are raring to go online (like I do) then I think it’s a worthwhile buy. $75 is the going rate more most triple-A titles now (which is another issue for another time), and its just as fun as the other games I’ve bought recently (ie Persona and Final Fantasy 15). It’s going to give you hundreds of hours of play time, especially if you try to grind for the end game armors and weapons, and there’s enough of a learning curve to make even the endgame interesting for the experts, and the newcomers will have plenty of easier monsters to practice with. Make sure to get your friends on the same platform as you though, it would suck to be split between PS4 and PC.

However, if you haven’t played Monster Hunter before and are not sure if you want to put down a hundred plus bucks for the game (plus multiplayer), I encourage you to go try the open Beta (if you are going to play on PS4) for the next day or so. Failing that, wait for the game to come up, play a few demos and then decide. It’s one of those things where you’d have to try and see if it works for you before putting down the investment.

I have to admit though, having a cat follow you around the whole time is almost worth the $75 bucks alone.

About kakita

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Singapore’s resident Press Ganger, that is, the man to go to for Privateer Press’ WARMACHINE, and HORDES. Kakita also dabbles in Games Workshop’s WARHAMMER FANTASY and WARHAMMER 40K lines.

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