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Addison Langford: 'Monster Hunter: World' is an immersive experience

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There I was, tracking a Radonaan through some of the most horrid sceneries that I have ever been cursed with. It felt like I’d been on its trail for at least a week, when in reality it had been a little more than 15 minutes.

“Wait — what was that?!” I thought to myself as I slowly crept through some underbrush. There, I came eye to eye with what can only be described as a spindly dinosaur from my nightmares. I swallowed hard and drew a switch-axe the size of a telephone pole. My felyne friend and I ran toward the behemoth and started swinging.

What am I talking about here? Well, my latest hunt from “Monster Hunter: World,” of course! “Monster Hunter” is a series in which — yep, you guessed it — you hunt monsters! You aren’t some wasteful pioneer, however. You use every part of the monster to create new armor and weapons so that you can get back out there and hunt even more, larger monsters!

The world is set in a nameless fantasy world where people live in colonies and research these giant beasts to learn more about them and how to live harmoniously amongst them. You quickly end up joining the Fifth Fleet to help capture a giant dragon known as Zorah Magdaros. Your created hunter will venture from landscape to landscape, hunting and capturing all kinds of different creatures while gathering resources to improve your home base. At your base, you can choose from several weapons to help you do your dirty work.

What’s amazing here is that the weapons all handle very differently.

Some weapons are ranged, allowing for a more subdued strategy of hanging back a bit and using different types of ammo to change the element type of your damage because some monsters are stronger against some elements and weaker against others. You can also use more martial weapons to get up close and personal, dealing heavy damage and pulling off some incredible-looking combos. Then you have support weapons such as the hunting horn, which lets you buff up your fellow team members and do some damage along the way.

Oh right, I would be doing the game a great disservice if I failed to mention how addicting it is to do these hunts with three other buddies. I don’t think I will ever get sick of jumping off a wall and mounting a monster while my friend is below just whaling on the beast’s tail so that we can cut it off and get at that special part to make ourselves some new armor.

As much fun as it is to play with friends, however, it’s not a perfect experience. You will be met with some very confusing menus that will take time to understand and adjust to.

The game is also not great about having a streamlined way to interact with your friends and set up a quest, which is a shame considering this is the sixth game in the main line series. I often find myself unable to join a quest simply because my partner had to watch a cut scene first. Why can’t I just also watch the scene with him? There is also an insane amount of menus and systems thrown at you in the first several hours of the game, which may be a turn off for some.

Despite these minor complaints, I really have been enjoying “Monster Hunter: World” and can easily recommend it. It seems the team has followed previous patterns and will be providing free updates and DLC for a good time going forward. The game also sports a ton of content providing players with hours upon hours of hunts, whether it is with friends, strangers or just by themselves.

It’s still the beginning of the year, but I have a feeling that “Monster Hunter: World” will easily make my top three games of 2018. The game is out now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and the PC version is set for release later this year.

ADDISON LANGFORD is a video game columnist for The Joplin Globe. He can be reached at addison.langford@gmail.com.

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