With Monster Hunter World now Capcom’s most successful game of all time, a direct sequel feels like an inevitability. Let’s take a look at some upgrades and changes that could make it the series’ best game to date…
As someone who has been a huge fan of the Monster Hunter series ever since the very first release on PlayStation 2, I’ve really enjoyed seeing it not only break into the mainstream, but go absolutely nuts and become the biggest Capcom game of all time. That’s no mean feat when you’re up against the likes of Street Fighter and Resident Evil — industry-defining franchises, to say the least — but I’m always up for theory-crafting ways for the best game to get even bester. Rise’s major expansion Sunbreak is due next month, after which you’d expect Capcom to be in a position to start talking about where the series goes next, and rumours suggest that we may have already seen World’s successor were it not for the small matter of a global pandemic slowing game development around the world. With all of that in mind, let’s load up the Gunlance and get into it!
Monster Hunter World 2 should bring back leviathans
Capcom reportedly tried out some of the series’ most famous leviathan-type monsters ahead of World’s launch, but struggled to make them work. Monster Hunter Tri poster boy Lagiacrus would have been chief among these, but having seen Monster Hunter Rise introduce new monsters with similar skeletons like
Drampa Almudron, things are looking pretty good for this unique monster type. Even without the underwater combat of Tri, Lagiacrus was still a cool fight in later games and I think it’s time we get to see an ultra-HD version of the toothy, zappy sea beast. I actually wouldn’t hate it if Capcom decided to bring back underwater encounters too, if only because I want to see my boy Gobul again — we have some unfinished business. Sure, subaquatic fights were a little sketchy in Tri, but they weren’t far off being good, so I believe it’s something Capcom could bring back… just not something I’m confident enough to give its own section here. Instead, let’s keep the focus on the Long Bois as there’s a lot they could add to the game, and in fact are already adding to Rise, not to mention previous games. Mizutsune is an awesome fight, Nibelsnarf is excellent meme fuel, and Agnaktor is basically just a version of Lavasioth that is actually fun, so let’s get these creatures back in the game, or at least new ones that share that same kind of body type.
Prowler mode in MH World 2, please
14 completely unique weapon types is a fantastic spread, sure, but we’re still missing one ‘weapon’ that is provably a lot of fun. Monster Hunter Generations added Prowler mode as effectively a 15th weapon class, but in reality, it was a whole new playable character: the trusty Felyne. World already has Palico companions with their own unique gear sets, tools, and custom animations, so you’d imagine making them playable wouldn’t be too much additional work for the team. The payoff is fantastic, too — Prowlers offer amazing utility thanks to all the different tools they can pack, plus they were invaluable in gathering quests due to not needing to rely on a finite amount of fragile pickaxes and bug nets. That second part wouldn’t be so big a deal since World already made great quality-of-life changes to gathering, but there’s another major factor that makes Prowlers appealing. These fuzzy friends might not pack as much of a punch as some of the beefier hunter weapons, but their survivability is second to none thanks to them effectively having nine lives — with two self-revives per faint, they basically have to get splattered three times before they cart once, making them a brilliant beginner’s option or backup character to bring to a fight you’re still learning. So long as you can put up with their constant meowing, these little guys make a great addition to the game, and sending a four-stack of fancy cats up against a massive wyvern is endlessly entertaining. And noisy. So, so noisy…
Bin off the crown achievements
Achievements based on RNG usually suck, but this dastardly pair of Monster Hunter World achievements will be the death of me. I’ve played thousands of hours of World on PS4, and these two remain the only things stopping me from getting the platinum. ‘Many monsters’ actually means all monsters that don’t have a fixed size, plus monster size is completely random (outside of a few event quests that guarantee giant or tiny enemies, and a couple of others that supposedly increase the chance of crown-worthy foes) and it’s not even like you can really eyeball it and just quit out when you notice that your quarry is just too average in size. Instead, you hunt them over and over, hoping to see that little crown on the results screen so you can tick one more monster off the long list. Iceborne admittedly made these a little easier as for many of them, you can load into Low Rank quests with your crazy Master Rank loadouts and bring them down in seconds, but it just feels even more like a grind when it takes longer to find a monster than it does to kill it. Also, Iceborne giveth and it taketh away, introducing another set of crown achievements tied to its new Master Rank monsters, and there’s no way to do them anywhere near as quickly as the OG ones. I’m all for a bit of a grind, especially in games like this, but you shouldn’t be able to rack up 2,000+ hours in a game and still not have the completion to show for it. That’s just crazy.
Monster Hunter still needs better onboarding
I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve carried through World, teaching them the mechanics and nuances of the game that Capcom didn’t seem to feel the need to explain, and helping them understand just why it’s so damn good. World admittedly made strides to improve in this regard, with things like armour skills much easier to understand than in previous games, but it still isn’t enough. One quick fix would be to add fighting game-style ‘trials’ for each weapon that walk you through their bread-and-butter combos, situational attacks (such as Hammer’s aerial flip from a slide), and the individual gimmicks of each type. There’s still more that could be done in terms of visibility on armour skills, as many still describe their effects in vague terms that aren’t a lot of help, and even an optional 1* quest that holds new players’ hands through a typical hunt to introduce them to the loop properly would go a long way. Any changes Capcom can make to break down the barriers to entry would do wonders for World’s follow-up, although it’s always going to be a tough balancing act — Rise made many weapon types way easier to use and even went too far in some instances, such as taking Hunting Horn from one of the hardest but most rewarding weapons to play well, to being absolutely braindead and having a loop so basic that it just stopped being fun to use. Part of this is on players to give the game a chance and figure things out on their own, but there’s certainly room for improvement on Capcom’s part here as well.
Take the Palamutes to the kennels
One of Rise’s key new features was the addition of a second ally character in the Palamute, a canine companion who helps with both combat and traversal, since you can ride them to get around the map faster. I wouldn’t be averse to them returning if they only did the latter, as faster movement will always be welcome in games where the play spaces are as massive as World’s. But I think they make too much of a mess in combat to bring them back in that capacity, especially in multiplayer hunts. With four hunters and four dogs all going nuts, hunts can degenerate into absolute mosh pits where you can’t make out what the hell is going on, especially when you’re dealing with smaller monsters. Palamute attacks in Rise are also linked to hunter actions, making them naturally much stronger with some weapon types than others — slow hit-and-run builds can’t benefit nearly as much from that kind of system as, say, a nimble Dual Blades user who rarely stop smashing the attack button. They were one of a few factors that contributed to making Rise way too easy, too (I think I only carted like twice in my entire playthrough), so I think it’ll be for the best if we don’t see them in World’s true successor, or perhaps get them purely as mounts for that lovely movement speed boost out of combat but dismiss them when we get off almost like an MMO mount. Mind you, Iceborne already introduced pretty much exactly that feature in the Raider Ride, so we’ll see if Capcom fancies rebranding it in the next game.
More unique weapons
One of the main criticisms hurled at Monster Hunter World when it first launched was fans complaining that a lot of the interesting weapon designs based on the monsters from which they use parts were lost, with a lot of World’s weapons being little more than the stock bone or ore models, accented with a few claws, fangs, scales, or whatever. Some of these did change to unique designs further along the upgrade tree, but there didn’t seem to be a lot of consistency in terms of which monsters got bespoke gear, with even some of the Elder Dragon weapons having that same basic design with a few monster bits slapped on. As such, fans of particular monsters or weapons found that some of their favourites from older games didn’t make the cut, replaced with those much simpler weapon designs that didn’t have nearly as much character or appeal. This was improved in Iceborne — the expansion being all endgame content naturally meant that all new gear came later on the upgrade tree, and most got bespoke designs this time around — but hopefully it’s something that Capcom can nail first time out with World’s successor. It’s obviously a ton of work to create a full line of original weapons for every single boss monster in the game (as well as a bunch of others not linked directly to a single creature), but that backlash proves that it’s something that fans have come to expect from the series.
Keep the subspecies coming
If you though creating a set of weapons for each monster was a huge undertaking, imagine how much time and effort goes into bringing the monsters themselves to life. It’s a labour of love and naturally means that we can only have so many unique monsters per release… but what if they didn’t have to be unique? One of the great things about Monster Hunter is its ability to introduce variations of existing bosses, which can still offer amazing value simply with a few tweaks to the encounter and a new set of gear to craft. This can happen on a per-monster level (such as the Raths getting their Pink/Azure and Gold/Silver subspecies), or on a system level, like with World’s Tempered monsters that provided more challenging hunts without changing things up too much. Generations actually took this a step further with its Deviant monster reworks — including Generations Ultimate giving us the wonderfully named Bloodbath Diablos — to deliver more intense versions of existing monsters, and these could even be ranked up individually to make them progressively more deadly in return for greater rewards. Point is, not every monster needs to be completely original, and while Capcom does a good job of smartly repurposing some of its monsters, there’s potentially even more room here to create a wider roster without too much extra effort. Even just the new gear you could make out of them would make it all worthwhile for mixed set lovers like myself who love piecing together an armour set where all the perks just come together perfectly.
Get the gimmick fights right
One-off special fights are something that Monster Hunter has a bit of a hit-and-miss track record with, but World’s ‘epic’ fight with big boss Zorah Magdaros is one of the weaker ones of recent times. Clambering around on the back of a blazing kaiju should be impossible to make boring, but Capcom found a way — this fight is basically just running around a volcano and hitting some rocks, then retreating to land and blasting away with cannons and ballistae for ages until the big brute either falls over or goes home. It’s massively underwhelming as the main boss for the first portion of the game, and while the true final boss is a much better encounter, it’s also a more straightforward one. If we look elsewhere in the series, we find some genuinely incredible ‘gimmick’ fights — Generations Ultimate’s ridiculous Ahtal-Ka super-boss remains one of my favourites, if only for the way it starts out as a pretty unassuming neopteron but soon shows it true form by digging up and puppeteering machinery to create its very own mech suit. Going further back, Tri’s Jhen Mohran was another perfect example of event hunts done well, with the sand whale leaping over your ship and providing an intense and interesting blend of weapon and gadget combat. World already proved it could get original fights right with the superb and inventive Kulve Taroth and Safi’jiiva sieges, so more of that in World’s follow-up would be welcome indeed.
I could keep this up all day, but those are the main points where I think Capcom could stand to build on one of last generation’s best games, so I’ll leave it there and head back to the Gathering Hub. What do you hope to see in Capcom’s inevitable follow-up to Monster Hunter World’s roaring success? Get in the comments and hit us up with your best ideas!
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