When Pokemon Go came out in 2016, it was an instant success. It seemingly took over the world, and it penetrated world-televised news stations. Even my Grandmother, who dislikes video games, was asking me how to get it on her phone so she could play it on her walks. It was a crazy time to see people covering parks trying to catch rare Pokemon. But there was a set of people for whom it never really caught on, and I was one of them. Being based in a more rural area, trying to find different Pokemon and stops was next to impossible unless I wanted to take a drive.
Thankfully, during Summer Game Fest, I was able to play through a few hunts with one of the developers of Monster Hunter Now and see how they have made changes to a few systems to make this a more fine-tuned experience.
I was immediately put at ease after bringing up my issues with being in a more rural area. While on the map screen of Monster Hunter Now, while on the onset, it looks familiar to Pokemon Go but has a few key differences. The major one is where your character stands will be in a biome, and the biome will change, bringing with it new and exciting monsters. That would be a game-changer for someone like me. Not having to rely on these populated areas to be able to hunt already makes Monster Hunter Now much more appealing to me.
The combat in Monster Hunter Now is very fluid and takes quite a bit of understanding to master
Much of the minute-to-minute gameplay is massively different because this is a Monster Hunter game, not Pokemon. Instead of trying to capture monsters, our primary goal is to defeat them. But there is also a big side goal that goes along with defeating them, and that is just like in the core Monster Hunter games. We need to try and break off specific pieces of the monster as we fight it to try and get monster parts to craft certain weapons and armour.
The combat in Monster Hunter Now is very fluid and takes quite a bit of understanding to master, having to time swings and rolls and, if you have time, charge up for a more powerful attack. This is all done via taps and swipes on the screen. Even being pre-release, I never really ran into issues, which is surprising because a lot is happening on screen at once.
“They are really pulling out all the stops to bring Monster Hunter to the mobile world.”
Something really cool that I got to try out was the coop battling system. If you are close to a friend, you can, with extreme ease, invite them into a battle. This is when Monster Hunter Now really hits those Monster Hunter highs of getting together with friends to take down more challenging monsters.
The weapon system is also present here, and I went with a greatsword as it is usually what I arm myself with in my Monster Hunter journeys. But I did notice a long sword, sword and shield, and a hammer. I asked if we would eventually be able to mess around with the Hunter Horn, to which I was told they were constantly evolving the experience with Monster Hunter Now, and they did with Pokemon Go. And just to touch on this, I will say the game looks gorgeous. They are really pulling out all the stops to bring Monster Hunter to the mobile world.
There is an even more significant key difference between Pokemon Go and Monster Hunter Now: Niantic is making the game much more flexible with our time. There is a much more relaxed way to face these hunters when you are short on time or away from your usual play area. This is the paintball feature that we saw in the Monster Hunter world, and it works very similarly here.
If you come across a monster you want to tackle later, you can use an item to paintball it. This means you can wait until later to take the monster on alone or with friends. In addition, you will have your companion like in other Monster Hunter games, but this time they will be able to mark monsters for you as well, making this a much more laid-back game than Go is.
Overall I am incredibly excited to gather a group of friends to hunt down some monsters and grind out animal parts. Niantic seems to really be making this title more accessible for every, which is always a good thing. I hope they can keep the content updates refreshing and frequent to keep everyone on board, but with their past experiences, I think it’s safe to say we are in for a fun time when Monster Hunter Now launches later this year.