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There has never been a better time to jump into Monster Hunter World : Iceborne

I have been a souls fan since 2014. Though I only bought them on sale paying the most for Sekiro at 30$ I've thoroughly enjoyed each one and replayed them many more times.

I've always wondered what critics meant when they kept saying the the combat in these games is "shallow" and "simple". It was overwhelming for me the start figuring out how to make builds and optimize stats and gear.

Until I played monster hunter that is

I bought the master edition at 45$ last year in april when I got my first ps4 but I didn't actually play it until may (because bloodborne obviously). I was off work for the whole month and I clocked 170 hours in-game speeding through the base game and jumping to the expansion.

Now if you go into monster hunter expecting a meditative atmospheric bleak experience you'll find little of that here. The story is bullshit to say the least and Capcom committed the cardinal sin of making the cutscenes unskippable. And they have some of the worst writing and acting and lip sinking I've seen in my whole gaming career. Add to that some lackluster siege missions and fucked up coop mode (not that I had any friends to play it with but just so you know) where you have to go through a bunch of hoops just to play with someone else through the story together, and you might wonder wtf keeps people raving about it. And the answer is obvious : Gameplay.

Everything in Monster hunter is an excuse to let you slay some big ass monsters. There are 7 big maps where the monsters live (5 base game + 2 in iceborne). That's all you do !!

You hunt a monster. Then you farm him to craft his gear to hunt more difficult monsters (in general). The weapon and armor designs are absolutely fantastic with some minor exceptions of course and I'm speaking here for the male versions.

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There is a large roster of monsters to hunt (70+) and 14 different weapons to hunt them with ( and I mean VERY DIFFERENT WEAPONS). Changing the weapon feels like playing another game. Hell learning all of the controls is so fucking daunting that most hunters "main" a single one and keep at it.

Each weapon has a definite moveset that is incredibly different from the other ones. The Iceborne expansion added some really fantastic additions that opened up entirely new playstyles (and made some older ones obsolete unfortunately). And when I say playstyles I mean every weapon has at least 3 or 4 unique custom Playstyles each with it's own build.

Making builds boils down to farming the weapon you want to use + the armor pieces + the decorations and the charm.

There are also other additives like items and "mantles" which give you some special bonuses for a limited time on a cool down.

The gameplay is based on the "animation commitment" principle. All the attack animation are heavy and deliberate. There's a lot of weight and momentum with each move for melee users. and most weapons have a kind of "meter management" mechanic ( kind of like sekiro's posture/vitality system) where you have to manage some special meter to increase your damage or your stamina, or your ammo and coating when using the bow and the bowguns. And yes : MONSTER HUNTER HAS GUNS !! and they require some measure of skill to use.

Now there are three "ranks" in the game meaning three "tiers" of difficulty.

Low rank : is the tutorial where you'll be exploring new locals and chasing new monsters. It's where I had the most fun to be honest.

High rank : the difficulty takes a big bump all at once at the begining of high rank. And you'll have to ditch all your low rank gear and make new ones to match it.

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Master rank : the most challenging fights in the game with some of the later additions vying for the title of the most difficult fight in the whole series. At this point unless you take the time and check online tutorials to help you master your weapon and learn how to optimize your builds you're fucked. It was called G-rank in the older games and it's not for casual players. By this point the devs don't give a fuck about the "hard but fair" rule. There's nothing in the entire souls series in all it's NG+ cycles that can even come close. But it is rewarding in it's own way. And the coop mode helps a lot.

There is also a point in the end of iceborn's campaign where you have to keep hunting monsters repeatedly to unlock endgame content and that was a real slog before.

And the end game is basically chasing the meta, fighting endgame monsters in one to one traditional hunts and two siege monsters to get the best gear you can for the next hunts.

When it comes to monsters themselves each of them ( mainly in master rank) require a careful study to know where his weak points are. You can't just memorize his moveset and keep dodging and attacking with R1s and R2s.

You have to use your most powerful attacks in a kind of "damage rotation" to keep your meter maxed if your weapon has it. You have to watch your stamina, watch out for ailements ( sleep, paralysis, stun, blast and poison) and elemental blights.

Some monsters require some hyper specialized build to beat comfortably.

So why is it the best time to jump to the series I said ?!

It's because put simply all of the RNG bullshit they used to keep us hooked for two whole years. Grinding the same quests to have the best chance at getting the rarest decorations to finalize builds has been fixed and improved.

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We've had to wait for festivals to get special gear and wait even more for new event quests which made it easier to farm some rare monster parts and items. And even those were not permanent as they were on rotation on a weekly basis.

It took me 830 hours to finalize my collection but I wager someone can do the same right now with less than 300.

So all in all if you're a souls fan and want to get back to the original Formulae ( yeah I forgot to mention that dark souls took inspiration from monster hunter not the other way around)

If you want a beautiful adventure with amazingly deep gameplay and a spicy challenge at the end. Then grab the Iceborne master edition and take a leap of faith.

P.s: and for any questions or guidance just head on over to r/monsterhuntermeta those guys are chill AF

Edit : typos

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