video games

‘Monster Hunter Wilds’ hands-off preview

Chris Garcia, One More Game

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‘Monster Hunter Wilds’ hands-off preview
Check out this hands-off preview of 'Monster Hunter Wilds' as Capcom staff walk through a hunt in the game

The hype for Monster Hunter Wilds is slowly building up as we inch ever closer to its 2025 release date. This latest entry in the series is looking better and better with each trailer being shown, and it’s looking like another must-play game from Capcom.

Or is it? You know damn well it is.

Over at Summer Game Fest, I got the opportunity to sit down with the team from Capcom, who talked to us about Monster Hunter Wilds while playing the game to show us how hunting monsters in the latest game will work, the latest improvements, along with some surprises during a 30-minute hands-off demo.

‘Monster Hunter Wilds’ hands-off preview

Monster Hunter World was as successful as it is not because it overhauled the base system and introduced a whole new game, but because it added to the many improvements over the years, and Monster Hunter Wilds looks to do just that. The foundation and gameplay loop of hunting monsters, upgrading equipment, and hunting more monsters stays the same, but improvements across the board look to make this the best entry yet.

One of the biggest changes Monster Hunter Wilds is bringing to the table is allowing players to seamlessly do what they want without having to worry about diving into multiple load screens before starting a hunt. During the demo, a monster was chosen directly from the map screen as a “target,” basically marking it, and from there, no loading times were seen as we quickly transitioned to leaving the town we were in. Note that no quests were actually started here yet at this time.

Monster Hunter Wilds, Doshaguma

As Hunters leave the town to go on a hunt, they can actually set up mobile camps in certain areas. These mobile camps do not build themselves, so it’ll take a bit of time for our little Palico friends to finish constructing it. These act like camps where you can change equipment, get more items, etc. but since they are out in the field, they can be destroyed by monsters.

The Monster Hunter Wilds demo treated us to a hunt against an Alpha Doshaguma, a bit different than the normal Doshaguma, which was revealed to be a new monster in the game. The alpha will have a red-tinged mane and is a bit larger than normal. It is also surrounded by a pack of normal Doshagumas, making isolating it a hard task.

The player, controlled by a Capcom representative, wore a ghillie mantle, which rendered him invisible to these monsters. Approaching the Alpha Doshaguma from behind, we see the hunter perform a sneak attack that dealt massive damage, but then also alerted all the surrounding monsters of our presence.

By attacking the Alpha Doshaguma, we are now “officially” hunting that monster. During the demo, we freely wandered the surrounding area, and after we figured out what we wanted to hunt by attacking the monster a couple of times, that immediately started the quest. This way, hunts are seamless and trims down loading screens during actual gameplay.

As you can imagine, it is never advisable to fight packs of monsters at the same time in Monster Hunter Wilds, so the initial goal was to isolate the alpha from the herd. Riding a Seikret, we put some distance between us and the Doshagumas, and this part really highlighted how mounting and dismounting are very simple things to do, and you don’t need to be at a full stop to do so, which makes it feel more natural. We dragged the pack through a herd of local endemic life that attacked them, slowly attracting the herd of Doshaguma away from its Alpha. Brambles are also scattered around to slow them down and damage them.

Further isolating the Alpha, we led it to a quicksand trap set up by the Balahara, another new leviathan type monster. Some monsters won’t be powerful enough to escape the quicksand, but the Alpha climbed out of it after struggling a bit. The Balahara then attacked the alpha, squeezing it like what a snake would do. These monster vs monster encounters are a staple in Monster Hunter Games, and we’re glad to see it return here in Monster Hunter Wilds as the world just feels much more alive this time around.

Now, things get rather interesting.

Further on in the fight, we dragged the Alpha through a sandstorm, and as we went inside the heart of the storm, the weather changing feature is put into the spotlight. Inside the heart of the storm feels like a new biome as it is filled with lightning, along with new monsters and new endemic life that thrive under these conditions like the Thunder Bugs. We also got to see the new monster (name is unknown at the moment) shown during a recent trailer, but we don’t know any details of it just yet apart from it being the local apex of the region, making it a very difficult hunt.

During the battle with the Alpha Doshaguma, it will obtain wounds that players can use a Focus mode on to target specifically, dealing more damage and a faster way to finish the hunt.

Monster Hunter Wilds

That was just a small taste of how a hunt will go in Monster Hunter Wilds. It feels faster than ever before, more action-packed, and with the environment being more dynamic, players are bound to have vastly unique hunt experiences for the same monster.

Monster Hunter Wilds also includes a swathe of quality-of-life improvements, and even small things like allowing players to gather items using their hookslinger while riding their Seikret mounts is such a welcome treat.

The map also sees further improvements, showing a better view of the surrounding area. The map can be moved around and rotated, and it even shows the topography and the depth levels of the area to allow players to plan for the hunt. The map also shows resources, endemic life, and even what time of day these things will be available, so it’ll be easier for players to find what they’re actually looking for, putting focus on the actual hunt.

Speaking of maps, the areas in Monster Hunter Wilds will be over two times the size of the previous entry, making the thrill of looking for the monster an adventure on its own.

Cooking in Monster Hunter Wilds looks as amazing as ever, taking some tech from Dragon’s Dogma 2 to make the meals look more delicious. While eating, the hunter even lets out a loud and sensual groan after every bite, making the process of preparing and eating food a funny moment amidst the chaos of the hunt.

Monster Hunter Wilds

Monster Hunter Wilds does not need to revolutionize, but as it stands, it is making some very smart additions to an already epic formula to make it more accessible while also appealing to veteran hunters. We’ve only scratched the surface thanks to a 30-minute demo, and we can’t wait to see and play more of it when it launches next year because this might just be the best Monster Hunter game to date.

Monster Hunter Wilds is scheduled for a 2025 release for PS5, Xbox Series, and PC. – Rappler.com

This article also appears on OneMoreGame.ph, Rappler’s coverage partner for Summer Game Fest 2024.

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