A Mobile Monster Hunter Experience
Monster Hunter Now is the newest project from Pokemon GO developer Niantic.
Released on September 14, 2023, this installment of the Monster Hunter adventure blends the elements of Pokemon GO and Monster Hunter in a simple, virtual experience that you can enjoy on the go and in your spare time.
Unfortunately, this seems to be both in the game’s favor and to its detriment.
Monster Hunter is the definition of deceptively simple. It is a series where you quite literally hunt monsters. However, it fleshes out that simple core concept of investing players in the nitty-gritty details that go into the job. You prepare by collecting the right gear and items. Then, you actually hunt for the monsters themselves. Once you defeat them, you can harvest their parts to make yourself even more powerful for the next hunt.
It is a very straightforward series, Capcom and Niantic’s goal with Monster Hunter Now was to recapture that same essence in a mobile device. The results, however, were a bit mixed.
Explore, Battle, Collect, Repeat
Monster Hunter Now is very much a MonHun game, focusing on the active and outdoorsy gameplay that defines Pokemon GO. Walking around and going to real-world locations to encounter monsters and collect materials is very much a thing. The battles themselves play out in quick, minute-long bursts. These mostly consisting of just tapping the screen to attack and dodge, manage to be quite engaging.
While these don’t start off very difficult, in typical Monster Hunter fashion, they evolve the more you play. The monsters become bigger, stronger and require more attention to counter. You get stronger as you unlock better weapons and forge your own gear from the materials and monster drops. Special attacks and abilities are unlocked in tandem with these upgrades. They all make for an experience where you can feel yourself get stronger. In turn, the world around you getting more dangerous as well, something I have always loved about the series.
However, as engaging and fun as the gameplay can be in Monster Hunter Now, it is difficult to get past the fact that it just doesn’t offer the same oomph as the real thing.
S0mething is Missing
In a game like Monster Hunter World or Rise, half of the fun comes from the fact that monsters gradually become more difficult to take down. But in most cases, this is not just because they become bigger and scarier. It is because all of them require a different strategy to take down.
You can’t take down a Wyvern the same way you’d take down an Amphibian. They just simply are not the same monster. That is exactly what makes battling them so fun and engrossing. As you hunt the beasts, you learn more about their strengths and weaknesses and study the best ways to take them down.
It not only forces you to learn about the monsters themselves but get out of your comfort zone a little bit and try to get used to a style of gameplay combat that you may not be used to at all.
In Monster Hunter Now, while you do encounter a large variety of monsters that get bigger and more intimidating as you progress, the strategy for taking them down never really changes. It always boils down to getting better at timing your dodges and using powerful gear to overwhelm the beast with brute force rather than a clever strategy. In other words, Monster Hunter Now makes you get better at playing it, not better at playing the Monster Hunter series.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Despite how boring I may have made it sound, the game is still very fun, pays good homage to the series’ lore. It features an impressive cast of beasts from across the series that fans will likely have a good time encountering in the real world.
But aside from that, it feels more like an introduction to the world of Monster Hunter to interest new fans rather than a new and exciting experience veterans can enjoy. If you enjoy the series, you will enjoy Monster Hunter Now. Just don’t expect it to blow you away.
Is It Hardcore?
Monster Hunter Now feels more like an introductory tutorial that misses many of the marks that make the series unique. However, the graphics, soundtrack, and real-world exploration still make it fun to play.