A few weeks ago some Anon posted a PSN code for World. Upon claiming it, I figured I should at least report back with my experience on it once I'd gotten a decent ways in. As of this writing, I've defeated Nergigante. For the record, I've played purely solo, and while the system itself is connected to the Net to get the patches, I don't have Plus so I haven't signed in to PSN, so I can't speak on any of the online content.
>Speedier gathering is great, one of the very few points where streamlining it worked out better. I've barely used the shop at all except to stock up on things like Trap Tools.
>Being able to see how and where weapons will split in development paths is nice.
>Item stacks in the box breaking the 99 limit is a welcome change, especially for Gunners who want to keep a stockpile of ammo.
>Auto-combine only works when gathering shit, not replacing shit as you use it, so it's a nice QoL upgrade rather than the "get out of jail free" on Potions and ammo combinations I thought it was going to be.
>Stamina is not infinite, they just make the HP and Stamina bars "minimize" when out of combat and not holding L1 to move your menus around.
>Investigations are an improvement over Guild Quests. While the extra conditions it tried to slap on to make the quests more challenging like limiting you to only one online helper or cutting the clock down to 30/15 minutes didn't really matter so much in practice, the idea itself isn't bad, they just need to come up with more meaningful conditions.
>Letting lower grade Armor Spheres still serve a purpose at reduced efficacy. Goodness knows how many leftover lower grade Armor Spheres I always end up with.
>Being able to use the net to gather tons of fish at once. Fishing has always been a terrible part of games in general, and one of the worst parts of Monster Hunter.
>Too easy. I'm hardly any good at Monster Hunter, but I didn't cart at all until I fought Kirin, and that was only because I had gotten careless and forgot that my armor might as well have been water for how weak the electric resistance was. Returning monsters especially get fucked - the aforementioned Kirin only gets his trademark hard as diamonds coat when enraged, and his lightning is way more telegraphed and leaves him far more open even for melee, while other returners like the Raths and Barroth just feel slower and lacking in actually threatening moves. Nergigante was a step up in terms of damage, but his moves were still pretty telegraphed and even as a Gunner it wasn't an instant kill the one time he hit me with his big charge.
>Being able to use the Item Box to restock at anytime. Being able to drop off shit you gathered is a good idea, but we already had the delivery barrel cat in P3rd for that.
>Simplified combinations. They're not even really combinations half the time anymore, just "conversions." They also can't fail.
>High Rank quests do at least occasionally drop you off in the wrong place, but I've never seen them drop you in a situation where there's monsters and thus you can't teleport out. This is especially blatant with the story relevant quests where they want to make sure you walk into the cut scene on your own, and thus you won't ever just start face to face with the target unless the quest is specifically scripted to be that way like with Pink Rathian.
>Too much RNG. Of all the things to do, they make Talismans forgeable, but Decorations RNG, and Decorations are the things you equip multiple of at once.
>No pause button. This is especially baffling now that we're on a non-portable system that doesn't have a one button/switch suspend state or just let you put it to sleep by closing the shell.
>The unskippable cut scenes need to fuck off. This isn't new, as the series has always had them, and 4 especially was bad about them before, but jesus christ World's are constant and nonstop. Shit is simply indefensible.
>Loading times are fucking awful. Even running the PSP games off the UMD rather than the stick wasn't this bad. Removing in-quest load times is nice and all, but with the new system you spend more time in loading screens total than you ever did in the main games. It's especially egregious because the default is to just dump you back in the area again after a quest rather than send you back to base, so if you forget to hit the stick or accidentally rehit it, you have to sit through that extra minute of loading screen to head home.
>Mobility with eating/drinking items and firing Bowguns is absolutely overpowered. Even with the slightly increased animation time on potions, most monsters give you plenty of time to heal while holding completely still, even in High Rank.
>Maps are bloated as hell, especially the giant tree stage. The verticality especially is just obnoxious. It doesn't make the game any more varied either, you're still fighting any given monster in a handful of arenas for it, it just means it takes longer to chase them across the map when they inevitably bolt after taking a little damage.
>Environmental traps. While they're not nearly as omnipresent as early footage suggested, they're still quite plentiful and just as potent as you'd think, and while simply running over most of them won't cause them to activate, both player and monster attacks do trigger shit like the status frogs, so they can absolutely get themselves fucked over, or even heal you by hitting the heal bugs near you so you get caught in the heal cloud. To be fair, they could also get you caught in a negative status frog cloud, but I've had that happen all of never, and I'm certain the AI doesn't aim for that.
>Monsters attacking each other. Even aside from the scripted shit they will regularly break off from focusing on you ''even while you're actively damaging them'' to turn on the other monster.
>The new armor system. I don't even know where to start here, as other than the aforementioned bit about how Armor Spheres work now I hate pretty much everything about it. Getting Skills to activate without any work at all is bad enough, but then you get to High Rank and have the Alpha/Beta split, which sounds promising and all... except it's literally just "sacrifice a skill or two for an extra/bigger Decoration slot or two." No difference in stats granted or materials required either, so it basically comes down to "is the Skill the Beta version loses any good," so it's not really a split in options so much as a "one of these is objectively better than the other"
>The use of the tracking bullshit to justify drawing out the progression of High Rank. Once you enter High Rank anytime they want you to go after a new monster like Pink Rathian or Nergigante, you have to go out on random quests/explorations just to find randomly placed tracks and shit of the monster until you gather enough that the game decides to give you the quest to go fight it. The three Elders after Nerg all have separate ones for themselves too. It's obnoxious and probably the truest example of grinding the series has ever had.
>Setting traps is so ridiculously fast. Seriously, you can actually use them as weapons in combat to interrupt monster actions, it's ludicrous.
==THE UGLY (or stuff that irks me but isn't as important as the above)==
>Shit's too fucking small. For all the complaints about small screens before, I find I'm just about as close to the TV as I was to my 3DS and PSP if I want to tell what the fuck I just picked up or what's on the map or anything that isn't the actual fighting with the monster.
>The selections in the weapon upgrade interface not "clicking" from icon to icon with movement, and instead having a free floating "cursor" style of movement. I don't know if this is because of the PC port they're working on or what, but it's fucking awful.
>Visuals are awful, and that glowing green crap only makes it worse for the environment. The lack of blood or anything other than some rocks flying off on hits for monsters is bizarre, and half the time I'm not sure if my hits are connecting or not. Characters are hideous; even aside from the much-maligned receptionist "girl" I find myself baffled by the fact that someone thought bringing in Donte was a good idea. Armor designs are at least competent, but weapon designs were so phoned in it hurts. Music is also pretty bad with one or two exceptions, which exceptionally stands out after the great monster themes in XX. Overall, this is the worst looking and sounding mainline Monster Hunter title ever.
>The fact that when you spawn into the main base there isn't a teleport point right where you start. The bounty reporter and farm being close at hand is good, but it's irritating having to run across the whole of the first floor to make it to the teleporter for the kitchen or smithy.
>Investigation clutter is a nuisance. Being able to filter and mass delete them would've been nice.
>Control changes. R1 being changed into a sheathing command throws off a lot of the moveset in general, and then the desire to put shit onto L2 and R2 means you have simply silly shit like Bowgun firing being moved from Circle to R2 and aiming going to L2, and the weird rearrangement of Insect Glaive's moveset. Swapping Confirm and Cancel buttons is something I know a lot of Western releases of Sony games do, including Freedom Unite, but that doesn't make it any less irritating. Also, we really need to stop putting things on L3 and R3, those aren't buttons and should not be treated as such. Make the stupid "Share" button pull it's weight instead of just being a squatter taking up prime controller real estate.
I think most fans' core problem with World is it lacks any sense of commitment at all. Whether or not you found the games difficult before, you absolutely had to pay attention to them to succeed. The obvious example of a change here is being able to move while using items or shooting, but it's quite a bit more universal than that. To learn a monster's weak points, you had to observe what effects your attacks had on it, be it blood spurts, screen shaking, or bouncing off. Now, blood spurts are gone and you're either using damage numbers or just consulting the in-game wiki. Similarly, you no longer need to keep any of those things the wiki records in mind, like what drops what or what parts are breakable/severable. Forgot to bring some key items? Just duck back into the tent and grab them. Forget to eat? The table's right there. Finding the weapon you upgraded into isn't what you want after a few hunts, or unlocked a new one you want to make instead? Just push it backwards and even get the parts refunded. Quest too hard to take on alone? Summon some other players. Bad position to start your Greatsword charge in? Tackle out of it, and have insane damage reduction and super armor with that. I'm feeling this even in otherwise positive changes, like item gathering no longer making you stop and gather outside of the account items, or seemingly unrelated changes, like the reworking of the armor system where generally you're better off clown suiting and just going piece by piece rather than having to decide on a set and work towards getting it completed to get most if not all of the Skills going. The only thing that seems to really demand any sort of commitment on the part of the player is the game auto-saving after starting an Investigation to use up one of it's uses in case they rage-quit, but with how many dozens of them the game shits on you constantly (and it's not like ones with gold-tier rewards are rare by any means) this is hardly a key factor. This is what I think strikes at the heart of so many of the changes and why they rub longtime fans the wrong way even if they can't quite articulate it.
To me, the biggest thing is the loss of any tension. On top of everything being so much mind-numbingly easier than even XX was, the fact that not only can you run back to the base camp at just about any time to replenish your potions (including Max Potions, which is just beyond belief) but that every map is overflowing with easy to loot Herb and Honey to mix up Mega Potions at any moment (with zero chance of failure, no Books of Combo required) which you can drink while running around, plus with little danger of running out of max stamina between the much longer time it takes for the cap to decrease, eating at camp, and the stamina bugs strewn about just makes it lack any possibility that you might find yourself in a truly fucked position. Even the one map that has (a small number of) hot spots has a whole area just overflowing with mushrooms to brew Cool Drinks. And of course, infinite Whetstones. You're never going to get screwed over by your own lack of preparation or short-sightedness, and you're certainly never going to have the sort of desperate struggle where you've run down to the wire, carted twice with every healing/support item exhausted including the ones you found by gathering on the map, bashing away at the Tigrex who you KNOW is just hanging on by a few HP with a weapon at red sharpness as you desperately try to bring him down, knowing that win or lose you are going to collapse from the sheer rush afterward as the adrenaline that had been pumping through you fades, breathless at just how amazing a fight you just had.
In conclusion, I just can't suggest this game to Monster Hunter fans. Taken purely in a vacuum, it's an alright action game, and could easily have been a huge step up for other franchises - if this had been, say, Elder Scrolls 6, I could easily celebrate it as a huge improvement and step up for that series. As Monster Hunter 5, however, it's simply lacking in just about every meaningful way. Everything that makes Monster Hunter good to me is at best weakened and at worst completely gone. It's not out of the blue entirely, as a lot of what's bad about it has been creeping into the franchise for a while, but I've never felt this huge a loss all at once with any prior title. Maybe G Rank will salvage it; I hope it will. As is, World is just really boring, and I don't feel any particular joy in the thought of running around playing tag with randomly generated "clues" to be given permission to play the game any further.