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Monster Hunter Wilds removes the biggest barrier to entry

Published Jun 12th, 2024 11:00AM EDT
Monster Hunter Wilds launches in 2025.
Image: Capcom

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Some video game series just aren’t for everyone, and that’s ok. League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dark Souls — these games require true dedication to learn, which can make them very rewarding but also easy to bounce off of. Monster Hunter was part of this lineage, but in 2018, Monster Hunter: World offered a surprisingly accessible on-ramp for newcomers. Years later, Monster Hunter Wilds looks to break down even more barriers.

I didn’t get to play Monster Hunter Wilds, but Capcom brought a live gameplay presentation to Summer Game Fest Play Days. The two trailers had me curious, but after seeing the game in action, I’m convinced that Wilds could top World as my favorite entry.

Our hands-off demo began at base camp, where Palicos were hard at work, and players could buy items, upgrade equipment, and more. It does look somewhat similar to Astera, which is the Hunter’s Guild’s base of operations in Monster Hunter: World. Unlike in World, which forces you to pick a quest from a list, prepare for the expedition, and load an entirely separate map to start hunting, you can just hop onto your Seikret (a new bird-like animal mount) and ride out into the world. No loading screens or flipping through menus this time.

So we left the base camp and headed out into the Windward Plains, which is the first region you will visit when you embark upon your adventure. Capcom says that it’s about two times the size of the average region in previous Monster Hunter games, and it’s just one of many.

Before taking on any monsters, we rode over to a small village in the region filled with AI NPCs going about their lives. You can talk to anyone milling about the village to get some flavor text or buy items that might help you out on your next hunt.

We then opened the map, which is far more detailed (and generally legible) than other Monster Hunter maps. It’s a 3D topographic map that displays your surroundings in detail, including icons for monsters and items in the area. Those monsters and items change depending on the time of day, and that will be reflected on the map as well.

Hunter and Palico in Monster Hunter Wilds.
Hunter and Palico in Monster Hunter Wilds. Image source: Capcom

At this point, we picked a monster to pursue on the map, left the village, and set up camp in the desert. After cooking a quick meal, we mounted our Seikret and began riding toward it. When we arrived, there was actually a whole pack of roaming Doshaguma, which look something like lions combined with bears. We started attacking the Alpha Doshaguma, and after a few swings of our sword, the hunt began on its own. A seamless transition without any menus or loading.

As soon as the pack realized it was being threatened, all of the Doshaguma began attacking us. We were outnumbered, which meant we probably wouldn’t stand a chance in a traditional fight. So, we jumped on our Seikret and led the pack to a quicksand trap created by the snake-like Balahara. It eliminated most of the others so we could focus on the alpha.

The rest of the demo consisted of a wide-ranging, dynamic battle that included switching from long to short-range weapons, using the new hook slinger to create traps using the environment and get on top of the monster, and watching an enormous Apex monster appear just in time to do massive damage to the Doshaguma while we kept our distance.

Hunting a Balahara in Monster Hunter Wilds.
Hunting a Balahara in Monster Hunter Wilds. Image source: Capcom

As the monster began to wear down, it limped back to its nest, at which point we called in three NPC hunters to help us finish the job. All of the hunters unpacked their Large Barrel Bombs and rolled them toward the sleeping Doshaguma, exploding on contact. Several well-placed attacks and pitfall traps later, the Alpha Doshaguma had been defeated. We carved up the monster for materials and were able to continue exploring without any interruptions.

For me, the biggest barrier to entry in Monster Hunter has always been the downtime between the action. Every time I’m tempted to jump back into Monster Hunter: World, I remember that it’s going to be at least another 10 minutes before I’m actually running around fighting the monsters. That’s never going to be a concern in Wilds. Those seamless transitions have me as excited as any new feature, from the dynamic weather to the moves you’ll learn.

Even though I didn’t actually get my hands on it, I walked away wanting to play Monster Hunter Wilds more than any other game I saw at Summer Game Fest.

Monster Hunter Wilds launches on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC in 2025.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.