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The RPS Advent Calendar 2018, Dec 3rd

No Bounty bars, guaranteed

Day three of the RPS Advent Calendar has big claws and teeth to fight through.

It's Monster Hunter:World!

Dave: Monster Hunter: World is probably the game I’ve sunk the most hours into this year (a whopping 81 so far, if my Steam account can be believed). I’ve slain or captured countless monsters in my pursuit to make some powerful weapons and effective armour to hunt bigger beasts.

It is utterly gorgeous to look at, with each of the five areas you can hunt in being a large labyrinth that you must memorise the optimal paths for. The vibrant locations you explore are filled with life, be it plants to harvest to craft items to make hunting easier, or the fauna that occasionally try to attack you, distracting you from the hunt.

But the main attractions are the massive beasts found with every mission. From your first hunt with the Great Jagras, all the way up to taking on the Elder Dragons, the hunts will test your combat skills in unique ways. It takes a big investment of time and effort, since you’ll regularly grind the same monster repeatedly for resources to make new weapons and armour, but chasing monsters with friends was probably the most fun I had this year, especially when you’re all working together to take down a massive Elder Dragon that’s been giving you hassle. Are Kushala Daora’s tornadoes in the final phase too much to handle? Have some friends place explosive barrels while it’s asleep so that you can end the fight quickly.

I’ve always wanted to get into the Monster Hunter series, and while I’ve been reliably informed that Monster Hunter: World is a far more streamlined experience than some of the other versions of the game, it felt suitably complex enough for my tastes. But really it did shine the most when I got a group of friends together to take down tough monsters, even though it is entirely possible to get through the main game on your own.

This monster is called Xeno'jiiva and this has been video games.

Monster Hunter: World also has a ton of character, which is a thing that seasoned Monster Hunter players are all too familiar with. Palicoes can be outfitted with all sorts of cute costumes, including the most recent update allowing players to turn them into little snowmen. You can also create more personalised armour that either upgrades your character’s abilities, or gives them slots to put decorations in to customise them to your liking. There’s even a woolly pig in the main hub area, for no other reason than to be cute.

It was most certainly worth the wait for it to come to PC, even if it didn’t have the best of starts. Now that the updates are coming thick and fast, we’ll hopefully see some more returning monsters from the prior games in the series, as well as new beasts to slay.

Matthew: I’ve not progressed much in Monster Hunter World, the popular videogame adaptation of Rock Paper Shotgun’s extensive tips guide, but that’s entirely because I’m hooked on walloping the game’s first monster, the Great Jagras. It’s far from the most spectacular beast in the game -- it’s basically An Iguana But Big -- but it has one of the most satisfying takedowns I’ve seen in 2018.

Player is attempting to break the Great Jagras' stomach

The Jagras likes to gobble up smaller creatures to heal and strengthen itself, distending its belly with the unfortunate Aptonoth it swallows in the opening area. (Incidentally, one of the best bits about this fight is how it plays out like clockwork, so you can always enjoy Jagras-whuppings on tap.) As a fellow overeater I see a lot of myself in its sad, post-lunch waddle, but as a monster hunter I only see an opportunity.

Hit its fat tummy enough and the beast vomits up its meal, leaving it as a wheezing heap on the floor and ripe for further bashing/stabbing/whatever-the-hunting-horn-does. Yes, it’s unkind to pick on anything in that window of post-puke vulnerability (see also: Hitman), but I love the logic of this particular tactic. It’s such a reliable technique that it’s especially good for feeling the improvements of your weapon upgrades; every sharper blade I build I’m right back there, smashing its stomach to see how much faster it delivers street pizza. If that’s not worth a recommendation, what is?

(My compliments to The Vomit Thesaurus for the phrase ‘delivering street pizza'.)

Alice Bee: Dave totally grokked my Palico love. Like, the best thing about MonHun: World is obviously the fashion. Yeah, living eco-systems and whatever, but good lord, the outfits. The armour sets range in style from puffy winter wear to bondage night in Shoreditch. Some of them are spectacular. And your Palico basically becomes an accessory, like a chunky handbag.

These outfits are all made from the skin, scales, armour, teeth, feathers and fur of the beasts you've successfully hunted. If you wore any of it down the street in real life you'd be covered in red paint almost instantly. And it's hilarious because all the Monster Hunter HQ lads are going on about how amazing and wonderful these rare creatures are and how we should respect them and study them, and then send you off specifically to kill them. Like, yeah, I'll study it up close, I'll study it real close, with this big mace made from the bones of its cousin.

Basically, the core of Monster Hunter: World can be summed up with a small section from that Radio 1 interview Tom Hardy did where kids sent in questions:

"We can see ourselves in all living things, so one has to care about everything and approach it with love -- unless of course it attacks you. In which case, lovingly, see it off with a big stick. Love all things buddy. Unless it's coming at ya mate. [In which case] dispatch it with the love, man."

Looking to open another door? Head back to the RPS Advent Calendar 2018.

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