When Pokémon GO released everyone went to GO play the now wildly popular game by Niantic and The Pokémon company. It did something miraculous – it actually got families and individuals alike off of their couch and out into the real world. Now, after a few flops, Niantic has released Monster Hunter NOW, based on the extremely popular franchise (not as popular as Pokémon, mind you, but popular nonetheless).
My son and I installed it, since it came out a day early, and began playing. It’s very polished, fun, and well thought out unlike Peridot, another offering recently released by the company. I historically suck at monster hunting, crafting new gear, and generally just not getting ripped to shreds by a jagras, but with this game, which takes after the location-based gameplay of its predecessor, is actually really approachable.
Set on a map of your current location, dinosaur-like monsters litter the surrounding area for you to slay, materials are available to periodically collect and collection points, bone piles and more are littered around your town or city much akin to Pokéstops.
Instead of catching creatures, you’re taking them out, clearing the area from danger and leveling up your Hunter Rank, or level. With the monster parts or materials you collect, you’re upgrading your weapons and armor, and generally forging new pieces to wear and use.
You’ll also get a Palico, or cat helper that runs around and collects materials for you, acting as your guide to the game in between. It will also periodically paintball monsters for you to hunt at a later time within a 24 hour span of time. Hunts, by the way, act as Pokémon Raids, and can be conducted solo or with up to four local hunters, or friends after you reach level six.
What’s most interesting is the fact that the story revolves around a Monster Hunter character by the name of Qualily who “falls” into our world through some mysterious means. The game is a bit meta and acknowledges that you’re not a hunter, (but you can become one through playing) and that you’re holding a “smartphone”, which is pretty funny.
Moment to moment, the gameplay is pretty fun, and tapping a creature pits you against them in battle much like a field Pokémon. Instead of throwing Pokéballs though, you’ll be throwing hands, or rather slashing your blade and brandishing your shield at them.
For larger monsters, you’ll need to dodge by swiping left, right or backward in order to evade attacks once the enemy glows red, indicating they’re winding up for a big knock back attack. Overall, the game is polished enough to rival Pokémon Go, but as you can imagine, nothing has the staying power of the world’s greatest franchise. Still, I want to see Monster Hunter NOW succeed, and at this rate, I think it will be around for a long time. Especially when you consider Hunts against the mighty Rathalos being added in the future, among other things, like new weapon styles, and such.
Anyway, you and your family should definitely install the game and give it a go right NOW. Oh, and yes, the excessive use of NOW and GO in the beginning of this article were entirely intentional in an effort to point out how ridiculous and I suppose clever the name is from a psychology and marketing standpoint. NOW GO install it – Happy gaming!