Monster Hunter: World (Sniper)
Genre: Third-Person Action
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

Like flesh and blood, 21st century dopplegangers of Shakespeare's character "Ancient Pistol", players of this latest Monster Hunter foray will undoubtedly take hold of the monstrously seething, venemous, fire-breathing, lightning bolt-hurling dinosaur-like antagonists, with their icon-filled map surroundings, and victoriously declare "the world is my oyster". And with the sword they will attempt to open, even if the crisp upscaled 1800p-to-4K graphics are bizarrely white-washed, and proceedings do suffer from inconsistent frame pacing.

A song-by-committee approach supplied the accompaniment to World's bombastic action-based jet setting, and leisurely village window shopping both. As is the fad these days, the songs are all orchestra music, and despite this reviewer's distaste for that style, stemming off the T. Rex-like Anjanath to this rather exciting ditty makes an impression. Voice acting is typical for a dubbed Japanese game, and is just barely serviceable. But none of that matters in a Monster Hunter game, where the excellent array of battle-centric sound effects take center stage.

Experienced Monster Hunter players will be able to penetrate World's full eclecticism with no effort, so familiar is the game's structure, control scheme, and even animation timings, which seem to have been lifted precisely from the series' source code on other platforms. World, however, has one trick uniquely up its sleeve: its user interface. The player can save and name full loadouts, toggle auto-crafting of items, compare equipment, and even choose to remain in the same area between missions. The game's Phantasy Star Online-like, hub-based, multiplayer mission style makes it easy for both old and new players alike to enjoy the title's full depth.

World is Monster Hunter's "Skyrim" moment-- one of those times when a there-to-fore formula with niche appeal blasts through the mainstream wall with the force of a wrecking ball through a dilapidated building, bricks flying in all directions. But where "Skyrim" over-simplified its series' formula to appeal, World maintains all of the esoteric mechanics and idiosyncratic animations, reaching the masses instead with triple-A graphics, and via one of the best, most friendly user interface systems ever conceived. In a way though, Capcom could have absorbed some risk-taking inspiration from those olde merry wives of Windsor: because as good as the concept still is, World is more or less the same game this reviewer evaluated some years ago.

Sniper's verdict: