But is it fun? NO.
On paper, this is exactly what I was looking for and more. A Japanese game with obscene weapons, a lot of upgrades and a fair amount of grind, but most importantly boss battles after boss battles. I believe Japanese game makers are among the best in the world when it comes to fleshing out a fun combat system with ridiculous weapons. Slap any one of those combat systems to a game where you have to hunt gigantic beasts and you have an absolute winner.
Or so I thought.
Turns out, everything here is some kind of evolution of the previous games which apparently had a shitty combat by design (or maybe due to the limitations of the hardware), and as a result Monster Hunter: World teases you with beautiful big monsters who are not fun to fight. That is not the only problem of this game, but to me it is certainly the hardest to get over. There are some mechanics that drag you in, for example the idea that every monster you hunt gives you materials for its own unique set of armour, but nothing ever overcomes the fact that the whole "hunting" process is a murky, sticky, clunky affair.
Combat animations lock you in place way too long no matter what kind of weapon you are using, the camera and camera-lock features are sub-optimal, the need to resharpen your weapon is cool in theory but another interruption of the already lacking flow of battle, the escaping monsters -another nice idea in a "hunting" game- can be infuriating, some inventory choices feel so artificial (1 trap at a time?) and just in place to honour a questionable legacy system or basically stab you in the nutsuck, and so on with another million things where everything that could be the opposite of "quality of life" has been implemented with religious dedication. Tiny confusing icons for a million items that certainly serve many purposes while none of them seems particularly worth exploring or understanding. The main hub/city of Astera is uninspired and once again missing any kind of flow, the menus are mostly terrible with redundant or almost useless functions, and the stupid tiny little obligatory snippets of written dialog every time you interact with an NPC that you have been interacting with for ages just remind you of issues that make you wonder if it isn't all a filler, to make what is a pretty dull game seem larger and deeper than it is. It's almost ironic that in a game plagued with interruptions and slowdowns, there is NO pause button. That is right, you can't pause, ever. If you need to go to the restroom or someone knocks on your door all you can do is force the PS4 in standby mode.
There are some nice things. To see two giant monsters fight each other is always good, be it a game or a movie, and your monster-themed armours are addictive. The visuals are good although nothing special at this point, and sometimes exploring the environment feels pleasant, with no music (good choice!) and lots of tiny things to look for.
But eventually it all boils down to roaming around the same areas for a long long time, swearing at the stupid scoutflies for distracting you with lights and sounds when all they are doing is getting confused themselves or pointing you to the next fucking useless plant of crap, then eventually after mindlessly collecting all the tracks of your prey randomly scattered around (a process that is interesting the first three or four times you have to do it) until you get a hold of the big monster and a boss fight ensues. And here starts the carnival of slow ass animations, idiotic stun mechanics, a lot of swinging your weapon into nothingness and sometimes hitting something without any satisfying feedback or clear understanding of what is going on. Yet, with enough hitting and rolling behind the monster you will eventually prevail.
Of course I am making it sound worse than it is. But no, it is not fun and that's Monster Hunter: World biggest problem. A game that should be fun, had all the chances to be fun, and yet managed to be dull. It is not a pile of shit. It simply is not fun. No matter how much we want to like it, no matter how much we try to minimize the boredom, the stark reality is that this can make you go back to it for the next armour or to see the next monster, but it is totally not fun.