A decent sidegrade to World. Compromising much of the environmental interactivity and tracking elements, focusing more on immediate, arcadey, spectacle driven action, changes I’m not a big fan of but understand due to the downgrade in hardware. I have some issues with it though. Biggest one being the wirebug. Yeah, it’s fun to swing around like Spider-Man at first, but then you realize it trivializes the game, it trivializes traversal, it trivializes combat, there are only maybe 2-3 things in the entire game that can punish the spamming of a wirebug recovery (with another 2 added in the sunbreak expansion), and it somewhat breaks the balance between weapons, the longsword for example now has more counters than the lance, and the insect glaive is somewhat obsolete because now every weapon can fly and mount with greater ease than it can. I also don’t like how they messed with monster behaviour in this game. They reverted back to the old AI where the monsters take like 3 seconds to turn or growl at you after every move, giving you a huge opening to deal damage. But to compensate, they added this soft homing lock to many of their moves that keeps going late into the animation. It doesn’t really make them harder to avoid, just kind of screws you out of your attempts to predictively position. So it feels like openings in this game are either handed to you or robbed from you, it’s annoying as hell.
On a more positive note, I like the monster roster, lots of unique shapes and designs, a good mix of new and returning monsters, I honestly think I prefer the base game roster to Sunbreak’s, Goss Harag and Somnacanth are my favourites among the new faces. It does kind of annoy me though how it treats elder dragons. I feel like there’s one rule when it comes to Monster Hunter’s hierarchy, that Elder Dragons are the undisputed peak of the food chain. Things that challenge them should be few and far between and never outright conquer them. So it annoys me to see this game use monsters like Kushala Daora and Teostra basically as punching bags for anything it wants to insist is powerful, “hahaha watch Magnamalo waggle Teostra around like he does the puny bird wyverns” or “woah cool awesome bro, watch a shinier Rathian ragdoll a Kushala Daora around with zero effort.” Not an issue that effects the game’s polish or anything, just something that annoys me as a longtime fan of the series.
Even though I have my issues with the game, it’s still got that polished monster hunter combat loop and gear grind propping it up, with enough twists to keep it fresh. It’s probably the best Monster Hunter game you can play on the Switch. I got my mileage out of it even if I’d prefer World as the template going forward.