I’ve just drifted my dog into battle, his hindlegs tilting out in a glorious arc at the press of a button for that precious extra boost of speed, before dismounting with the flick of a wirebug that sends a silken line up into the sky, allowing me to grapple onto it and swing towards my prey. In mid-air I pull out a sword fashioned from the remains of a bony Besarios and drive it straight down into the skull of another. Bring this big bastard down and I can fashion a hat out of his hide to complete my Besarios outfit and grant myself an attack boost, so that I might be able to go out and do it again only with more flair, and more efficiency.
Good gosh do I love Monster Hunter.
The core loop remains unchanged but Capcom’s series has evolved an awful lot since its inception way back in 2004, and after a long run on Nintendo’s console that peaked with the exceptional Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate it was only after 2018’s multi-platform Monster Hunter World that the series found a proper foothold in the west. Here was Monster Hunter at its most accessible – and, with expansion Iceborne, at its most brutal – and for the first time it no longer felt like a niche pursuit. Monster Hunter had finally gone mainstream.