I’ve wanted to write this for a while now as it's been on my mind a lot, and I finally figured I’d do it. While I have not played every Monster Hunter game, not even every generation, I have noticed a very distinct atmosphere to the world in each entry that I have. The original Monster Hunter, MHXX and MH World are the three Monster Hunter games that I have actually played (unless you count stories) and I want to share my opinion on how each game’s world felt for me, as well as see if anyone else feels the same way (or has completely different opinions).
I played the original MH as a kid, and while I was by no means competent at it and did not make it very far into the game I was really captured by how the world’s atmosphere felt. It’s been a while since I’ve played the original, so maybe this is all just my childhood head cannon, but it really felt like you, the hunter, were part of a small isolated village that was trying its hardest to get by and survive. I had this assumption that you would hunter monsters for nothing more than to gather food and supplies for the rest of your village. This is also the reason I used to justify why we could only carve a few parts off each monster we hunted: the rest of the meat and material would go to feed and clothe the village. Again, I was just a kid, so much of this impression was probably only head cannon, but this world feel of hunting not for the sake of hunting, but to survive was really cool and has stuck with me all these years; it seriously left an impression on me and is probably why I even got back into the series all these years later.
After the original I didn’t touch a Monster Hunter game until World, however since then I have gone back and played XX. This felt much closer to the original’s atmosphere than World does, however it is still very distinct. While in the original it felt like you were hunting to survive, XX feels like humans are thriving, and hunters are employed more as an ecological police force or someone tasked with obtaining rare resources than they do as “hunters” in the traditional sense. I still like this games atmosphere a lot, though probably not as much as the original’s.
MHW differentiated its atmosphere from the others in a big way. Unlike the other two games I mentioned, this game is not at all centered around the life of a village. Instead, World has a conquest mindset. No longer are we hunting to survive; no longer are we hunting to thrive. Now we are hunting as part of some much larger, and less necessary goal. We are not hunting because we need to, but because we want to. (though tbh we the players have always done it because we wanted to) Discovery, research, personal challenge and reaching for the unknown are all attributes I would give to this game’s atmosphere. (it makes these all too clear, especially with how they are treating black dragons in this game as opposed to older games… at least from what I hear) I’m glad the series made a game with this atmosphere to it. It’s unique for the series from what I have seen; however, if I’m being honest, I think the “village life” atmosphere is much more suited to the series and I hope they go back to that style. I love world, but the conquest atmosphere actually takes away from it a little bit for me when I compare it to older games. It’s not a bad atmosphere, it's just not as great as those in previous games.
Survive, thrive and conquest; these are what I got out of these three games. Did anyone else get the same impressions? Are these atmospheres obvious to everyone else or am I just speaking nonsense right now? I haven’t played any of generations 2, 3 or most of 4; would the atmospheres of these games vary at all from the original and XX, or would they easily fall into the survive and thrive categories?
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