Game Design Analysis – Monster Hunter: World

Introduction

Figure 1. Hunter fighting a monster in game

Monster Hunter World is a Japanese Role-Playing Action Game by Capcom. The main mechanics involves hunting various types of monsters in the game using a decent variety of weapons. The player will progress through the story and complete hunts of increasing difficulty as they build their character up by making new equipment with materials obtained from hunts.

Game Website: https://www.monsterhunterworld.com/

A cool speed run on one of the monsters in the game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjRvh7NxX6Q

Feelings/Experiences

I will now talk about some of the feelings/experiences in the game through various lenses.

Lens 9 – Elemental Tetrad

Mechanics

  • Hunts
    • During a hunt, there is always an objective and sometimes a timer. Failing the objective or having the timer run out will lead to an unsuccessful hunt. Succeeding or failing the hunt brings the feeling of joy or frustrations respectively to me.
  • Combat
    • The player can pick between various weapons. Every one of the weapons allow the player to perform a set of smooth and flashy moves. This allows me to feel powerful.
    • There are also moves that require the player to have precise timing to execute to either dodge attacks or counter them. I feel a sense of achievement when mastering some of these mechanics.
  • Loot system
    • The player must acquire loots from monsters in a hunt to upgrade their equipment. The loots are often random. When I get a rare loot that I need from a hunt, I feel a lot of excitement and joy.
  • Event monsters
    • Some of the monsters or monster variants only appear in events. This is where players can take on some of the most powerful monsters in the game. It can be frustrating for me when I must keep retrying the tough monsters.

Story

The game’s story does not add much to my experience in my opinion. This is because the story only takes up a small portion of my playtime. Most of the playtime will be the farming in between the story quests and in the post story mode where the player fights monsters of various difficulty to upgrade their gear to the fullest and take on various tougher monsters that comes out during events.

Aesthetics

The aesthetics is amazing on consoles. It is even more so on the PC with the high-resolution texture packs. The area aesthetics often follows the theme of the monsters that the player will be fighting the first time. This level of detail makes all the player actions look and feel cooler and allows for nice screenshots.

Technology

With the advancement of technologies, we now have very fast processors. This allows for the combat mechanics to include precisely timed actions and responsive inputs. If the processor is slow, the combat can feel sluggish, making the player feel slow and weak. In addition, with the current graphic processors, the current high-resolution aesthetics can be achieved.

Lens 8 – Problem Solving

While the game looks like a simple hack and slash game, I experienced some form of problem solving like building a suitable set of equipment and figuring out a fighting strategy for a hunt. Being able to conquer a hunt with my build gives me a sense of achievement.

Lens 32 – Goals

Initially in the game, the obvious goal would be to complete the story. in between that, I will see that each hunt or equipment upgrade will be a smaller goal to achieve before the end of the story. After the story missions are completed, the player is free to set their own goals as the game will simply provide more hunts for the player to play and continue upgrading. For me, I started setting small goals on farming various equipment pieces with the bigger goals of clearing the tougher hunts. This kept the game fresh for me as I always feel a sense of achievement and pride whenever I manage to clear the goals and I always have something to look forward to.

Lens 34 – Skill

When fighting the toughest monster in the game, equipment is not the only thing that is needed. It requires some degree of mastery of the combat mechanics. With the progressive mastery of combat, I can feel the excitement of being able to defeat the tough monsters and can challenge myself to kill it faster.

Lens 38 – Challenge

The game provides challenges appropriate for any level. This allowed me to feel more encouraged to clear the challenge as I did not ever feel stuck or hopeless. At the start, the player can clear challenges by being very mechanically skilled or being hardworking and farming for better equipment to clear the challenging hunt. Only when going into the toughest of monsters where the player will have to start relying more on their skills.

Virtual and Mixed Reality Devices Analysis

I will be picking my preferred virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) devices by doing research on some devices out in the market and making comparisons between them.

Virtual Reality

For VR devices, I will be looking at HTC Vive Cosmos, Oculus Quest 2, and Valve Index.

For the HTC Vive Cosmos, what attracted me is that the faceplate of the device can be changed to use different tracking options. This is great as for some users, they may not be keen to set up base stations. However, since the faceplate is a separate purchase, switching between tracking options comes at a cost, and the other faceplate that is not in use will essentially be e-waste. The device is not exactly cheap as well coming in at USD$699.

Next is the Oculus Quest 2. This device is interesting as it can be used as a standalone device. This is great for people who do not want to purchase a computer just to experience VR. But if the user does have a decent computer, they can choose to connect it to the PC. The price is also very competitive compared to other options, with cost starting from only USD$300. One downside is that the device requires the use of your Facebook account. As we know recently there have been many concerns about privacy, and I know people who do not even have an account anymore due to this reason.

Finally, we will look at the Valve Index. This is the most expensive of the bunch coming in at USD$999. Features wise, the specified numbers are quite impressive. While the resolution per eye is not the best, it has the highest adjustable FOV of up to 130° and the highest refresh rate of up to 144 Hz. Having a high refresh rate is very beneficial as it will be less disorienting, and it will be harder for the user to perceive frame updates/tearing. This allows more users to experience presence easily.

Figure 1. Oculus Quest 2

To conclude, I will say that Oculus Quest 2 is my preferred device due to the low cost of entry, especially with the fact that a strong enough PC is usually needed for a pleasant VR experience. Having a low cost of entry will also allow more VR devices to be in use, allowing for more reasons to invest in VR development. However, I do hope that the requirement of a Facebook account will be removed in the future.

Mixed Reality

For MR devices, I will be looking at 2 very prominent device out there, the Microsoft Hololens 2 and the Magic Leap 1.

For Microsoft Hololens 2, what struck me immediately was the cost, being at USD$3500. But the features are definitely not lacking. It has an incredible resolution of 2048 x 1080 per eye which is important as having a sharp image of a virtual object being displayed in the world will not only make it easier to make out the smaller details, but also provides a truer to life experience as it is harder to discern the pixels. Moreover, users that require prescription glasses can simply wear the headset over it. However, the device can be quite heavy, weighing in at 566g.

Next is the Magic Leap 1. It cost a little lesser at USD$2295. What is interesting about this is that the company decided to separate the computation hardware from the headset and allow the user to wear it at waist level. This makes the headset weigh only 316g. For users wearing glasses, prescription inserts must be purchased. This also means that the user must carry their own glasses around so that they can put them on when not using the headset. The prescription inserts also have a limit to the amount of correction and some people may not be able to use the device.

Figure 2. Microsoft Hololens 2

Overall, my preferred device is the Microsoft Hololens 2. As someone who suffers from a very serious case of myopia, having the ability to use my glasses along with the device is extremely valuable to me. I also believe that the higher resolution display will allow a better experience overall.