Monster Hunter Now was just announced by Niantic and Capcom, bringing the big monster hunting carnage to the real world. Here’s our breakdown of the gameplay details from early play testing in Japan.
Check out the Monster Hunter Now Gameplay Screenshots from the reveal event.
Wondering what Monster Hunter Now is? You can check out our original post covering the game’s announcement. It’s an all-new geolocation/augmented reality title for Android/iOS in the Monster Hunter franchise releasing worldwide in September.
Before we delve into breaking down the gameplay details, this information is from a play test in Japan and is subject to change. It was an early version of the game, and not indicative of the upcoming final release.
This game has been in development since 2019, and it is important to note that it’s being developed by Niantic’s Tokyo-based team. Not their Pokémon GO team.
The play tests in Japan seemed really positive, and the game’s announcement has actually boosted Capcom’s stock. They praised the overall gameplay, and adapting the Monster Hunter formula to the geolocation exploration gameplay.
Progression is similar to the actual Monster Hunter titles. You go out, hunt monsters and collect resources to improve your gear, and increase your Hunter Rank. There’ll also be an in-game shop, potions, as well as quests.
As you can see in one of the above pictures, one of the characters is doing a prologue quest which indicates a Main Story.
Combat and hunting is similar to the main series’ titles.
The biggest question of them all… What is the hunting and combat like in Monster Hunter Now? You can be relieved to know that it’s quite similar to the mainline games.
Media outlets that had a hands-on with the demo said the movement and combat was faithfully adapted to fit the mobile screen. You tap to attack, swipe to dodge, and hold down for special charged attacks or guards (depending on the weapon).
There’s also the option to play in either landscape or portrait mode. Players will explore the overworld based off real-world geolocation data, similarly to Pokémon GO—hunting for monsters or resources.
For those familiar with the now-defunct Monster Hunter Explore, the combat is comparable to that.
Overworld map, hunting monsters, and collecting resources.
The overworld map is split into two parts. There is your typical Pokémon GO-view, and then you can also zoom out to see everything surrounding you.
The map is split into biomes, similarly to a Monster Hunter map, which will be home for different resources (bones, stone, ore, herbs, etc) and monsters—which you can see in the above photo.
When you click on a resource, like mining for ore, it’ll bring you to a tap minigame to collect it. These mining outcrops and other resources (bones, gathering, etc) will be tied to landmarks and notable locations like Pokémon GO’s PokéStops.
When you tap on a monster, you have the option to fight it alone, or fight with friends—which will let everyone in a 200m radius know, and they can join in.
Monster fights last 75 seconds, and like a typical Monster Hunter battle, you can break parts and chop off their tail. If you don’t manage to defeat the monster in 75 seconds, it’ll escape.
Monsters will also have different “levels” which seem to be indicated by stars on top of their head—which indicate their difficulty. This seems to tie into your HR rank like the mainline games.
Just before attacking, Monsters will also glow red. This mechanic is there to make things easier for newcomers, so they can time dodging easier. However, play testers have said it’s still important to memorise attack patterns and the glowing identifiers, as all Monsters are different.
Players will also have the option to “paintball” monsters (old-school Monster Hunter fans… Blast from the past right?) which will let you fight the monster later whenever you want. Whether it’s back in the comfort of your own home, or at a gathering with friends.
The biggest question of all… Do you get a Palico?
Of course! It wouldn’t be a Monster Hunter game without a furry friend to help you out. We’ve seen in Monster Hunter Now gameplay screenshots that you do get a Palico, and it’s been confirmed from various media outlets also. They’ll also show up on your map and walk beside you.
There is also an “Anytime Adventure” mode, where you Palico will automatically paintball monsters in the background whilst you walk—so you can fight them later on whenever convenient.
It sounds like a good option for people who commute every day, but won’t have time to fight the monsters on the go.
What about character customization and the user interface?
From the gameplay screenshots, it seems like players will be able to customise their own characters, as well as weapon and gear loadouts. It’s been confirmed different weapons/armor will show up on your character.
The user interface is also looking faithful to main series game’s aesthetic. The character models, monsters, weapons, all look like they’re straight from the main series’ titles as well.
Play testers said that the game only had four weapons in the demo, however, there’ll probably be more on release.
The four weapons in the demo were: Longswords, Great Swords, Sword & Shield, and Bowguns. They all played pretty similarly to the mainline games.
Are you excited for Monster Hunter Now? It definitely looks like Niantic’s best upcoming game, and the quality and polish looks worlds above Marvel World Of Heroes—which is also releasing this year.
Interestingly enough, Monster Hunter Now will also be doing a proper global release, instead of the roll-out soft launch method Niantic also does. It’ll be coming out in September later this year.