Has Monster Hunter Finally Met Its Match?

Wild Hearts directors believe that their game is not inferior to Monster Hunter and "can hold on its own."

Story Highlights 

  • Wild Hearts came out on February 17 this year.
  • Many fans have considered it a direct competitor to the infamous Monster Hunter.
  • In an interview, the directors said, “To be compared to the Monster Hunter series, that’s an honor in itself. But we believe this new title, Wild Hearts, is by no means inferior to Monster Hunter. We can hold our own.”

The gaming industry is no stranger to competition, and it seems that a new contender is set to take on one of the most beloved franchises in the action role-playing genre. EA’s Wild Hearts has been generating buzz within the gaming community, with some speculating that it could surpass the popularity of Monster Hunter.

Since Monster Hunter had dominated the market for such a long time, it had become quite a formidable competitor. This may be the reason why many companies have stayed away from jumping into the ring; however, the ones who were brave enough found little to no success.

However, it seems like Monster Hunter has finally met its match. Recently Wild Hearts came into the picture, and many fans believe it could be a better version of Monster Hunter. In fact, according to GameSpot, they believe that there are multiple that Wild Hearts make take the cake. These include:

  • More integrated monster design
  • Character’s interactions with its surrounding 
  • Karakuri building
  • Eat on the go
  • Varied difficulty setting  

If you ask a Monster Hunter fan why they like the game, it is very likely that the answer will be that it is the best at what it does. It is a slow burn, and it requires a lot of commitment and planning. While a lot of players might love this immersive style of storytelling, it certainly is not everyone’s cup of tea.

This slow style is exactly the reason why many Monster Hunter fans might end up jumping the boat. Wild Hearts, while in the same genre, gives players a faster and far easier-to-digest alternative. This means that anyone can play Wild Hearts without committing too much. In an article by Reno Gazette-Journal, they termed it a happy medium between Monster Hunter and faster-paced games like God Eater.

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What is Wild Hearts? 

Wild Hearts first came into the picture on February 17 of this year, and from the get-go, fans knew they were in for quite the ride. Wild Hearts is a collaboration between Omega Force and Electronic Arts under its EA Originals label. Throughout the game, directors Kotaro Hirata and Takuto Edagawa take players on a wild quest across the mystical world inspired by feudal Japan.

The title’s development first started in 2018. According to Kotaku, director Kotaro Hirata and his team learned from their experience developing the Toukiden series; through that experience, they intended to create a modern Japanese monster-hunting title.

The title, as mentioned, takes place in Japan and pays great homage to the Japanese crafting techniques called Karakuri. These crafting techniques are the main selling point of Wild Hearts. They are, in fact, used in a system that lets players utilize various support structures. These include but are not limited to a big wall or a giant springboard to influence the battlefield.

In a Screen Rant interview with the director, Koroto Hirata had this to say about Karakuri:

Yeah, I think when we look at Wild Hearts, we had an idea within our development stages here that we wanted to incorporate a crafting element to it. But then when we think of the world that we’ve created, it’s a very Japanese-style hunting action game, and how we incorporate this crafting element was really something where there’s a lot of trial and error over as we tried to figure out how to get it right. And we got our hint from more of an ancient technique, we have our technology called Karakuri in Japan where things are built up using thread, they’re attached to each other using thread, and so we focused on this.

Now even Japanese people, when we think of Karakuri, we actually think of these characters, these puppets that we have. So it’s like puppeteering, you have all the threads and the pieces that control different pieces with attached threads, and we kind of took that and we just kind of expanded on it, where it’s not really the puppets anymore, but we still wanted to still incorporate that system. And to build things using thread, we felt that it really fit in really well with the world that we were creating. That’s how we worked on adopting this.”

The Karakuri play a vital role as they help players fight against the beasts in the game, which are known as the Kemono. According to the official EA website, they refer to these creatures as,Kemono, who is the embodiment of the power of nature. These giant beasts fused with natural elements over time, modifying their environment to accommodate their needs.

While a lot of fans have been comparing Wild Hearts to Monster Hunter, the directors gave us their own two cents on it. In another interview with Inverse, they said, “To be compared to the Monster Hunter series, that’s an honor in itself. But we believe this new title, Wild Hearts, is by no means inferior to Monster Hunter. We can hold our own.”

In the same interview, the directors elaborated that while Monster Hunter had previously dominated the market due to their quality, Wild Hearts would also encapsulate the same quality, just with a faster-paced narrative. 

What Wild Hearts Does Better Than Monster Hunter

At first glance, Wild Hearts seems to take quite a lot of inspiration from the beloved Monster Hunter. This includes elements like fierce enemies, diverse weapon options, and cooperative gaming. However, Wild Hearts has certainly improved on many different elements. These include surface and under-the-hood to separate itself from Monster Hunter. 

Wild Heart’s use of the Karakuri system is the most obvious and glaring difference. The Karakuri system allows players to build or construct Basic, Fusion, or Dragon Karakuri. All three of them help with different aspects of the player’s journey. The Karakuri really sets the Wild Hearts apart from all its competitors as it helps create crates, springs, hammers, bombs, harpoons, zip lines, traps, and even roller vehicles. 

Moreover, in their article, Empire details another important reason why Karakuri is so important; it can help craft on the fly to aid in hunting and battling the Kemono. What’s more, is that Karakuri can stay on the battlefield across multiple hunts. This means the Karakuri has an immense tactical advantage as they are seamlessly integrated into the combat loop.

Another aspect is the Kemono themselves. They are known to be notoriously hard to defeat. According to Gameranx, the developers, after they made Kemono, realized they were too hard to beat. So rather than compromising on the difficulty of the Kemono and tarnishing the game’s quality, they thought of using power tools.

Hirata had this to say about the whole ordeal, “They were just massive creatures with too much power. But then the Karakuri idea came in, and then we realized, ‘the Karakuri system might be too strong now!’… We wanted to make sure the Kemono were really strong and really difficult to beat, because we wanted the players to feel the sense that it was a challenging endeavor. But trying to find that right balance between the actual strength of the Kemono versus the strength of the players was the hardest balance to figure out.”

Wild Hearts’ lineup of unique and powerful weapons is the icing on top. According to Polygon, there are eight different types of weapons that players can choose from when the game starts.

One weapon that most players seem to be a fan of is the Karakuri Staff, which can turn into a huge sword. This sword is similar to the charge blade. The Karakuri Katana, on the other hand, can turn into a Belmont-style chained whip with high range and serious, blunt damage. Hence, the Karakuri Katana is the way to go if players want to inflict a lot of damage in very little time.

Moreover, the heavy bowgun is equivalent to the cannon. It focuses on building a meter, and it causes massive damage once the cannon is fully heated up. Another major difference that Wild Hearts is the influence over multiplayer. As per Eurogamer, playing online will be a seamless process, all thanks to better online support.

In an interesting article by The Loadout, it was stated that Wild Hearts would shockingly not include micropayments. That is not to say that there will not be any microtransactions; it is anticipated that they could be part of a premium expansion, just like Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak.

But that is not all; Wild Hearts will also be supported with post-launch content, such as the new Kemono to fight as well as the new Karakuri to play around with. While Wild Hearts is an amazing title, it does not come without multiple issues. Namely, its performance. Koei Tecmo is quite notorious for creating poor-quality games.

This recurring theme presents itself in Wild Hearts too. There is painful stuttering, as well as large FPS drops significantly bring down what is otherwise an excellent title. What more is that many players have reported that Wild Hearts runs terribly and is riddled with bugs.

Conclusion

The debate on whether Wild Hearts is better than Monster Hunter remains open-ended. While Wild Hearts boasts of its unique features and gameplay, it currently faces challenges that hinder its full potential. Nonetheless, the presence of competition from Wild Hearts could be beneficial for Monster Hunter as it can push the developers to innovate and improve even further. Only time will tell how that turns out. 

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Amama Farrukh is a News Reporter on eXputer who’s been passionate about playing and writing about games since an early age. As a die-hard God of War fan, she’s really into gory hack-and-slash titles that get her adrenaline pumping. She’s got a bachelor's in Business Administration and several years of experience reporting on the gaming industry. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration || Previously worked as a Freelancer || Published 100+ News Stories

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